Every morning, as I check Facebook, I am inundated with requests for help from our friends. “I’m trying to build a chicken coop in Farmville, can you help?” or “My daughters’ boyfriends’ mother has a new business that needs a bazillion fans on Facebook – can you please ‘like’ it?”
Just the other day, I received a Facebook message from a local business offering $25 gift cards to people who invited 10 of their friends to ‘like’ their Facebook page. And another from a national brand who is giving away an iPad to a fan, once they reach 10,000 fans (“so tell your friends to ‘like’ us!”). This got me thinking – what are friendships worth to me?
Is it worth a $25 gift card or an iPad for me to potentially ‘spam’ my friends promoting a business they may have absolutely no interest in?
I decided to poll my Facebook friends to see what they think of the concept of offering incentives to recruit their friends.
The responses were fairly unanimous: Don’t spam me, especially if it’s just to earn yourself some money! A lot of responses sounded similar to this one, from Brenda Tusing, of The Royal Chocolate in Virginia Beach: “I want my fans to want to follow my store because they like it, and wish us success…. For me, I want the real deal… not just numbers. You can’t buy love!” Brenda’s fans love her chocolate, and they are loyal, vocal fans.
If you are offering your customers value and good service, then it is more likely your customers will WANT to talk about your business. They will want to tell their friends about how great your product or service is. Don’t insult them by trying to bribe them with a few bucks, or a gift card. As another friend, Mark Pilipczuk states, it “makes me wonder what’s wrong with them if they have to buy me out or pay others.”
But how can someone ask for help, without it sounding like a bribe?
To learn the possible answer to this question and read the rest of the story, (including insights from the one and only Jim Hicks of The Roofing Company), look for my upcoming post in Inside Business (print) and online.