I originally signed up with Facebook back in September of 2009. I wasn’t in a hurry to engage in social networking because I was already running over a dozen websites and had built quite a few mailing lists since original start back in 1997. By having existing business sites that were already established (not to mention the ones I run for others) I really didn’t see the need to spend a lot of time social networking.
Back in the 1990’s niche forums were very popular (and still are). It was through these forums that I established groups of clients, buyers and networks of business associates. At the foundation of all of this was one of the most effective methods I’ve used over the years to secure new clients, customers and contacts. The method is known as “conversation marketing.” Conversation Marketing is a phrase used to describe the art of “connecting with another through two-way dialog.”
Communication (the effective exchange of thoughts, ideas, concepts and desires) is one of the key factors that ultimately determines whether or not money exchanges hands. Questions and answers flow back and forth in an easy, free-flowing manner until a decision is reached. That decision can be anything from ordering a product or service to setting up a meeting which takes the entire process to the next level.
It was with this in mind that I decided to enter the Facebook arena back in 09’ – using Conversation Marketing method – “Facebook Style.”
If you want to use Conversation Marketing on Facebook successfully, there are certain rules you must follow.
- Know your audience: In my world, 84.5% of my audience exits within the business sector. In other words, companies and organizations are responsible for 84.5% of my company’s income. The rest come from the public sector. The public sector are the individuals who buy my digital publications and software products.
On Facebook, besides your friends and family, you are often unaware of who does what. You can be speaking to a multi-millionaire who looks like a bum and has 15 friends. As is often the case, many business owners will not spend a lot of time posting pictures and comments on Facebook because they have too many other responsibilities and projects they are “tied to.” The busier they are, the more likely they outsource their Facebook and Twitter accounts to others to manage. I personally do the same, having others take care of the friending and following processes to one degree or another. Regardless, you can still make the connection by conversation marketing with the next person in the chain of command.
- Don’t hard-sell anything: Let’s face it, you don’t have the solutions to everyone’s problems. You can, however, meet the needs of a select group, so realize that right up front. “Stay on message” and don’t try to be everything to everyone. If you’re a restaurant owner, don’t get caught up in political conversations. That won’t help your business and may actually hurt you in the long run. Instead, realize that you’re the person who serves the food and wine to the crowd – so let them do the arguing! Communicating with people means taking an interest in who they are and what they’re doing. Very few people actually do this on a consistent basis.
Be memorable for the right reasons.
- Make the Connection: Over the years, my business associates have also become my friends. That’s because I’ve enjoyed connecting with them and getting to know them as people. I’m not saying I send them a card on their birthday or anything like that… but I’ve established a level of trust with them and vica-versa. I have no problems asking them for their opinions on matters where my expertise ends and theirs begins.
- Modestly Promote Yourself: If you’re a star in your niche and you’ve been there for awhile, everything you say relative to your accomplishments may sound like bragging to some (especially your competition). But let’s face it; they’re the competition, they’re probably not going to like what you’re saying regardless. Unless hype is naturally built into your personality type, allowing friends and associates to promote you to others will go a long way towards securing future business through Facebook.
- Adjust and Readjust: Life is full of adjustments and readjustments. Nothing stays the same and everything changes – from the landscape outside your window to the topics that interest people at any given moment. Right now, certain topics are hot. Tomorrow, they may be as cold as a web site design from 1995. Conversation marketing will give you the “pulse” of any topic at a grassroots level in any niche you can think of. Find out what people are or are not interested in… and make your adjustments accordingly.
There is perhaps no greater skill you possibly employ within a social network like Facebook than Conversation Marketing. Author, Ian Lurie, first coined the phrase back in 2006 in his book on the subject – but the topic itself is as old as the topic of marketing itself.
Conversation wins the masses, influences nations, starts or stops wars and generates hordes of followers, friends and customers. Use it correctly within the Facebook forum to reap the benefits in your own life or business.