So you want to reach more people with Facebook? Let’s breakdown what you can do to make yourself successful.
1) Identify Goals
Most clients I see have a social presence, but it is in complete disarray. When asked what they are doing, the typical response is “we put a few things up every week”. The follow up question is how is it working and the response is usually: “uhhh…well….I do not really know.”
The reason for this is that each post is a last minute idea, often when you are busy with other tasks, and the rationale is that it just seemed right. While the event may be worth posting about, it is usually done poorly and falls flat where it matters…your customers. You need to create a value proposition where you give something to your customers (info, entertainment, a personal connection, discounts, etc.) and in return the customer gives you her attention and hopefully eventually converts into a sale.
Typical goals include (in most effective to least effective):
- Increase brand recognition
- Highlight a product/event
- Create personal connections to customers
- Drive traffic to a webpage
- Convert a sale
These goals can be combined, but remember there must be a value proposition. Why should a customer “like” your page? What do THEY get out of it? You are essentially joining the customer’s group of friends. What are returning to them.
2) Create a plan
What we have found works well for clients is to create a realistic plan for every month and then follow through on it. While this sounds hard at first, let’s walk though a quick example. Let’s assume you are a locally orientated eatery trying to connect with your customers. An outline could be:
- Sundays: List the weekly special or interesting product
- Wednesday: Highlight staff member (personal connection)
- Friday: Local-relevant events during the upcoming weekend
- Anytime: Spotlight milestones (eg. anniversary of business, employee milestones, etc.)
- Anytime: Engaging images, thoughts or ideas
With the plan in hand, prepare all that can be done ahead of time. Use HootSuite or a similar scheduling service to prepare the months posts. Write all the text beforehand if possible, even if you are lacking images or other necessary info prior to your post.
The number one source of failure on Facebook is the failure to connect at a personal level. The value proposition is critical here. What are you providing to others? Too many businesses have a spray and pray methodology…put it all out there and hope people will ‘like’ it.
Look at the prepared posts and ask: “Why would someone ‘like’ this?” What am I giving to them? Answers can fall in various categories:
- Information: Local events, New products, etc.
- Humor/Entertainment: Short funny stories or images are always a hit.
- Personal Connection: People gravitate towards people, not businesses. Highlighting employees accomplishments or customer spotlights is always a good idea.
- Discounts/Freebies: You do not need to give away anything to have a solid following, but if you do, create a value proposition. A Facebook connection in exchange for a discount.
If the answer is not clear, then rework it to make it attractive.
Ask for feedback. All too often a chance for dialog is missed because a post simply does not request any. If you are truly providing an even exchange people are happy to reply with comments. An simple example might be: “Today is Julie’s 5 year anniversary at Blue Widgets” vs. “Today is Julie’s 5 year anniversary at Blue Widgets. Say congratulations!” The invitation for comments will open the floodgates, and once a few people say congratulations, the rest will follow.
Some simple rules to keep in mind when creating posts.
- People like to talk, especially about their own opinion.
- People like to congratulate others, even if they barely know them.
- Most do NOT want to be the first to comment, but are happy to be #3, #4 or after.
5) Do it!
I like the mentality of “Doing it wrong quickly”. You do not need to follow these steps in order or all at once. Take what you can and implement it TODAY! Procrastination and inaction is the biggest enemy here. Learn from your mistakes. As long as tomorrow’s post is better than today’s post, your on the right track.
In addition, you should constantly be looking to experiment with your audience. What posts do they like, which do they ignore. Constantly adjust your posts to incorporate new ideas.
A final caution. Now that you are on the track to success, I will leave you with a word of caution. Once you have created a following, it is like a living organism. It needs to be cared for. That means feeding it new, relevant material. Refrain from questionable posts, particularly that will draw a negative retaliation or hurt the brand. One bad post does not out-weight 100 good ones. Remember, there are people on the other side who have let you into their circle, respect it.