So a bunch of people have visited your Facebook page. They clicked Like. Now you have a bunch of Facebook Fans. Maybe you’re even getting a bunch of new traffic to your website from Facebook. And now the questions are coming:
“Why aren’t we getting a lot more sales (or donations)?”
“What do we need to do to get our Facebook Fans to buy from us (or donate)?”
Fair questions, especially how conditioned we’ve become to chasing the short-term gains, approaching every channel as a direct-response revenue trigger, and lamenting every time an audience doesn’t open their wallet or purse – even after just the first interaction.
During these conversations, I harken back to business development coaching discussions I had with attorneys when I worked at a law firm several years ago. Here’s a conversation I had many times with different attorneys:
Attorney: “I went to that networking function, but I didn’t get any business!”
Me: “Did your wife agree to marry you the first time you talked to her? The first time you took her out on a date? Or after the second or third date?”
Facebook Engagement is a Courtship
Successful business development, dating, and Facebook engagement efforts all involve a courtship. For professional service providers – whether attorneys, management consultants, or public relations reps – the keys are to be perceived as competent, for the prospect to have a need, and to be top-of-mind when that happens. Being likable is helpful, since people like to do business with people they like, but not absolutely essential.
For other organizations, the key is successful engagement that grows over time. Engagement (of the social, not nuptial, sort) starts with listening, responding, storytelling, entertainment. Multiple interactions on this level facilitate relationships. Relationships fostered over time build trust. And trust opens the door for support and action.
Think baby steps. Facebook Fans can be fickle. They may Like your status update, your photo, your video. They may even click a link to go to your website. But most of them are going just for that – and then moving on. They probably are Fans of a lot of different pages – a lot of different organizations. Their original intent on Facebook wasn’t to look for a reason to click through to your website. You gave them that reason. Good for you. Now, to facilitate true Facebook engagement, you need to present them with easy ways to choose the next step in the relationship:
• consuming your best content
• consuming different types of content
• subscribing via e-mail, mobile, or print
• further connecting with you: online, social, mobile, events
• helping them connect with others in a community
• responding to your content
• voting on your content
• sharing your content
• creating content
• changing, repackaging, and repurposing your content
• giving you opinions and/or ideas
• making a small first purchase
• making a small, specific donation
Successful relationships take time. Successful Facebook engagement takes time. And if you truly care about your connections, your Fans, your supporters, your audiences, your girlfriend, your wife – then you don’t start with the proposal. You don’t start with the ring. First, convince them you are worthy of their accepting it.
*This article on Facebook engagement clearly was directed toward men. Women already know all of this.