It’s that time of year again. The school year is upon us, and everywhere you look there are “back to school” specials and sales so kids can start the year with a fresh, new look. So why not jump on the bandwagon? Here’s your chance for a fresh, new start in the social-media world.

Below are some helpful tips on how to build quality audiences on Facebook using your current contact lists (because starting from scratch with zero followers or fans can be hard).

1.    Invite Friends feature. If you already have your personal profile setup, Facebook allows you to easily invite any of your friends to be fans of your business page.

2.    Import Contacts feature. Do you have an email list for your current clients? Do you have a prospecting email list? You can easily upload your contacts’ information, and Facebook will send them a request to become a fan of your page.

3.    Graph Search. Facebook’s Graph Search is a great tool for learning more about your brand’s audience. If don’t yet have an audience, you can use it to learn more about the users who like pages based on products or services similar to your own. First find one or two Facebook pages of companies similar to your own. Then run a search for the pages their fans like. (Example: “Pages liked by people who like Financial Social Media.”) Then search again to determine the favorite interests of this same group of people. (Example: “Favorite interests of people who like Financial Social Media.”) This is a great way to learn more about your target audience.

Following these simple guidelines will help you build up your networks. Just remember: It’s the quality—not just the quantity—of people in your audience that will make the difference in your prospecting efforts.

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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and President of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.