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Finding Free Clients on Facebook

 
The social media giant is really changing the way business owners connect with customers online. There are SO many options that include:
  • Paid ads
  • Retargeting
  • E-commerce
  • Reviews
  • Video showcases
  • Pictures

But what if you’re on a tight budget? Is there a way to drive sales for free? Luckily for you, there is.

Enter Community Pages & Sales Groups

A recent trend in Facebook has been the rise of community or location-based classifieds and buy/sell/trade groups. If you’re reasonably active on Facebook, you’re probably a member of one, or a quick search for “[your location] Classifieds” will bring one up.
Members of these groups will often post questions such as “I need a good mechanic. Who have you dealt with that’s been good?” People then start throwing in their personal recommendations.
Now, you won’t be able to join the group as your business – at least, not if you’ve set up your business profile correctly. But you CAN join as yourself and (somewhat shamelessly) plug your business.
These groups are absolutely free to join and are a great way to connect with potential clients.

How Can I Find Jobs?

A great thing about local sales & classifieds groups and an easy way to find potential jobs within them is to use the available “search” function within it.
All you need to do is type in the kind of service you offer in this search bar to see who’s looking for you. It doesn’t take too long, but you’ll want to do it on a regular basis if you want to really leverage it. Facebook moves fast.
Once you’ve found a recent post that offers an opportunity for you to plug your business, simply comment on the post with your recommendation and, possibly, your contact information. You don’t have to know the person to leave a comment.
One suggestion I might add is to utilize any alliances you may have with other business owners (commercial accounts) or service providers in your area. Make a mutual agreement to keep an eye out for such posts and recommend each other personally saying “I’ve used Paul’s Plumbing Professionals for years. He really knows his stuff and his prices are very fair.”

You Should Tag That

pricetag
One small idiosyncrasy with Facebook is that it’s helpful to make sure you “tag” your business in the comment you make. That way, whoever is looking at it can easily find your business on Facebook and call you right away.
When you tag a business page, Facebook may suggest the tag automatically when you start typing the name. If they don’t, you can try adding the “@” symbol before the page name. As long as you personally have “liked” the page, it should come up.

Big Takeaway:

Facebook is changing the way people do business online – literally. Social media is connecting people in ways faster and more visible than ever before. Your business can get a lot of attention online without paying a dime.
  1. Create a business Facebook page. If you don’t know how, Facebook will teach you here.
  2. Join a local community/area sales and classifieds page.
  3. Do a quick search for the services you’d like to do. Comment on the post recommending your business. Tag your Facebook page if you can.
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Tools for Becoming a Social Media Pro

This morning when I got into the office, I was sorting through my email (you know, like all of us do).

The email preview from my phone.

The email preview from my phone.

Just as I was ready to discard a message from Hootsuite, I started reading the first few lines and discovered it was something that was highly relevant to our franchise owner network. I’ll summarize their points and add a few of my own insights as to how it can apply to you directly.

Last year, a study done by Harris Poll, a public opinion polling organization, revealed that approximately 62% of businesses struggle establishing a social media strategy. Another study released in January showed that social media “referrals” accounted for about 31% of website visits. Now, the lion’s share were from Facebook, but it illustrates the importance of having a presence.

All that being said, here are some strategy points as outlined in the email:

Step 1: Know who your customer is.

Just like a good technician going into a home, you have to know who you’re talking to if you’r going to sell them. You speak to men differently than you speak to women. You speak to a senior differently than you do a millennial. At Chem-Dry, we know that the majority of the customers we interact with on a regular basis are women between 30 and 55, that own a home, have 2-3 kids, and 2-3 pets. Tailor your messages to THEM, and spatter in some things that will appeal to others from time to time.

For instance, talking about and showing a picture of getting tough food stains out of carpet (i.e. messy-faced baby sitting in a pool of spaghetti sauce, wine stain on the sofa, etc.). Or, to focus on the holidays, say something to the effect of “Impress your in-laws this holiday with new-looking carpet and upholstery.”

Step 2: Create a mission statement.

No social network is created equally. They all have different roles (to be discussed in another post). Facebook and Twitter are ideal platforms for managing customer service, as they’re the most active and interactive networks. LinkedIn is a great place to recruit talent and also network with other professional organizations in your area (local small business owner groups, anyone?). Instagram is perfect for showing off new services and great before/after pictures. Create a statement that states your goals with each one and do your best to stick to them.

Examples might be:

“Facebook – For connecting with people and telling stories.”

“Instagram – For SHOWING how awesome we are.”

“Twitter – Keep it short and simple, like my cousin Jethro.”

Step 3: Set realistic goals.

Getting

Getting “likes” on your Chem-Dry Facebook page keeps you top-of-mind with your customers.

Goals for social media keep you focused, on-track, and honest. For many businesses, a good goal for gaining a following on Facebook is to grow by 50 “likes” on your page every month. Or, for Twitter, aim for 3 “re-tweets” on everything you post.

Another recent study has estimated each branded Facebook “Like” to be approximately $174! While that number represents the value of a like for a national brand, the value of a like to your small business is still calculable and something to improve upon.

Step 4: Develop a content strategy.

Social Media is about having a presence where your customers “live” digitally. It’s an extremely cost-effective way for you to stay top-of-mind for your customers. Along with Step 2, keep your mission for the social network in mind, and post regularly to keep your audience engaged. Post a unique image to Instagram every day. Create a series of contests on Facebook (a GREAT way to get “likes”).

hootsuite icon

A few last thoughts:

Services like Hootsuite are very valuable platforms to help you manage your social media posts. You can schedule out your posts, and have an entire month’s worth of posts done within a couple of hours. However, there’s a significant learning curve with it, so it will take some time to get accustomed to the platform.

They also offer FREE education resources like Podium that will help you understand social networking and get a better grasp on your digital strategy.