Thursday, July 10, 2014

Become a friend to your customers on Facebook

Become a friend to customers on Facebook

At it’s heart, Facebook is a way to connect with friends and family.  Log onto your own FB account and you’re bound to find selfies, baby photos, birthday reminders, links related to healthy living and exercise, check-ins at local bars and restaurants, etc. These are all things that are centered around our personal lives and are shared with the friends and family who matter most to us.  

So it’s no wonder that it’s difficult for small businesses to break into the FB game.  We aren’t family members.  We’re kinda friendly, but not enough to be FB friends.  So how can we change things and get people to start thinking of us differently?  It’s a tall task, but one that can be overcome with a good plan and some focused effort.  Here’s what we’d suggest...

Share interesting photos on Facebook

1.  Share interesting photos on Facebook In reviewing my own page, it’s clear that photos and visual content are a huge part of what makes Facebook tick.  Take a lesson and share interesting photos related to your business.

Every business is built on people, so make sure to include them in your postings.  It’s always interesting to see who makes the engine go, especially at a small company.  Get candid shots of what goes on behind the scenes and followers will begin to see you as human - not just a company.

Grow your Facebook following with a coupon or promotion

2.  Grow your follower list with a good deal

People love to feel as though they’re saving money.  Kim, a friend of mine on FB, will often ask for Kohl’s coupons when she’s ready to make a big purchase.  

Small businesses can learn from this, so sharpen your pencil and figure out a coupon or collection of seasonal promotions that draws them in and keeps them friendly. It doesn’t have to be a huge savings - just something that says you value their business and would enjoy their support in the future.  It may be just the nudge that they need to become a Facebook follower… and a customer for life.

Help followers discover new things on Facebook
3.  Help followers discover new things
Whenever I see friends at different locations like restaurants, concert venues and vacation spots, a part of me always says  “I’d like to check that out, too.”  Or if there’s an event coming up and Facebook tells me that friends are going, I’ll probably want to be a part of it as well..  The point here is that Facebook can very often be a way for users to find out about places to go and things to do.  

If you’re a small business with a strong local customer base, be sure to share area news and interesting events with your followers.  You’ll begin to paint yourself as the local expert and a resource for people who want to know more about what’s happening in the area.  As an added step, visit these locations and be sure to post photos. Two birds, one stone!

Tease new products on Facebook

4.  Tease new products to build interest on Facebook

I have a friend named Vern.  We’ve been friends for a long time and have very similar tastes in music, so whenever we get together, our conversation goes like this… “Dude.  Have you ever heard of XYZ band?  They’re kinda like ABC, but with 123 on vocals and a heavier sound.”  Since Vern knows that we enjoy the same types of music, he’s betting that I’ll like XYZ band as well.  Once my interest is piqued, it’s more than likely that I’ll soon join him as a fan.  And until I actually listen to their music, I’ll have to trust Vern’s recommendation.  

In this example, you’re Vern.  You know that followers already like your existing product or service.  So one way to build interest in new offerings is to tease them on your FB page.  Post exclusive photos and talk about how this new product will be different and better.  Until the product or service is launched, followers will be hanging on your every word because you know exactly what they like.  

Start a dialogue on Facebook with followers

5.  Take a controversial stance on an issue to start a dialogue

During the last election, I got to know a lot about the people that I’m friends with.  They felt so strongly about the candidates and issues that they couldn’t help but share their opinions.  

Personally, I would avoid political issues because it can be somewhat polarizing.  A better approach would be to ask questions on topics related to your business.  By creating an open forum for followers, you can get input on your own product or service, trends in the industry and more.  Throw in a question or two about things unrelated to your industry just to keep things light.  

REMEMBER: People like to do business with other people

When considering your strategy for Facebook, it’s most important to realize that people like to do business with other people, not just a corporate machine.  As small businesses, we have the advantage of being able to bring a human element and personal touch to everything that we do, including Facebook. By following these 5 tips, you can start building a relationship with your followers and start utilizing the power of your Facebook friends.