Turning Facebook into a meaningful acquisition and retention channel for your business is a two-fold challenge. First, you need to master the art of acquiring new Fans on a budget. And second, you need to find a way to keep them actively engaged.
Getting New Likes
The easier of these two challenges is the acquisition side. Facebook’s advertising engine has become so sophisticated, it is relatively easy to grow your audience with targeted Fans on a budget. Most people are able to figure out Power Editor at a basic level and launch ads in order to acquire Likes at roughly $1-$2 per Like. The main cost is actually your time – as it can be a bit of a learning curve to figure out Facebook’s interface, and then figure out how to optimize bid structures and targeting. We’ve heard that Facebook’s ad reps even encourage businesses to use their agency partners rather than trying to do this on their own, partly because the agencies have developed way more user-friendly interfaces (c’mon Facebook!).
Think you need help growing your Page? While the big Facebook partners won’t work with SMBs, and most SMBs can’t hit their spend requirements – luckily there are some good agencies who specialize in helping SMBs grow their Likes at very affordable prices. We have vetted a fair amount of these and really like the team at Liftoff Social (visit http://liftoffsocial.com). But there are probably lots more out there as well. There is a great video by the way, on Liftoff’s homepage – worth a quick watch just to reiterate the importance of fan growth!
Engaging Your Audience
And now for the tough part – keeping your Fans active and interested, and continuously building their trust and loyalty. While this isn’t rocket science, it does take some creativity, persistence and enthusiasm! To help get your creative juices going, here are our top 5 tips for engaging your Fans:
- Be The Life Of The Party
Your instinct might be to be polite, respectful, not impose on your Fans’ newsfeeds to much – but actually you want to do the complete opposite! You want to be the alpha dog, with the opinions, the know-how, the information, the inside access, the humor, and the ability to connect people. Tap into your inner extrovert and be magnetic! Here’s an awesome example from Shinesty:
- Talk About Stuff Your Fans Care About
This is actually really important – basically the foundation of your social strategy – know your audience, and then ENTERTAIN them. Your job when you are managing your Facebook Page is not to just talk about your brand and your products all day long. You want to talk about things that your audience really have strong emotions or reactions to. If your audience is dudes, talk about sports and beer and cool gear – even if your product is watches. If your audience is pet lovers, be the best poster of cute puppy images on the internet. Or pick a niche within that, that you can totally own – the best poster of cute puppies dressed in human clothes. Or if your audience is small businesses – be the best poster of content related to growing your business online. Stuff they will Like, click on, Comment, & Share. Hubspot is sort of the granddaddy of this type of thought leadership strategy – here’s an example post from their Facebook page that features an e-book:
- Post Way More Than You Think You Should
You can be polite and only post once a week, or a few times a week. But you should be posting a few times a day if possible. Only some percentage of your fans will see what you are posting, so increase your chances of reaching more people by posting a lot. But only as much as you can make interesting. Do not increase volume at the expense of interesting-ness. If you need post ideas, stay right on top of current events, celebrity & sport happenings, random things from Pinterest, etc. Don’t be afraid to come up with ‘memes’ that you can do repeatedly, and take advantage of existing memes on Facebook like ‘Throwback Thursdays.’ Be bold, and have fun with your content.
Here’s a good midday post from JetBlue, about something as simple about the weather – and notice that they are asking for thumbs up/down (more about that below!) – Always good to ask your Fans to vote!
- Try These Proven Engagement Post Types
No need to reinvent the wheel – ASK your Fans to engage with you, and they probably will. Definitely incorporate some of these proven post types into your content calendar:
- Pose a question and ask fans to answer, comment, or vote yes/no (see above Jet Blue!)
- Post a carousel of images and ask your fans to click or comment to favorite
- Have fans post their own pictures as part of a photo contest
- Do a sweepstakes with an awesome prize, show the prize as the image of the post, and ask people to Like & Share to win, or enter their email address to win (you won’t believe how many people will do this)
- Do weekly contests about your staff – guess something unique about this person; or here are two of our staff, guess what they have in common – people won’t be able to resist!
- Have fans weigh in on current events
- Have fans tag friends into your post
Here is a quiz example from Country Outfitter:
- Find Comparable Awesome Pages – And Copy Them
And lastly – be an ace COPYCAT! If something has worked before on social media, it will probably work again. We have seen time and time again that if a post goes viral once, you can spin it back up a few months later and bam, it will go viral again. Same goes for grabbing viral ideas from other pages – if it went viral for them, probably will go viral for you. While you want to be original, don’t be afraid to learn from others and take advantage of proven engagement magnets.
Here’s a very recent and awesome example from Buzzfeed, the kings of viral. This isn’t proprietary, is super general, would be well received by any audience, and look at those likes and shares! Why not use this on your page too!?
In summary, if you’re having fun with your posts and truly trying to get your audience into fun and interesting conversations – they are most likely going to respond. And as the saying goes, to begin.. BEGIN! What are you doing still hanging out here, go write some posts!