Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Facing Your Advertisers

Using Facebook and other social media sites to create an identity for working sales relationships
Sales reps can use Facebook to create or enhance working relationships with local marketers and community members to strengthen their reputation and increase their sales potential.

Facebook is an obvious asset for marketers when working to advertise products and services throughout your community. The instant connectivity to a local demographic that is available through the newsfeed and convenience of posting and sharing only scrapes the surface of the benefits Facebook has for your department. Beyond having the ability to upsell services to advertisers that may be less technically savvy or may simply not have time to deal with general upkeep of their social site, your sales reps can use Facebook to create or enhance working relationships with local marketers and community members to strengthen their reputation and increase their sales potential.

Classified advertising managers must begin incentivizing Facebook interactions for their staff members. I use the term “incentivize” carefully, though. You will want to reward the successful application of social media, and then wean the staff of “prizes” as success will become a more lucrative reward with time — for both the reps and the newspaper.

Encourage your staff to create accounts specifically for work. Legally, I’m not allowed to condone operating two profile pages simultaneously for one individual due to the site’s terms and conditions. However, there are loopholes. First, advise the reps that currently do not have a profile to connect with another staff member that does in order to learn the basic functionalities of the site. Then, they’ll be equipped to create their own profile for business relations. For those reps that have an existing personal Facebook profile, a secondary business account becomes a little trickier. Each rep could form a business page that links off their personal page; they can create a limited profile list, blocking some information to particular “friends”; or your department can find another loophole in creating a secondary page. 

Promote the use of the social sites during working hours so staff members can become comfortable using the medium. Of course, approach with care, as you want to avoid allowing them to “play” all day without making any genuine connections.

For those reps that do have business profiles, run a department-wide contest to promote social media. The friendly competition between sales reps can include a tracking sheet and follow-up. For example, the rep that reaches 50 (non-family) friends first gets some sort of incentive, like an extra half hour at lunchtime. That one is easy to track, as the site does so for you. Follow that up with the first rep to meet with 10 of their “Facebook friends” for business purposes can earn the opportunity to come in an hour late one day. And finally, the first rep to land five sales derived from their Facebook page can win incentives like a half-day off or leaving an hour early for a week. Remember, incentives needn’t be monetary; most reps interviewed say time off is a more desirable incentive than cash prizes.