With over a billion active users each month on Facebook, you may have heard that every company, whether you’re large or small, should consider getting on the social network bus.
“I don’t get it!” you might be saying. “How does posting silly pictures and telling people what I ate for lunch help grow my business? Besides, my time is already maxed out.”
True, Facebook is rife with silly status updates that can drive us crazy. But let’s look past all that and focus on the people behind the updates.
Who are these people? They’re existing and potential customers, and on Facebook, you can get up close and personal with them. They’re an important source for growing your business and probably the best advocates – as long as you stay in touch and keep them happy. After all, happy customers lead to referrals to new happy customers, right? Happiness all around – we like that!
Not convinced? Chew on this: Of all the major social network platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Foursquare, Facebook is by far the most popular based on sheer number of users. It gets 526 million+ who visit the site daily.
Still not sure if Facebook is right for your biz? How about five more reasons?
1. Strengthen customer relationships
With a business Facebook page, you can interact with prospects and customers in a way that they’re already familiar with. People share their likes, interests and activities on Facebook, and with your business page, you also can share news, photos and videos.
When someone checks you out on Facebook and “likes” your page or comments on a post, they’re showing that they want a relationship with your company. And they could potentially create great word-of mouth referrals to their friends. With all this “liking” and posting going around, you’ve got a ton of personal info to create targeted marketing campaigns (like promotions, deals and events) to groups of people based on specific interests that are relevant to your business.
For example: A person eating at a restaurant loves her meal. She posts to Facebook about how great it is and that message is exposed to her 200 friends via the news feed. That’s potentially 200 people that the restaurant just got in front of, without spending a single marketing dollar.
2. Expose your brand and increase awareness
While you’re making new connections and deepening existing relationships on Facebook, you’re also automatically generating awareness for your business free of charge. How’s that possible, you ask? Well, every user’s action on Facebook could be published to the news feed for the world to see. So anytime people “like” your page and/or any of your posts, this action could get published to hundreds, if not thousands, of their friends. So go out there and promote your great content, new product/service launches, special offers and events. Every post is an opportunity to get in front of tons of new peeps!
For example: That same restaurant customer posted to her 200 friends, and of the people who saw it, a few commented on the post with things like, “Great place!,” “I loved it too!” and “Their chicken wings are amazing!” It just happens that collectively all of those people had 5,000 friends who could be exposed to their comments. These actions could generate a ton of buzz, and still not a penny spent.
3. Drive traffic to your business
Because people share products and services they like and have bought (such as yours) on Facebook, the more likely their friends will check out your Facebook page to find out what you’re all about. You also can drive traffic to your website with Facebook-friendly applications, like Foursquare, that allow people to share when they physically visit your store (known as “checking in”). They also can share when they make purchases online or “like” special offers or deals you’re promoting.
There’s no better endorsement than the proof that your friends have actually bought it, used it or liked it.
For example: That same restaurant customer “checks in” using an app like Foursquare. It gets posted to Facebook and all of her friends now know where she is. Her bud Brad just so happens to be shopping at a store down the street, so he swings by the restaurant to meet up with her, which equals more business for the restaurant!
4. Gather insights
Facebook offers a super-cool (and totally free) tool called Facebook Insights that will become your new best friend. Built into the Facebook admin interface, Facebook Insights gives you lots of information about your fan base, like a demographic breakdown (age, location, etc.) and what they’re interested in. You also can gather the results of survey questions, photo and video posts, and other data to understand more about the content your Facebook followers enjoy, so you can create more of what works.
For example: The restaurant owner sees that when they post the menu for BBQ Wednesdays they get a ton of Facebook likes and mentions compared to other types of content. They also know, thanks to Facebook Insights, that most of their page “likers” are men who are over 45 years old. Since they’re appealing to an older, more established crowd, they tailor their BBQ menu prices upwards and include a beverage with the meal to increase the perceived value of the dish.
5. Gauge new services and products
Since happy customers make the best advocates, why not ask for their opinion on new ideas? Facebook is perfect for this. You can ask questions, post “R&D” photos and solicit feedback, or do a quick survey. Not only will you find some great new ideas, you also get another opportunity to show your customers that you value what they have to say and have their best interests in mind.
For example: The restaurant owner thinks that Sunday brunch is a total waste of time and money, but his employees feel differently. He asks the question on Facebook and gets an overwhelming response from customers: We want brunch! He decides to keep his brunch offering, and posts a special discount on Facebook for all the fans.
So what are you waiting for? Hop onto Facebook if you haven’t already, and start building that fan base!
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