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As Facebook becomes the hot social networking site of the moment, companies are salivating for a way to reach its millions of members. So I wrote a premium article for MarketingProfs that walks companies through the steps necessary to make BIG money on Facebook, and on any social site/network.

So how do you tap into Facebook's millions of users and make BIG money from them? If that's your goal, then I've got bad news because it's probably not going to happen for you.
Amazingly, Facebook's millions of users aren't sitting online waiting to crap cash in your bank account if you'll only come and take it from them. Instead, you are going to have to use Facebook as its community does. You are going to have make friends on the site. You are going to have to take an interest in groups, you are going to have to contribute content.
You will probably have to answer some friends' questions. You may need to start a thread or two in the groups you join. It wouldn't be a bad idea to stop by a friend's profile and wish them a Happy Birthday. And yes, you may have to throw a few sheep via Super Poke.
Facebook is like any community, online or off. What you get from that community depends greatly on what you contribute. When a business comes to Facebook with the mindset of attempting to take, it's doomed from the start. Facebook is built on the idea of everyone giving, not taking.
Let me tell you a bit about my community of friends on Facebook. There's Jordan that looks nifty in his new specs. Jennifer is working to launch an online game for kids. Tish is battling a computer virus. Jack publishes a major foreign fashion magazine. Garret is the man with the kick-ass profile pic. There are hundreds more that all lead amazingly different lives with different interests, and wants and needs.
But they all have one thing in common: They don't give a damned about buying anything from you.
Now if you want to change their and my attitude toward you, then you are going to have to join us. Because these amazing social tools are for us, not you. If you want to use these tools to grow your business, you'll have to use them as we do, and for the same reasons that we do.
If you want to reach an online community such as Facebook, then you have to join it, and contribute to the community's growth. When you do that, then you'll see that the community will be willing to give something back to you.
But it all starts with your business giving something away, instead of taking. Might be a hard rule to wrap your mind around. But, hey, you're playing by our rules now.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier