If used correctly, your business’ Facebook page can pull the weight of three team members: customer-acquisition assistant, brand-building partner, and customer service representative. And even if your business’ page is managed by one staff member (or by you on your smartphone), with the right know-how, your Facebook page could still do three jobs for your business. Here’s how to turn your Facebook page into the ultimate multitasker:
Use It As A Customer-Acquisition Assistant
I define customer acquisition two different ways: when a person hears about a brand for the first time and decides to learn more, or when a person purchases from a brand for the first time, he or she is a new customer.
Whichever way you choose to interpret it, your Facebook page can help by:
• Getting more people to hear about your business. One of the best ways to leverage your Facebook page in order to reach new audiences is to have the backing of Facebook advertising. Of all the ad platforms available on the Web, Facebook knows the most about the customers your business wants to target. For example, if you’re a restaurant or bar owner, you could target all the people in your region who love your local sports team by inviting them to your bar to watch the game, or to come over after a game for drink and food specials.
Even if your company’s advertising budget is next to null, there are several Facebook advertising options (like promoted posts or sponsored stories) that are affordable for any size business. Even spending $100 per month on well-targeted Facebook advertising can lead to a spike in customer acquisitions — or, in this example, a spike in new people being introduced to your brand for the first time.
• Getting more people to buy from your business. Hands down, one of the best ways to use your Facebook page as a sales tool is to run a promotion. Hosting a Facebook promotion does two things for your business: It helps introduce your brand to your fans’ friends (i.e. new potential customers) without spending a dime on advertising, and it can help drive traffic back to your website’s sales page.
Fashion brand Kate Spade does this really well. Every month, it hosts a monthly Facebook exclusive in which fans can shop directly from Kate Spade’s Facebook page. In order for customers to access the promotion, they must like the Kate Spade page first.
To have the best results, your Facebook promotion should be designed with a heavy emphasis on sharing. One of the best ways to encourage fans to share your promotion is to use a Facebook application (like Kate Spade does). Apps can easily be customized to enable sharing, and some third-party app providers offer the option of incentivizing sharing, allowing fans to be rewarded when they share with their friends.
Make It Into A Brand-Building Partner
Long gone are the days when businesses have to spend big money on developing their brand’s message, creating a voice, and then communicating their company culture to customers. Take Chubbies, for example. The shorts company, founded in 2011, has a following of 198,000 fans on Facebook and has garnered press attention from high-profile sources such as The Huffington Post. Chubbies uses its Facebook page to talk about its bro culture, how much it loves ‘Merica, and to communicate with its fellow thigh-high-shorts-loving fans. The company uses its culture as marketing. And Chubbies’ Facebook branding success is not uncommon. Many small businesses and startup companies are now using Facebook as the cornerstone for all of their branding efforts.
Use It As A Customer-Service Representative
Even if you remind your fans and followers, “Please don’t leave questions on our wall or message our Facebook inbox” — and even if it’s in all caps — some of them still will. Granted, Facebook allows you to customize your page so that you can disallow these sort of actions, but if you do this, what’s the point of having a page? Facebook is supposed to make businesses more transparent, opening the gates of communication between a business and their customers and fans.
So how do you use Facebook as an awesome communication tool to share your announcements, while using it as a customer-service channel at the same time? You or your page administrators have to learn how to respond in ways that address user comments and questions, but also redirect users (if needed) to more appropriate channels for more in-depth discussions. At ShortStack, we get several customer-service inquiries per day on Facebook, and we generally redirect users to our support desk because from there it’s easier to forward links to the resources that can help them. Here’s a recent example of what we do to move the conversation off of Facebook:
We may also send along a direct email address where the user can contact the appropriate ShortStack rep. Of course, there are some situations where we can quickly answer questions on Facebook. The point is that you don’t want your Facebook page to become cluttered with support inquiries. If your customers see that the page functions as such, they will be tempted to add to the clutter.
Whether your business’s Facebook page has 100 fans or 1 million fans, make today the day you start thinking about your page as three new employees — employees who never sleep or complain that you’re out of coffee. Once you have that mindset you can start using your page to work triple duty for your business.
Jim Belosic is co-founder and CEO of ShortStack, a self-service custom app-design tool used to create apps for Facebook pages, websites, and mobile web browsing. ShortStack provides the tools for small businesses, graphic designers, agencies, and corporations to create apps with contests and forms, fan gates, product lines, and more.