Social media encompasses both business and personal relationships and interactions. There is a lot of crossover at times between the two that happens naturally. However, what if you want to turn some of your friends into customers?
An important thing to remember, always, when it comes to online connections, is that it is all about relationships. It is often said that mixing business with pleasure is not a smart thing to do in life. However, when it comes to relationships that we have either established through social media or that we established through face-to-face environments and then continued online, it isn't always a bad thing to allow your friends to become your clients (or vice versa). An important thing to remember, in either case, is never to give anyone the hard sell.
There is a certain order to the progression from friend to client. The middle step, which must happen, is the "Fan" step. To go from friend to client without any sensitive transition may be problematic. Once you have gotten your friend to become your fan, you will see that he or she will opt in to support what you and your business are offering. Opting in may be literal or figurative. Your fans may opt in by agreeing to be a part of your mailing list. Of course, there are several other ways in which your fans may opt in.
- Joining your blog community: If your friends join your blog community by leaving comments on your blogs, forums, etc, they are opting in to become fans.
- Referrals: If your friends refer you and your business to other people, they are opting in to become fans.
- Promoting your offerings: Friends who push your offerings through social media, without your asking them, are opting in to become fans.
However, you can't assume from the fact that your friends have opted in to become fans that they will necessarily end up buying what you are selling. On the other hand, you can feel more comfortable about discussing your business with them once they have become fans without a fear of offending them. If they are already fans, you won't stand the risk of losing them as friends. It is well known that people who own a business don't usually have a great deal of success when they try to sell something to one of their friends. It becomes extremely uncomfortable if there is money that is owed that is not paid in a timely manner.
Friends may not necessarily have the ultimate goal of seeing your business succeed. Fans, on the other hand, do have the goal of seeing your business succeed. They want to to enjoy interesting and mutually beneficial online interaction with you. Because of your fans' desire to see you succeed in business, your relationship will mature and you shouldn't be surprised if those fans eventually end up buying what you are selling. The more you build the relationship, the better your chances of turning those people into clients eventually.
Before you try to convert any of your friends into fans, it is important to understand which friends you should be converting and which you should not. If you try to sell your products and/or services to your friends, you will end up working very hard and may very possibly not reap a great deal of benefits. You also could be risking the friendship. You need to proceed slowly at first when it comes to cultivating new relationships or new versions of the same relationship. As always, the relationship is key. If you don't build strong connections with other people, your business will not succeed the way that you want it to. It is always about the people. If, on the other hand, you turn your selling efforts to your fans, most likely, you will have greater success and your relationships with your fans will continue to flourish.
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