Two years ago, dentist Edward Zuckerberg of Dobb’s Ferry, New York, ramped up his presence on Facebook. (After all, Zuckerberg knows a little about the site, since his son, Mark, invented it.)
As a result of his efforts, about 1,300 people have “liked” Zuckerberg’s Facebook page (“PainlessDrZ”) — and the doc has landed about two dozen new clients.
It’s a small-scale success story that demonstrates the big value behind the “Like” button on a business’s Facebook page, and one that social media marketer and author Dave Kerpen (pictured), CEO of Likeable Media, thinks every business should be leveraging.
“I believe all businesses can benefit from a Facebook presence,” says Kerpen. “Every business, large and small, from dentists to accountants to pizzerias to toy stores — really, all small businesses can benefit.”
When a Facebook user clicks the “Like” button on a business’s Facebook page, it’s an endorsement, a valuable piece of word-of-mouth marketing, especially for the user’s friends. According to Kerpen, one user liking your business creates the potential for 130 new customers thereafter.
Research shows consumers value the advice and opinions of their friends more highly than paid advertising. Facebook’s “Like” button, introduced just a little over a year ago and now on about 2 million sites with more than one billion clicks daily, is the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing tool.
So how can you get people to like your business?
Here are five of Kerpen’s top tips (more are in his new book, Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook).
1. Listen – “Use social networks to listen to what your customers, prospects, and competitors’ customers are talking about.” Kerpen recommends using keyword searches on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites to see what people are interested in, what questions they have, and what product features they want to see — and then deliver that information on your page.
2. Be authentic – “Share your own personality and your team’s personality,” using a voice that is appropriate for your business. If you have a fun product that appeals to a youthful crowd, talk in their voice, not stilted, formal PR-speak. Here’s a trivia question: Name the Hollywood actor with the largest Facebook following. The answer, says Kerpen: Vin Diesel, with more than 25 million “likes.” Why? “Because he’s authentic,” says Kerpen, and doesn’t post as if an ad agency is writing his words.
3. Surprise and delight – Kerpen suggests companies go above and beyond what’s expected. Try high-value giveaways, prizes, contests, and quizzes. Or go the extra mile for customers: Uno Chicago Grill’s marketing director noticed a Facebook post from a customer saying she planned to drive two hours to an Uno’s location to celebrate her husband’s birthday. The director looked up the customer’s location on Facebook, figured out the site the couple would be eating at, then had the entire Uno’s team serenade them with cake when they arrived. Word of the good deed then spread — on Facebook, of course.
4. Try Facebook ads - Facebook offers highly targeted marketing with relatively inexpensive, pay-per-click ads, says Kerpen.
5. Be responsive - “This is the most important one,” says Kerpen. “Respond to everything — good, bad, or indifferent.” Answer every Facebook post, even the negative ones. The payoff? A bigger following, which Kerpen says has both measurable and immeasurable rewards. “You can increase loyalty. You can find new customers. And you can increase the frequency of sales to your current customers.”