Nearly every business seeking a social media presence dreams of obtaining a colossal number of “likes.” After all, numbers speak to us--they’re quantifiable and we know how to process them. Tactics such as Facebook advertisements and splashy social media contests can aid in seeing an immediate increase in such numbers.
But your work doesn’t end with reaching a goal number of page likes. In the 1800s, people flooded the West in search of gold. Upon arriving, they built towns. Once the gold—or promise of—was gone, so were the towns. When the value was gone, so were the people. There simply wasn’t a reason to stay—there wasn’t a community. We can look at a business’s Facebook page in much the same way. What do you do with connections once someone has liked your page?
It’s been suggested that steady, organic growth in Facebook numbers is more successful than rapid growth based on fleeting incentives. Having 20,000 fans is great. But what if 17,000 of those fans are not really engaged? By forming real, meaningful connections with fans, your business is more likely to have your messages reach the intended audience and you’ll be more likely to retain active fans.
For our clients, we believe in implementing strategies that target key audiences. We believe in quality over quantity—aiming and hitting our target once rather than hundreds of near-hits. To successfully achieve results and resonate with the right target audience, you have to do your homework. Research your audience and be sure each decision made in regards to your social media presence is helping reach that audience and in turn, meeting your goals.
To engage fans, companies must be present on their Facebook page. Open communication channels through posing questions to the group, responding to customer service issues as well as commenting and providing feedback on posts. Engage your audience through relevant, thought-provoking content.
For Swanson Russell client, Purina Horse Feed, engagement is key. Each Friday morning, fans on the Purina Facebook page are asked a “Friday Feedback” question. From questions about their horse’s personalities to asking fans what nutrition topics they’d like to hear more about, Purina uses this platform to involve their audience and take away useful information to provide continual engagement on the page.
Allow your fans to see your Facebook page as something that offers them value. Industry news, product launches, tips and tutorials—whatever you choose to share with your audience, make it count. Not sure what your audience wants to hear? Ask them. Use your page’s wall to ask your audience directly or create a poll.
Don’t underestimate the power of exclusivity. From information and news to offers and promotions—delivering these perks exclusively to your loyal Facebook audience is a way to build trust, loyalty and simply thank them for their commitment to your brand.
Each time you interact with someone on your Facebook page, you’re building relationships. These “conversations” are a great way to develop a voice for your brand. Post updates and respond to questions using a unique style—this is your voice. Once you find your voice, be consistent. It will build trust between your company and your Facebook community and they’ll know what to expect.
Purina Horse Feed also uses recognizable, consistent voices to speak to their Facebook audience, answering customer questions and responding to comments from both Purina Horse Feed and one of Purina’s Equine Nutrition Specialists, who is easily-identified on the page. Between the two respondents, each query and comment are attended to with customer service and general queries answered by the company voice and specific feed and nutrition questions fielded by the specialist. Both have built a strong presence and voice on the page.
In conclusion, to keep your Facebook page from becoming a ghost town and to be sure you’re making the most of your social media presence, remember quality over quantity; engage your audience; keep content relevant; and develop your company’s voice. Just as important, remember that sincerity and keeping your audience’s needs top-of-mind will take your business’s social media presence a long way. Make it real, engaging and relevant and watch your social media community thrive.