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!

New Standards for Stakeholder Communications with Social Media

Even before the days of social media (dreadful times…)  I remember receiving quarterly reports for a corporation I worked for or held stock in.  Often times having part in their creation, I still had no desire to sit and read through all the boring details, especially if next to me sat a periodical of like size called “Runner’s World” or “Wired” (yep, it actually started in 1993, when we were a bit less wired).

Why the nostalgia?  Today I enjoyed how LinkedIn accompanied the release of it’s quarterly financial results.  An executive summary, key stats, in an interactive forum.  That forum was Twitter.

Considering the technographics of your audience, what are your emerging leaders, the future C levels of your organization, and other stakeholders going to tend toward to gather these stats?  A mailed document, a PDF download, a press release? Or the social network of their choice?

Sure there are regulations and varied ranges of audience to consider in such financial reporting, but also consider how you can get creative to communicate with people where they already are.  Many businesses are working their strategic plans for the coming year right now.  Great time to include your CFO and Financial team in your communications and social media strategy! 

So Many Social Media Tools, What Do I Use?

With so many third party applications out on the market to support your social media implementation, how does one decide?  Listen in to this super fun BlogTalkRadio show I did with Marnie Swedberg. We discussed several apps, experiences with them, and the very important surrounding etiquette.  Applications include TweetDeck, Hootsuite, SocialOomph, Ping.fm and TweetAdder!

I hope this help to support your decision making process.

Listen to internet radio with Marnies Friends on Blog Talk Radio

Social Networking: Are You Collecting or Connecting?

When you network with people, are you collecting or connecting?  It sounds kind of strange, thinking about people in this way doesn’t it?  Almost creepy…  This is something using social media without employing the rules of engagement has relegated us to.  A bunch of clicks on a Facebook Like , Twitter Follow or LinkedIn Accept button.  What is the value of that click to you?  And are you fully aware that there is a human being on the other side of that action?

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Tsufit, an entertainer, entrepreneurial coach and author of “Step into the Spotlight: A Guide to Getting Noticed”, writes in her book; “Fan collecting is an art.  Fans don’t want to feel like they’re being collected.  They have to feel that they’ve had a genuine connection with you.”*

At the most basic level, I always advise clients to interact on social media just as they would in real life.  Tsufit’s comment is about networking in person, on how to genuinely work a room to make connections with people that ultimately turn into business relationships.  This rule can, and should, be applied as a lesson in social media just the same. 

 Consider the direct message in Twitter (for those not familiar, this is the 140 character private inbox of Twitter), which has become automated to a fault (in my opinion).  Would you say the same thing to everyone you met at a networking event?  “Hi Firstname! Great to connect here, go to my Facebook page and be my next fan!  I’ll send you my free e-book!”  then turn around and say this to the next person?  As a visual thinker, I’m kind of cracking myself up, picturing this robotic networker who says this to everyone at the networking event, the cab driver, the check out person at the grocery store, and the neighbor’s dog as he/she returns home.   Would you hire this person?  If this is how they interact with every person of varied professional focus and disposition, might this automation be applied to their products and services as well?  Everyone wants a personal touch, to know they’ve truly been seen and heard, and that as a service provider you understand their unique business challenges, short and long term goals and offer them a solution catered to their industry, business mission, branding and budget.

Really think about how you can make authentic connections with people, because that is what generates valued business relationships as well.  “Know, like, and trust”: build relationships, build business.

So next time you interact on social media, ask yourself; would I do this at a networking event?  Would I say this at a trade show, conference or seminar?  If not, think again before you make that next keystroke.  Get connecting and start soaring! 

*Note, this is not an affiliate link, simply an amazing read that any entrepreneur should add to their collection (bad pun intended).

 

 

Facebook Removes Suggest to Friends- How Will We Grow!

As you know, Facebook pretty much runs the world now, and they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, without notifying users, nor caring how user friendly or intuitive their user interface may be when changed abruptly. That said, it still is a fantastic platform for business, and well, they will continue to have many of us on that leash, because frankly if done right, it works. A great option in building a business page following, historically, was the ‘Suggest to Friends’ option, as seen to the left.


This is something I always tell clients new to Facebook or growing a business page to use on a weekly basis as they add friends to their personal page, in order to use their personal connections as a portal to growth for their business page, as relevant of course.

Those of you using this function may have noticed it acting a bit odd lately.  Something like the grey bar below, where you normally would see the thumbnails of each of your friends.  They first announced this as a holding pattern while a bug was fixed.  Per this article:  http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/01/21/suggest-to-friend-bug/

However, the end result is that this functionality for the non-admin user has actually been removed, as discussed here: http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/01/28/removal-suggest-friends-pages/

Page admins, do not fret- as a page creator you still have access to this function, and should continue to use it as a fan building mechanism to boost your business page.

What you can no longer do is say to your friend with 1300 Facebook friends “Hey buddy, will you help support my business growth and suggest my business page to your expansive group of friends?”  Well, you can still say this, but your friend can no longer help you in this way.    Or can they…?

If you trust this friend, absolutely and unconditionally, both before and after cocktails, there is an option.  First ask yourself- would I give this person my debit card pin code?  If this answer is yes, consider this possibility…  Perhaps if just for a day, you make them an Admin of your business page.  (You trust them, right?)  If someone is an admin of your page, they can still help you and suggest their Facebook friends become a fan of your page.

So this is the workaround solution, one not to be considered lightly.  One I don’t like to recommend for privacy sake, but some of you have very influential friends with strong networks, yet a simple ‘share’ is not going to have the impact of a ‘suggest’.   People can still “share” your comments to their following, and this is still a good engagement factor to shoot for in your interactions and it can facilitate viral growth as well as boost search engine optimization (SEO).  However, it is a much slower step toward growth and is not going to have the potential exposure of a “suggest”. The “share” can sneak past one’s view in a full newsfeed, while a “suggest” will remain in someone’s queue for an action to be taken. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So perhaps you make your highly connected friends or family members an admin, temporarily, so that they can suggest your business page to their friends.  Just don’t forget to remove them once the action is taken!

Go forth and grow!