You have set up a Facebook Page for your business and got a number of ‘Likes’. The question is – how do you make the people who ‘like’ the page come to your store and buy your products or services? Many brick and mortar businesses fail to realize this because they fail to bridge the gap between online and offline customer relationships.
Most of the people who are part of your social media network or read your blog are those who have already bought from you. Keeping the existing base of customers intact is just half the task. You also need to get new people hooked onto our network.
Even more important, you need to make sure that your online fans become loyal customers. Otherwise; the ‘likes’ on your Facebook fan page may mean nothing! How do you do this? How do you ensure that the people who follow you on Twitter come to your business and enhance sales? You need to dig a little deeper if you want to achieve this.
Let’s try to find ways that can convert your social media fans into loyal customers.
Don’t delve into the depths of social media without a goal and a plan to reach it. If you do, you just increase your chances of failure. Chalk out strategies that would work for your specific type of business. Also, make sure you keep track of the strategies you use to later assess what works best.
If yours is a family restaurant, use your Facebook page to let customers know about the special of the day every morning. Post videos of customers enjoying your food. Ask your Twitter fans to vote for the best dessert at your place. Involve and engage the online community to attract them to try out your food.
You need to understand the way social media works before you make it work for your business. The Facebook app toolbar can be of great help to convert casual browsers into serious customers. Use it to display a call to action – maybe a welcome note to visit your store or sign up for your newsletter.
Don’t forget to include the business contact information on your Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other social profiles. If you have a website, provide its link. Many businesses set up attractive profiles but miss out on this. The result – the online communities don’t get the opportunity to become offline customers.
Offers exclusive to the online community enhance your business’s social presence. Use coupon codes to offer a discount on your products and services for your Facebook fans or your Twitter followers. Limit the value of the offer and restrict it within a timeframe.
For example, if you have a store selling clothes and accessories, offer a discount of 15% on the range of handbags for your female fans. This would encourage them to visit your store and check out the products. Keep up the good work; soon, these customers would be sharing your offers with others, and enriching your customer base.
While promotions are part and parcel of the marketing plan, you need to make sure that you don’t overdo it when it comes to social media platforms. If you use social media platforms to inundate people with promotional slogans and stuff, people would soon grow bored of it.
Don’t sell a product, sell an experience! Don’t describe how great your desserts are; instead, post pictures of people savoring it. People join social media to have a fun place to hang-out with like-minded people and enjoy their leisure. Use social media in a way that betters the experience of your online fan following.
If you create an online persona that is too business-like, you risk losing your human side. This is the reason people ‘unfollow’ businesses on Twitter or remove business pages from Facebook. You need to create and nurture social media relationships. And you need to invest time and effort into it.
Engaging content is often considered the best way to do this. Create an experience that your online fans can enjoy. Once you do this, you connect with them at a more human level. Use the online relationships to boost their interest in your business. Only then would they pay your place of business a visit.
Once your online fans become interested in your offers and start coming to your store, it’s your task to keep them engaged there as well. The easiest way to do this is continue working on the online-offline relationship you have formed.
Use tablet PCs or iPads at your place of business. Once a customer is in, they can explore all they want to know about your business from the online resources. This gives them the time to discover more about what they can get from your business at their own pace and with the method people prefer the most – an online channel.
Prepare the plan, determine strategies, set up social profiles and remain active on them. At the same time, keep track of which profiles and which strategies win the most people – both online and offline. Add and alter these and keep track of the results. This would help you understand what works and what doesn’t.
You also need to be regular about your social media activities. Suppose you have created a superb Facebook page and posted a lot of photos and videos on it. People love it and ‘like’ it. What would happen if you fail to stay active – fail to add photos or answer comments? You are right; your initial efforts wouldn’t reap any benefits.
It is possible to use social media to convert fans into customers, only if you know the right way to do it. Use social media for what it is – a place to connect with people. And then use the appropriate strategies to encourage them to make the transition from enthusiastic fans to loyal customers.