Whether your business is large or small, you may be trying to use Facebook to generate revenue. And while building fan numbers is certainly part of that, it’s only half the battle. Once you have people signed up as fans, you need to convert them into regular customers or clients. Here’s how:
What’s the voice of your company, and the tone of the relationship you want to foster with your customer? Is it respectful? Familiar? Playful? "Write your Facebook posts in your ‘voice,’" suggests business coach Ellen Lubin-Sherman, author of The Essentials of Fabulous: Because Whatever Doesn’t Work Here Anymore. Being authentic on Facebook will show fans who you are--and invite them to learn more.
Your fan page will only show up in people’s feeds automatically if they visit you regularly. "So the first step is to get people to check in. That is done through optimized content marketing on Facebook. Post interesting things regularly to get people to Like and Comment with you and each other," suggests social media consultant Chris Treadaway, Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day. If you don’t see results and you have an online marketing budget, Treadaway suggest bringing in the hired guns: "You can use some of the new Facebook Ad units to promote your content via paid advertising."
Highlight time-sensitive, fun offers
What you post, in addition to how often you post, can mean the difference between a Facebook fan and a real life-customer. "To best drive people into a store, we've noticed that the best performance occurs when posting coupons and time-sensitive offers," notes Treadaway. People love a deal, and urgency will drive them from your Facebook page and into your storefront or onto your website. They also look to Facebook for fun, so depending on your type of business, contests and quizzes can be effective.
Ask them questions
Engaging customers in person isn’t all that different than online--starting a dialogue is key. "Knowing what your audience’s needs are is essential in any marketing program, and questions are a great way to have your customers tell you what they’re looking for. Don’t ask for essays—people don’t have time for them! Make your questions short, with one-word or phrase answers," says Kathryn Rose, social media strategist and author of the upcoming book Solving the Social Media Puzzle: 7 Simple Steps to Planning a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Business Facebook has tools for this. For instance: "With Facebook’s "Questions" feature, you can add poll options to your question to get things started, and give people the opportunity to add their own, which often increases engagement," notes Rose.
Fill up on photos
Facebook photos are obviously a visual draw, and they get shared, so they can build interaction with your page. They can also be a tool to drive conversation. "Asking people to provide a caption for an intriguing photo can induce lots of interesting engagement, as can fill-in-the-blank questions or guesses as to where or when the photo was taken," suggests Rose.
Respond quickly to questions
If a customer asks you a question face-to-face or on the phone, you respond promptly. Doing otherwise would be rude and bad customer service. Do the same on Facebook. "Be sure to keep a close eye on your notifications and fan engagement, and answer people quickly when they engage with you. Thank them for their contribution or question, and make it one-on-one personal by using their name," says Rose. She adds that not only will this particular person be pleased with your attentiveness, but others will notice, too: "Others will see your engagement and be encouraged by your promptness."
Give them real added value
Fun contests or enticing offers are great, but so is useful content or knowledge only available to fans, making them feel valued, notes Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media, Invite them to engage further with you through free, valuable content such as webinars, podcasts and video. By demonstrating your expertise to your fans, you'll become more trustworthy - and the go-to source when they are ready to buy." Mission accomplished!