The Facebook phenomenon sparks a lot of conversations and debates with marketers. While most people engage in Facebook for personal reasons, the debate rages about the role of brands and companies there. It is true that people do not want to be or feel manipulated on Facebook, but my experience shows that if you have a company that behaves authentically, Facebook can create more customers loyalty and enhance your brand’s personality.
So, how do you do that?
One: you have to have at least one person whose job it is to monitor Facebook and do the posting. That person should be able to speak with the voice of your business, and sound like the business’ personality. It is good to have a primary and a secondary person responsible because monitoring the site is time-consuming and people will need some relief from it every now and again!
Two: you have to determine how Facebook fits into your overall marketing strategy. Are you attempting to gain new customers? Do you want to build loyalty to retain and engage your current customers? Are you celebrating something special that you want to talk about it? Determine what result you want out of your activity on Facebook before you begin to post and track the results you are seeing.
Three: Encourage sharing even more than “liking.” As I was writing this today, a good article and infographic was released on marketingprofs.com that emphasizes the importance of getting your audience to share your Facebook content with their friends and others in their community. According to the article by Veronica Maria Jarski, there are 14 ways to boost your content’s visibility and viral sharing:
1) Be consistent
2) Time it right
3) Use eye-catching images
4) Keep it short
5) Be relevant
6) Use your authentic voice
7) Include a call to action
8) Be creative with Apps
9) Have a sense of urgency
10) Offer value
11) Be entertaining
12) Be educational
13) Make a list
14) Be seasonable
The entire infographic and posting can be found here: http://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2013/10326/how-to-get-more-facebook-shares-infographic?adref=nlt031813
Four: Have some fun with it. Facebook is a place to lighten up and not be a drag or too serious. You can find fun and humor in almost any business, and your business can interact in a lighter way on Facebook than it will on LinkedIn or even on your web site.
I have seen the power of Facebook’s engagement first-hand with the work I have done with local Chicago businesses. The content on the Facebook page needs to be dynamic and your company needs to respond to questions and ideas quickly. If an unhappy customer decides that Facebook is where he will vent his anger, acknowledge the problem online and then engage with the customer privately if you can. The authenticity of your response and how to manage the unhappy customers will tell as much about you on Facebook as those experiences tell about you offline. Ignore them at your peril. Pictures are critical and remain an important way to get attention and retain people’s interest. The same suggestions I have given about images in general apply to Facebook: use bigger images, use images of people and action, and regularly update and refresh your images. Remember to monitor what your competitors are doing on Facebook as well as other brands or companies you admire. You can learn a lot about what to do – and not do – from your observations. This is your community so learn about it as you would your community in real life.
So, Facebook is fundamental today, but it should tie to your overall marketing plan and not be done in isolation. And in some ways it is also frivolous if you use the definition of being playful and light-hearted. Keep the content dynamic, respond to and engage with your customers, and use lots of good images. Stay true to your business’ messages and personality, encourage sharing, and you will see the engagement with your customers rise.