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What value does Facebook have for your business?

By John Lorince

When you think of Facebook, do you think of it as a social media site where people post photos of children or grandchildren? Consider this experience we recently had at Leff Electric.

One day our phones were down, but we didn’t know it right away. We were alerted to the problem by a customer’s posting on Facebook stating they couldn’t get through.

We were quickly able to post a response saying that we were aware of the problem and were addressing it. We were able to engage with this person in real time and let them know how they could still get through to us via e-mail.

We took that problem and made it an opportunity to show how we interact with customers to resolve an issue. People appreciated that we showed we were on top of it and provided real customer service.

But what about Facebook as a sales tool? Some say trying to sell to people on Facebook is like trying to sell to them while they’re hanging out with their friends.

Could be, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a presence and interact with your customer base on Facebook. As an electrical distributor, you can use that page to promote new products or industry trends. It’s a great tool for that. But don’t think people are going to go there to buy pipe or wire—that’s not going to happen.

Social media is but one part of your overall sales and marketing plan that can add value. But never forget that your website is your main online presence. That’s where you want customers to go. You can drive them there by doing things creatively to provide Facebook content and industry-relevant stories and blogs. Provide a link to your company web site on Facebook and it can drive business to it.

Be sure to follow blogs or other websites that have interesting industry-related information. Post the links to these articles on your Facebook page for your customers to read, along with a related product link back to your company’s web site.

When you get new followers who like your company’s Facebook page, keep them engaged by responding immediately to them and the comments they post. Don’t wait until the next day. You need to be aware and monitor your Facebook account to know what people are saying or doing.

Don’t be discouraged if not all of your customers respond. In general, our industry is slower to adapt than others. There will always be some who don’t have or want to have a Facebook account. But when you can show customers how social media can help them, then it will appeal to them. Show how it can benefit them.

Remember that these days people are going to make comments about your company. If someone has a bad experience with your company, they can go on their web site or Facebook page and make a comment about you and your business. That is why you need to be monitoring these social media sites.

Whatever approach you take, you have to stay on top of these new social media trends. That’s the only way to figure out what platform will work best for your company. Don’t wait until your competitor has figured it out ahead of you.

Remember that the social media pages—Facebook, Twitter, etc.—cost nothing to establish. All it costs you is time. So be sure to get a good ROT: return on your time.

John Lorince is the marketing manager at Leff Electric, a wholesale electrical supply distributor headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Contact him at jlorince@leffelectric.com

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