Over the next few months, we’ll be focusing on several of the most commonly used social media sites out there and providing recommendations on how to better leverage them to promote your brand and/or business.
Given the results from the first poll on our site, Facebook will be the first platform that we focus on. This may not be too much of a surprise given the sheer size of Facebook – reporting over 1 billion monthly active users in Q1’13 earlier this week. Without further ado, here are ten recommendations to consider when using Facebook Pages:
#1 – Engage with fans
This is a pretty loaded first recommendation but is absolutely critical for your brand and business. Beyond creating meaningful content, here are several ways in which you can easily engage with fans of your brand or business on Facebook:
- When posting on your wall, ask questions for fans to respond to. You don’t have to do this on every post, but open up the conversation for responses.
- Aside from questions, use a fill-in-the-blank statement to probe for comments and thoughts.
- Use the Polls feature/capability to garner feedback.
- Create unique content for Facebook Fans only.
#2 – Like, comment, and share information from others
Don’t use Facebook just to promote your brand or business, link to a specific post on your web page, and then walk away from the platform. Click around and like other pages of interest (similar to your own or different), provide input and commentary on other’s wall posts, and share information from others that might be of interest to your own audience. There is a certain level of trust that can be created by moving beyond self-promotion.
#3 – Respond in a timely manner
Ensure that you, or the person responsible for your Facebook page, is responding in a timely manner. Answer questions/messages within a 24 hour period at the bare minimum. Respond to posts on your wall with some/any type of feedback – a follow-up comment, a simple ‘like’ of their post, etc.
Most importantly, respond to both positive and negative feedback/posts in a consistent manner. Do not try to erase comments or thoughts on your page because it is negative. Handle those comments in public, so that others see you are working through it. You might be able to take the matter offline or to a private exchange, but do not try to hide negative feedback. Those efforts will likely trickle down and become much worse in the long run. Learn from Applebee’s mistake.
#4 – When pasting links, delete the HTML
This is one of our biggest pet peeves. When sharing an article or link on Facebook, after you paste in the HTML, let the story/link come up below. As soon as it does, please go back and delete the HTML address in the status bar. It looks infinitely cleaner and more “professional” when you clean out the HTML and just have the appropriate commentary around the story in the status itself.
#5 – Leverage Facebook’s Insights
In order to better understand your Facebook audience, it is important to utilize the insights that the site provides for you at no charge. At the very least, on a weekly basis, take a look through your ‘Likes’, ‘Reach’, and ‘Talking About This’ information provided by Facebook. Better understanding your audience will help you tailor your message and who you may consider putting more efforts towards on other online platforms and/or offline.
Using the Insights information may also help you realize when it is the best time to post content to your page. I don’t necessarily believe that there is an optimal time to post on the web; if your content and message are strong, it will stick. However, the Insights information might suggest when not to post; when are your fans more apt to be online, when are they able to click through to links you are posting, when are they more/less engaged with your message? All of this can be analyzed by trial by fire and keeping an eye on the Insights tabs.
#6 – Try to post on a consistent frequency
As best you can, try to be consistent with getting your message out there. Try not to post in peaks and valleys (15 posts one day, 4 days of silence, 10 posts late in the week, etc.). Again, using the Insights information at your disposal should help you better understand when to / not to post, but being consistent will help you and your audience connect.
If you have a weekly or monthly post, try to ensure that it is going up at or around the same time each week or month. You do not want to cause unnecessary confusion with your fans or readers and drive them away.
#7 – Use Events
Creating calendar events on your Facebook page let’s fans know where you will be, what you will be doing, and allows them to come see you or your brand in person. This is a simple way of building stronger engagement and connections with your fans. Let them know that they can come (watch, celebrate, play, etc.) and see you in action.
A second strength of Facebook Events is the ability send out invitations to your fans. This will help you understand how large of an audience your Facebook page is or may be helping drive. It may also help you prepare better for said event.
#8 – Use photos/images
You didn’t think there would be a top ten list of recommendations for using Facebook without including the use of photos and images, did you? If you have looked at or for this type of information in the past on better leveraging Facebook, I’m confident that you’ve seen this recommendation before. The only add I will provide here is that from first-hand experience, I can tell you that this works.
People are absolutely more engaged in status updates from brands and companies that also include some type of visual effect. I’ve seen this impact for several fan pages I’ve been an admin on/for. Your page’s “Talking about this” and “Virality” numbers are almost always stronger when a photo or image is attached to a status update.
#9 – Promote your page
When your brand/business is ready, consider promoting your page through Facebook’s advertising platform. If you know your audience and target market, you can easily filter down to that exact space on Facebook. It is also very easy to set your spending limits so that you don’t break the bank. After setting up your first ad/promotion, the set-up for future ads/promotions should only take you about 10 minutes; figure the first time you go to set one up, it should take you about 30 minutes or so as you fine-tune your message and specifications.
#10 – Facebook is continuously evolving – pay attention!
Facebook is constantly tweaking its platform so you must pay attention to what these changes are, how they may affect your page, and what you may have to do moving forward to optimize your content on the site. Seconds ago, a simple search for “Facebook changes” pulled up 943 million hits, so you know there is a lot of detail and information in this arena.
Among other tweaks over the past few months, the platform has recreated its mobile platform (again) and changed specifications and capabilities for your cover photos. At the same time, Facebook announced that it will soon leverage/track hashtags (#PotentialGameChanger).
Hope you enjoyed and consider our recommendations for better using Facebook in your branding and digital marketing efforts. Let us know if any of these have helped you in the comments below. If you have other thoughts/recommendations that would help readers optimize their own page, please also feel free to drop them in the comments section as well.