So you’ve opened for business and now you’re looking to grow your Facebook presence. Getting people to “Like” your page isn’t enough to make you money, but it’s the first step in building a relationship and warming up your leads until they’re ready to buy. What is important is converting your Facebook fans into customers. The path from a “Like” to a sale requires continuous work of nurturing your fans through your Facebook sales funnel. Use your page to educate, entertain and inspire your fans, and most importantly, to create a relationship, so when they’re ready to buy, they come to you instead of your competition. Here is a 6-step process to help you convert your Facebook fans into loyal customers: Step 1: Build A Strategy. First, you must create a strategy for your Facebook page activities. All your hard work of posting, sharing, curating content and commenting can be a waste of time if you don’t have a plan. An editorial calendar is a great tool for organizing your day to day tasks. Here is a great social media content calendar from Hubspot. Just download it, read the instructions and you’re good to go. In order to maximize your input, you must know exactly who your ideal customers are. Facebook gives you access to a wealth of information about your demographics, so you can easily segment your audience to reach the exact people that are most likely to become your customers. Step 2: Engage Your Audience. With a posting calendar in place, you can start drip feeding content into your Facebook page. Be stubborn on your goal of converting fans into buyers, but remain flexible on the approach. In other words, don’t push. Social media is about soft selling and patiently nurturing your audience with informative, entertaining content. Don’t be afraid to spark conversations by asking questions, using polls and replying to comments. Your goal is to create a community where people want to come back every day, not just for the deals and the content, but for its members and the conversations. Engaged followers are more likely to buy from you and tell their friends about you, as well. The richer the conversations, the higher the engagement, the greater the chances of attracting new followers and making sales. Remember, having a lot of fans is good, but having the right fans for what you have to offer is even better. Step 3: Create Facebook-Exclusive Offers. No doubt about it, the air of exclusivity is a huge motivator for people, as no one likes to miss a good opportunity or be left out of a good deal. Here are two ways you can create exclusivity for your products or services on your Facebook page: Photo & Video Contests – Launch a contest where fans need to upload a photo to an app/tab on your Facebook page with a specific hashtag, in exchange for a chance to win a prize. Allow people to vote so that each participant who submits their photo will share the content with their friends. The more shares, the higher the exposure for your brand. Not available anywhere else – You could offer a coupon code that your fans can’t get anywhere else (in store or on your site), so they can redeem their discount by using the exclusive code on you Facebook. Step 4: Collect Leads From Your Facebook Page. Having an army of fans on your Facebook page is a virtual goldmine, but it isn’t enough to drive conversions and sales. You need to turn your fans into leads by directing them to an opt-in form where you can collect their contact information. Encouraging your fans to subscribe to your list is the next logical step in your Facebook funnel. Most email marketing providers like Aweber, MailChimp or GetResponse allow you to embed an email form right into your Facebook page and build an email list. The sooner you start building your list, the sooner you can start making money. Would you rather sell to 1% of the visitors who visit your site or collect the data of 20% of your Facebook visitors? Your goal is lead nurturing, not direct sales via Facebook. So, add a new “Newsletter” tab to your Facebook page and encourage your fans to join your mailing list for future updates and exclusive deals. Step 5: Sell Directly Through Facebook. The next step into your funnel is to build an actual store inside your Facebook page. You can sell your products right from your Facebook page without having to build an actual store. Shopify provides an excellent solution for this – all you need to do is open a Shopify account (14-day free trial) and sell directly through Facebook. It only costs $9 per month and you get 1GB file storage, unlimited products to display and pay them a fee / purchase. Step 6: Measure, Learn, Reiterate. With all the data you’ve gathered through likes, shares, comments, email leads and store sales, you have enough data to understand why people like, share and engage with your content. What gets measured, gets improved, so make sure to monitor what fans are saying and doing on your page. See what type of content sparks the most reaction and leads to the best conversion rates. And keep an eye on your competitors and see how they are doing their Facebook marketing. HootSuite is a free social media management tool that allows you to monitor different social streams (Newsfeed, Most Recent, Events, etc.) and even create new streams for different words of phrases. By setting up search streams you can easily keep an eye on your competition and make sure you can respond to or leverage any timely event (e.g. #LoveWins). HootSuite is very useful in keeping an eye on your fanbase, see what they’re talking about, join their conversations and basically take the pulse of the market. You can also use HootSuite’s reporting tools to monitor your Facebook page performance. Final Thoughts Facebook marketing is not a popularity contest. Don’t make it a volume game; instead focus on providing value and building trust. Always remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Your goal is to build a long-term business, with real fans, not to accumulate fake bot likes. The stronger the connection with your fans, the more likely they are to buy from you and keep coming back to your page, share your content and toot your horn. You want them to trust you with their time and money, so respect them and treat them with the best value you can provide. Tell them good stories and give them a strong enough reason to share your posts and leave a comment. The friendlier your brand is, the higher the chances for people to want to do business with you and refer you to their friends. Remember that your Facebook fans are already part of your tribe. So, turning them into paying customers is all about letting them know that they are important to you and creating a very simple way for them to buy your products and services. What strategies have worked well for you in terms of converting Facebook fans into customers? We’d love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts in the comments below. Images: “Many chrome balls entering into a conversion funnel and then output as qualified sales, conceptual 3D render suitable for Business or Marketing concept/Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. 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