Like it or not, social media has become an integral part of any successful marketing strategy. In fact, a 2013 study by eMarketer showed that approximately one out of every four individuals in the world uses social networking sites, for a total of 1.73 billion active users. And, of the various social media sites available around the web, by far the most popular is Facebook, with approximately 900 million unique visitors every month (which is nearly 3 times the amount of the next runner-up, Twitter). So, if there’s one place that you should be focusing your company’s social media strategy, it’s Facebook. But how should you go about doing it? Well, fear not, because here are a few simple tips to help you use social networking to improve your company’s “face value.”
1. Be Relevant
Today, customers aren’t really interested in being advertised to. As such, “Eat at Joes” has lost most of its effectiveness as a call to action. Instead, customers want to know what it is that you can do for them, and need to see that you’re willing to help them without demanding anything in return. Doesn’t really sound fair, does it? Well, it is, and just so you don’t start feeling too depressed, it does actually work— 61% of customers are more likely to buy from a company that delivers its own custom content. Now, often times this content takes the form of an ongoing blog featuring helpful tips and information, but it can also be shared via infographics, videos, memes, instructional guides, and even ebooks. Just make sure that you place a link on your Facebook page, so that visitors will be able to find and share it.
2. Be Consistent
So, let’s say that you work really hard and create some content that any Facebook user would be happy to share. What’s next? Simple: You do it again. See, by their very nature, Facebook posts are temporary. That means that while hundreds of viewers (or more) may encounter your post in the hours directly after it’s written, as time passes—and more and more posts crowd their way into your customer’s news feed—your post is going to get pushed farther down the list. Thus, those who don’t decide to check their news feed during that very specific window of time aren’t going to ever have the chance to discover that amazing piece of content that you’re so proud of. The answer to this problem is to post frequently. This way, those who miss your last world-changing article will get a chance to see the next one. Just make sure that you don’t post so frequently that viewers decide to block or unfollow you just so that they can get their news feed back under control.
3. Be Rewarding
They say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but that’s not quite true, is it? All across Facebook, as well as on other social media sites, organizations are offering contests, rewards, and prizes to anyone who is willing to help promote. However, before you throw your effort and resources into making a Facebook contest, first ask yourself a few things. What do you want to accomplish (increased likes, shares, brand awareness, user feedback, etc.)? What form will your contest take? Will it require specific action on the part of the entrant? Will you be asking for personal information? Once you’ve got the basics figured out, cut loose and see what kind of sharing your contest generates. According to a study by Syncapse, 35% of those who follow brands on Facebook have done so to participate in contests, so you can be sure that you’ll see an upswing (as long as you do it correctly).
4. Be Responsive
One of the things that makes social media so much more personal and accessible is the conversation factor. When customers see an advertisement on the television or in a magazine, the discussion is always one-sided; the business is able to speak to the consumer, but the customer has no way of responding. On the other hand, social media—and especially Facebook—is totally different. With every post, you open yourself up to any comments that viewers might wish to make. This may seem daunting (given the internet’s proclivity towards harshness and negativity), but it’s actually an invaluable opportunity. You’ll be able to use these comments to improve upon existing products and services, tailor your future marketing strategies, and to address specific concerns and customer complaints. The kicker is that you’ll have to get in the habit of responding promptly and respectfully to every comment (even the abusive ones). According to a Florida State study, up to 95% of customers will give your company another chance if you handle their complaints successfully and quickly. Not only that, but if you turn a negative into a positive and really impress them, then they’ll also be likely to share their experience with friends.
Walmart’s Facebook Page is one great example of how your company could be responsive to customer suggestions or complaints via Facebook. Walmart has a separate feedback section that allows customers to submit feedback directly to the Walmart website or a specific Walmart store and hear about any recalls. Take a tip from Walmart and create a space on Facebook for your customers to share feedback and suggestions. Walmart can’t respond to every single comment via Facebook, but they do a good job of getting back to as many customers as they can
5. Be Readable and Engaging
Find a writer to write your Facebook posts for you. Crafting catchy, concise posts are more likely to be shared by visitors, by the simple virtue of being easier to grasp. If a visitor finds themselves struggling through your post, then they’ll probably just move on. After all, they have a whole internet’s-worth of content that they could be enjoying; why waste time with something that’s difficult to read? Keep your phrasing simple, and don’t skimp on other design elements either. Include relevant memes, social postcards, interactives, or related posts. Incorporate posts from your site or your blog to get readers to engage. One great example of an engaging Facebook page that incorporates multiple platforms is home automation company Vivint and their Facebook page. They often incorporate posts from their blog about traveling, home organization, home improvement, and more. They also engage their readers by asking questions that Facebook fans actually respond to.
Facebook can be a great marketing tool, but only if internet users feel comfortable promoting your brand. Help them help you by giving them useful, fun, rewarding, and accessible content, and by making sure that your company is approachable and responsive. Hey, if you play your cards right, your organization may just become the new “face” of your industry, and that is an idea worth sharing.