Should Local Businesses Make “Friends” With Customers on Facebook?
I believe I did a poor job or titling this story, so to be clear I am not suggesting that business create a profile. I am suggesting that individuals create profiles that they use on a professional level. Big distinction there. Thank you, Grace, for being the first to notice I never made that clear and actually misled with the title itself.
There is little doubt that having a strong, professionally-designed and active Facebook page is important for businesses, particularly in the retail and service segments on a local level.
For high-end, long-term sales such as automotive, insurance, and real estate, is it also prudent to establish a relationship profile to profile as a “friend” of customers?
Most would say that an individual’s Facebook profile is personal and isn’t the right venue to connect with customers. A few (myself included) believe that it is a good idea to establish a business Facebook profile as a stand-alone unit for marketing, sales, and customer service purposes. Here’s why:
Large Investments Are Best Secured Long-Term
When people go to a grocery store, they may be buying meat from the butcher or checking out with the clerk. The idea of becoming friends with these people either in real life or on Facebook is not common. We are friendly, but we rarely become a “friend” who shares thoughts, pictures of the family, etc.
Large purchases as well as long-term service relationships (your favorite barber, for example) are often people that we become friends in real life. It is common to go to the same nail tech for years to the point that they know your husband and kids’ names. In such instances, creating a friendship is not uncommon. It should follow that becoming friends on Facebook may be natural.
For long-term retail purchases such as buying a home, we often have relationships and stay in contact with our Realtor beyond the sale. Realtors, car salespeople, lawyers, insurance agents, and the like often attribute a large part of their business to return and referral business. Facebook would seem to be the perfect place to stay in touch and share without having to pick up the phone every month or go to little Pat’s Bar Mitzvah.
Success Through Tagging
Particularly in real estate and automotive sales where purchases of tangible, long-lasting items occur, the ability to take pictures and tag them with on Facebook to the buyer can be a very powerful tool.
On Facebook, what you say on your business Facebook page is important, but what is said about you on real people’s Facebook profiles is much more important. Word of mouth is a powerful way to build a reputation, expand branding, and increase exposure. “Word of Sharing” on Facebook is similar but can be even more potent.
Imagine taking a picture of John and Sally Smith after they just purchased their first home. If they are active on Facebook they will probably share this information on there, but it doesn’t hurt to help that process along and include your own congratulatory message. On your Facebook page, you can post this image but there is no way to attach it to them if you aren’t friends with them on your profile.
Creating a business profile either separate from your personal profile or instead of it will give you the opportunity to become friends with your happy customers. As a friend, you will be able to tag them in the image of them standing in front of their new home. Once tagged, it appears on their wall as well as emerging into the feed of all of their friends. This can generate conversation, buzz, and an all-important link to your business page.
This video below, a training video for clients of TK Power Social, explains the process as it pertains to the automotive industry, but this process can be duplicated in any industry.
This post was written by David Moceri