Any business worth its salt is already signed up for Facebook, but not all businesses are using Facebook to its full potential. These days, it isn't enough to simply be a member of a social media community; you need to be an active participant. But there's a fine line between spamming your customers with annoying updates, and using the opportunity to engage and energize your customers.
Here are four simple steps to help you interact with your customers and increase business.
1. Timing is Everything
Timing is everything in the social media world. Deciding when to post updates, contests, and photos is one of the most important steps. There is a science to social timing, and understanding it will help you gain maximum exposure in order to reach the largest number of people.
By knowing your audience, you'll know their schedules. If your audience is high school aged kids, don't post important information during school hours – focus on later afternoon updates. Luckily, there are plenty of tools, like Buffer, available to help you perfect your timing.
It's also important to understand how to time your posts in relation to what is happening in the world. If you post something that can be viewed an insensitive, or disrespectful, you'll lose a lot of followers fast.
2. Ask Your Customers a Question
Asking a question is the quickest and easiest way to get your customers to engage with you, and others. But you can't rely on asking the same questions every day or people will get bored and start to tune you out. Use a variety of questions to keep them interested.
Try asking an experience question like “What is your favorite memory with (insert brand name here)?” or specific questions like “what is your favorite ___?” By giving your customers a platform to express themselves and each other, you'll not only get a lot of great exposure, you'll also learn more about your audience and what they like. This can help you make more informed decisions in the future.
3. Give a Call to Action
A great way to engage your customers is to get them involved. Ask them to complete a task, or give and opinion. People like being included in activities, so if they feel like their input matters, they'll be more likely to join in. You can post a picture, an event, or a question and ask people to “like” or “share” the content to cast their vote. “Like” This post if you think saving endangered animals is important”. “Share” this article to let people know you're pro-chocolate milk!”
You can also combine your call to action with an incentive. Offer a prize to the person who shares the article the most, or leaves the funniest comment. When someone “Shares” and “likes” something, it shows up on their friends' news feed. This is a great way to widen your reach and market to people outside of your community. A great example of this is energy savings ebook for kids where getting kids and adults involved in energy saving not only is a call to action but a great way to teach kids to live a greener life.
4. Make Your Customers Feel Important
Making your customers feel like valued members of the community is always a good idea. They want to be involved, they want to be heard, so give them plenty of opportunity. You can crowdsource for opinions on new products or funny tag lines. You can even give them an opportunity to fill in the blank about how they feel about certain products; “These shoes help me be a better____”
Giving shout-outs and paying compliments to customers is also a good way to energize people. You can post fan art, or people having a great time interacting with your brand. They'll love being in the spotlight, and you'll show that you really value your customers. It's a win/win.
In a world of over-stimulation, your job is to catch people's attention. By following these simple steps, you'll be able to better use Facebook to engage and energize your customers.
Miles Young is a freelance writer, business advisor and tech geek. You can follow him on Twitter @MrMilesYoung.