Is Facebook just for friends? That’s the question online retailers are asking as they try to figure out how to integrate the world’s largest social network into their social media strategy. After all, with over a billion registered users and 800 million active accounts, there’s a good chance that almost every customer a business has can be found on Facebook.
So how can online retailers like BedBathStore.com build out a Facebook page that offers both social interaction and a clear path to web sales? To answer this question, we took a close look at two similar companies that have found ways of turning customers into Facebook friends.
ARQ Curtains – Engagement and a Soft Sell
ARQ Curtains is Philippines-based curtain retailer with 27 locations and a seriously engaging Facebook presence. What ARQ seems to understand, and it’s something not every retailer gets, is that Facebook just hasn’t evolved into a retail marketplace. Businesses that find success on Facebook are the ones that are actually engaging with their customers.
Remember, engaging content doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. ARQ, for example, recently put up a post asking customers/Facebook friends if they wanted the store to run additional sales in the month of November. It may not sound like much, but the post generated 19 comments.
That means 19 of their customers took time to offer feedback to ARQ on their own time, from their personal Facebook accounts. ARQ can also rest assured knowing that those 19 customers have a positive image of the company. And when that second sale rolls around, these folks are going to feel a bit of ownership over it that’s certain to drive sales.
Marburn Curtains – Taking Engagement Up a Notch
Marburn Curtains, a Long Island, New York-based retailer, takes social engagement up a notch by interacting on a more personal level with their customers.
Besides posting plenty of pictures of their product lines (with live links of course), Marburn’s Facebook is packed with plenty of fun and funny posts like you might find on a personal Facebook page.
One post simply reads, “Are you traveling anywhere for the holidays?” Several users posted answers and Marburn’s social media coordinator engages these folks in a back and forth discussion. This is a critical aspect of social media that many retailers simply don’t understand. Social media is not a static enterprise; it’s an ongoing relationship and needs to be treated as such.
Businesses that put up Facebook posts need to follow up on those Facebook posts. That commitment to a social media strategy also means putting up posts on a regular basis, even if customers aren’t responding. The last thing a retailer wants is for customers to stumble across a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in six months.
Facebook offers retailers an unprecedented opportunity to become part of their customers’ everyday lives. Businesses can honor this chance to drive sales through a personal connection by offering a steady flow of engaging, conversational content in just the ways ARQ and Marburn have done so effectively.