Facebook: Lessons From Customer Ownership –

I knew it was a long shot, but this morning, before the market opened, I set a limit trade to buy Facebook just a hair over the IPO price.

And I got in.

My one tiny share isn’t going to make me millions, and it was stupid to burn a trade fee just for one measly share, but I’m thrilled to have it. Why? Everyone wants ownership in a company they love.

Facebook matters to me in a personal way, so of course, I want to be a part of it. I feel a sense of loyalty and ownership of Facebook not because of my share, but because I am emotionally invested in the company and the way that the site allows me to connect with family and friends in a way we’ve never been able to enjoy before.

This kind of ownership is golden. I’d love for my clients to be so fervently invested in what we do and what we provide as Facebook’s new shareholders are today. Of course, our clients can’t “own” our business in the sense that I now hold a teeny tiny piece of Facebook in my trading account. But for small businesses like my own, that means giving your clients a sense of ownership.

So how do you create this loyalty and ownership? You make your clients a partner in everything you do:

  • Do a great job. First things first, a happy customer is much more likely to become an involved customer. Take care of clients, let them know they matter to you and that you value their business.
  • Be personable. Let your clients into your world, and get into theirs. Tell them about new and fun developments, sharing personal touches whenever possible. Remind them that even in the largest corporation, there are real people and faces behind every product. Beyond that, find out more about them. Find out what their problems are and what you can do to fix them. Be thoughtful, remembering birthdays and anniversaries. Never forget the power of thank you!
  • Ask for input. Show your clients that you care about what they think and want from you. Request feedback from your clients, whether it’s in the form of a survey or just a quick note to let them know you want their opinion. Ask for success stories from clients who have used your product or service.
  • Ask for help, and give it. Give them a reason to be involved with you beyond your transaction. Ask for referrals. Better yet, become a part of what they believe in. We’ve found great value in donating our time and resources to causes that our clients support, a move that not only wins us brownie points with these organizations, but the adoration and appreciation of our clients.

We can’t all be Facebook. We can’t all be responsible for connecting millions of family and friends together in a fun and addictive way. But we can make our clients emotionally invested in our organizations and what we have to offer. How will you create fervent investors?