I was thinking the other day about how easy it is to get clients and customers on Facebook. ‘What?!?’ I hear you scream! ‘It’s not f**king easy! It’s HARD, HARD, HARD work, and I’ve got no-one yet’! I ask how long you have been on Facebook with your biz page. You tell me about a year.
(If you don’t want to keep reading, here’s the video version: Friday Facebook Fix 27 Jan 2017)
You’re wondering how others do it and you are getting pissed off because you feel like you spend your entire life on Facebook doing nothing but posting and nothing comes back your way, or if it does, it’s very little. You may have had a nibble here and there for your biz services/products, but when you reach out and try to connect with them, they either don’t respond or try to pitch you their crap, right?
I’m painting a pretty bleak picture here, as I’ve seen this happen AND I’ve experienced it myself. You know what you have to offer is the best thing since sliced bread, but you are really bummed that no-one else seems to care. About your product/service OR you.
Back to the reason I’m writing this. About 4 years ago, I was working at a volunteer resource centre as project officer. I’d written their policy for social media, educated the staff and board members and set up a Facebook biz page. Nice! We had some great stuff happening there, regular posts, engagement and getting heaps of fans. People were starting to contact us more and more via messenger as an option so this had to be monitored (especially as I was only there a couple of days a week and most of the others who were working on the Facebook page were part-time also).
One day I got a message from a lass in the United Kingdom. She had introduced herself and just wanting to connect with the volunteer resource centres around South Australia as she was a director of a resource centre in the UK. I passed her message along to the Chief Executive Officer with the suggestion he also connect with this lass, we’ll call her Tracy, as she seemed like a bright spark and it would be great to have connections from further afield than just the local network.
Tracy kept in touch, sending regular messages to our page and getting to know us. And we were getting to know her. Getting to a stage where sharing jokes and feeling quite comfortable with the fact we were no longer strangers, but just friends who hadn’t met yet.
At some point in the conversation, Tracy mentioned that her, hubby and 2 children were really keen on migrating to Australia, South Australia in particular, and were in the process of making enquiries about the legalities of it and how it could be done. Of course we wished her well and asked her to look us up when she got here.
We followed her progress with great interest (having moved from connecting on the page to our personal profiles), and she kept in touch as developments happened.
Now the volunteering industry network in South Australia is fairly tight, and people talk (really?!?) so it was no surprise that Tracy had also connected with all of the resource centres and the top dogs in each (those that were on Facebook, that is). We learnt that she was offered a position in another resource centre that was closer to where she was planning to live once the Big Date was set. She is now Executive Officer of that centre!
By that time she was also good friends with the President of an international association that was established to support volunteer managers, who also happened to live in South Australia. Clearly she had a lot to offer. Putting out a call for help for a rental property and a car and beds/mattresses and other basic furniture until her shipping container arrived , her new South Aussie Facebook friends came to her aid and she was either pointed in the right direction or sorted completely even before she and her family landed here (I even offered a mattress). I do believe that someone had even loaned her their spare car without even meeting her face to face, to get the family through until they were able to get their own vehicle.
Tracy and her family are fully settled in South Australia now, both parents working and kids happy at school (which was chosen from recommendations well beforehand). Neither she nor her husband knew a soul here before they moved. I’ve met her and she is as lovely in person as she is on Facebook. If you’re the least bit curious about the moral to this story it is this:
Tracy had a strategy in contacting us, it was a clearly defined strategy which made the absolute best use of her knowledge and skills (I suspect connecting with motorbike club pages would not have had the same impact). She TOOK THE TIME to develop relationships with many of us, showing herself to be a consistent and trustworthy person in the way she conducted herself. Tracy was engaging and interesting and a great person to hang out with online.
When she had a favour to ask, we were eager to help and it showed. The proof is in the pudding, Folks. When you fail to take the time to get to know people and let them see the real you, getting to know the real them in the process, you fail to do yourself or your biz any favours at all.
Saying you don’t have time to do more than just pop in and post, or just schedule posts and hope for the best is, in my opinion, false economy. While there is a time and place for that as part of your overall strategy, it should not and cannot be the be all and end all of your Facebook existence. What Tracy did took months of careful cultivating in a very authentic way and with integrity and I am suggesting that those of you who like instant results have a re-think and understand that you will get instant results, just not instantly! If that sounds weird, remember the term, ‘overnight success’? How many people have said their overnight success took years to attain? Same here, Folks.
The good news is that you don’t actually have to wait years, you can start immediately and build your credibility with those you come in contact with immediately and the speed that things move on Facebook, you can short cut those years to months, or even days if you do it right.
If you are looking for some specifics on ‘doing it right’, here are some ideas:
- Have your strategy written down, and that strategy includes ALL aspects of growing your presence on Facebook;
- Do more than just like other biz pages, or one word comments. Be engaging, make comments that can generate discussion, ask questions, connect with the page owners contribute regularly to the theme days if they have them;
- In groups, take the time to add value, be seen as a thought leader (because believe me, you DO know your stuff), connect with group admin and help other people who reach out for help if you can;
- If you message new people you don’t know, do not, and I repeat do not offer them a wonderful biz opportunity before you’ve even introduced yourself. Instead, focus on getting to know them and creating lasting connections. They may be part of your ‘instant results’ down the track;
- If you friend people you don’t know, always send them a courtesy message to ask them if they’d like to connect and the reason you are wanting to connect with them (NON-BIZ related, which means they must fit your avatar and have interests that you can connect with);
- If people you don’t know send you friend requests with no message, ask them why they are wanting to connect. They will either pitch you (and you will see firsthand how ikky that really is), want to marry you or just say they like to connect with like-minded people, if they respond at all. You can use what comes back to decide if you’d like to continue with the connection and take control of the conversation.
Tracy did it well. I do it well and a minority of other people I know do it well also. Your advantage is that not many people do it well. You can become part of the minority and give yourself the edge, if you are just willing to slow down a little bit and give yourself space to be real and have fun here on Facebook.
After all, would you treat a customer who walked into your shop like that? Treat every single person you come into contact with on Facebook as your customer and you’ll nail it!
I’d love to know what you are doing well that is working for you now? Feel free to share and help educate the masses.
To Your Success!