In the early days of social media, it was often frowned upon for businesses to attempt to communicate with customers or market their brands through the platforms. Those who did were often seen as vultures, or otherwise labeled as outlaws as if they were somehow disrupting the “social” nature of the social network.
However, as time has passed and social media has evolved, it has now become more of a multifaceted hub where everyone can connect—people, businesses, colleagues, organizations, groups, and most recently, even kids, thanks to Facebook’s upgrades for family-friendly messaging. What was once a major faux pas is now the very thing that is stumping many brands and keeping them from moving forward effectively.
Answering the question of “how to handle new client contacts on Facebook” involves multitudes of considerations—the tips for effective communication, the ways to encourage clients to reach out, and how Facebook can allow you to communicate in a totally different way, as well as how to harness that power. No worries, though, because we’ll cover it all.
(Spoiler Alert: A lot of the information here can also be found, along with tons of other resources for businesses on the Facebook for Business Help Page.)
And, if you don’t have the time or resources to do it all yourself, you don’t have to. Perhaps you’re just not familiar with the best practices of social media and don’t have the time to learn. We’re here to help. The virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can handle all of your business communication needs, including Facebook messaging and communications, phone, and email support, live chat and chatbots, and so much more.
However, it still won’t hurt you to learn about how to use Facebook to communicate with new clients, and what else it can offer for your business.
This is a bit of a loaded topic—after all, we could probably write an entire guide on using Facebook for business (and plenty have, including Facebook themselves!). However, this is where we’re going to go over the basics of using Facebook as a business communications tool as compared to using it for social purposes or personal contact.
For starters, it’s not that different. You will want to keep that professional image when interacting with people, but again they don’t want a business—they want a relationship with a business that can fulfill their needs. Use simple language, don’t be overly formal, and make sure that you’re addressing their concerns.
At best, if you can’t decide how to proceed, just imagine you’re talking to an acquaintance—not quite a buddy that you can be casual with, but perhaps someone you see occasionally or interact with on a professional level. Think about the way you talk to your favorite barista or the teller at the bank—that's the kind of casual professionalism you need to create that personal touch.
One big tip: Every article that talks about using Facebook as a business communication tool misses one very important aspect of that utilization. You can (and should) use Facebook to invite new clients to reach out to you via other means, or to provide them with other ways to find your business online.
A client might be fine reaching out to you initially via social media but prefer a phone call or be looking for your business website or pricing information, for example. Make sure you pay attention to that so that you can figure out what your clients need in terms of communication and resources from your brand.
If clients want to engage on Facebook or Messenger, that’s great—go right ahead. After all, several people prefer these services because they’re already using them and don’t have to go looking for another website or app. However, you should still offer them the alternatives, so they have a choice.
Stop the formalities—even if you’re a C-level exec, most clients that are reaching out via social media expect a social response. That means less formality, more fun, friendly advice, and assistance. People want relationships, not sales pitches and stuffy responses. That's why social media is such a powerful tool, and it’s why you need to make sure that you are properly harnessing its power. Here’s how.
You might not be able to have a dedicated person answering every Facebook inquiry as it comes your way. However, you should be able to respond in a timely fashion and make sure that you’re engaging. Answer people’s questions. Ask them about their needs. Make sure that you’re listening and providing the answers and solutions that they seek, not just robotically answering the messages, requests, and other communications whenever you can get around to them.
If your team is busy, or you just don’t have the resources to provide dedicated attention to your social media communications, ask the experts at Smith.ai how our virtual receptionists can handle all of your messaging and client communication needs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Social media is just that—social. When you consider that today’s clients want a personal relationship with their professional contacts, you have to deliver that in every forum and format. That especially includes social media. Use personalization in auto-responses as much as you use it when you’re engaging with people directly. Make sure that you use their name, note their specific needs and desires, and give them that feeling of connection, even if they’re just asking a simple question about your services.
Anyone who has ever used a social media messaging or email service knows how hard it can be to keep things organized. How many times have you scrolled through your Messenger chats trying to find that one contact, only to see that they’ve been lost in a sea of contacts and leads and now are impossible to locate? This is where organization plays a key role. You should organize as much as you should so that you can keep track of all client communications.
Especially in the case of new clients, the last thing someone wants to hear is that their chat feed couldn’t be found, or that you didn’t know where their information wandered off to. Keep things organized, keep tabs on your various chats and messages, and keep track of your Facebook communications elsewhere just in case there’s some kind of issue.
Once part of the Facebook platform and included automatically for every Facebook user, whether personal or commercial, Messenger is now its own service. In combination with a dedicated Facebook business page and other communication tools, you can enlist the services of Messenger to connect with your clients in their preferred environment at their convenience.
Auto responses are a part of Messenger that will serve your business well. The auto-responses are somewhat limited, but they are a great resource where you can publish information that is commonly requested, answer frequent concerns, and provide help for people when they might not need to talk to a live person just yet, but they have questions or needs.
You can edit the Automated Responses in your Facebook profile by going to your Facebook Inbox from the Business page. Then, you will see the “Automated Responses” tab on the left. From there, you’ll go to “Frequently Asked Questions” and then click edit to add your own Q&A, personalize responses with names, and make sure that people can get the insight they need even if you’re not available.
Another feature that you need to take advantage of is the Instant Reply option. Customers, and especially new ones, expect promptness from the companies that they do business with. While these replies only offer a limited solution, they do provide you with a way to answer people immediately, which is what they want. Since most SMBs don’t have a budget for their own in-house social media team, they’re often left scrambling to figure out where they can find the people to manage things.
With the Instant Reply feature, you can create your own custom messages for Facebook Messenger, including automated away messages for when you’re out of the office or unavailable via social media to ensure that people know why you may not be responding right away.
Here’s another caveat—communicating with new clients is different than communicating with existing clients. You might think that sounds pretty obvious, but here’s what we mean.
When dealing with your existing customers, you have an established repertoire and relationship. Therefore, the way that you communicate with them, even on social media sites like Facebook, will be dictated by that and much different than the way that you interact with new clients.
The balance between professionalism and offering that social, personable connection that people demand will be established right here—often, it’s in the way that clients reach out to you.
Read the tone—see how people are coming to your business from the social media world. If they’re completely casual, go with that vibe, but remain professional and responsive in a way that shows that you care about helping them in any way that you can. Also, set the tone from the start by providing the personalized, caring response that people expect.
Of course, any response is better than none and every message that you miss could cost valuable opportunities for your business.
Now that you better understand how to communicate with new clients on Facebook and other social platforms, you might want to understand why this is so important to your business. After all, it’s just Facebook, right?
Tell the 2.4 billion (and counting) people accessing social media via Facebook that.
Tell the nearly $84.2 billion in revenue generated through Facebook in 2020 alone that it’s “just Facebook”.
You can’t, because it’s not just Facebook—it's Facebook and it’s revolutionizing the way that the world does business. You need to get on board or you’re not going to get to stick around to see what happens next in the digital business world.
You can’t be available 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, that can mean that sometimes, leads slip through the cracks. Don't let that happen to you. With our dedicated customer service solutions, you can trust that you capture every lead at any hour of the day or night.
When you capture those leads, they don’t go somewhere else. That is the most important part. You can’t afford to let customers wander off because you can’t manage your social media, or even because you don’t understand all that it can do.
With our social media and online communication tools, including lead screening and appointment booking, after-hours answering, and SMS monitoring and response, you’re sure to find the robust communication solution that your business deserves. Ready to step up and take what’s yours? Schedule a consultation to discuss how we can help with your communications. Drop us a line at any time, or just call (650) 727-6484 to find out how we can help you deliver answering solutions and more.