Some small business owners still don’t ‘get’ Facebook. They scratch their head in bewilderment, wondering what all of the fuss is about.
But even the businesses that have attempted to have a go at Facebook marketing are perplexed. Why? Because even though they may see the advantages of engaging with their potential clients and trying to attract new ‘fans’, they tend to give up after a while because they can’t see the point of investing time and energy in building a community because they don’t see any return for it. They simply don’t know how to take the momentum of customer engagement on their site and convert it into buying power.
The secret is to think of Facebook as the first step of the sales process. You then have to nudge your fans away from your Facebook page and on to your website or sales page. However before you can do that, you need to build trust with them. This is where the Facebook magic that you hear about all of the time really kicks in.
Here are some tips to convert your Fans into paying customers:
1) Capture the attention of your fans
To convert a fan into a paying customer, you need to start by cultivating a loyal community. It is no good just having fans who ‘like’ you but who will never buy from you as they are a waste of time from a business owners point of view. You need to concentrate your efforts on those fans that have a genuine vested interest in what you are selling or your services.
You can’t be all things to everyone as you will spread your appeal too thinly. To really maximize your sales impact with your fans, you need to build up a picture of what your “ideal customer” really looks like and tailor all of your posts to target this ‘ideal’. That way, you will guarantee success because you are building a community of fans who will buy your product or use your services.
But how do you go about creating a profile of your ideal customer? Take a look at the box on page 21 to start building up a profile picture of your ideal customer.
2) Create Massive Engagement
To get your customers to buy from you, you need to engage with them. You need to get them talking, start to build up a relationship with them that is 2-way.
Facebook is the perfect platform to do this. It gives you a chance to give your business the human touch they can feel a loyalty to. However, you tread a very fine line so you need to do it properly. People do not go on Facebook to receive sales pitches. They are there for fun and human interaction only.
Remember that you are only ever one click away from losing your client. A bad post or entry could easily lose you followers that you have worked so hard to get in the first place, and that would be a real shame. To avoid making that mistake give each post you make great value to your customer.
Engagement Tip 1
Ask Smart Questions
Your aim is to get your fans talking…but in the RIGHT way, not the wrong way.
It is important to keep in mind the behaviour of the people who visit Facebook if you are trying to provoke a positive response from them. Visitors on Facebook don’t stay long, often just snatching a few minutes in order to visit your page. They don’t have time to write 2 or 3 paragraphs. Quite often if they make a post it will be literally just a sentence or two. In a lot of cases it might only be a couple of words, so when you make a post that requires a response you need to keep that in mind.
As an example, a company on Facebook asked their fans on Mothers Day to post their favourite stories about their mother. They literally got just two responses.
Do you think that it was because their fans didn’t have any special memories about their mother? Of course they did, but their fans simply didn’t have the time to write on Facebook about their favourite stories about their mother.
The company learnt from this, so the next time they asked for just one word that best described their mother.
What was the result?
They got hundreds of responses. The lesson you can take from this is: Your fans will want to engage with you IF you make it easy for them to do so. So when thinking of a question to put on your Facebook page, think of how to get the responses you want and make it entertaining, fun, but most of all make it as quick and easy as possible to do so.
By doing this, you will increase the engagement with your fans ten times over. But the engagement doesn’t have to be all about your business or services all the time.
Here are some typical questions that you could ask that are almost fool-proof and guaranteed to get a response:
Make it fun. Ask:
What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? What was the last movie you saw? Would you give it a thumb’s up or a thumb’s down? People love to tell what they do outside of work. By making it fun, they will respond.
Ask for feedback:
There is no better platform than Facebook for giving you the opportunity to really find out what your fans want. If you start by asking; “I am working on X today. What do you think about it?…..” you are getting them engaged with what you are working on. Asking for informal feedback in this way can help you when creating or buying in to stock. Not only are you engaging with them but it is a fantastic market research opportunity.
Get their advice:
An easy way to engage your fans is by asking them to recommend something. Ask something that relates to your niche or market; ‘What’s your best tip for….”. This really works well because your fans want to be heard and you are showing them that you value their opinions and that you care about what they have to say. What a great way to get a response and to make them even more loyal to you and your product as they will have had an opportunity to give their input.
Let them promote themselves:
Some people love to have the spotlight put on them, so why not allow them to post their own Facebook link once in a while. By having a ‘Fan of the Day’, or some other way that makes them feel special, you are giving yourself another fantastic way to get massive engagement.
Engagement tip 2
Stick around…don’t post and ditch
You don’t call up a friend and ask how they are and then hang up before they have a chance to answer you. That would be rude and yet some businesses do it constantly on Facebook by publishing posts and nothing else. They post an article on Facebook and then leave, thinking it’s a job well done. It isn’t. Real relationships are two-way conversations and it is the same on Facebook. Once you have made a post on Facebook hang around and see what responses you get. Reply to fans who do respond to your posts. Use their name and make the reply personal to their comments. Engaging with them this way, you will be building real relationships with your fans, particularly if you are on first name terms with them. It will make them feel special and create even more loyalty to you and your brand, as well as encouraging more engagement with you in the future.
Engagement Tip 3
Give Your Posts Some Meat
The minute you put some effort into your posts, you go from a having a really good post to a viral post, which encourages more people, both new and old, to participate even more. So how do you put meat on your posts to get real engagement? Here are a few steps to give your entries the edge:
Give your fans a personal story or share some family vacations photos. Give people a little information about yourself and what you are all about. Entertain them with stories, pictures and videos. If you do this you will draw people in and get them engaging with you.
Add real quality and substance to your posts by making them insightful or informative. Don’t just post a ‘top tip’ and leave it at that. Expand on it. Really explain it so others can apply it to enhance their life or their business or whatever the tip is about. Your fans will value your posts and they will be keen to respond.
Empower Your Fans
Make it a goal to provide at least one really useful post per week – an action or lesson that fans can take away and apply and which empowers them in whatever your niche is. For example, one lady on Facebook sells makeup. She provides step-by-step videos and tutorials that show her fans specific make up tips such as the best way to apply foundation or achieve the perfect ‘smoky eyes’ look etc.
The point is, on Facebook, when you set yourself up as an authority, show off your skills and build trust with your fans. You are able to increase your conversations and conversions outside of Facebook. When you show that you are an authority on a subject people will want to talk and interact with you. They want to take action, which will also involve buying from you or using your services.
3) Turn Your Raving Fans Into Qualified Leads
Now that you have engaged your fans by getting them to interact with you, it is time to take the relationship you have with them in a new direction -getting them to take even more action, this time away from Facebook.
Your new posts will not be asking them to respond on Facebook but to visit a page on your website or to use a Facebook app which encourages them to opt in to your mailing list. Some people prefer using Facebook apps as it allows you to do lead generation without asking people to leave Facebook.
Asking your fans to take action requires an extra leap of faith on their part, so when you first lead them outside Facebook, or to mailing list opt-in, do so with a valuable offer, such as a contest entry or a free e-book or webinar. Do not send them to a sales page link. Your aim at this point is not to make a sale but to get them on to your mailing list so that you can correspond with them and continue to build your relationship outside of Facebook.
4) Introduce Sales opportunities via email
Now that you have progressed your loyal fans on your mailing list, you need to continue building up your relationship and ‘warm them up’ to be able to gradually introduce sales offers to them.
Email marketing is an essential part of your sales funnel and this is the part where most businesses fall down. Having an email list is the best place to convert fans into customers. Instead of annoying your Facebook community by broadcasting sales messages, you can market your product directly to qualified leads, straight into their email inboxes.
As they have trusted you with their email address you need to treat them with respect. It is important to focus on creating engaging social content for your email list, just as you would on your Facebook page or for any other marketing channel.
The key is to balance good quality engaging content with sales messages. For example, you could send out emails to encourage your audience to check out your latest blog post, sign up for your webinar or download your latest report – all free, valuable content. Once they consume that great content, you can then use email marketing to encourage them to take the next step and do business with you by buying your product or service.
If you nurture your opted-in leads with giveaways on Facebook and use the “help now, sell later” approach to email marketing to close sales, your converted Facebook fans will likely be happy to open their wallets and buy from you.
Do you see how powerful Facebook is for your business when done right?
That is why most small businesses don’t understand the power of Facebook. But if you make that extra effort to put in a good marketing strategy and engage your fans, you will turn them into loyal ‘super fans’ who will buy from you time and time again.
Feel free to contact us about any of these strategies and find out how we can help you to not only build up a loyal following on Facebook but will also be able to help you to build a large database of qualified leads that will provide more sales for your business.