For most businesses, Facebook continues to be an obsession with gathering fans (Likers). However, it this the right approach, particularly if you are a small business? Here I would like to present you with the case against!
First, let’s look at some of the facts:
- Many businesses are entirely ineffective at gathering fans; the reality is that they don’t have the brand recognition, a sexy product or simply the aptitude or time to do so effectively.
- Some businesses are effective at gathering fans but are ineffective at turning those fans into customers and brand advocates. Their Facebook strategy starts and ends with gathering fans. If you consider Facebook’s edgerank algorithm, this approach is many cases could be the least effective – in that, gathering fans takes up resource and time, but if there is little or no ROI, well then – it is easy to see how this may in fact come with the most cost to the business.
- A few businesses are effective at both gathering fans and engaging with these fans so that they become customers and advocates. Typically, these tend to be businesses with very suitable or sexy products, and/or have a sophisticated strategy for engaging fans as soon as they arrive at their page.
So is focusing on growing fans the right approach for most businesses? my answer is no! However, I continue to believe that Facebook has a real value for virtually every business, provided their strategy is a sensible one. I would go so far as to say, that more often the best strategy for growing your fans is to do so indirectly. Here are some suggestions:
# 1. Use Facebook as a customer service/engagement tool
You have customers and Facebook is a wonderful communications tool. Bring the two together so that you can deal with your customer service more effectively. Pick suitable aspects of your customer service delivery and incentivise your customers to communicate with you through Facebook. Doing great customer service via Facebook will not only make your customers happy but will sell to everyone else on there, that you are a great company to do business with.
# 2. Use Facebook as a marketing tool, but just not for you
Another way to use Facebook differently is to use it to market your customers, rather than you. Help them to grow their businesses via Facebook and invariably you will create more value for them and strengthen your relationships. If you are effective at getting them new customers and growing their business, guess what? You will also end up with more of their custom and new customers as a result.
# 3. Use Facebook as a research and development tool
All good businesses should be looking to innovate and solve more/bigger problems for their customers. And how do you create new products that will sell, you do market research of course. Again Facebook can be used very effectively as a market research tool and the best bit is, not only is it effective but it’s one of the least costly and most efficient ways for you to do so.
# 4. Use Facebook to crowdsource your marketing
If you’re a businesses that struggles with your marketing or if you’re just a businesses that wants to improve upon what you already do. Give your Facebook community ownership so that they can help you come up with new marketing ideas and initiatives. What better way to create brand advocates that to sincerely allow your customers or fans to own your marketing.
# 5. Use Facebook to crowdsource your Facebook strategy! 🙂
Yip, if all else fails! Why not use Facebook to find the solution for how best to use Facebook. The beauty of social media is that there are always people ready and wanting to help, if you are just prepared to ask. The very best strategy for your Facebook page may very well already be with your fans.
So strangely perhaps! the most efficient way to grow your page may just have required you to go and ask your fans, but because you were so obsessed with gathering new fans – you never thought about it like that, did you?
The truth is that if your own value of Facebook is in how many fans you can gather, have you just ended up valuing non-fans more than you do your actual fans? And yet you wonder why I don’t want to be a fan of yours? Perhaps, Facebook is not such a strange world, after all! Can you suggest any other ways to use Facebook effectively?
Thanks for reading,
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