In today’s Internet-centric world, a solid online presence is vital to your small business. You may feel as though you’re satisfying this requirement by having a dedicated Facebook account, but simply existing on Facebook is very different from conducting the interactions necessary to gain a following and, in the best case, a large customer base. Take some time regularly to build up a relationship with your Facebook fans, and you will enjoy a greater chance of success. Here are five tips for stress-free interactions via this popular social media site.
1. Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves. While it’s socially acceptable to use your Facebook status to talk about you and your business, it’s not the best way to encourage interaction. Instead, ask open-ended questions of your fans, friends and potential customers. Depending on the type of business you run and the size of your following, these can run from casual banter, such as asking, “what are you up to this Sunday afternoon?”, to more formal inquiries, like, “How has *insert your cause here* personally affected you?”
2. Follow up with answers. Asking questions is not enough; you have to be interested in the answers that you get. If you ask what your fans are doing over the weekend, “like” every answer, and comment on the most intriguing, using the option to tag respondents in your posts. Longer answers from your fans deserve lengthier comments from you. Eventually, you may be too busy to respond to each fan individually, but if you have the time now, take advantage of it to help forge relationships.
3. Keep frequency in mind. Ideally, you want to be making one Facebook status update per day from your business account. Mix it up to keep interest levels high. Post personal reflections, share videos and photos, and let your personality shine through. Don’t post too often, though. Sharing your ten favorite webcasts over the course of two hours is going to prompt some of your fans to un-like you; being annoying is not the way to win, or keep, friends. Two or three updates per day is probably a maximum.
4. Offer something free. This can be in the form of a free sample for each participant or a person picked at random to receive a prize. Everyone likes to receive something for nothing, so this is a time-honored technique of persuading people to like your page, to share your latest photo, or to give a review on their own Facebook pages. Make sure you describe exactly what they’re getting, whether it’s a 10% off coupon to your restaurant, a free download of your latest e-book, or a chance to win a big-ticket item, such as an Ipad. Also clearly state what your readers need to do to get what they’re after. No one likes to feel misled.
Related: Facebook Marketing in 2015
5. Interact with other businesses and individuals on their pages. Think about which local businesses in your area offer complementary services without being your direct competition. For example, if you own a spa, consider going out of your way to friend local health food stores, a chiropractor or other alternative health-care provider and a candle shop. Like their pages, and they may like yours. This will increase social media engagement and get more likes on your Facebook posts by showing up on the feeds of their clients, who just may need your services as well. If nothing else, this will gain you some like-minded friends who may refer their clientele to you.
One of the goals of Facebook networking is to give people the feeling that you care about them as individuals. This will make them feel good about buying your product or hiring you for your services, and will also make them more likely to refer their friends to you. Use all of the features that Facebook has to offer to help your business grow.
If you found this article helpful, you might also enjoy our blog article on engaging people in Twitter.
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