The goal for most small businesses on Facebook is to build relationships with current customers and future prospects. But random daily posts, "likes" and comments often do not produce the desired results. Fathom Research helps businesses understand what actually drives a deeper relationship with their customers. Here are some of the strategic activities they recommend (with my examples) that help build strong Facebook relationships.
1. Invite interaction
Let visitors know that your company is listening by responding ASAP (hopefully within four hours) on all posts. This is especially true for customer service inquiries, raves or rants. For example, Sage Peachtree does an excellent job helping customers that have questions about using their accounting product through their Facebook page. Reply not only on your own company's posts, but to those of your "friends"—and their friends to make further cross connections possible.
2. Tell stories
Stories make any brand come alive. Encourage the posting of examples of customers using your product. Scottevest has a gallery of photos from fans on their Facebook page from all around the world wearing their innovative travel clothing in the wildest places. This will also inspire everyone's imagination as to what is possible with your product without you actually selling it to them.
3. Exchange ideas
Ask questions and encourage creativity. Don't be afraid to tackle real issues that are important to your fans and your brand. For example, after the President’s State of the Union address, you can post “How well has President Obama done supporting “every entrepreneur that wants to become the next Steve Jobs”? This will elicit of alot of responses from both sides of the aisle.
4. Celebrate everything!
Pause to commemorate milestones or seasonal traditions. For example, on their Facebook page, American Express OPEN recently celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday by asking, “...it’s a great chance to reflect on our own dreams. What is your greatest dream as a business owner?”
5. Make it fun
It is critical to connect with your fans' passions. For example, United Linen has a multipart video series on how to fold napkins on their page. Have visitors fill in the blank like American Express OPEN, who has a "Fill in the Blank Friday" feature! Sponsor contests or promotions by offering deals or other giveaways. Urban Oasis Spa offers a "free hot stone massage" contest during the cold Chicago winter and visitors can enter by just liking their page.
6. Show personality
Expand your brand and don't be afraid to be bold or irreverent. FibreGlast Developments Corporation shows off "Fiber Carbon Star Wars Star Troopers." This is important because some posts on your Facebook page need to be a break from talking about your product and company. Sage Peachtree tells jokes on their Facebook through a “Friday Funny” feature.
7. Make connections
Share your content with other complementary sources. As a result, they will more likely share their content with you. This can be done effectively by championing a cause that is in alignment with the values of your brand. For example, (RED) has raised over $180 million and helped 7 million people fight AIDS. These types of connections make your company relevant to everyday life.
How has your company effectively built relationships on Facebook?