Nearly every morning I walk by a house that makes me feel more welcome than all of the other anonymous and generic houses in my neighborhood. Not only is it well decorated, but it sits alone, providing a dividing line between other houses and the cemetery. What makes this house so welcoming isn’t just the location or the decorations, but the fact that the owner goes out of his or her way to greet me.
Not in person, but through the words that they write on the sidewalk in chalk.
I have no clue who lives there, man, woman, child, or all of the above. All I know is that they go out of their way to greet passersby and make them feel welcome. The sidewalk chalk messages vary from time to time, sometimes just a word, like “Smile,” and other times full sentences. Once there was even a hashtag included in the sidewalk message, in true digital age fashion. At times I feel like knocking on the door, but I don’t want to disturb them. But someday I hope to meet whomever lives in that home.
As business owners and folks who manage Facebook business pages, we can learn a lot from this. We study the numbers and stress out over our messaging, looking for the best possible way to draw customers in and get them to engage with us.
And while our customers might connect with us on Facebook and other social platforms in order to show their support, or to get information on specials and deals, that’s not all they want. In fact, if all you give them is business related stuff, they might tune you out. Mix it up. Talk about the other things in life. Here are a few options on things you can talk about on Facebook that your customers might like, and might be enough to draw them in and welcome them:
Everyone talks about the weather, sometimes to praise it, but more often than not, to complain about it. Snow on the way? Ask them to predict how much you’ll get. Gorgeous or horrible weather right now? Have them post pictures on your wall of what’s going on in their neighborhood or yard. Since people are always talking about the weather anyway, why not join the conversation. Or perhaps drive it.
Current Events and Breaking News
More and more, the latest news seems to be breaking on social outlets like Twitter and Facebook. If you see or hear something, why not post it on your business timeline? From the aforementioned weather updates, to stories breaking on a local or global level, you can be the one that keeps people informed. And particularly if you hear of something that is affecting their lives, Simple traffic updates from your neck of the woods might be welcomed by them. You can even dip your toes into the world of entertainment news if it makes sense.
From local and regional sports to what’s happening nationally and internationally, people love talking about sports. From congratulating the local high school team on their big victory, to updates on the World Series or Super Bowl. Knowing your audience and their sports interests an go a long way if you want to help facilitate, and be a part of, that conversation.
Talk about what else is going on in your town or city. You can even talk about other businesses or local events. Not everyone gets the news about what is going on in town, so why not be one more voice to spread the word.
Mmmm. Food. Everyone eats. And if you take a quick look at your Facebook newsfeed, you’ll quickly learn that people love to talk about food and post pictures of food. You eat. So you already have something in common with everyone else on Facebook. A well placed photo, or discussion of where you’re going for lunch might get some interesting conversation going.
Seasons and Holidays
As we move through the calendar, acknowledge the various holidays and seasons that we celebrate, from the popular ones to the obscure; from the sublime to the ridiculous. Take note of Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day in the same way you talk about Thanksgiving or Independence Day. And have your customers share their holiday memories and pictures.
Friends and Family
Let them know how Aunt Gertrude is doing, or provide an update on little Johnny’s band that’s practicing in your garage. Talk about your vacations, birthdays, and the like, and have them share their stories and pictures with you. Make it a family sort of environment. I haven’t talked about him much lately, but Dave Warren from Dave’s Ace Hardware out in Wisconsin does a great job of this sort of thing, as he drives engagement that is often related to his personal life. It has become an important part of his brand, and one reason why his customers love him. In fact, Dave exhibits most of these ideas as he updates his Facebook page.
General Greetings and Encouragement
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a simple, “Good morning,” “How are you doing,” or, “Smile.” People like that. And they might actually respond. Being nice and pleasant and warm on your Facebook wall should come naturally to you, in the same way that you exhibit that when people walk through the doors of your business.
But…but…but…those things aren’t about my business, you say. They won’t help you get your message out or maximize your marketing. Or will they?
Remember, these are the things people talk about. In fact, they talk about them more often than they even think about your business.
Here’s an experiment I want you to try. When you engage with your customers, either over the phone, or in person within the confines of your brick and mortar presence, or wherever you do business, I want you to listen. Really listen. Listen to the conversations you and your employees have with them. Figure out how often the conversation turns to things that have nothing to do with your business.
I think you’ll be surprised at all of the small talk and idle chatter that goes on during your conversations. But we are so intent on getting to the call to action and marketing piece of our speech that we forget about that other stuff. But it’s that “other stuff” that is more important. It’s what makes us human and allows us to connect.
Now go ahead and try some of these things on your Facebook business page. Mix them in and around your updates about your products and services. I’m not asking you to not talk about your business. I’m simply asking you to just make them a part of the overall mix that better reflects the way in which we converse with one another. Don’t be one dimensional, because your customers sure aren’t.
How are you finding ways to provide great information on Facebook, and generally get people to engage with your business?