Every content marketer needs a large and active social media audience to push content out to current customers, court potential consumers, construct or maintain your brand in the image you want and create positive chatter about your company.
Social media is an essential component of any content marketing program, and for the business-to-consumer marketer, Facebook is the perfect place to start. In Part 1 we discussed incentives, content of real value and high-quality photography as important hands-on tactics for helping building your Facebook following.
On this article we’ll finish up with four more proven tactics for growing your social media audience: hosting a Facebook event; measuring your communications; creating the human touch; and asking your audience what’s on their minds.
Host a Facebook “Chat” or Event
Did you know you can host a chat on Facebook?
A Facebook chat is a great way to host a virtual gathering of folks interested in your subject matter. Maybe you want to talk about an annual event, promote a particular season that’s good for your product or service, or offer up ideas on how to get the most out of activities and pastimes related to your subject matter. Be ready with a variety of links from your website; then, as you or your panel answers questions, embed those links within your posts. It will drive traffic to your site.
Here’s another tip on holding a good virtual chat: Prepare yourself by having a dozen or so questions ready, to get the conversation going or keep it humming. Fo example, a bicycle retailer might line up questions like: Who do we have out there today – racers or roadies? What distances are you riding? Who’s using their bike to get to work these days?
Bonus Tip: Prepare a landing page or other destination where participants can go after the chat to learn more and get in touch.
Measure Your Communications
More is not necessarily better. Here’s why: Nobody likes hearing from you constantly. It dilutes your important messages. It drops engagement rates. And it causes dreaded “unlikes” to happen. But you have to keep something going. So where’s the happy medium?
Here’s a simple rule of thumb: Try for one good post a day. Any more than that and you’re overstepping your bounds, any less and you’re not part of fans’ day. If you’ve REALLY got something to say, you might occasionally do a second post. Always consider this: Do you want to hear from even your very best friend more than once a day? No, you’d get tired of them fast.
Create a content calendar to keep yourself help you stay on track and make the process easier to manage. Use tools such as Hootsuite or SproutSocial to manage your posts and auto-set them up for the week, but be prepared to change course according to breaking news and other trending developments!
The improved engagement you’ll get from posting judiciously equates to higher quality (you carefully pick and choose what to talk about) and more coverage in more fans’ newsfeeds. And it leaves plenty of time to take care of other important matters, such as creating the human touch, discussed next.
Bonus Tip: Use Facebook Insights Analytics to learn what times and days you see the most engagement from your audience, then find your rhythm.
Create the Human Touch
Every business needs a real human being whose daily job duties include reading, reacting to and managing your Facebook community’s commentary and interaction. This includes communication with entire groups, yes, but also responses to individual members of the community.
We have another simple equation at Brandpoint: It’s the 10-to-1 rule. For every fan willing to speak up and say what they think (i.e. the occasional complainer), there are 10 who don’t say anything. The human touch – monitoring what’s going on, interacting, making good – is smart. Go so deep as to personalize messages to “thought leaders” on the threads, and create comments on the threads themselves to cover the group and let bystanders see that you care.
Bonus Tip: Show your audience the “behind the scenes” of your brand: The people and processes that make your product or service great.
Ask your Audience
Get your audience involved by asking questions and having them interact with your page. Our audience enjoys answering our weekly trivia and photo questions, and that gives us a chance to get to know them better. The goal is to get them thinking, reminiscing, and of course dreaming, with each question or contest.
You could also ask them for their photos then build albums with fan photos. This gives them a chance to shine on your page and for you to connect with your audience, which goes back to our previous human touch point. Asking them to engage with your posts gives you, the brand, a chance to see what your audience might be interested in and what they’re looking for.
When it comes to marketing, you need to know your audience. What better way than to correspond with them on a daily basis through your own questions?
Bonus Tip: Ask your followers for their advice on a challenge or issue, or their opinion on matters of importance to your subject matter.
Growing a Facebook audience into a meaningful size, while keeping those members enthused and engaged,is a challenge. But at its core, the task comes down to simple ideas and hard work. Building an engaged Facebook fan base really pays off: It strengthens the connection of trust and loyalty between you and your fans. They will become your visitors, your customers, your friends …. and your best ones at that.