How to Turn Facebook Fans Into Paying Customers

... ants at a picnic!

UPDATE: Watch this quick video to see our Top Ten Tips for Facebook Fan Page Engagement Video

Social Media experts are like ants at a picnic. They’re everywhere.

If you’re anything like me, your Google Reader is filled with blog posts telling you how to get more Facebook Fans, how to fill your Facebook page with new “Likes”, and how to grow your fan base on Facebook.

Where are the blog posts telling us what to do once we have those fans?
Sadly, they’re nowhere to be found. That changes today.

Turning your Facebook Fans into paying customers is essential for businesses!  This is the whole point of having a fan page, right?

If you have no Facebook Fan conversion strategy, then you’re neglecting a huge opportunity. Having tons of Facebook fans is great, but only if you know how to turn those fans into buyers.

Turning Facebook fans into paying customers is where the “rubber meets the road”. 

This is where the real action happens.

The opportunity for marketers to spread the news about their product/service/company/campaign on Facebook is unparalleled by any other medium. Even traditional direct-response, email marketers are now turning to Facebook to help generate the “buzz” they need to effectively launch their products.

All the research points to the fact that Facebook fans are more likely to convert into buying customers over time - as opposed to simply being on your email list. This is because we have the ability to build trust and respect over time. When we engage with our audience, our trust and respect grows exponentially.

Monetizing these relationships can be tricky if you’re not confident being open and transparent with your audience. Engagement is the key here. We have to keep testing various strategies till we find what “grabs” our customers and keeps their interest.

Start turning your Facebook fans into buying customers.

Here are a few ideas you can implement immediately:

1) Make Them Love You - Generate brand loyalty and awareness by effectively communicating your unique message, and responding to user posts regularly. Who are you and what do you stand for? By consistently updating your Facebook status in line with these values, your audience will grow to understand, trust, and respect you and your brand. Starbucks is a great example of a large company doing this very well on Facebook.

Simple strategies include hitting “Like” on all comments, replying to fan comments on your page, letting your fans know you’re listening and reading their posts, asking questions, and highlighting regular contributors. ie: “Thanks to our dedicated fan, Joe, for sharing this excellent blog post.” Joe will be thrilled you’ve noticed him, and other fans will see that you are recognizing and valuing their input.

2) Get To Know Your Fans - Following on from the previous point, it’s important to know your fans. Who are your fans? What do they want? Why are they on your page in the first place?

The best thing you can do for your profitability is to ask your fans these questions. You can ask on your wall in the form of a status update, or get more formal with it. Consider running a survey via Survey Monkey and ask them what they want. Chances are, they will tell you and you can then get to work delivering exactly what they’ve asked for.

3) Grab Them With Words - Include commentary and opinion in your updates. For example, when you post your most recent blog post, add a sentence or two that explains how you feel about the topic. For example “I’m answering this question once and for all!” or “Why do people keep doing this?” or “Have you made this mistake too?” - These sentences can generate intrigue and interest, causing the reader to click the link, and visit your website.

4) Capture Their Email - Have an email lead capture form on your custom landing tab. Ask them for their email so they can stay updated with all your great news, promotions, and offers. Then, follow up with an auto-responder series of email messages that add value to the relationship.  This is a massive opportunity to increase your engagement with your fans. Many people miss this simple step, and it’s deceptively powerful.

5) Funnel Traffic To Your Website - Every few days, post something that encourages fans to click through to your website. You might consider posting a video, replay of a webinar or podcast episode, a blog post, or a special offer just for fans. Our data shows most financial transactions still happen on trusted websites.

By regularly posting things of high value, your fans will get used to clicking on links on your fan page. Then - when you have something to sell, the barrier is low, and the law of reciprocity steps in. ie: You’ve given them so much value, they are eager to buy from you now.

6) Contests & Coupon Codes - Facebook Apps can be powerful for increasing engagement on your Facebook page, but it’s important to use them sparingly. A contest or sweepstakes can certainly bring you a ton of traffic, visitors, and fans. Be sure you have a solid plan to funnel those fans to an offer if you want to see a financial return on that investment.

7) Have a Profit Plan- This really should be #1 in the list. I’ve seen far too many people hold a huge contest, generate a ton of interest, build up their fan page to 10k-20k plus fans, yet see very minimal impact on their overall profit. The people who do this successfully are those who have a well-established sales funnel with several different products/services to offer these targeted fans. Please keep this in mind when considering running a contest or promotion on your page. It can work - if you have a plan.

Remember, when it comes to turning your Facebook fans into buying customers, the best thing you can do is to have a clear, well-defined plan that fits in with your overall online strategy.

Your thoughts and ideas are valued here. Please comment in the box below.

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