5 crucial tips for effective Facebook marketing
It seems that every few days there is yet another “Facebook Strategies” article or discussion, You could be flipping through a trade magazine, skimming the weekend newspapers or attending a local business event, and there it is in full colour glory. Very rarely do they fail to send shivers down my spine because time and time again the main point gets missed, the crux of the matter, the bottom line, and that is:
Facebook, and it’s brethren of Social Media fellows (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, et al), all leverage one key component that there is a mutually beneficial relationship from which both parties gain. We have connections with other entities, from past pleasant experiences, and we would like to extend them into the future. Your friends are not a commodity that was bought cheaply at an auction, your business networks aren’t forged in a few hours and your best man / maid of honour probably not the result of a one night stand. So why should your online connections, friendships and networks be any different?
Yet that is exactly what article after article suggests we do. Phrases like “Maximising Click Conversion Rates”, “Select Success Metrics” and “The 500th Like gets a free T-Shirt” remove the relationship element and focus on the quantisation and dehumanising. While metrics can be an incredibly useful tool for measuring and analysis, the concern is that the friendships and underlying relationships are lost and take a back seat to what becomes a soulless numbers game.
1) Create Likeable Content
Just how it is incredibly hard to have a conversation with someone who barely says a word, it is incredibly hard to like an empty page. Content is king, and creation of content has never been easier, but the key is to be unique original and relevant. Take a photo of the flowers blooming in the planters in front of your reception, the maintenance lads Movember moustaches in progress, your early Christmas decorations with a local themed twist, something that your friends will see and think of you. Re-sharing someone else’s content works to a lesser degree as it will have already been seen before and isn’t unique to you, so create something fresh that engages. A lot of B2Cs generate interesting content on an hourly basis without even realising it. For example, you could be a tourism operator who already sells a photo pack at the end of the trip, it is very little extra effort to share a single group photo of happy smiling faces at the end of a trip to Facebook for your guests to interact with, like and tag themselves in. If you’re in the Real Estate business, the heartfelt smile as a young couple holds the keys to their first home for the first time. Maybe you’re a cafe/baker/florist, and you’re already putting on daily specials. If you’re a ski field/surf club, an update of the day’s conditions is what your friends are after.
If you can create “likeable” content, you’re 99.99% of the way to success. Your friends will see it, interact with it, re-share it, and their friends will see it and so on and so forth.
2) Put a nice shirt on
Social Media is not the place to show off your self-taught Word Art skills of finding a “funny” font and bending your catchphrase in to the shape of a rainbow or a wave. It takes a skilled designer only a few minutes to create a professional profile picture / cover photo for your Social Media sites (you do have your branding original artwork on file and stored in the same folder for easy access, don’t you?). Your page / profile has a few short seconds to make an impression, make the best you can.
Friendships are reciprocal. We’re a fickle bunch, and we’re easily hurt when someone doesn’t acknowledge us. If someone takes the time to say hello, it’s courtesy to say hello back. You don’t need to check Facebook every few minutes though, set up email alerts to notify you when someone tries communicating, and get back to them in due time. A few hours later is fine, a few weeks is not.
4) Stay Active
Depending on your situation, Social Media may be more commitment than you are currently prepared to do. But once you start, there is no going back. A decayed and forgotten online page with virtual tumble-weeds blowing through will repel your fans very quickly, people have a pretty good knack for sensing out a dying party and moving on. If you’re not prepared to regularly add content and interact, maybe it’s best to give the Social Media thing a miss for now (blasphemy!). After all, how is a potential customer who’s just stumbled across your site and seen that the last post is from December 2011 supposed to be able to tell that the lack of posts is because the business is doing well and you don’t have the time, not because the business might be on the verge of collapse?
5) Don’t beg
While the exact ‘je ne sais quoi’ of what makes a post go viral is up to debate, one this is certain at that is that it is not to go begging for likes. Put your energy into creating likeable content, not a strategy of bullying unsuspecting passer-bys who stumble across your page into accidentally becoming a follower. In the real world, you wouldn’t say “Hey, I’m trying to get famous, would you mind going around and telling all your friends how great I am”, so why should that fly in the digital world?