Yes, Facebook Generates Referrals. How Does Your “Refer-ee” get the Gig?

Referrals on Facebook

Referrals on Facebook

 

“I need help! You got someone good?”

I see it happen every single day. Friends, people in community Facebook groups, posting pleas for help when they need a service provider or are interested in gathering opinions on a choice of products.

Why do people do this?

Well, instead of calling your 15 most insightful friends, or aimlessly Googling unknown business names, isn’t is easier to gain attention of all those people with one post? And people LOVE to help, especially when it is easy. Paste URL or email, submit. Boom. Helped a buddy in need and possibly got my friend some business in under 3 seconds!

Why does it work?

I trust my friends. I trust my business partners. I trust my family. When they respond with a referral, I listen. If they have a quick anecdote of success preceding it, even better.

What happens next?

This is the less considered question. I see referral activity every day on Facebook, rarely do I see a “Who did you go with?”, or “Did you get your problem resolved?” and I’ve NEVER heard someone say “How can I help my friend get the business when I refer them on social media?” Tweet This Well here’s that next step, because understanding the thought process that typically takes a millisecond or two, will help you help them.

Facebook Post on Mac WoesRecently I posted my own woes with a service provider request on Facebook. My Facebook post generated 17 referrals for small business owners in my local area within an hour of my question.Tweet This This time, I decided to remain highly aware of my own thought process as I reviewed responses & ultimately chose one.

My first filter as I looked at the comments:

  1. The trust & relationship currency I had with that friend.
  2. The proximity of the service provider to my home (I found it interesting that this was indicated a few times in the comments, which is helpful, thank you).

Now for the real decision making:

  1. Enter Google. Typed in the name of the person or business.
  2. If they had no website OR LinkedIn profile- off the list.
    If they had only a LinkedIn profile that lacked an image or recent content- off the list.
  3. Who won? The person who was clearly a solid expert in the field, quick concise website home page indicating services, exceptional list of services.

So yes, this is why I advise people to do this for a living, because this happens. As shocking as it may be even to me, when it comes to this stuff, I am like most people!

How can you help your friends get business when you refer them?

1. Tell your business owner friend to make sure their LinkedIn profile is up to date, and when they do, pop THAT url into the Facebook comments section where you are recommending them. Make it easy for the person in need to get right to the point.

2. Tell your business owner friend to update their website, and if they don’t have one, at least get a polished one pager up with relevant, recent experience and testimonials. It’s so easy these days!  Look at sites like Wix, Weebly or Moonfruit.

3. Also keep in mind that for everyone asking for a referral, there are several more in need. It is highly likely that someone else watching the thread also needs that kind of help.  An outsider is much more likely to click to go visit a website or LinkedIn profile than hang onto an unknown person’s name and email address to use at a later date.

Any more thoughts on how to best help a referral get business? Share in the comments!

Timeline is Coming! How to Get Creative…

You may have begun using Facebook timeline on your personal account (love it or hate it?), and noticed that it is coming (preview available) for your brand page.  
Recently I’ve encouraged some clients to hold off on any custom landing page creation due to this change, and sure enough, the default landing page will be no longer.  As of March 30th, you will be pushed to the timeline view.  Custom tabs are still going to be available, but not a default landing page. 
Here is a great read on the impact of Facebook Timeline on your business page from Involver, a great app that allows you to integrate Twitter, YouTube, RSS feeds and more into custom tabs for Facebook.  http://blog.involver.com/2012/03/08/dont-believe-the-skuttlebutt-losing-default-landing-pages-isnt-a-deal-breaker/?_inv_out=4291&_inv_cp=6362723
I have converted mine, so if you’d like to take a look at layout, you can go to www.facebook.com/soaringsolutions.
For those of you ready to make the jump, consider the space you have for your graphic.  For now, I simply took a snapshot of my website.  But there are some great creative ideas, here are some for inspiration->   http://slodive.com/inspiration/showcase/facebook-timeline-brands
Design sizes for those of you giving it a shot on your own:
Facebook timeline header image pixel size: 851 w X 315 h
Facebook profile image pixel size: 125 w X 125 h
Facebook custom tab image pixel size: 112 w X 75 h
If your image is smaller, Facebook will build you a border.  If your image is larger, it will allow you to adjust focused space.
Go play around with this new space to show your personality, voice, message and creativity behind your brand!