With social media still being in its relative infancy — Facebook just celebrated its 7th birthday in February — there are still a lot of important questions surrounding it. How do I use it to market my business? How do I use it to reach out to customers? Better yet, how do I use it to sell to my customers?
That last question is easily the most important. The short answer: Don’t! Under no circumstances should Facebook be a medium in which you directly try to sell to your customers.
The lengthier answer, on the other hand, is far more complicated. Why? Because Facebook is still one of the best places to market your business and convince potential customers.
1. Facebook is Only The Beginning of the Conversation
Through Facebook, you are essentially courting potential customers. Like you typically wouldn’t ask someone you had just met if they wanted to head back to your place within 30 seconds of meeting them, you also don’t want to ask your Facebook fans to buy something from you in such a blatant manner. First, engage with them on your Facebook page. Give them some interesting information about your company, speak with them and ask them to speak with you. Tell them what your favorite music is, where you envision yourself in five years and why you hate long walks on the beach.
The more you speak with them, the more likely they are to relieve their guard and take that next, important step towards possibly buying something from you. But before they take that step, they need to feel comfortable in (and with) your company. They need time to digest all of the information you’ve given them and determine if your company is a right fit for their needs. That’s okay. Good, even. The more and more your company is delving into their subconscious, the more they will consider purchasing from you in the future when they need a solution that your business provides.
If you’ve somehow come to the conclusion that your Facebook page is the ideal place to flaunt the various solutions that your company provides in an extremely direct manner (like this) consider this: What’s the key distinction between an ad and a Facebook page?
The most important difference is that, unlike most ads, a Facebook page can be turned off almost entirely. By simply unliking your brand’s page, a user can completely rid their news page of your brand’s presence. That’s it. They will most likely no longer hear from your Facebook page again after that.
3. Facebook Fans Seek Constant Value in Your Page
According to reports, about 40% of Facebook users ‘like’ a company or a brand’s Facebook page in order to receive discounts and promotions. But even beyond discounts and promotions, fans want value in a page. And whether that perceived value lies simply in nominal discounts to products, or witty status updates that ask for fan engagement, every page needs to have an underlying purpose and reason for people to become fans of the page.
Still, expecting that customers will flock to your store following an announcement that you’ll be temporarily discounting one of your services is an idealistic expectation at best. Facebook is an ongoing, constantly evolving medium that requires constant, consistent engagement and interaction. Instantaneous returns are few and far in between. Instead, your page should focus on building relationships among its fans and turning those people into loyal customers, rather than concerting far too much effort on immediate results.
In case I haven’t made this abundantly clear yet, a Facebook page is not an ad. It is not a way to instantly increase sales by 50%.
But it is a great way to market your business, and an important one at that. Aside from the time commitment it takes to constantly engage fans, it’s also free.
Just don’t expect Billy Joe to buy a stove from you immediately after he becomes a fan of your page. That’s foolish.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester social media company based in NY specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.