A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a webinar on Facebook Marketing Strategies, hosted by Dave Kerpen, co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media. Likeable is a social media and word-of-mouth marketing company, and for the last four years, they’ve helped thousands redefine their business marketing strategies through Facebook and other social media platforms. As I began to consider Artifact’s future, I thought it would be helpful to listen in and take notes on what Dave had to say.
Those who use Facebook are familiar with “pages.” Pages can act as a face for businesses. They’re great for distributing news and promotions to the general market. They’re also quite great at destroying a company’s public image if not properly managed. It’s important to consider those implications before creating a Facebook page to represent your business.
Once you enter the social media market, you have to listen to everybody: customers, prospects, competitors, even the customers of competitors. Among that broad audience, people are going to share problems, problems that your business can solve. As Dave put it so eloquently, “Don’t ‘Listen, then sell. Listen, and emphasize.’” Communicate with your customers to build a relationship. Don’t just throw answers at them.
You want to get inside the head of your customers. Simply put, familiarize yourself with the behaviors and habits of your prized fans. In a profit-driven business, that’s essential. For Artifact, it’s different. Blog followers who enjoy reading, art, food, wine, traveling, coffee, and so on. Who likes to read about that stuff? What are they looking for that may drive them to you? Understanding that will help you attract them.
Dave was nice enough to share many reasons why people “like” fan pages on Facebook: to receive discounts, to show support, to get free samples/coupons, for fun, for updates on content, activities, projects, and sales, among other reasons. Depending on the company, some reasons are greater than others. Artifact’s fan page is there to show support, and keep people updated on new content.
Facebook is there to connect people. As a company, you have a responsibility to connect with your customers. You have to be there when a customer’s experience is less than acceptable. It’s the equivalent of addressing a customer in front of a million other customers. Everyone is watching, and it’s up to the company to address any issue as quickly as possible. Of course, the same level of courtesy should be shown to those who endorse your business. The key is to listen and emphasize any comments or concerns.
Share stories with your customers. Dave considers company stories “social currency” and for good reason. Developing a rapport with customers is as easy as sharing your company’s story, or perhaps the stories of satisfied customers. Domino’s Pizza, for example, has taken advantage of this by connecting with customers and sharing stories of how they’ve improved their product and business thanks to their suggestions. Describing times when obstacles were overcome really hits home for current and potential customers. It inspires others to share stories too, which is another great strategy that Facebook can help with. Wall posts get shared with everyone.
Facebook advertisements can spread awareness beyond normal reach. Without going into too much detail, you can target millions of customers based on several factors, like location, interest, age, and so on. The key ingredient, however, is social. I’m likely to enjoy something my friend enjoys, because I know them, and I trust their judgment. Friends spread the word for you.
Dave was nice enough to end the webinar with a clever little lesson: “get customers to engage without asking them to like you.” He offered a prize: a signed copy of his book, and to win it, people had to write a comment on the “Likeable Media” fan page wall about the webinar. Of course, you had to “like” the fan page to write on the wall, but he didn’t ask us to join it, he asked us to comment in it. Within five minutes, an extra few hundred people joined his page. Just like he mentioned earlier, it’s good to offer something back to people as thanks for joining their page. Making customers feel welcome is the first step in building a loyal fan base on Facebook.
To learn more about Dave Kerpen and Likeable Media, visit Likeable.com