The following excerpt, from the article 8 Creative Ways to Connect With Customers on Facebook, was written by Scott Gerber, founder of Young Entrepreneur Council, and published on Mashable.com. Below, we've chosen four suggestions that we think are most feasible for college stores to adopt, and even provided our own insight on how to do so. Check out the full article for four more ideas you could use.
Facebook is a not-so-secret secret weapon for promoting your business. That being said, a lot of companies don't take full advantage of what this social media platform has to offer when it comes to making deep, lasting connections with their customers. Ads and pleas to "like this" simply don't quite cut it.
That's why we asked entrepreneurs to weigh in on how to best use Facebook to your company's advantage. Here's what they said:
1. Put Other People in the Spotlight
On the MySocialCloud Facebook page, we try to cross-promote with our partners and highlight our customers a lot. For example, we partnered with a company called Free Bike Project that has students ride bikes around its campuses with our advertisements on the sides of the bikes. We then ask the students to take pictures of themselves with the bikes, and we post the pictures on our Facebook page. We've found when we put other people and their friends in the spotlight (rather than our brand or ourselves), people get more excited about our company and engage with us more on social media. - Stacey Ferreira, MySocialCloud
College Stores Could: Feature students and/or faculty members as a Fan of the Week on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Pinterest page. You could pull candidates from your existing fan base or ask your student employees for nominations. Then, post the selected individual's picture as well as their responses to some generic questions on your page. The University Book Store at University of Wisconsin takes this a step further by allowing their student "Model of the Month" to select a favorite store item and donate a portion of each item purchased to a charity of their choosing!
2. Interact in a Private Facebook Community
We invite our customers into a private community on Facebook where they can interact with us and one another, share war stories and where they can turn for support. It's an amazing way to help them see us as a conduit for them as a united front of crusaders. - Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
College Stores Could: Create a private community dedicated to assisting the incoming class. Ask your student employees to manage the page by posting tips, facts and fun ideas surrounding the campus community and have them encourage freshmen to ask questions in the dedicated forum. This not only opens the lines of communication between your store and the students, but also begins building loyalty; that way you'll be seen as a resource, rather than a revenue-driven business!
3. Post Video Updates
It's proven that video posts on Facebook highly increase the chance of user comments, shares and "likes." Create a weekly company update keeping your customers in the loop on new products, employees, goals, etc. Remember, talk about your company and product as well as the category you are in. Your customers want to see you as the expert in the industry, and they will continue to come back if you have great advice! - Torrey Tayenaka, Sparkhouse
College Stores Could: The possibilities here are endless. One approach is to create a funny video that presents your products and services in a light that students will respond to. For instance, UC Davis Stores put this hilarious spin on their Tech Repair Service. Or, make an educational series that answers students' questions, such as Bronco Bookstore's FAQ videos. Don't have the resources to create a video? That's ok, too. We're starting to include videos as part of the promotional materials available in our Monthly Marketing Plans. For instance, use our free Price Comparison video to advertise the service that you offer students.
4. Post Unrelated Content
The main purpose of a Facebook page is to communicate company information to customers. However, there’s no reason we can’t make it fun. Posting pictures or videos that have nothing to do with the company tells me a little more about my customers than another promo. Also, it shows the lighter side of the company, which helps customers feel a closer connection to us.
Lots of companies have Facebook pages that offer no real value to those who follow them. Nobody wants to hear about business all the time. They want to be entertained and engaged, and they want to be a part of the companies they follow. What better way than to post content that appeals directly to them? They’ll have some fun while strengthening their ties to the company, which is the entire point of social media.- Jay Wu, Best Drug Rehabilitation
College Stores Could: This part should be fun! Just post what you think your target audience would find entertaining or newsworthy. Think Caption Contests, amusing pictures, trivia questions and more. Need help? Who better to ask than your student employees?! Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, too. It's easy to track down images and articles for sharing throughout the site. If you're under a time crunch, check out our page for ideas; we have an entire board dedicated to items you can share with students!