B&H Photo Shows How To Convert Customers Into Fans & Followers

Filed in Featured, MY BEST POSTS, Social Media by Matt McGee on September 23, 2011 7 Comments

Question: Are you a fan/follower of every business you patronize? I’m guessing not. Do you follow your local grocery store on Twitter? Have you fanned the local shopping mall on Facebook?

Converting customers into social media fans and followers isn’t always easy. I’d say there are six things, at minimum, that you have to do and do well. And I think B&H Photo does a good job with all of them.

Converting Customers Into Social Media Fans

Check out an email that arrived this week from B&H Photo & Video: (click for larger version)


I think this is a really good example of how to convert customers into fans or followers on social media sites. Here’s what they’ve done right:

1.) They asked.

I love that the whole point of this email was to make me aware of the company’s social media outposts. There’s not a single product sales pitch in here. If you want people to fan/follow you, the first thing you have to do is be willing to ask. No sense being afraid.

2.) Benefit statements (shown above)

For each social media site they list, B&H begins by telling me what benefits I can expect by making the connection. On Facebook, I’ll get info about rebates, product availability and a forum for talking with fellow customers about photography and electronics.

3.) Sample content (shown above)

Show me. Don’t just tell me. Each site includes a sample piece of content. I can see that, if I follow B&H on Twitter, I’ll get updates about when gear is back in stock.

4.) Call to action (shown above)

B&H gives me an obvious call-to-action button for each site listed in the email. It’s obvious what they want me to do.

5.) Follow through

This is obviously an important point: B&H follows through on the promises of the email. When I click through to see B&H on Flickr, the content matches exactly what the email says: photos from B&H customers (some of which get posted on B&H’s blog, too) and a lot of active photography discussions. (Seriously, it’s pretty crazy how active their group is on Flickr — nine discussions have been active in the past day or two.)

6.) Analytics

You can’t tell from looking at the email, but all of the links are tagged so that B&H can learn exactly how much traffic/clicks this email drove. Smart.

Final Thoughts

About the only thing I don’t like is that B&H uses a completely separate domain for its company blog. But that’s a separate issue from this excellent email outreach, so I’ll just say that it’s best to keep your blog on your main domain whenever possible.

As for the email itself, this is a good model for small businesses to follow when trying to convert customers into social media fans/followers. You can’t be afraid to ask. You have to show the benefits of following you and make the call to action very obvious. Follow through by making sure all of your social media outposts offer value, and track things as much as you can.

Your turn: Have you seen any other examples of good (or bad) attempts to turn customers into social media fans? Do you agree with me about this B&H email? Comments are open….

Comments (7)

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  1. Henry Posner says:

    Thank you for covering this. We’re very grateful and very gratified at the response this email received.

    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video

  2. Chris Avery says:

    One of my customers contacted me to ask if they could do something with social media (they sell beauty and make-up products in the UK) and they decided to offer £5.00 of loyalty points to any registered customers who liked their facebook page. They are only a small company with a relatively modest client base and before this had managed around 20 “likes” on facebook, mostly from friends of the owner who weren’t actually customers. They’re now up around the 200 mark and it’s been going for about 6 weeks so they’re not doing too badly. The interesting step is how they will market to these customers on facebook (which hasn’t been discussed yet)!!

  3. Chris says:

    Thanks for sharing a great example of the first step toward generating return on engagement!

    Whether its Coke, McDonalds, Amex, or the local mom & pop, we can all learn something from the B&H model outlined above.

  4. Steven says:

    This an excellent article, it is something I amy try to implement with my business but on a much smaller scale. I’m curious as to how you think something like this would go for a small business like a plumber or electrician?

  5. Jared Gruber says:

    #2 benefits statement is huge. Just like in any business, there has to be a value proposition. Why is what you are offering valuable?

  6. Lauren says:

    Great post! Being unafraid to ask customers to subscribe to your social sites can really do wonders for the level of exposure your page receives. People don’t know that you want them to be part of your online community unless you ask them too. Thanks for the insights!

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