As Krista Neher reports, most businesses focus on their Facebook page. More specifically, they want to know how to get more Likes/fans or engagement. Which is ok – there are many easy ways to do this.
The problem is that they may be missing out on the bigger picture of Facebook. Sure, these things matter, but let’s face it, many of your customers don’t want to like you on Facebook (they just don’t care enough about you) and most of your fans have probably already done business with you.
Think about how you use Facebook. You don’t go out and “Like” random pages for businesses you don’t already use or plan to use (with the exception of some inspirational brands). We usually like things on Facebook that we like and use in the real world.
Your Next Best Customer Is Connected to Your Current Customers
This is the real value of Facebook as it pertains to business growth and acquiring new customers. It isn’t about getting strangers to like you, it’s about getting exposure with the friends of your fans. These are the best prospects for you, and you already have a foot in the door because one of their friends, someone who they trust and respect, has already made the choice to do business with you.
For example, if you’re thinking of buying a bike, chances are high that you’ll look to your friend who is the cycling enthusiast for advice. If you’ve seen that he is often commenting on a bike store’s page on Facebook, you are more likely check out that store when it’s time to purchase a bike.
If you have been exposed to the bike store through your friend’s posts and the posts of other friends, you may already have a good enough impression of that store to bypass asking your friend and just go to the store.
Harness the Social Graph
The fact is that we are friends with people who are similar to us. This means that our friends and social connections are the best source of new business for the businesses that we interact with.
For example, if there is a restaurant you love, a subset of your friends would also love to check it out. If you discover a new social media tool, a subset of your friends is likely to be interested in it. A handful of your friends are interested in attending the same concerts.
We are friends with people like us, so spreading your message socially can be your best way to build awareness with new customers who are highly likely to be interested in your product. Also how many people (ie consumer eg us people) actually believe advertising vs recommendations of friends (if you want to know the percentages – simple google the last sentence…)
The Real Value of Facebook Is Friends of Fans
Many businesses think of Facebook as the place to get new customers, and it certainly can be. But the most effective way to get those new customers is through word-of-mouth (or the online version, which perhaps should be called word-of-keyboard?).
Many businesses want to reach new audiences on Facebook, but they just aren’t sure how. The answer is simple: through your existing fans. Here are some of the ways that you can use your current customers to generate awareness with their friends:
- Encourage interactions with content to build awareness
- Run contests or trivia where your fans reveal interesting things about their personality
- Ask customers to post photos on your Facebook
- Feature customers on your Facebook
- Provide incentives for sharing
- Build contests for sharing and social spread, not to maximize entries
- Create an extraordinary visual experience that customers want to share
- Build mass momentum with events
It is this and perhaps even sampling (in both digital and non digital forms) and brand adovocacy that I will be managing and creating opportunities for, for my clients.