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6 tips to convert Facebook fans into sales

By Chris Dawson July 29, 2011 - 1:36 pm

Helen Fang has been working in social media and e-commerce space for the past six years and is Vendio’s marketing manager. Vendio offers e-commerce software solutions including a free online store, free shopping cart software and the tools for selling on Facebook through an integrated store.

Today Helen has shared six tips for converting your Facebook fans into sales:

Using Facebook to Increase Sales: A Little Can Go a Long Way

So you created a Facebook page for your business—congrats! But now what? How can you get fans? And more importantly: how can you convert those fans into sales? There are plenty of creative ways to grow your fan count, but lets start with the basics, shall we?

1) Add widgets to your website

Seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised to learn how many companies forget to promote their Facebook page at the most basic level. You can choose from many different widgets, so pick one that works well for your business.

2)Send out an email blast

Have a weekly or monthly newsletter? Great! Add “Like us on Facebook!” to your next issue, helping you gain fans who are, well, already fans.

3) Just tell people about it!

When a customer checks out on your site, ask if they know you’re on Facebook. Add it to your invoices and business cards. Heck, got a company vehicle? Put a “Like us on Facebook!” decal on the back of it. If people already love what you do, a little promotion can go a long way.

Now that you’ve got a decent fan base, how do you turn those fans into sales? You could always try the age-old method of spamming them with “buy our products!” but we recommend the following tactics:

4) Post, and post often

Remember the phrase “If you build it, they will come”? Well, it may have worked swimmingly for brick and mortar stores in the past, but in the world of social networks, it’s simply not an option.

Make posts daily. They don’t have to relate to your business completely. In fact, they typically shouldn’t; nobody likes a spammy, self-promoting business. Post about local happenings, related topics and ask fans questions.

5) Engage, engage, engage

We can’t stress this enough: A Facebook community is a two way street. If a fan asks a question on your wall, answer them. If you ask a question in a post and fans answer, respond.

And make sure to let your personality shine though. A huge part of a successful community is showing fans the voice behind the business. They want to feel closer to you, so let them in.

Have fun with it, and your fans will have fun too. Show your fans you care about what they have to say: this is where the bonds of brand loyalty can be sealed.

6) Run contests

Competitions
A long time ago I had some mugs made up with my eBay ID on them and gave a couple to eBay employees. Everyone on the UK PowerSeller board wanted one of my mugs.... I sold a lot of printers that month.
-Chris Dawson
People love free things. Whether it’s a t-shirt, a dinner or even a sticker, it’s a fact of life. Try some quick, frequent and on-the-fly contests.

Asking fans to post their thoughts or favorites of something and picking a favorite as a winner, awarding them with something small (and branded!) can do wonders for not only inducing brand loyalty, but also growing your fan base.

I just won a t-shirt. Of course I’m going to brag to my friends! Now they want to win one too, and how can they? Become a fan of your page, of course.

Follow the tips

Following these six tips will have you well on your way to increasing brand loyalty between your business and your fans. When fans feel their voices being heard by a company, they can become fiercely loyal, resulting in not only their choosing you over your competitors, but also turning them into your own little brand ambassadors, thus increasing your sales.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get some fans. Happy Facebook-ing!

If you would like to connect with Helen and the rest of the Vendio team you can follow Vendio on twitter or check them out on Facebook!

  • 8 years ago

    I’m struggling a little with my facebook page. I think I’ll do the like us on facebook with my out going e-mails on my website. How do you get the address details for competitions on facebook, do you get enterants to message you there details?

    • 8 years ago

      @Warren

      Unfortunately, you can’t get details for your competitors’ fans on Facebook. However, what you CAN do – and this is extremely powerful – is you CAN target them via Facebook ads.

      Let me know if I can be of any help.

      Best regards, Helen

      @Vendio

  • Terry
    8 years ago

    All sounds good, but im not sure tho, proof is in the pudding so they say, so why has vendios only got 64 people who like them, not gud at all, and these are people who say they are the experts and by the sound of what they say they are…. the figures speak for themselfs

    out of those 64 people you may get a few sales every now and again yes but not much realy, now if you can show us how to get 64 people liking us everyday for the next year, so that would be 23360 liking us in a year then I think you may get some sales worth talking about.

    And yes I am a facebook user and log in about 4 times a day on both my laptop and my mobile phone, so I use facebook a lot.

    • 8 years ago

      @Terry

      Great point! The reason we only have 64 likes on our Facebook fan page is because up until very recently, Vendio hasn’t needed a fan page. Our main source of Facebook activity was on our app page, located here:

      http://www.facebook.com/VendioStores

      Furthermore, from a marketing perspective, Vendio hasn’t focused too much effort on social media. We definitely leverage it to communicate to our customer and answer questions, but we do not actively market via these channels.

      Lastly, I do think it’s quite a bit different marketing B2B (like Vendio) versus B2C. I think that you CAN use Facebook for B2B marketing – but your dollars are better spent elsewhere. B2C marketing, however, is a totally different ballgame. That serves as the impetus for this post.

      Best regards, Helen

    • Old Hand
      8 years ago
  • TheShopkeeper
    8 years ago

    Be very careful with Facebook competitions. Point 6 above is in breach of Facebook rules and regs and I’m surprised it is even included by someone who is a social media expert.

    There are very strict rules which at the moment just about everyone who has a business page on FB ignores, but I’m guessing FB will soon make an example of a business and I’m sure you’d rather it wasn’t yours.

    Details of how you can run a promotion/competition are here:
    http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php

    The most important one is you are not allowed to run a competition or promotion on your wall and get poeple to comment to enter. You have to use an external app for people to enter. And “you must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages.”

    There’s a very good post on what you can and can’t do here:
    http://www.simplyzesty.com/facebook/facebook-competition-rules/

    So, now you’re warned. 🙂

    • 8 years ago

      @TheShopKeeper

      Great point, thank you. I typically recommend that unless you want to use a 3rd party app like Wildfire, to host contest information and details on your blog or website.

  • 8 years ago

    My problem with facebook is that I don’t like Zuckerberg.

    • 8 years ago

      Hi Stefan, I followed the link to your website. Is Squidoo like a social media website? Can you use it much like facebook?

      You can update your The Find badge and become an upfront merchant.

    • Stefan
      8 years ago

      hi,
      Squidoo is more a wiki. You can write your “lens” about something that you are a specialist in. I use it to list feeds and hope for backlinks to get a higher page rank at google. I saw the update at THE FIND but still did not find the time to get into it. Thank you.

    • 8 years ago

      Cheers for the reply, I’ll give Squidoo ago.

    • 8 years ago

      Hi Stefan,
      You have your eBay items on your Squidoo but not your website listings. I’m thinking of writing product reviews on the items I sell on my lenses and as I’ve added my website url, hopefully it should all link back to my website and boost the keywords I’ll be using.

      Chris could you do a post or a guest post about Squidoo please?

    • 8 years ago

      @Stefan

      Well, there’s always Google+ 🙂

    • 8 years ago

      We haven’t got Google+ in the UK yet. How is it going down the US? I read on another forum that on launch Google+ was for invitation only until its full launch. Are businesses opening up Google+ pages much the same as Facebook pages?

    • 8 years ago

      Huh? I’m in the UK and I have a Google+ account. Dunno what to do with it but I have it 😀

      Happy to send anyone an invitation that wants one.

    • 8 years ago

      I thought they weren’t launched yet? How do I get one? Are they some how going to link Google+ with Google+1 results as they are named every similar?

    • 8 years ago

      Warren, check your email – I sent you an invite

    • 8 years ago

      Thank you very much Chris, do you know how to set up a business page like on facebook? When I find out I’ll let everyone know.

    • 8 years ago

      Without being rude I don’t know and I don’t (yet) care. Far too few people on there and actively using it to bother at the moment for me.

    • Stefan
      8 years ago

      I want, I want …
      thank you.
      Stefan

    • Stefan
      8 years ago
  • Old Hand
    8 years ago

    How does the cost-benefit work out? Don’t forget to pay yourself a wage.

    Facebook’s business model is to sell their users info to advertisers, big bucks advertisers not us eBay/Amazon/small website types. Everyone who likes your page will be directed to a competing company spending big advertising bucks. Unless you are very lucky, hardworking and ruthless all the longterm effect of taking advantage of Facebook’s ‘free’ promotion will be to direct your customers to your larger competitors.

    That’s how it works folks.

    This Vendio promoting piece of tips are straight out of the first class of web marketing for dummies available on day one at your local college. It’s all BS and if you can’t work it out for yourself go get a proper job.

    Spam your customers with an email every week, spend an hour writing it and piss some of them off. Spend fifteen minutes a day composing a nice little story to post. Think I’m exaggerating the time taken, I doubt it. Spell check and grammar check everything manually at least twice otherwise you create the impression that you can’t be bothered. And you have to find unique content to write about, that may take some time (you can’t write about the cat every day). Don’t forget to pay yourself wages and take them out of the profits from the additional sales.

    Use some of those profits for reprinting business cards with like us on Facebook added, and PVC stickers for the van (back and both sides).

    Shouldn’t Facebook pay you for advertising them?

    Do something every day and you can’t stop without it having a negative effect. Maybe best not start. Give free stuff away, sure that’s a winner, make it up in volume (/sarcasm). Answer every comment that some idiot writes on your wall, think answering eBay questions is bad, wait till you try this.

    • 8 years ago

      “Shouldn’t Facebook pay you for advertising them?”

      Facebook are one of the most popular websites in the world and there users run into millions, maybe billions. If you play the game right you can reach an extended customer base with no layout at all. Its just finding something that works, but I’ve not found it yet.

    • Old Hand
      8 years ago

      “Facebook are one of the most popular websites in the world and there users run into millions, maybe billions. If you play the game right you can reach an extended customer base with no layout at all. Its just finding something that works, but I’ve not found it yet.”

      Given what you post here you will never find it.

      Facebook run rate is currently around 650 million accounts. Lots of people have multiple accounts, lots of accounts are dormant, lots of accounts in third-world countries.

      Largest demographic on Facebook is 43 year old women, playing Farmville. Facebook makes most of it’s money on commission from virtual goods sold in Zynga games.

      Good luck reaching all those potential customers with no layout at all your time must be worth zero. Never heard of looking before you leap? It really sounds like the second sentence of my third paragraph is something you should take to heart.

    • 8 years ago

      43 year old women playing Farmville buy my products. Take a look at my website as I convert my prices into all major English speaking currencies. Facebook is idea for me and my website. And the fact that it global and I’m aiming for global sales makes Facebook even better.

    • Old Hand
      8 years ago

      “43 year old women playing Farmville buy my products.” Got any stats?

      I saw your website, do you know what karma means?

    • 8 years ago

      The whole idea of forums like these is to gain new ideas. Developing your facebook page is an excellent idea.

    • northumbrian
      8 years ago

      yet again old hand says just about what we were thinking!

      we dont even have a facebook page

  • stuart
    8 years ago

    Warren,

    I would say you have a pretty good range of products that the sort of customers that would buy would be on Facebook a lot.

    Just having a fan page isn’t enough you need to give people a reason to be there, so exclusive offers just on facebook, maybe talking about the reasons behind some of your products…ie what they are used for and why they are good.

    I would suggest next newsletter you send push it in a big way, ,maybe offer a prize for fans on there or something like that?

    Also if your on Facebook then like some of the big companies pages like Asos and see what they do!

    Stu

    • 8 years ago

      Thanks for the advice, I think I’ll do that and see what they are doing.

  • BigPoppa
    8 years ago

    Sales with Facebook as a referrer currently hit about £300 a month, that’s without any effort or spend.

    Simply by having a Facebook page and linking through to our website.

    A shop on Facebook costs £99, and given what we know about our conversion rates etc, I would estimate sales via Facebook to hit in the region of £1000-£1300 per month.

    Add a bit of spend on ads and promotion and a number nearer £2500-£3000 per month would be achieved.

    This is only related to our market and the products we sell.

    • northumbrian
      8 years ago

      is the shop fee is £99 month ? if so thats

      around a 10% fee

      no better than ebay and a lot less turnover!

    • 8 years ago

      I don’t see the piont of a Facebook shop as I link my products from my website to my Facebook page. As spiders crawl Facebook regularly because it is a very popular website and is contantly being updated my its users, its a good place to get spiders crawling your webpages by link building.

      A Facebook shop seems a waste to be as I would rather my webpages rank higher in search results and have website sales instead of Facebook shop sales.

    • BigPoppa
      8 years ago

      No, the £99 is just a setup/design fee by 3rd party companies…all seem to charge £99.

      There will be fees for processing payments but they are in line with elsewhere.

  • Jimmie Li
    8 years ago

    Helen, great article!

    • Old Hand
      8 years ago

      Who do you work for Jimmie? Or is it a more intimate relationship?

  • 8 years ago

    @Helen

    Have you got any advice about Myspace. I was checking my competitors links and their Myspace link was placed very highly by Google. As this was placed highly it must be considered a good link. Have you got any advice for Squidoo as well? Would you suggest I carpet bomb social media as share this buttons are full of different social media companies, although I’d take care not to use link building as black hat tactics.

    • northumbrian
      8 years ago

      warren just pay the ebay fees its easier
      lol

    • Old Hand
      8 years ago

      Warren’s time is free, it’s cheaper.

      LULZ

    • 8 years ago

      Most of the websites in Googles searches for my field of products are really basic and they only seem to be top of the search results because they have been established for a longer period of time than my website. Although I sell on eBay, I think I can sell more profitable via my website. If other websites can do it, I can’t see why I can’t.

    • Stefan
      8 years ago

      page rank at google does not depend on the time.

    • BigPoppa
      8 years ago

      The age of the domain is taken into account with regards to Google Pagerank.

      Another biggy is if the page validates. Google can’t physically “see” your page but it can “test” the HTML for errors, if errors exist then it is very likely that the content isn’t 100%. More errors the lower the quality of the page (in Googles eyes)

    • Stefan
      8 years ago

      yes but there are more significant factors like the age of the domain.

    • Old Hand
      8 years ago

      I can see why you can’t, no understanding of karma.

      ‘Basic’ websites can work well, basically customers want basic information. How many Facebook likes you may have makes zero difference to how a customer perceives your product. (Not that you have any products, you just buy wholesale and attempt to market them).

      I’m surprised you’re from Kent, more like Essex.

    • 8 years ago

      To tell you the truth I have better things to do than argue with a twat.

    • Old Hand
      8 years ago

      Argue?

      Discuss, educate, when people act dumb prod a little.

      Use karma in your brand you should know what it is.

      Go follow Vendio, Facebook, continue to give your pounds to the ugly face of corporatism.

      It is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff but as you yourself have remarked commenters have been most helpful.

      Peace.

    • 8 years ago

      @Warren

      Honestly, I haven’t considered Myspace a viable forum for many years.

      Well ranked links don’t equal a positive ROI. I’d be happy to look at it though – you can send me an email at hfang at corp dot vendio dot com.

      Squidoo is very saturated. I think there are many affiliates who’ve made good money being the “first” to write about a particular topic. If you have a specific niche, that hasn’t been overly covered, it may be worthwhile. A lot of Squidoo is about networking and much of the comments are falsely inflated.

      I know that during the last Panda update, Hubpages was affected. I do not know if Squidoo was affected, but I would be careful of relying too much on a content farm as Google’s last updates have reflected in shift in what they deem to be important, relevant content.

      My opinion is that if you’re going to give someone unique content about a topic – it should be your own website.

      I think you should excel in 1-2 social channels & then apply your learning to others.

      Best, Helen

  • Sinbad
    8 years ago

    Well, I tried out Payvment’s free Facebook store and I’m still waiting for my first sale, even though I have 1000’s of fans on multiple facebook pages. A couple of years ago it was easy to build up fans and direct them towards your store links but now it near impossible, so I’ve directing my energies elsewhere. No one seems to want to part with their cash on facebook.

    • 8 years ago

      @Sinbad

      Vendio built our application a little differently – since our focus is multi-channel, we created the Facebook application to be an extension of your web store. This means that everything in your Vendio store is synched to Facebook – images, descriptions & inventory. I’m not saying you should “set it and forget it”, because I do think that selling on Facebook (as Chris mentioned below) is more than just having a linked store. However, if it’s free & easy, I think it’s worth a try.

      Best, Helen

  • Sinbad
    8 years ago

    Those stores would be great if they worked but I don’t think buyers trust them and they don’t want to part with cash on Facebook.

    The classic is, I get phone calls from a company that wants to sell me a Facebook store. If I can’t even get a sale out of free one why would I pay. I soon told them where to stick it 😀

    • 8 years ago

      I think for a Facebook store to be successful you need a lot more than just a Facebook store.

      You need it integrated with your own website so that you can put items in the cart in one place and they appear in another. You need like buttons so that people can share items with their friends and discuss. You need recommendations so that a friend can suggest an item to you in response to an item you shared with them.

      Enable people to buy anywhere with a social experience and a Facebook store might work. Expect people to go shopping on Facebook and it’ll fail for sure.

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