‘Likes’ don’t make profits, sales do.

Everyone is on Facebook. EVERYONE. At least that’s how it seems to businesses and retailers. Fighting for likes, sharing their products, commenting on posts. My family and friends are always sharing items with me, telling me to ‘LIKE’ pages but one thing is becoming abundantly clear in the online retail war. ‘Likes’ don’t make profits?

Facebook is a great promotional tool, allowing people to spread the word all over the world within seconds but how good is it as a sales tool. People don’t visit Facebook with the intention of buying anything. They are there to learn, to interact and to see what they can get from you.

Facebook should be used to build an audience, not sell to them. That comes later after you have obtained their contact details. You can then craft more targeted messages to direct your fans towards buying your product or using your service.

Facebook is a great way to research your market and start conversations. It can help you get to know your customers and establish relationships. But let’s remember that, just like traditional media, you need to work at it. It’s not enough to post interesting pictures, you need to provoke a response. Make it fun, make it relevant, tell a story, but above all promote interaction. It is this interaction, sharing of knowledge and problem solving that could turn a passive facebook user into a loyal customer. Take a look at what your prospective customers are looking at. Comment on their posts. Answer their questions. Create the impression that you are the answer to their problems, needs and desires.

Connecting with people, building relationships and engaging in conversation is what social media is all about. Facebook may not be the the sales tool you thought it was and may not be the ideal place for your latest sales initiative, but you should consider it as part of your daily lead generation routine regardless of what type of business you run.

Some brands are spending a lot of time and energy on Facebook, which is perhaps justifiable simply because of the the size and reach of the network. If you keep the mindset of creating leads rather than sales then Facebook can become a great asset to your business and your customers. It can ultimately turn you from a pushy salesperson into a friend with a specific solution to their needs or desires.

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