Collect Connections Not Likes
Facebook has over 1 billion users, twitter just fewer than 1 billion users, LinkedIn has 300 million business professionals and the list goes on. In this modern age of business and marketing, the virtual space has allowed us to connect in ways once considered impossible, with people all over the world. Although there are many advantages to using Facebook with many business owners claiming phenomenal success and sales from the platform, many are left wondering if the quest to reach excessive ‘likes’ appears to be a futile one. Most will agree that interaction and engagement from customers on Facebook is a strong measure, but how important are likes? Do the number of likers translate proportionally into sales? Is it really possible to engage with huge numbers of likers organically, or does it demand considerable financially investment by way of boosted posts and Ads? Unfortunately the answer is increasingly, yes to the latter.
Therefore how can businesses build a relationship with their customers outside of social media? Many businesses cite personal connections and relationships generating more business and significantly increase the chances of referrals and word of mouth.
Let’s take the example of a small local hairdresser for whom Little Black Book Marketing undertakes a very low level of social media. The salon is located in Seaforth (NSW), is very much a part of the local community and caters towards all ages; men, women, and children. Much of the business is through word of mouth and to those that work and live nearby. In particular, many of the clients at the hairdressers are men; middle aged and older. Many of these men would not see the need to follow the hair salon on Facebook, or furthermore, like posts on Facebook by the salon. Even taking it a step further back, many of these men may not even use Facebook. For a business like this, the number of Facebook likes on their posts is largely irrelevant and are not a reflection of a falling client base; in fact she has a growing client base. That is not why we are using social media for her. We use social media to target the female clients and those with children and we do this not from her page, but by engaging in a local Facebook group for mums.
In this example, the marketing approach is very much bricks and mortar, also focusing on building relationships and partnerships within the community, building clientele through connections and referrals and the emphasis on social media is merely complimenting this and adding to her online footprint and making her more easily found, talked about and shared. We created a simple marketing partnership with a neighbouring cafe for example and also improved her signage to increase passing trade opportunities.
Companies with 15,000 page likes may only reach 1% or even less of its fans whenever it posts something new and organic reach in Facebook continues to be at an all-time low, especially for business pages without consistent updates. Therefore, greater emphasis could be placed upon building real connections and relationships with your customers.
Why not try making connections with people in your local area and engage them in conversation, add value to their lives and be human! Being on social media isn’t only about reaching and engaging – don’t be afraid to take them offline and network, or pick up your phone and call a prospect. This can still work for a purely online business ~ no harm in emailing or picking up the phone to a customer following a purchase, to thank them and ask them if they are enjoying their product. And if you have a physical location, invite people in. Look for ways to connect person-to-person, helping building that trust and human connection. Sometimes, there can be nothing more powerful and you will be surprised at what you learn about your customers that could change the way you do business or change the products you stock.
Unless you are able to physically convert these likes into sales, we are firm believers in building connections and personal relationships with people, in order to grow a thriving business. By developing a strong relationship with your clientele, your business transforms from being ‘just another company’ into a brand they know, like and trust.