If you walk into a networking event not knowing anyone, what’s the first thing you do? Hopefully, you’ve come with an understanding that sales referrals and leads happen once you’ve developed some kind of connection. You work the room making your introductions and ask questions. You’re savvy and deliberate about who you talk to and you take care to treat those connections with respect.
I was recently at an Automotive Roundtable lunch meeting where most everyone in the room was a “captain of industry.” My good friend, who used to run a big auto group, invited me and there were about 12 of us attending. I have to say it was a little intimidating being around people who’ve been THAT successful; some who’ve sold their companies for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Each person in the room was delightful. Some I knew from my days managing dealerships and some I had never met before. In each case, I worked the room with the intention of leaving with a few more names to add to my list of friends. It was really fun and I achieved my goal. How did I do that? By asking questions and being genuinely interested in what they had to say.
The subject of Facebook Likes has come on my radar recently. I’ve had a few conversations from prospective clients on how they understand the dynamics of a Facebook LIKE.
The tenets of traditional advertising are well-ingrained in their minds: you put up an ad and people buy. Many people come to Facebook with the same very linear approach. They believe that when someone likes your page, that constitutes a lead, and it’s okay to reach out to them to try to sell them your product.
I liken it to attending that networking event and walking up to someone you’ve met once in passing to say, “Would you like to buy my product?”
No one likes to think they aren’t valued in a relationship and selling before solving sends that message loud and clear.
If Facebook LIKES aren’t leads, then what are they?
1. They’re a thumbs up from your prospects and community members. They’ve given you permission to market to them.
2. They’re the first step to generating leads. Every journey to the sale starts with building trust with your intended audience (aka: ideal customers). When someone likes your page, they’re giving you the chance to prove you’re trustworthy. They want to see what kind of value you can bring to their lives.
3. They’re your advocates as you grow your page. If you’ve spent time and effort growing your likes, many of them will engage on a regular basis and become customers. A savvy Facebook marketer looks for opportunities to convey why people buy from them and the first place to look is your advocates.
If Facebook LIKES aren’t leads, then what else aren’t they?
1. They aren’t a license to contact people with a sales opportunity. One of my prospective clients had been doing this and needless to say, he was failing. This tactic will damage your brand because Facebook users look at this ploy the same way they look at telemarketing.
2. They aren’t a sign of how successful your Facebook page is. It’s better to have 500 interested prospects than it is to have 5,000 disinterested, apathetic zombies.
3. They aren’t a sure sign that you’ll ever develop leads. You have to be proactive about engaging people with your page. You have to design, develop and carry out well-defined Facebook marketing campaigns that include spending on Facebook ads to drive people to your website.
When someone likes your page it’s like they’re saying, “Hey, you might be what I’m looking for.” Don’t disappoint them. Be a responsible community leader: ask questions, deliver value and listen. Leads can happen organically in the newsfeed comments or by way of a paid effort. Either way, your LIKES are the gateway to sales…once you know how to create the path.