Sunday, September 18, 2011

Five easy steps to increasing your Facebook fan base

Every business needs customers ... and it takes lots of satisfied ones to successfully grow your business. As a business owner, your number one goal is to grow your business. That's a lot easier said than done.

There are many ways to grow your customer base and they all involve some form of Marketing (reaching the right prospects with your story, building a relationship with them and directing them to do business with you). The cost of each marketing approach varies and may be constrained by your financial resources or ability to invest in marketing.

So the key marketing question for any business, especially small businesses, is which are the approaches that can give you maximum bang for the buck?

One answer is Social Media. In this article, we reveal five easy steps to increase the number of prospects who will listen to your story so that you can find more customers to do business with you.

  1. Create a Facebook "Fan Page".
  2. Integrate your fan page with other social media channels.
  3. Develop your marketing message and Amplify it to bring in fans.
  4. Engage your fans so that they bring more fans.
  5. Convert fans into paying customers.
The formula is truly that simple.
Fan Page+Integrate+Amplify+Engage+Convert = 100 x Current Customers!
While the formula is simple, executing it is challenging unless you know how to do each part well. So here are a few tips about each component of the formula. If you don't have time to read all the details, just read the highlights in bold and italics below.
Step 1 - Create a Facebook fan page
First of all, be sure its a BUSINESS fan page, not a personal fan page. Above all, make sure the page is well designed. If you already created a fan page for your business but you created it as a personal page (OOPS!) ... don't worry; you won't have to start all over again. Facebook easily allows you to change your personal page into a business page so you keep all of your current fans! But be sure you keep your personal page and your business page separate.

Also, give your page a vanity name so that it is easier to share. For example, the vanity name for our fan page is AmazingPromotions, so we can share the address of our page like this - go ahead ... click on it to prove that it works:
Step 2 - Integrate your fan page with other Social Media
If you have a Blog, why not push your articles to your fan page? If you Tweet, let your fans know what the heck all the tweeting's about. LOL. While you're at it, share your YouTube videos, your Flickr photos and your SlideShare slide shows too. It's the combination of all of these where your marketing message and your humanity resides. It's the combination of your social media outlets that defines who you are as a business and makes you more real and "Likeable". So if you only use Facebook, that's OK ... but you should explore using more ways to tell your story and make sure to connect them all together into one coherent package of communication that is easy for customers and prospect to find.

Amazing Business Promotions is a great example of how to use integrated Social Media. You can find our Fan Page, Twitter feed and YouTube outlets all right here on this Blog in the right hand panel! We integrated our Fan Page as well. How did we do it? Well there are tools available that allow you to auto-publish the content on media outlet into your blog or Facebook pages. They are called widgets or social plugins. We'll post a separate article describing them and how to use them.

Step 3 - Amplify your marketing message
Marketing is all about telling your story to as many of the right people as possible. With Face book, there are several ways to get your story out to as many people as possible. But you need to target your message so that you don't waste the advertising dollars. Facebook provides a whole series of great information about resources to market and amplifying your message. Checkout their Facebook Marketing Solutions page.

You can also use other basic techniques like telling your customers and prospects where to find you in the various Social Media outlets. Do you have ALL your Social Media addresses on your business card and other promotions materials? Most businesses put only their physical address, phone number and an email address on their printed materials. That's just so old school! Chances are someone will try to look you up online first before they even call, visit or email you.

Step 4 - Engage you fans!
What is engagement all about? It's about communicating with your fans and involving them in the process. In other words, it's about two-way communication. After all, blabbing away at someone without letting them get a word in edgewise will cause them to stop listening to you. Worse ... they will avoid you! So, don't overwhelm your fans with information. Do it gradually.

Remember, the idea is to build a great working relationship with your fans. You have to encourage feedback, listen to what your fans have to say, and respond appropriately. Treat them as you would want other businesses to treat you. Think of each prospect and fan as your very best customer. The reason to engage people is not just so that they eventually buy from you; it's because they will also bring their friends and their friends will bring their friends, and so on, so you get a huge multiplier effect.
So, how to engage them? Here are a few ideas:
  • First ask them to Like your page
  • Tell them your story via integrated information (see Step 2), and make the stories relevant to them
  • Provide "rich" content on your page - let them hear thoughts of experts in your market: you can "tag" other users and businesses on Facebook (e.g., a guru in your industry) so that content from that user's page appears on your page! Others can also tag you so that what you post on your wall appears on theirs!
  • Ask them for and let them know how much you appreciate their thoughts
  • Engage them in discussions - create a Membership page using the right tools, or use creative ways to get them to react and participate; start topics yourself with a well place question
  • Use Polls to ask questions and involve fans in your business, e.g., "Question: which flavor do your prefer? A or B? Use poll to vote. Use comments to tell us why!"
  • After a customer buys from you, ask them to go to your fan page and provide feedback and to share their experience  with their friends
  • Provide links on your wall to any "hidden" tabs ... the ones that are behind some of the tabs on your well designed Welcome page or that are hidden under the "MORE..." in Facebook's left panel
Step 5 - Convert fans into customers (and vice versa)
You are in business and ultimately you've got to make the sale! You have to convert fans into customers. Here's how:
  • If people "Like" you, don't be afraid to ask for the business!
  • Ask for referrals too!
  • Run Facebook "events" that drive fans to come into your physical location or to some fun activity you've organized
  • Tell your Facebook fans about your special in-store offers
  • If you are a non-profit and one of your fans donates to you, use that as a "call to action" for other fans to donate (see Step 3 for links to Facebook's resources and learn about Sponsored Ads)
  • Put a PayPal donate button on you Facebook page
  • Drive your off-line customers and prospects (e.g., someone who walks into your store) to join your fan page and leave feedback!

If you like this article, please Like our Facebook fan page and Become a Member of our community. Also, SHARE it with your friends!

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Which Social Media strategies discussed in this article do you find most effective or least effective for your business and why?