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Monday, August 15, 2011

You have a Facebook Fanpage, now what? ~ How to increase your conversion rate of fans into sales.

You took the Facebook plunge and created a fanpage for your niche in the world of online sales.  Okay, great!  You have the page… so now how are you using it to have it make money for you? 

The customers are not going to just start popping out of the wood work like magic, swarming like cockroaches starving for what you have to offer, begging to buy/eat/use your product/service.  You have to bring them customers to you.  To convert fans into customers you first have to get the fans, and then once you have the fans, NOT DRIVE THEM AWAY!!!

If you have been on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blog sites and have yet to see any real conversion of fans/followers to buying customers, you are doing something wrong. 

One of the biggest downfalls of fanpages is lack of good old fashion communication.  Think back to the ma and pop stores that had the loyal customers that came in on a regular basis.  The biggest reason behind the past success of the ma and pop stores was because of the emotional connection more so then product or convenience.  Most ma and pop stores actually had to charge more on products versus their competition chain stores, generally because they had higher overhead. Yet their loyal customers who could have driven down the road to a cheaper store didn’t because they had an emotional connection with the store owners.  Granted, the ma and pop stores are few and far in-between now as chains have ran them out of business, however, their basic marketing practices stand tried and true today.  Customer interaction will always win hands down!     

That is the connection most fanpages do not have with their fans/followers, and if they do have a connection, it is with a select few.  So now you ask, how in the world am I suppose to make an emotional connection when I have done ladders and have over 1000 plus fans on my page.  Great question, but first, let me ask you this.  Are they really fans, or have they just liked your page, like hundreds of others, because they too partook in a ladder?

The first thing you need to do is listen, watch, interact and see how many of those listed on the left side of your page are really fans or are they just there for the mutual like.  And by all means, do not feel bad about removing the spam.  It is your fanpage and you need to interact with those that you feel will be most beneficial to you.    

Remember, the key thing behind Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs are “Social”.  And social means interacting.  It is hard to interact if it is just a one way conversation.  Most fanpages are used as a public broadcasting system, repeating the same commercial over and over again to where followers end up changing the channel, (hiding on Facebook), or flat out deleting the channel from their network. 

Think of your fanpage a TV.  You want to entertain/educate your fanbase.  With TV, unless it is the Super Bowl, the commercials are not the reason one turns on the TV.  It is for the movies, realty shows, sports, and comedy.  Manage your page the same way.  Limit commercials!  In other words, DO NOT POST repeatedly how you are running a special, or picture after picture of what you have to sell.  Look at the newsfeed and be honest.  Do you pay attention to post after post of items for sale, or do you look for some realty in all of the mess?  Can you even find a conversation on there you would like to join in on without having to scroll through massive amounts of commercial broadcasting post? Are you one of those fanpages adding to the mess of commercial broadcasting in the newsfeed?

If you read yourself in the above paragraph, it is time you start to do things differently to make some emotional connections, interact with potential future customers, and start converting fans into customers. 

You DO NOT need to interact with everyone on your followers list, but you do need to make an effort to reach out to at least 3 to 4 different people a day by leaving a thoughtful relevant comment post or picture they may have.  Not going to their page and telling them “hey, we are running a special, come check it out!”.  Reach out and touch someone like Ma Bell would say.  This will increase the over all opinion others have about you which will reflect on you as a business person.

If you have more then one administrator on your fanpage, make sure who ever is working it announce who they are when they are reaching out making a virtual connection.  For example.. I have 10 plus admins. on our fanpage, although I am generally the only one who does any interacting.  If one of my admins where to visit your page and comment on a post you may have, they would end their comment with their name.. e.g.  “comment” ~ Julia.  (Julia is one of our writer’s by the way.  J  ) This lets the other person know who they are talking to, put a name to a fanpage, and gives it a human touch.  Plus as the owner of the fanpage, it allows you to see what others are doing on your behalf and who.    

Facebook etiquette is another biggy with fanpages that is overlooked.  Respond timely to messages and comments, and respond to them all!  Acknowledge everyone who post comments or sends messages!  No one likes to feel ignored or overlooked!   Here are some more basics you should be paying attention to in the management of your fanpage.     

Negativity Posts:   With this, I am not talking about drama on another fanpage, I am talking about someone speaking about your product or being in not the best of light.  This of course can lead to drama if not handled properly and leave a scar on your reputation if not dealt with on a timely fashion.  When you see mention of your product/company/person on another’s page, first, compose yourself.  Do not go off half cocked because once something is written and read, it is hard to take it back.  So, take a deep breath and think out a well thought out response.  If you are having a difficult time, ask someone to assist you in what and how to respond in a calm fashion.  Often times, your simple acknowledgement and the manner in which you respond can change a complaint into someone who sings your praises. 

EDUCATE:  Not everyone totally understands what it is you offer or what your product is about.  I know I for one am not afraid to say.. what the heck is your business all about.  I do want to know!  So if I ask you, I am sincere, I really want to know.  It may be because I am just curious, or it may be I have a slight idea of what it is about and know others that I think might benefit from what you have to offer.  And if that is the case, I want to be able to give an educated shout out to my followers about your business.  But what would be beneficial for you is if you merely broke down your business so I didn’t have to guess or even ask.  This is where education plays a role in your fanpage promotion.  If I have to ask, you know others are curious as well.  I can’t believe I am the minority.  Use status updates, discussions, and notes to educate your followers.  Think of questions they may have about your product/service and answer it before they ask. Teaching is probably one of the best sales techniques out there!   

Informative versus Promotional versus Personal Status Updates:  First off, think of your fanpage as an extension of yourself.  Does your fanpage give your followers a glimpse into who you are?  Your personality?  What you are about as a person?  I am not talking about marital status, kids, shoe size, etc.  I am talking about are you a funny person?  Can I joke with you?  Are you all business no play?  Are you sentimental?  Are you touchy - meaning where someone needs to be careful on how they go about responding to you?  Are you optimistic, pessimistic, critical, needy, etc.?  Seriously, this does matter; the good the bad and the ugly of your personality.  Recognize what your personality is and determine if you have the right personality to even market your product/service.  Some unfortunately do not have the right personality to market on Facebook and should seek out a less social way of marketing their wares.

Your status updates should never be all of one type.. rather, they should be a combination of informative, promotional, and personal.  They should all be conversation starters.  Ask a question, inform, debate, etc.. think – what do inquiry minds want to know.  Crafters - tell a story about your pieces.. what made you create a particular piece, the inspiration, the feeling behind it, the difficulties, etc.  Make your pieces original through your words in order to make them stand out.  If you create jewelry, crochet, paint, photography, sew, etc.  -  ask yourself -  what sets you apart from the rest that are offering similar products.  Express that when you do a promotional post.  Don’t just post a picture and basically say.. here it is.. buy it.  SELL IT with YOU!  Your blood sweat and tears!  YOUR WORDS!!!! 

DO NOT post promotion after promotion!  Do not post picture after picture of products you have for sale.  Do not post 20 times a day! 
Do give of yourself, educate, share, and most importantly, INTERACT!!!!!!  J               
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