Wednesday June 13, 2012 | 4 comments
In a previous post, I talked about the power of LinkedIn for growing your tea business, so in this post I thought I would talk about Facebook. I want to share two Facebook approaches that have been especially successful for me and my business.
Facebook Fan Page
Many tea businesses have a Facebook fan page – some have been executed well and some not so well. Let me explain. Wouldn’t it be annoying if every day you received a flyer through your letter box trying to sell you tea? Would you ever go to a party, stand on a chair, and say “Hey! I have a tea store, come buy my tea!” How about receiving a phone call every day from a tea store letting you know that you can get a 10% discount if you buy their tea today? And yet this is what a lot of posts on Facebook pages are like. We as humans don’t like to be sold to – and especially with social media. If businesses continue to shout, promote, and sell, eventually their fans will equate this with white noise and switch off. Your Facebook page is about building communi-tea; it’s about solving customers’ problems; it’s about building value for your customers. Selling should only constitute a small percentage of your posts on Facebook. Rather than sell sell sell, why not share share share? Invite your fans to ask tea-related questions (this will help to solve your customers’ problems); share interesting articles about tea (not just your own, but blog posts by other tea folk); and help your fans to get to know you better by sharing articles of interest that are not just about tea.
On my Facebook page, you’ll see all that as well as announcements about my Tea Note Speaking gigs; articles about places that serve loose-leaf tea (incidentally, I am firmly of the belief that there is no competition, merely collaboration); funny quotes that have been shared by my Facebook friends (to which I always give credit); and questions from my fans so that there is two-way communication. As I have always been very open on my Facebook page and with everyone I meet face to face, people often share tea-related pictures or articles on my Facebook page too. My Facebook page has opened up many opportuni-teas for me, and not just selling tea. Other tea businesses have requested my consultancy services to further their business and my fans have come to think of me as the go-to girl in all things tea, which helps to build and raise my business profile.
Similar to LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups are a great way to learn from tea specialists; answer other people’s questions; and, on occasion (when deemed appropriate), promote your business. Unfortunately, some of the tea groups are beginning to sound like white noise, but if you look carefully there are some great groups with interesting discussions and information to share.
In addition to tea groups, there are business groups too. After attending a Facebook course, I discovered the power of Facebook groups and created the Queensland Business group to connect with other business owners, give business owners a forum to ask questions, share content, and find collaborative opportuni-teas. There are now over 1,200 members supporting each other. What does that mean for me? Well, the group has given me many Tea Note Speaking opportuni-teas. It also raises awareness about MayKing Tea and reaches out to a network that I wouldn’t have been able to reach out to just by using my Facebook fan page. Business owners have thanked me for creating the group, which means they like what I’m doing and maybe in time will like my tea business too.
Remember – if people like you, they are more likely to buy from you and talk about you. And if they talk about you, they will help raise awareness of your business. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing for you and your business and you can use Facebook to help spread the word about your business through the art of sharing – not selling.