Lessons from Generosity

By Chuck Sink | January 27, 2012

A case study in exponential Facebook Business Page growth

By Chuck Sink

There is a local furniture retailer with three stores located within a 50 mile radius of each other. This family business has been successful over the years using tried and true bedadvertising and discount promotions to drive store traffic. They are known throughout the region as having among the best personalized customer service in the business. Their quality and service reputation in their market is enviable on a national level and that alone will assure them continued success.

It took the company about two years to garner 210 likes to its Facebook Business Page. That’s pretty typical for a small business with a marketing director wearing many other hats. When social media entered the marketing scene, the marketing director kept his eye on it and, being prudent, started a Facebook page for the business but didn’t jump in with both feet – this to his credit. His time is better spent running various store operations and keeping the overall marketing efforts going.

Keeping an eye on this Facebook page myself, I noticed its growth was slow and it wasn’t getting much page interaction at all. Most of the wall posts were based on the current promotion they were running. Stuff like: “Come in to any of our three stores to save on sofa -loveseat sets during our 30% off sale!” That type of post seems common sense for just about any retailer with a Facebook page. There is nothing really wrong with it. However, it gives Facebook users no incentive to Like the page or share the message. It’s okay that current Facebook Likes see it and are made aware of the sale but the only real value would be if someone seeing it on Facebook was in the market for that very product at that very moment.

The 4 Steps of Social Media Marketing Success

The company decided they needed a lot more than 210 Likes to use the medium more effectively so they hired me to manage their Facebook page. The first order of business is to grow the audience. The second is to get them to interact with the page, the third is to encourage them to share the message and the fourth and most important, to convert Likes into customers and referrals. Make note of this!

We set out to double the Likes fast so the company offered a contest: Give away a recliner chair every week for a month to one Facebook friend just for Liking the page. A random drawing chose a winner and it was announced on the Wall. A web/social media design specialist helped design a custom Facebook Landing Page within a third party app to kick off the contest. It worked. We got up to 515 likes in 4 weeks and page interactions – guest posts andHarris FB comments – increased 1,700%! Two years to 210 Likes, less than a month to more than double it. People started buzzing about this generous giveaway contest.

Now that we had a decent base of over 500 Likes it was time to leverage our audience. What’s the best way to do that? Offer them something valuable and be generous about it! Why would someone on Facebook share a business’s message on their own wall? Because there’s something in it for them or their friends.

The marketing director decided to give away a queen mattress set to one Facebook Like drawn randomly. This is where viral power can help you grow a Facebook page following exponentially.

So we created a contest entitled “Sweet dreams are on us…” The deal was that one Facebook Like would be given the mattress set if chosen from a random drawing. Guess what happened? It went viral. In the first day we shot up from 519 Likes to over 3,000. Two weeks later we eclipsed 21,000 Likes and over 25,000 page shares with a total potential reach (friends of friends) of over 6 million people. One simple giveaway has propelled this retailer into the social media stratosphere. They would have to spend many thousands of dollars in traditional advertising to get anywhere near that reach.

With Facebook, it’s people CHOOSING to interact and share the store’s message! Now we control the frequency of the message with a minimum of 21,000 seeing each wall post. People are asking the price of the mattress set (a buying signal) and calling the store. Foot traffic and mattress sales have significantly increased immediately following the contest.

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This client was willing to step up and offer to give away a little piece of their stock in trade. What are you willing to offer your Facebook community to entice them to share your message?

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