How To Convert Strangers Into Customers


“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you”.  Dale Carnegie

Even though social media sites make it much easier to develop connections – a cornerstone principle for all sound marketing systems – cyberspace “followers” are not the same as cyberspace “friends.”

If your ultimate goal is to use social media marketing sites to grow your business, then it’s imperative that you turn followers into real friends – and that requires a genuine connection.

No matter how tempting it is, don’t do the opposite and mistake illusion for reality. Go the extra mile and do what’s necessary to strengthen, not weaken, the “human bond.”

How Do You Turn Strangers Into True Friends and Fans?

First realize this is not an event but a committed process of building relationships and rapport with your targeted audience one which helps them to know, like and trust you.  When done correctly, it provides the opportunity for online business owners to achieve their ultimate objective of acquiring and retaining loyal and profitable customers.

For some of you, the conversion “journey” will be a straight and speedy highway directly to a sale … but the vast majority must be prepared to take a slower, more methodical route.

In order to achieve this, you’ll need to create an online environment that makes your audience feel welcomed in a warm and sincere way and makes it easy to take action.

It’s similar to inviting people to your homes. I’m sure that most of you greet your guests at the door with a broad smile, handshake or hug; offer them something to drink or eat; suggest they sit in the most comfortable chair; etc.

You don’t bombard them with stories about how great you are; ask them to lend you money or borrow their car or leave them on their own to wander aimlessly around your house.  This may seem like a far-fetched illustration, but hopefully, you get the idea.

Here are just some of the ways you can transform your followers into genuine friends:

  • Acknowledge personal details – “ping” them on their birthdays, ask about their families and share stories about your own, offer to help them with a personal problem, etc.
  • Discover the topics your followers are passionate about and mention or discuss them in your online conversations
  • Provide them with warm introductions to likeminded friends and colleagues
  • “Re-tweet” their “tweets” (when appropriate)
  • Comment on their Facebook status
  • Mention them in your blog posts and link back to their sites.

Once again, social media marketers who have with the right mindset, recognize that it’s not about numbers – it’s about people. And if you help enough of them get what they want, you’ll get what you want as well.

And remember that once you start developing your list of true fans, treat them like gold as they will not only continue to buy from you but will refer others as well.

Parts of this post were adapted from Mitch Meyerson’s Chapter in Success Secrets Of The Social Media Marketing Superstars (Entreprenuer Press August 2010). Sign up for our email updates so you don’t miss excerpts from the other Superstars in this collection.

If you found this helpful I hope you will retweet or share with your friends and colleagues.