How to Encourage People to Connect to You on Social Media – a.k.a. Let Me Bribe You to Become My Friend

12-15-10 by Nadia Romeo

Some people, especially satisfied and loyal customers, will become your Facebook Fans simply because you ask them to. But many people are starting to become a little jaded and wary when it comes to online contacts. They have suffered too many spam attacks and received too many urgent fundraising emails, and they want to be sure that it’s worth their while before they give away their online contact information.

A recent Dilbert cartoon showed Dilbert bribing a woman in his office to become his Facebook Friend, making her a “Frienditute”. As long as you do good work and treat your customers well, Frienditution won’t be necessary, but when you ask people to become your Fan or Follower, you will probably need to follow it up with a value proposition of some kind. This basic proposition should be part of your “please become our Fan on Facebook” speech that you’ve trained all your employees to give.

Your Facebook/Twitter value proposition can be simple and doesn’t have to cost more than your usual advertising:

  • You’ll offer tips to help people save money and avoid expensive repairs (this only costs the time it takes to write and post the tips on Facebook or Twitter)
  • You’ll offer Facebook- or Twitter-only specials (you probably offer specials periodically anyway – this is just a different place to publish them)

If you’re finding that your basic value proposition isn’t sufficient to overcome people’s reserve, you can offer people specific rewards for signing up, such as:

  • A coupon that they’ll get immediately when they “Like” your Facebook page or sign up to follow you on Twitter. The better this coupon is, the more Fans/Followers you’re likely to get.
  • A year’s membership in your service plan. (This will not only be a great enticement to “Like” your Facebook page; it will also build repeat business by showing customers the value of your plan.)

Of course, whenever you offer coupons or specials, especially big-ticket ones, you want to offer them for a product or service you want to get people excited about/hooked on anyway.

You can also offer people something that has absolutely nothing to do with HVAC, plumbing, or electrical services. This will be appealing to the many people who hire you because they are not actually interested in the mechanical aspects of their homes – and who may not get that excited about coupons for services.

For example:

  • You can team up with another local business to offer coupons or gift cards. (A great choice is to work with a business that sells products that appeal to women, since women are often the decision-makers when it comes to services for the home. What woman will be able to resist a coupon to a local spa?)
  • You can enter your new Facebook Fans/Twitter Followers into a drawing for something really exciting. For example, one of our clients has a drawing every month to give major league baseball tickets to one of their new Facebook Fans. This is a great choice, even for female customers – a lot of women are sports fans, and those who are not will feel like heroes when they present the tickets to friends or family members.

One caution: you should only offer major coupons or other big-ticket items as incentives if you have a well-developed plan for your Facebook Page – that is, only if you already have an outside provider or have designated someone on your staff to be responsible for updating your Page regularly. Otherwise, you may be wasting your marketing dollars developing a channel you won’t use.

But here’s a Facebook/Twitter development strategy that is always worthwhile, even if you never use Facebook or Twitter again: connect your social media efforts to local charities. For example, a local bank in our area is donating $5 to the local animal shelter for every person who becomes a Fan of their Facebook Page. Another organization in our community is giving a pair of warm winter gloves filled with candy to needy kids for every new Fan. Both campaigns got free front-page mention in our city’s newspaper, including the actual URLs where people could go to sign up.

This is a win on so many levels!

  • You help a charity you care about
  • You build up a Fan and Follower base
  • You’ll attract people who may not know much about you but who care about the charity – and then you’ll be able to use your social media posts to win them over as customers
  • You’ll enhance your reputation in the community
  • You may get free publicity in your local paper (especially if you send out a press release)
  • You’ll get great word-of-mouth publicity – all the people who work for/care about the charity in question will talk it up to their friends and neighbors
  • You’ll do all this for the cost of a donation that you would probably have made anyway

We can’t recommend this strategy enough. Be creative, have fun, and do some good this holiday season!

Nadia Romeo (60 Posts)

Nadia is President of iMarket Solutions, and responsible for daily operations, strategy and business development.


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