Would you rather have 1 million Facebook fans or 100 loyal customers? Until recently, businesses have generally focused on the number of fans they acquired, trying to get a high number of people to “like” their page. The number of Facebook fans your business has, however, is immaterial if you have no relationship with them as customers.
A recent post on All Facebook: The Unofficial Facebook Resource outlines 7 ways to build customer relationships on Facebook. We’ve expounded on each of these tips and suggest loyalty program and marketing managers evaluate what steps in this process would best help your business harness the potential in customers using social media.
1. Build a Single Database: Just like with customers who visit your business in person, in order to manage a relationship with your fans you need to start with a comprehensive database. Most social networks allow interfacing through their API using an open graph.
Learn More about Interfacing with Facebook
2. Prioritize Engagements: Fans can interact with a business profile in many different ways, from commenting on and sharing your content, to driving more traffic to your corporate website, to posting pictures of them using your products. Determine which interactions with your fans would be the most effective at building the desired relationship and encourage those interactions.
3. Identify Your Most Important Fans: You know who your best customers are: the frequent buyers, the big spenders, advocates who are great word-of-mouth marketers. It’s just as important to identify your best fans and target your content to reach them. These are individuals who regularly perform the interactions you’ve determined to be the most important and are the most influential with your other fans and their friends.
4. Give Value to Your Fans: Once you’ve identified your most active fans, give them something in return. It could be something as simple as recognizing them as a top fan and thanking them for their contributions. Some businesses have established loyalty plan – of sorts - just for their Facebook fans’ engagement and are rewarding points for interactions like inviting a friend, uploading photos and answering trivia questions correctly, depending on what interactions are seen as most important.
5. Tie In Your Other Loyalty Programs: Bring your fans’ “virtual” interactions into your “real-world” business by letting them convert their “virtual” Facebook points into “real” points and rewards. For example, 100 Facebook points could equal a $1 purchase in your rewards program.
6. Communicate the Value You Offer: As with any other customers, communicating well with your Facebook fans is imperative. When they respond to your content, respond back. Let them know what points you are offering for different interactions and be clear about any rules or restrictions. Keep them up to date on how many points they have accumulated and what that value would convert to in your rewards program. Being “in the know” doesn’t just help the customer or fan experience – it’s what social media is all about.
7. Measure Return on Investment: You need to track the successes and failures of any marketing campaign. The same is true with your Facebook page. Calculate ROI to verify that the interactions you’ve prioritized are creating profits. Is a highly active fan a loyal customer? Do you have fans that became customers just through experiencing your engagements on Facebook? Are customers discovering more products and services they can use by following you on Facebook?
“For the first time, in this type of world, we can see the connection between a loyal fan and a devoted customer, identify the connection between action on the social network and action at the cash register, allowing us to reward fans and followers with rewards for their participation in social activities” (allfacebook.com).
As a fan of other businesses on Facebook, what types of engagements have you responded to?
What interactions seem to elicit the most involvement from other fans?
Do you think that social media sites can be effective at building loyalty? Why or why not?