A billion people are reportedly using Facebook. No one really knows how many of those are fake accounts. Even so, a billion is a lot! Surely, there’s bound to be a large audience within that billion who will enjoy or look forward to your updates.
But here’s the problem: not a lot of people know how to engage followers and improve brand loyalty on Facebook.
This was the topic of Infusionsoft’s webinar last week, “Engage Audiences and Boost Brand Loyalty with Facebook.” It was presented by Amanda Collins, Chief of Staff of Grammar Doctors, a marketing communications firm that specializes in social media among other things.
Here are things I learned from the webinar as well as my own insights that I hope you will also find useful in turning Facebook into a moneymaking powerhouse.
1. Stop marketing with your personal profile. Your personal profile is personal. If you market on there, it defeats the whole purpose of using Facebook. More importantly, it’s not allowed. The terms of service actually state that marketing on your profile isn’t allowed.
However, it’s not like you’re going to be penalized for advertising on your timeline. And who says you can’t post links from time to time? Actually, the greatest disadvantage of marketing on your profile is that people are liking your business or fan page as a friend, which means you won’t be able to get statistics, much less track your business activity and interaction on the social network.
2. Get likes from people outside your friends list. In relation to tip#1, you don’t want to limit your page likers to your friends list. Most of your friends clicked “Like” probably because they’re doing you a favor, not because they’re interested in buying your products or services.
3. Assign someone to be in charge. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you’ve no choice but to perform Facebook branding on your own. Entrepreneurs who start by themselves often have ample time to do marketing tasks alone instead of outsourcing them.
If you have an organization, designate the tasks to someone you trust (because you’re probably going to be busy with core business activities).
4. Create a plan. Work out aspects like:
- What you’re going to share
- What you’re going to write
- Best time to update your page to get the most shares and likes (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm is the best time to be noticed on Facebook, with Wednesday 3:00 pm the best time of the week)
5. Set multiple people as administrators. This also applies to solopreneurs. Let’s say you break Facebook’s rules and get kicked out, you’ll lose access to the fan page. And what if your subsequent accounts get kicked out, too?
A good solution is to set other people as administrators. It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend, your mom, etc. If you have a team, consider setting an intern or your marketing department as administrators. Of course, you can also have a professional marketing firm, like Grammar Doctors.
6. Be consistent. Building your brand on social networks is part of your marketing strategies. Don’t let Facebook marketing slide. Developing your brand online takes time, so staying consistent is key.
7. The same profile image and cover photo across channels. Photos can heavily represent your brand and image. After all, images are among the first things people see the moment they log in or visit your fan page.
Make sure your cover photo and fan page profile picture are consistent with your website, brochures, storefront, office and everything else. This is part of online branding. You want to be recognized no matter what platform.
Your pictures should represent your brand and speak to your target audience.
8. No call to action on the timeline cover. Facebook strictly forbids calls to action on the cover image. That means no phone numbers, email addresses or websites. You can post them below the cover, so there’s no need to put more sales promotion messages up there.
The cover image should reflect your company, or it can be your company name.
9. Relevant fan page profile pic. Your profile picture shows up in your followers’ newsfeed every time you make an update. Ideally, it should be something that quickly brings your company to mind. Your logo will work very well.
10. Determine your voice. The words you write will speak volumes about your company. Think about how you’re going to share information. Are you going to be funny? Quirky? Informative? Serious? What is the general feeling you want your posts to evoke? Clearly, a financial adviser’s fan page will exude a different feel from a plumber’s page.
11. Engaging, entertaining and educational. These are the magical Es for writing content that fans will like, share and comment on. Your posts can be any of these three; they don’t all have to happen at the same time.
12. Talk about things fans want to hear. Find important or pertinent news and events in the office or the industry. Tell your followers what they want to hear. Look up interesting people, pages and competitors to know what your followers are looking for. This is the ticket to discovering ways to engage, entertain and educate your audience.
Examples of what you can talk about:
- Expert advice
- Links to blog posts
- Office happenings
- Marketing and sales
13. Don’t sell aggressively. Some Facebook marketers make the mistake of aggressively selling. They market so much to the point of sounding annoying. That’s something you want to avoid because it will turn people off.
- Facebook users are typically drawn to visual posts first, like pictures and videos. So put visual media on top of your list.
- The next thing you want to try are Q&A types of posts. They could be something as simple as “How’s your day?”
- You also want to include content and links, especially pieces of content with pictures. When posting links, write an attention grabbing headline or description. For example, if the link is about a statistic, make it something like “6 out of 10 people use a smartphone to connect to the Internet” or something like that.
- Polls are an interesting Facebook feature, although there’s not much evidence about their effectiveness. Still, they may work for your type of audience.
- Who doesn’t love contests, giveaways and discounts? They’re a great way to generate more likes. The promo doesn’t have to be for increasing sales — you can also say “Like our page to get more discounts.”
14. Your followers’ lead. If your services revolve around SEO, real estate or whatever business, of course, you want to share industry information and advertise your offerings. However, what your fans want may be different. For instance, the webinar’s speaker Amanda Collins updates Grammar Doctors’ Facebook page by posting content writing-related information, but the posts that garner the most likes are pictures of flawed English. With her handy phone, she snaps pictures of amusing faulty English she encounters randomly. And those get the most interaction.
This doesn’t mean you have to be funny all the time. Boost your brand your own way, but give the audience what they want every now and then.
15. Tap other social networks. Facebook isn’t the only site that will give you traction, but it’s great because of its conversational nature.
- Twitter also lets you engage your audience, but it’s more like a radio station — people won’t be aware unless they’re tuned in. To draw in a wide reader base, you have to know what to tweet and collaborate with strategic partners to be retweeted. Twitter is where the party’s at for young people, so it’s great if you target a young demographic.
- Pinterest appeals to women mostly, especially women who have lots of time to spare browsing the Internet. The social network resembles an online scrapbook and is picture driven. If your products and services can be depicted through visuals and if you target women of all ages, this is where to go.
- Google+ is not gathering the amount of users it expected to have, but there are advantages to signing up with Google’s social network, the most important of which is that it’s owned by the biggest search company. If you’d like to receive more love from Google and push more links, G+ should also be in your list.
- LinkedIn has always been for employees, employers and job seekers. It’s the Facebook for career people. The social network used to be mostly for connecting professionals, but recently, they’ve been catering to businesses. Organizations and businesses can now post updates, and users can now follow business pages.