It’s simple. Ask.
And, keep in mind the old German saying: Fragen kostet nichts. It doesn’t cost anything to ask. It doesn’t cost anything to ask people to be your Facebook Fans. Or at least, it doesn’t have to cost very much.
Now, of course, because you’re a business, you’re not looking for Facebook Friends – those are for your personal profile. What you’re after is Fans (people who “Like” your Facebook Page) and, if you have a Twitter account, Followers for it.
There are all kinds of elaborate, even high-tech, strategies for increasing your Fans and Followers. We’ll talk about them next week, and you can implement some of them if you want. But start with the low-hanging fruit: use your existing channels of communication.
There are lots of ways your business already communicates with customers and prospects, such as:
- Your company website
- Yellow Pages advertising
- Other print advertising (newspapers, etc)
- Broadcast media (TV, radio)
- Print or email newsletters
- Sales brochures and business cards
- Door hangers
- Refrigerator magnets
- The sides of your company trucks
- Your dispatchers and techs, who talk to your customers every day…
You get the idea.
Use all these communication channels to let people know that your business is on Facebook and/or Twitter, and then simply ask people to connect with you.
- Add Facebook and/or Twitter icons to your email newsletters and to every page of your website, and ask your customers to become your Fans and Followers. Customers who are already online only need to click a few times to seal the deal. This is the most opportune time to make the request, because you’re asking them to do something easy. (Want some suggestions for how to do this? See the bottom right of our homepage, or scroll down to the bottom of this post. You can download Facebook and Twitter icons from the Help section of each website. Note that when you use the icons, you may not change the way they look.)
- Get your own “vanity URL” for your Facebook Page (a personalized web address that contains the name of your business, i.e. http://www.facebook.com/cocacola). Then, publish your Facebook address everywhere you publish your company name – in all of the media listed above. Let people know that you’re out there on Facebook. When the moment is right, be more explicit about what you want – specifically ask people to visit your Facebook page and “Like” it.
- A great moment for asking customers to connect to your Facebook page is right after they’ve indicated to you that they are happy with the work you’ve done. Say, “We’re glad you’re satisfied! The best way to thank us is to go online and become a Fan of our Facebook Page and tell your Friends about us.”
All these methods are easy and cheap. You make a simple addition to your website; when you use up your current supply of sales materials and invoice forms, you add your Facebook and Twitter information to them for the next print run; when you record your next TV or radio ad, you include your social media contact information in the script. Probably the most expensive change will be to paint your Facebook URL on the side of your trucks.
And of course your conversations with your customers are absolutely free – and those are by far the most effective way to increase your Friends, Fans, and Followers. So if you do nothing else, make sure you teach all your employees how to give your “please become a Fan of our Facebook page” spiel.
Of course, as the parent of any small child knows, sometimes asking is more effective when followed by an incentive. Next week we’ll talk about how to use incentives to increase your Friends, Fans, and Followers.