Grandma is on there. Your weird cousin Jimmy is on there. Heck, your freakin’ dog might be on there. What initially started as one man’s creepy “hot or not” app (yes, it’s true) has become a global social media juggernaut called Facebook. Just how big are they? Here are some absolutely bonkers stats:
And though Facebook has drawn controversy at times, they still stand as one of the most effective platforms for helping local businesses connect with customers geographically close to them. If you run any business with a brick-and-mortar store, local customers, and huge emphasis on in-person interactions (what we’d call a local business), you need to be using Facebook.
You’re probably thinking “no duh, my business is already on Facebook!” Great start, my dude, but are you using it to its full potential? Is it generating new customers or is it something you feel you must do because everyone else does? If you’re not sure, here are some questions we’ll answer:
Let’s get to it!
It’s worthwhile to review some Facebook listing basics before we get to the nitty gritty. There are hundreds of things you can change in your Facebook account, but below are a few key things you’ll want to have sorted before we move on. As you look at your Facebook page, ask yourself the following questions:
Social media should be (you guessed it) social. Facebook puts your business and thousands—maybe millions of your potential customers in the same place. You have a unique opportunity to harness the power of the social media to convert prospects into customers and to turn customers in to stark raving fans. On Facebook, there are essentially two ways to interact with customers. You’ll, of course, be familiar with all of these, but there are nuances to interacting with people through each that are worth discussion.
Not sure your customers will use Facebook Messenger? Well, given that over 100 billion messages are sent over Facebook every day, it’s safe to say they will. Messenger is an easy way for customers and prospects to ask you questions. If you don’t have this feature turned on, visit your page settings, then click General. Under Messages, make sure you have the box ticked, then save changes. Once set up, you can add some neat stuff to your messaging tool, so your visitors can get the info they need, without you even needing to chat with them. Here are a couple cool things to try:
Facebook posts comprise the best and the worst of humanity. All those dank memes. The cat vids. The political ramblings of your tin-hat wearing uncle—it’s all there. With so much content blazing into your customers’ eyeballs, it’s tough for a business to decide what they should post. Certainly, a full guide on developing social media strategy and content could fill a book. You could also fill a second book with examples of brands that have been successful by breaking the rules laid out in the first book. So, rather than tell you what to post, we’ll offer a few maxims to guide you:
Most local businesses rely on reviews to prove to prospects that their goods and services are high quality—it’s social proof that your business is worth doing business with. In most conversations about reviews, platforms like Google and Yelp get the most airtime. But as we’ve explored in other articles, these are just a few of the review platforms a business might use. Facebook has their own review system, which you should understand if you want to get the most from Facebook.
Oddly, most businesses don’t think of reviews and ratings as a form of customer engagement, but they are. Many know the importance of reviews, but few put much thought into an effective review program. Done well, this helps improve your online reputation and brings in lots of new customers automatically. Let’s look at three basic steps that will help you get the most from your Facebook recommendations.
Before we continue, it’s worth noting that on Facebook, users aren’t asked to leave a star rating. They ask users whether they would recommend you. From there, Facebook creates a star rating for you. For a more thorough guide on online reviews, check out this post.
So, we know reviews are an important part of a local business’s marketing mix, but how do you juice your reviews so that everyone who checks out your reviews knows you’re awesome? It’s so simple you’ve probably tried it already: you just ask them. According to BrightLocal, 85% of your customers will leave you a review if you ask them. Ah, but how should you ask them? In person? Email? The best way to solicit reviews is actually via text message. If you can make it convenient for your customers to leave you a review, (who doesn’t check their texts?) they’ll do it. Using solutions like Swell Review, you can automatically solicit reviews through text message. For your customers, it’s as easy as opening a link, and leaving you a recommendation. Many Swell users get loads of reviews in the first month of using it. Want reviews? Just automate the process with Swell!
Once you begin soliciting reviews, you’ll want to read each one and track your progress as your review total and review score increases. While most businesses rarely get a bad review, you’ll want to reply quickly and try to fix the issue if you do (check out this post on replying to bad reviews). Replying to harsh or negative reviews is a no-brainer, but some businesses will also reply to positive reviews with a kind thank-you. Since reading and responding to reviews across a variety of platforms can be a challenge, many businesses use tools that bring their reviews and review scores into one place so they can monitor and reply to them. Swell Review not only makes it easy to solicit reviews, it’s also a convenient way to monitor in-bound reviews, track your progress, and even reply to reviews all inside the same screen.
Reviews also reveal interesting insights about what your business can do to improve. Part of the benefit of reading new reviews is they can alert you to things you might be able to improve as a business. Maybe a dish is a little too spicy for most people. Maybe you have one staff member who just rocks it and deserves to be rewarded. People might alert you to things you didn’t realize were happening, which gives you the opportunity to fix them. Pay attention to trends in your reviews and use them to drive meaningful change. Doing this will help you provide even better service to customers, which will result in even more great reviews and new customers.
Facebook can be a customer service gateway that lets you give customers and prospects the info they need. With the right tools, you can also use Facebook reviews to bolster your online reputation, so more people know that you’re trustworthy. Don’t think of Facebook as just a place to post cat videos and memes—it’s actually a platform that can help you grow if you take the right approach.
Looking for a way to get the most from Facebook while also streamlining customer communications? Swell is a great way to get more reviews, reply to them, and bring together messages from multiple platforms so your team can stay on top of everything—but that’s just the beginning. Get your custom demo to see how Swell can help your business grow.
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