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Use These Strategies to Engage Your Facebook Fans Check out these expert sales engagement tips.

By Kim Walsh Phillips

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In their book No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing, business coach and consultant Dan S. Kennedy and marketing strategist Kim Walsh-Phillips show you how to use direct response marketing principles on a variety of social media platforms to drive real results and profit. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer tips to help you keep your Facebook fans interested and coming back for more before you hit them up for a sale.

After a first date, 99.99% of couples are not ready to get married. That's because most people need to date for a while to build trust, develop a strong connection, and make sure the other person isn't a complete psychopath.

The same goes with nurturing your relationship with new leads from Facebook. They just met you, and the majority of them won't be ready to make a purchase right away. But they're your treasure chest for profit. The unconverted leads already identified themselves as interested in what you have to offer. They're no longer cold leads as they already received at least one thing of value from you.

But you can't just sell on social media. You have to take time to engage as well. If you sell only, your costs will be higher for each click and your sales will suffer if they come at all. Sell only, and you won't be successful.

Engagement in-network carries multiple benefits:

1. Build trust with your followers through connections and celebrity positioning. Social media is similar to dating. To develop life-long customer relationships, you need to build trust over time. Offering engaging and valuable content is an opportunity to demonstrate that you are the expert in your industry.

2. Grow your referrals. When people interact with you, their social networks see it. This is one of the most powerful things about direct response social media networking as opposed to any other type of marketing. Referrals are built into the platform. Businesses are smart to consistently pay attention to this fact and utilize it to its fullest ability.

3. Condition them to respond. If you have an engaged audience with people paying attention to what you say and interacting with you, then they're ready to buy as soon as you're ready to ask them for the sale. The more your networks are engaged, the more likely they'll respond to your calls to action to purchase later on. Lose them with irrelevant content or a too heavy sales pitch too soon and you can lose them forever.

4. Increase your free reach. When it comes to Facebook, the more comments, likes, and shares you get, the higher your engagement level is and the more Facebook will show your posts to your network for free. If you can keep that engagement level up when you aren't promoting anything, when it comes time to promote, you'll have more reach into the newsfeeds of your target audience.

Use these strategies to create engagement:

Create original visual content. To get your prospects' attention away from "What Aunt Mary is making for dinner tonight," create original free content that invites the reader to share. This is your opportunity to establish yourself as the thought leader and the expert in your industry, so create visuals out of your quotes and blog posts.

Feature your clients, customers, or patients in a Q and A. Your audience is interested in the people who choose to do business you. It's your "Who Says So Besides You." Feature them, their stories, likes, habits, and hobbies along with photos and a few quirky facts to give your audience engaging content, and build trust with your prospects, because they see other people just like them. This also gives your customers a reason to give you recommendations because when they're featured, they'll share it with their friends and family.

Ask questions. The simple act of posing a question on social media is the quickest and simplest way to signal that you're looking for input. Being willing to ask for feedback and listen to what is and isn't working not only helps your business grow, it also builds loyalty.

Get personal. Occasionally share something about your life that's more personal in nature. It could be a picture of your pet, you and your family on a great vacation, or your staff gathering for a brainstorming meeting where you include shots of your white board after you've solved all the problems of the world. When you share some of your authenticity online, generally your fans respond well to it.

Link your blog. Social media should be your most important tool for cross-promotion on the internet. A great place to start when creating content is to write a list of the Top 25 Questions you get from prospects. Record yourself answering these questions and send the recording to a transcription service. You will then have 25 weeks' worth of blogs.

Share an industry article. You should always make building credibility a priority, especially with social media. Showing that you're on top of industry news solidifies your place in that industry. It makes your company feel more legitimate and more knowledgeable.

However, don't simply post a link to the article. Lazy marketers do this, and it doesn't work. If this is all you can do, then don't bother being on social media. Instead of being a re-poster, add your comments, and ask a thoughtful question as to what the reader thinks about the information shared. This makes you a thought leader and content curator.

Other effective things to share are articles that are new or trending. The reason for sharing is to help keep your fans ahead of the curve, and then they are more likely to respond and share. Commentary is still required for engagement.

Ask trivia questions. A trivia question about your business or your industry can be a fresh way to keep your audience coming back. Offer a prize that is relevant for your perfect prospect, such as a gift certificate toward a purchase or a book by you or a supporting author. This can create page engagement and give you potential leads. To make sure this happens despite how crazy your week may get, systematize the process using a form tied into your CRM and a set schedule of prize awarding.

Make sure to announce the winner each week publicly to encourage others to participate in the following week's post. (Plus, this gives you another post and another chance for engagement.)

Choose a fan of the week. Celebrating your fans and followers is another way to create engagement. You can randomly pick someone each week, choose from those who engaged most, or put a requirement in place, such as those who answered a specific question on a post.

Singling out a repeat visitor will add a sophisticated layer of interaction to your social media profiles and encourage others to do the same. As an added bonus, this is another strategy that has built-in social sharing.

Post behind-the-scenes photos. Your Facebook fans want to feel as though they have a "backstage pass" to you and your business. Post photos of your team at work, setting up events, planning a new product, etc. They will eat this content up and it will help to strengthen their relationship with you. This is also an effective strategy to develop buzz and interest in your events and product launches. Get them excited before you ever even put your resources on sale.

Kim Walsh Phillips

Founder of Powerful Professionals

Kim Walsh Phillips went from 32 clients to over 11,000 in less than a year and founded Powerful Professionals, a business coaching company that has been scaling consulting and coaching businesses. Phillips is the best-selling author of The No BS Guide To Direct Response Social Media Marketing.

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