If you're an actively engaged user of Facebook, you're at a distinct advantage over those who either don't understand it or think it's a big waste of time. The biggest advantage for an engaged user is the ability to immediately enlist friends to "like" your business page linked to your personal account. This can represent a big initial boost for someone who has hundreds of friends. On the other hand, owners with no Facebook page need to start from scratch.
So what can you do to jumpstart friend generation? Here are some ideas to get started:
1. Encourage existing customers to like your page. Create awareness via email and in-store communication. Sweeten the deal by offering those who friend a xx% discount on their next purchase. Better yet, create a sense of urgency by setting a deadline for friending you--offer discount ends Apr 15th.
2. Embed a Facebook Like widget on your website and email communications. This makes it quick and easy for visitors to like your page.
3. Create unique, value-added content in posts that customers will share with others. This requires some creativity in continually coming up with fresh ideas that customers will find compelling. For example, let's say you have a dry cleaning business. You might consider having a regularly scheduled post on garment care. Or, if you're a dentist, develop a top 10 list of ways to get children to brush their teeth. Create each post as one in series, so if someone is interested, they will want to like your page to receive the remaining posts. You just need to make this clear on your post headline or somewhere in your post--If you're not already a fan, be sure to like us to receive the 5 remaining top 10 ways to..
4. Pay for those friends! Create a Facebook ad campaign for your local area. You know your target audience--target potential new customers by what they like, demographics, proximity to your business and a host of other factors. A strong defined offer like "mention this ad and receive 20% your next in-store purchase" works best in getting the results you want. You can also pay to boost your posts to non-fans. To make this work and stand a greater chance of being virally shared, your post on the topic you choose needs be uniquely interesting. Be creative! Now's the time to share all of the unique insights that your local business has accumulated over the years.