Four ways to turn Facebook fans into evangelists.

What’s the difference between a prospect, a fan and and an absolute rabid evangelist in Facebook?  And why should you care?

More and more B2B firms are using Facebook to engage users, both through outbound promotions, advertising and newsletters, and as a complement to other sales and CRM channels.  Here’s an at-a-glance infographic that smartly delineates how Facebook users range from potential fans on up to what they consider “Super Fans” – or as you may consider them, Brand Evangelists who not only give you permission to directly interact with them, but spread the word among their own various clusters and circles.

That makes them incredibly valuable to you, and that’s why reaching and converting them must be a key strength of any social marketing effort a business might attempt…efforts that should follow these four “best practices”:

Don’t “Carpet Bomb” – Engage!

Once you’ve identified potential “heavy users” who can be converted into “Evangelists,” your social marketing platform needs to target them with ads and offers that are truly relevant to them.

Many Facebook marketers are good at generating static that actually gets in the way of building real relationships with users.  By “carpet bombing” the social Web with low-end offers to drive Likes, they may capture casual users…but that does nothing to engage and convert true evangelists and loyalists.  In some cases, it might even drive those users off.

So make sure to target users with engagement ads that can include offers or calls-to-action that speak to their specific needs.  Engagement ads drive promote links within Facebook — such as your own page – to users you’ve identified based on the sorting and targeting tools Facebook itself provides.  “Like” links embedded in the ads let those users easily pull your updates into their own News Feed.

Remember to include a strong call to action that resonates with your targeted user, and you’ll be engaging truly-interested users who you can turn into potential evangelists before you know it.

Other hints?  Use a photograph, ideally of real people.  That works far better in the social milieu of Facebook than a logo ever will.  And measure performance using your tracking tools, so you can make on-the-fly adjustments based on which ads or offers are pulling best!

RELEVANT contests build qualified contacts!

Using your social marketing platform to promote contests on Facebook is an excellent strategy for generating viral and word-of-mouth advertising among fans, and ladder them from “prospects” on up to “enangelists.”

Each time you launch a contest to your fans, you’re creating a viral opportunity.  Just give them means to “Share” the experience with their “Friends”…but to get them to follow through on that and network qualified leads, you’ve got to provide the right incentive.

Think hard about what’s going to drive real engagement and virality with “Absolute Evangelists” – not just casual fans.  What kind of prize is going to appeal most resonantly and directly to your particular audience?

Awarding cash, for example, is a great draw – but if you’re in the business of marketing a specific widget, wouldn’t it make more sense to award a prize that’s specific to the interests of your niche widget user, rather than a prize that’ll draw mobs of users who’ll likely never engage with your brand again?  Casual users who may Share your program with equally casual entrants who aren’t really interested in what you’ve got to sell?

When you try to follow up with casual users who were only attracted to your contest for the sake of the winning something – rather than having a real interest in your category or brand – you’ll find it’s tough to mine evangelists and loyalists out of that pool of entrants.

Land them upon landing.

Facebook marketers typically can create their own landing pages for each social media promotion.  You may already have a welcome tab – a landing page for users who haven’t yet Liked  your product or service.

You need to embed a call-to-action on that page that provides incentive for them to “Like” you.  Use compelling copy, a special offer, a video, valuable content or whatever it takes to get htem to engage with you more directly.

Calls-to-action create engagement.

Brassy salesmanship doesn’t work on Facebook.  What does work are targeted, compelling and relevant reasons to engage, usually offering content that’s perceived as valuable or resonant.

Short, clickable calls-to-action are a good place to start.  “Click here!” to get to a blog post, a white paper, a video, an infographic.  All of it offering engaging value that build affinity with users, and steers them into your sales funnel.

Does all of the above seem ridiculously simple?  Yes…because a little common sense and practice, it simply is.

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