As social media and social networking become an intrinsic part of contemporary lifestyles, some sort of presence on these platforms today has become equivalent to one’s very existence, be it a person, business or brand.
Today, if you’re not on Facebook, it’s like you don’t exist (well almost)! Using Facebook to engage customer interest is quick, easy and it could be free which is why Facebook is “the place” to be for businesses and brands; both big and small.
The best thing about using Facebook to promote anything is that you can create a Facebook page for a business, group or causes. Fill up some information and a few clicks later your page will be up and running in no time at all. Once you set it up, the first logical step to take is to let people know you have a Facebook page.
Here are 6 creative ways I’ve seen SME’s (small and medium enterprises) use Facebook pages to engage customers -
Connecting with a Photo Album
The most successful promotional campaigns are not the ones featuring perfect people like models and celebrities but they are in fact those that feature real people and even talk about real problems. An interesting way to “connect” with your customers on Facebook is by creating a photo album featuring your customers using or consuming your products.
MORA by Ritika, a venture by Ritika Mittal uses this method to engage customers. MORA by Ritika is a celebration of traditional weaves of the North East and Ritika’s album features many of her customers in a MORA sari, stole or skirts. Each photo has a caption naming the wearer. Who needs professional models anymore?
Feedback and Involvement All At Once
Anek Designs, a Pune based venture by Kanika Bahl, a textile designer who creates home décor products, jewllery and knick knacks from fabric, uses Facebook to showcase finished products like any other business. What interests me is Kanika’s use of her Facebook page to display work-in-progress items and seek feedback from customers. A picture of a handcrafted necklace Kanika made some time back posted to her wall drew responses from people about colors that she could use to turn the necklace around. This is a great way to get customers involved in product design and development and get a feel of customer response.
Looking for a brand name? Can’t afford a brand consultant? You don’t really need one. Here’s an example: The Hijab Design Studio, a Pune based business run by Mifrah Abid was looking for a brand name. They decided to float a contest asking people to suggest names for their venture. Entries poured in from everywhere, family, friends and relatives participated, coming up with names supplemented by meanings if the name was an Arabic or Urdu name. Most people including me took part out of affection for the founders and also for the sheer fun of it. Once they got a number of names, they shortlisted about 3-4 and got people to vote. Getting people to vote was another way of keeping them involved and engaged in this collaborative branding effort while keeping the process transparent.
Art by Customers
The WOW(Women on Wanderlust) Club, a venture devoted to travel options for the discerning woman traveler run by Sumitra Senapaty engages customers in an altogether unique way. Being a travel company Sumitra regularly posts pictures of exotic locales as postcards from across the globe but what really caught my attention was her posting pictures of paintings by WOW travelers. A series of watercolor paintings by WOW travelers not only projects an artist’s view of the place she visited but also provides a platform for her art which works to a dual advantage. For the WOW club, a CRM endeavor and for the artist, exposure!
Posting Trivia & Questions
Posting trivia and questions is a great way of adding to customer knowledge while keeping them engaged.
Vijaya Pastala, the dynamo behind “The Hive”, UTMT’s community based bee-keeping endeavor uses this method very effectively. She keeps posting questions about bees and various types of honey and offers a free bottle of honey to the first correct respondent, to get lots of people participating, commenting and getting involved. What you can do…
- Post a question every week
- Post some trivia or facts every day
- Post a picture and ask people to identify what’s in it
- Post a how-to-tip
- Start a poll
- Post a Quiz
Get People to Talk and Reward Them for It
Everyone loves a story, a game and a prize. Not necessarily in that order but getting people to talk by airing their views, pitching ideas or telling a story in return for a reward always works.
Here is an example of how Nihar Mehta, the head frog at Tribal Route, a Mumbai based venture dedicated to Indian art and craft got people to talk and win with this wall post…
“With a few days to 2012, is there a ‘To do’ list for 2012 that you have set yourself on, or thought about, or a hobby you want to pursue, or a place you want to visit, or something you would like to change about yourself, or the world around you? The top three posts with the maximum likes, with a minimum of 10 likes, are entitled to a Gift voucher from Tribal Route. Contest closes 02.01.2012! Cheers!”
What a great way to get people talking, gift vouchers moving and people streaming in to your store! Business really can be as simple as you want it to be. Building visibility through social media platforms like Facebook is fast, easy and has a wide reach.
The challenge, however, is to keep boredom out while respecting privacy. While Facebook is a great place to be and experiment with your promotional endeavors, you need to guard against trying too hard and keep away from too much of an “in your face approach”. Happy Facebooking!
Image courtesy Basketman-Freedigital photos