How to turn Facebook Likes into sales

Your business's Facebook page might have a huge following, but it’s easy to just click the 'Like' button and never take things any further. It’s great to have an engaged social following, but it’s even better when this translates to real-world sales and customer loyalty. We decided to take a closer look at two of our Virgin StartUp-funded businesses who are acing it on Facebook to see what makes them so successful – Designer Bear Boutique and Zara Cakes.

Designer Bear Boutique create unique keepsake bears and blankets from fabrics such as baby clothes, wedding clothes, or any other fabrics that are special to the customer. Zara Cakes create imaginative cakes and cupcakes for every occasion. Both have enviably engaged Facebook fanbases and see a lot of sales through social media. Here are the things they do to turn their online presence into real-life pounds.

Showcase your products

It’s important to showcase the best examples of your products, and what you’ve created recently. Both Zara Cakes and Designer Bear Boutique share photos of their finished products, which get lots of likes and encourage people to get in touch with their own orders. By making it easy to demonstrate what your business offers, potential customers can easily see whether it’s for them, or bear you in mind for the future. However…

…don’t make it all about you

If your page is just you giving the hard sell, people will lose interest or get annoyed. Remember why people use Facebook – to connect with friends and family, to keep in touch, as a fun platform. People don’t use Facebook to be sold to. Those who like your page do it because they’re interested in your product, and because your page has content that provides value to them – whether that’s because it’s entertaining or useful. Share interesting things you come across, support other businesses, and mix things up.

A personal touch

Both Zara Cakes and Designer Bear Boutique's Facebook pages work so well because their personalities shine through. Whether that’s sharing a photo of the staff, showing what goes on behind the scenes, sharing an anecdote or more, a Facebook page is a great way to show the people behind the business and display how genuine you are. It’s also a great way to chat and interact with your customers as they comment on your wall or ask for more details.

Encourage positive reviews – and deal with bad ones the right way

Happy customers are brilliant, and happy customers that share their happiness through leaving you positive reviews for everyone to see are even better. But if a customer does have a negative experience and leaves you a review that’s less-than-glowing, make sure you deal with the feedback the right way rather than deleting the comment. Nobody likes criticism, but ensure you remain polite and find out what went wrong, apologise to the unhappy customer, and demonstrate to others that you’ve taken the points on board. This shows that your customer service is tip-top across all platforms.

Competitions

A great way to keep your customers engaged and to reward their loyalty is to run Facebook competitions, whether it’s for a gift voucher, a free product, or anything else you like. It can be a way to drum up interest in your product, a way to get more Likes (if you require that they Like your page to be eligible), and a way to get your product in front of more people if you require entrants to share an image or post to their own page.

Be smart with advertising

Promoting your Facebook page can get you many Likes – but just how valuable are these Likes? If you’re not targeting the right regions or people, you could be throwing money down the drain, such as by asking those in the US to Like your page when you only ship to one region of England. Designer Bear Boutique, for example, prefer boosting individual posts where they showcase new items, as these items are what get them new business.  Think about your target audience, and how you can best grab their attention.

Check out the Facebook pages for Zara Cakes and Designer Bear Boutique here and here.

Get the Virgin StartUp Business plan