Everyone and their mother is on Facebook - whether it’s to share photos of their food, play games or keep up with old sixth form friends. That’s what makes it the perfect platform to grow your business and keep in touch with your customers: everybody is already there! More than a place for a bit of fun, Facebook is just the thing you need to jumpstart your social media presence.
Signing up to Facebook? That’s easy. Ensuring a steady flow of content to keep your audience engaged? That’s an entirely different kettle of fish. Fortunately, we’ve got your back. Here are two tried-and-tested strategies designed to keep your social media cogs turning.
First up: planning, or as my guidance counsellor once told me, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
Don’t be afraid to think about your social outreach in advance. Crack open a Google Sheets document and think about what you want to share, and crucially, when. If you’ve got a couple of hours spare, maybe spend it outlining your Facebook outreach for the coming weeks.
The other idea isn’t actually mine. It’s one I’ve (rather shamelessly) stolen from The Atlantic magazine’s social media team, but trust me, it’s an excellent one. As Oscar Wilde once wrote, “talent borrows, genius steals.”
In a nutshell, don’t be afraid to recycle your content. If you write a blog post, don’t just post it once. Post it every month or so. If you’ve got a backlog of evergreen blog posts, post them to your Facebook page in regular intervals.
The advantage of this is twofold. Firstly, it means that your content has value beyond the first couple of days after publication. Secondly, it means you can ensure there’s a steady stream of content, even during the drier periods, like during the holidays, or when your social media manager is off sick.
It seems obvious, but content that’s more visually engaging has a tendency to perform better in engagements.
If you’re posting plaintext content to Facebook, you’re doing it wrong. If you want to get your engagement numbers up, images, videos, and polls are your friend. Use them.
If you’ve got a supply of original visual content ready for the embedding, that’s fantastic. If not, all is not lost. Don’t be afraid to delve into the wealth of public domain imagery on the Internet.
The best site for this, in my humble opinion, is UnSplash. The quality and range of the photos are sublime, and they’re completely free. You don’t even need to credit the creator -- although it’s strongly encouraged.
Craft Your Brand Voice - Then Talk
Posting on Facebook is a key method for getting to know your audience, and letting them get to know you too. Customers don’t want to feel like they’re speaking to a salesman, but one of their mates.
Try not to be too formal, and speak in a friendly way like you normally would. Once you get your brand’s voice down pat, be sure to post regularly! Build a schedule that ensures you capture all of the possible times your audience will be checking their Facebook.
Fight fires (before they become infernos)
It’s worth remembering that social media isn’t a one-way conversation. As a brand, you’re sharing content with your customers, and they can respond in kind.
While you’ll inevitably wish for all interactions with your customers to be positive, that is unlikely to be the case. You may, for example, accidentally post something that infuriates or offends. They may have an issue with your product and take to your Facebook presence to complain.
Should this happen, be proactive. Apologise if need be. Do your best to make things right. Problems, if ignored, can spiral quickly. You could end up dealing with a #PRFail.
Build passionate users
It goes without saying that if someone has taken the effort to ‘like’ your Facebook page, they feel more than apathetic about your brand. They’re interested in what you’re doing and have invited you into their personal realm.
Engage with them. Make them care. Delight them. But beyond that, stoke the embers of passion.
Some social media scheduling platforms -- like, for example, SocialFlow -- let you pinpoint the users who most frequently engage with your page. Personalised content, private enthusiast groups, and freebies can keep these individuals coming.
To build an audience is one feat. To maintain it is entirely another.
This ain’t a science; it’s an art, and a messy one at that. While much of the advice is universal, how you deploy it is entirely up to you!
BY KATHERINE HUGHES, JUNIOR AT CEW COMMS.