Simon Pilkington
March 2, 2018

Convert Your Customers Into Social Media Fans

When you convert your customers into social media fans and followers you are building an audience that already adores your brand. Getting a strong foundation to support your content is a critical step in growing your reach on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social network. Find out how!

Do your customers actually like you?

Okay, harsh question. Let’s rephrase that.

Do your customers actually like you on social media?

Transforming your existing customers or site visitors into fans is a no-brainer, but it is often overlooked.

After all, brands tend to become so laser-focused on squeezing money out of their social followers they forget about their existing customers. You know, the people who are already willing to hand over their hard-earned cash.

Oh, and converting those customers to followers is way easier than doing the opposite.

Think about it.

Your existing customers know you. They trust you. They’re familiar with what you’re all about and you’ve already done the hard work of encouraging them to buy from you.

So don’t treat growing your follower counter and bottom line as two separate tasks. Rather feel torn between winning more customers or more social fans, ask yourself… Why not both?

Why You Need to Turn Customers into Fans

There was a time when brands struggled to grow their follower counts and networks were sort of friends-only space.

Times have changed.

Nearly every single person on the planet under the age of 55 follows a brand on social media, including 95% of millennials.

It’s not 2008 anymore. People willingly follow businesses they love and your customers are no exception.

Encouraging customers to like your social page is not only an expectation, but a brilliant way to the sow the seeds of repeat business.

How so? Consider the following

1. The more customers who follow you on Facebook, the more valuable data you gather on your audiences to create lookalike audiences for future Facebook ads.

2. Combined with email and word-of-mouth, your customers are always up-to-date on your latest products and promotions.  

3. By having a direct line of communication with your customers, you can easily pick their brains and offer better service in return.

If nothing else, a small army of customers who like your page is infinitely more valuable than fake likes and random followers. These are the people who are going to buy from you time and time again if given the opportunity.

So how do you go about assembling that army?

Transforming Customers into Fans: A Simple, Step-by-Step Guide

Again, if you already have an established base of customers, you’ve done most of the legwork.

All you need to do is take some small steps to give them that last push to give you that ever-so-precious follow.

Below we’ve broken down the necessary strategies to turn customers into fans on just about any social network. Any combination of these tactics is fair game for brands of any size.

Small brand? No budget? No problem.

Let’s dive right in!

Step 1 – Target Your Website Visitors

Funneling on-site visitors and buyers to your social pages is your best starting point. The good news? Creating paths to your social pages can be done in a snap.

For example, slapping on some follow widgets (like ones from AddThis) to your homepage headers and footers lets your visitors know where else they can get in touch. Here’s a simple and clean example from Greatist:

Another smart strategy is embedding your social feeds directly on-site. This allows you to display the personality behind your brand while also showing that you’re active on social media. Check out how ThinkGeek’s integrates their various feeds on their homepage:

If you’re looking to do the same, here are some quick links for embedding social feeds on your own site:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

On a related note, your social feeds are arguably the best places to snag some fan-created content to show off to your customers. Whether it’s someone using your product or giving you a shoutout, user-generated content is essentially free, authentic advertising.

Check out how Australia’s own Black Milk Clothing uses their Instagram feed to feature their products in action:

And if you’re truly serious about turning visitors into followers, you can actually set a milestone to do that via goals in Google Analytics to see just how many consumers are converting into fans.  You won’t be able to track actual
likes in Analytics, but you can create events for clicks on buttons, and other engagements with your social widgets.

Step 2 – Take a Look at Your Email List

Your opt-in email list is a prime place to turn customers into fans. The beauty of email subscribers is that they can provide invaluable data to influence your future social media campaigns.

Much like integrating follow options on-site, doing so via email is quick and painless.

For starters, you should integrate social media buttons into your newsletter templates and email signatures. Again, it’s all about creating multiple paths that lead to your social pages. Here’s how Headspace does it:

Be sure to mention your social presence as part of your automated email campaigns as well.

Welcoming an opt-in? Saying “thanks” to a customer that made a purchase? Let them know where they can find you on Facebook or Instagram because it’s guaranteed that they’re probably there, too.

This email from Girlfriend shows just how easy it is to turn subscribers and visitors into Instagram followers:

You can squeeze even more out of your email list by entering opt-ins as a custom audience on Facebook. Doing so only takes a couple of minutes, if that.

Exporting and uploading your email list to Facebook effectively allows you to fine-tune your ads based on the demographics of your current customers.

Step 3 – Incentivize Likes (But Be Smart About It)

Although people are more willing than ever to engage with brands via social, don’t expect to attract too many followers without some sort of incentive. For brands, this typically means deals, discounts or some sort of freebie.

However, in the wake of Facebook’s recent algorithm update and best practices of social media in general, brands need to be wary of how they push for likes. Facebook has actively discouraged forms of like-gating for years now and is pushing for “meaningful interactions” with content rather than what could be seen as spam.

Perhaps the most popular forms of incentives are contests and giveaways. Entries via tagging, likes or commenting are still a-okay. Here’s a great example from Instagram: 

And Facebook:

Note that any sort of conversation-based incentives might be even more effective after Facebook’s algorithm update. Posts that encourage back-and-forth interactions are exactly what Facebook wants, as are posts that get people talking (think: “Tell us your most embarrassing story to win”).

Simply put, making promotions, deals and contests exclusive to social channels gives a concrete reason for people to follow you. That’s exactly why Facebook or Instagram-only contests (think: “share and tag to win”) are booming right now.

Speaking of which, rolling out fresh social promotions is a smart move to keep your social contests from growing stale. We’re seeing more and more creative contest formats pop up these days, including selfie contests, create-a-video competitions or promotions which encourage customers to show off your product in the wild.

The takeaway? If you want to get customers to like on Facebook in 2018, you might need to get a bit creative.

Step 5 – Don’t Forget About Marketing in the Real World

Rather than wait around for customers to find you, why not go after them yourself?

Since your customers are most likely already on Facebook, it’s just a matter of getting your band in front of them if they’re already familiar with you.

There is no one-size-fits-all way of tracking down your customers on Facebook, but as mentioned, a custom audience from your existing data is a good start. You can take this a step further by using that customer data to create Lookalike Audiences based on the following factors:

1. Where your customers are located geographically

2. How often they buy from you

3. How much they typically spend

Of course, you also have the option to set up remarketing ads that get directly in front of your previous customers and website visitors. Noted for their high ROI, these ads are powerful because they speak directly to people familiar with your brand instead of people seeing you for the first time.

And actually, you can check out our own in-depth guide to Facebook remarketing if you’re interested in learning more!

Step 5 – Don’t Forget About Marketing in the Real World

Finally, brick-and-mortar businesses should consider how they can market their social channels to customers in-person. Here’s a quick checklist of options that can help you get customers to like your page:

1. Plaster your social handles, hashtags and QR codes on print materials such as packaging and business cards

2. Put that same information on display in your windows or at the checkout counter

3. Encourage staff to ask customers to follow you on social media – you might be surprised by the power of in-person persuasion

4. Offer a small discount (think: $1 off an item or ticket) in exchange for a like

5. Make your shop worthy of sharing – off-the-wall decor and a dedicated place for customers to take pictures with your brand’s hashtag create an awesome, one-of-a-kind experience for shoppers.

How Are You Turning Customers into Followers?

Brands should strive to turn customers into fans at every possible turn, and doing so involves a whole slew of strategies. Whether through it’s Facebook ads, creative contests or the simple art of asking, growing your social following with existing customers represents a long-term goal.

Making it happen is a win-win as you build an audience that’s stoked on your brand and never misses out on what you have to say.

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