In Part 1 of this blog series, we looked at some Facebook marketing basics – (step one) establishing a fan page design and (step two) developing a social content strategy that set the stage for engagement. Be sure to read it if you haven't already!
Now, we’ll take a look at how to manage Facebook marketing in the day-to-day to ensure that you’re putting your brand’s best foot forward.
3. Keep your daily posts fresh.
Be frequent but don’t overdo it.
How often should you post to keep your wall fresh and engaging? Unlike Twitter where you should have updates on the hour, Facebook is more of a personal medium. Posts can have a pretty long shelf life. In fact, Brafton recently reported that high-quality posts can drive engagement for up to a day.
I recommend that you post no more than one to three updates per day – your don’t want to overwhelm your fans with content. Think about your personal Facebook profile and homepage: We all have that one friend who updates his or her status between five and 10 times daily, and no one likes to see borderline spammy updates in their recent activity. The same goes for fan pages.
Don’t be concerned that limiting the quantity of posts will limit your brand’s Facebook visibility. If your posts are relevant and engaging, they will show up on the “Top News” feed generated by Facebook’s algorithm, which displays the most popular stories users' are commenting on and sharing.
Reach the right audience at the right time.
The timing of posts should be determined by your audience. Consider customizing your posting schedule to fit your target market. If you're targeting the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. working crowd, you'll be more likely to gain visibility in the mornings, evenings and weekends. On the other hand, if you're targeting high school or college students, weeknights after classes and homework or mid- afternoon between classes might be a better strategy.
Remember: Don't always update your status at the same time each day either. Be sure to test a few different times throughout the week and see when users are responding to your posts. You might also find it helpful to monitor the traffic on your website and schedule your posts to reflect that data.
Offer a variety of quick posts.
As for the type of content you post, use it all! Go for a variety of text statuses, images, videos, surveys, polls and custom news. (Notably, a Visibli study recently found that news content drives comments on Facebook.) The broader the content featured on your fan page, the greater the chances that users will find something of interest to them.
Celebrate company goals, fan page milestones (such as when you reach 1,000 fans), moments in history and holidays. Be creative with your content by posting trivia or riddles, true or false questions and fill-in-the-blanks. To maximize fan engagement, keep your statuses short and use simple language when posting. Brafton has reported that studies show short and sweet posts drive the most user feedback.
Also, you should look to fans to get ideas about what to post. Directly ask your fans what they would like to see on your wall. You’ll be surprised by some of the feedback you might receive (and posting a question also takes care of a day-to-day wall updates from your company).
Maintain your side of the conversation.
Always reply to fans who comment on your status updates or media (we also talked about fostering user-generated content as part of your overall social content marketing strategy in Part 1 of this blog series). By responding to your fans, you show that you care about their opinions, and this will encourage new fans to interact in the future.
4. Co-manage your page with your fans
With the right page basics and daily interaction, you can get a nice level of Facebook user engagement – but you should also think about how to keep fans for the long haul.
Remember, you don't want to just post about your company. Strictly having news or press release updates may end the relationship with your fans when it is just beginning. Be the director of your fan page, but let your fans drive the results.
Think from a user perspective.
Why would you want to like a company’s fan page? What would encourage you to continue to engage with a company like it's one of your best Facebook friends? Fans are drawn to fan pages because of what they expect to see on the wall, so think about what a user might want or expect from your company. (Read on…)
Give fans exclusive deals and information.
Promotions, contests or campaigns give fans reasons to come back to the page and participate with your brand. Softlips' Facebook page offers Facebook marketers a great example – it consistently posts contests and promotions for their products to get the user engaged with their company.
Product giveaways, discounts and best caption contests for photos can be great ways to generate interaction and interest from the user.
Let fans take part in branding activities.
If you're thinking about running a company campaign or introducing new products, let your fans have some input. Maybe you're in the beverage industry and you're considering producing a new flavor. Have your fans choose the flavor through a poll or a survey. Fans want to feel like their opinion counts, and it also will help generate product interest upon being introduced.
For example, Brafton reported that Doritos ran a successful web video campaign by asking Facebook fans to create videos to be featured during the Super Bowl. Users also got to see fellow fans' videos on the company's Facebook page, and they could vote for ones they preferred.
With any promotion, be sure to host the promotion on a custom Facebook tab. Facebook has strict promotional guidelines, and the social site does not allow contests to be coordinated strictly from the wall or by “liking.”
Closing thoughts: Bring more fans to engage.
These tips should help you drive Facebook fan engagement, but what if you've got a new fan page that doesn't have many fans to build engagement off of? Unlike Twitter where you can grow your presence by following profiles in the industry, Facebook fan growth techniques are limited. And by “limited,” I mean that it is impossible to actively make users “Like” your page.
To increase your fan base, send an email announcement to your current email list or customer list to notify them of your page. Request that they Like the page, and be sure to tell them about the news or promotions they'll receive in return. Another option is to launch a Facebook advertising campaign and promote your brand to the target market of your choice. Facebook advertising can be a great way for new businesses to gain exposure or traffic back to their website.
You can also interact with other fan pages that relate to your business. By Liking and engaging with other pages, you could encourage cross promotion while boosting your brand’s among fans of other companies.