As with any community, Facebook is filled with the go-getters, the pioneers, the steadfast and those who appear they just want to be left alone by their lack of participation. With literally millions of pages dedicated to growing brands and recruiting brand ambassadors, it is becoming increasingly difficult to develop and retain those loyal followers. However, with a little effort utilizing these five steps, your Facebook page can be an effective messaging tool for your brand and garner more engagement from your customers and prospects.
1. Post regular updates. Nothing is more annoying to a first time ‘like’ than discovering a product and going to Facebook to find that product’s page with outdated content. Whether you are responsible for posting updates or have a dedicated team, make sure you set aside even just a few minutes every few days to renewing your content.
2. Post visual content. Enhance your post with an image, photo gallery or video. Images are more engaging and can provide visitors with incentives to share and grow your page views inherently.
3. Ask for feedback. Create more audience interaction and conduct consumer research at the same time. Be sure to make sure the page administrator is actively screening comments to avoid negative responses.
4. Deliver timely and relevant content. Use RSS feeds to provide posting or note ideas. Create seasonal or timed events or promotions to marry with product introductions, extensions or improvements. Discuss your brand’s involvement with community events. Think of your brand as a living entity, actively participating in an online society; not every post has to include a sales message.
5. Monitor your analytics. Use the Facebook Insights tool to become more proficient. Not only can you see the demographics of the people that like your page, you can also gauge what posting activity generates the best response. This invaluable tool is key to mastering your brand’s Facebook presence.
Just like that friend who only calls you once or twice a year for lunch, you’re still friends, but aren’t you more engaged on a daily or weekly basis with that friend that keeps up with you? Apply this principle to your brand management on Facebook and keep your ‘likes’ coming back for more.
While it seems the proliferation of social media in our day-to-day lives is growing exponentially, I continue to be amazed at the number of companies that have not embraced this medium as part of their integral marketing program. Sure, it can be a little scary and a bit overwhelming, especially to small businesses without a lot of personnel dedicated to starting and maintaining it. I’ve also run across many companies that haven’t posted on their Facebook page in months and even years and can easily justify in their own mind why they don’t need to have a dedicated social media effort. The fact is social media is an integral part of the human experience. Automakers are experimenting with technology that lets us stay connected when we’re in our cars, eldercare is integrating social media with wellness programs and word of mouth ambassadors are getting paid to sway consumers with trusted opinions on social networks. So if you haven’t jumped into the social media pool or feel like you can’t keep your head above water in maintaining your online presence, there are five simple steps you can take to not only endure but flourish in your endeavor.
1. Stop making excuses and do your homework. If you have no online presence currently on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social sites, start doing some research. My guess is you probably use Google so consider it your number one tool to find your industry peers and competitors online. Make a list of the things you like or don’t like about what they are communicating about their brand(s). Google business articles about starting an online presence and start following industry experts for valuable advice. If you have a stagnant online presence, take inventory of where you are and where you need to be and ask your customers with what social networks they are currently involved.
2. Adjust your current workday and set a realistic “go” time. Simply having a Facebook or Twitter account isn’t going to do your brand justice. It is going to require commitment and determination to successfully promote your brand digitally. Let’s say you have traditionally allocated two hours every Friday afternoon to make new business calls and cold calls – take one of those hours and spend it building your digital reach. Set a realistic launch or re-launch date and stick with it, no matter what.
3. Hire a social media consultant. The biggest excuse I hear is “I don’t want to have to pay someone outside just for social media”. Think of your social media initiative as another salesperson in your company. You pay those people on salary or commission, and they can only reach so many potential customers in a day. The reach you can generate with an expertly written blog article or online post about a promotion or new product far exceeds what a sales rep can do in an 8-hour day. A social media consultant can work with you to develop your program, advise you on how to find that person or group of people to direct and maintain your effort and even function as your online brand manager. Whether you hire the consultant for a one-time strategy session or on a monthly management fee, your investment should be considered a crucial part of your marketing plan.
4. Establish metrics for your social media initiative. Once you have made the decision to start or grow your online presence, you have to determine what you want out of the effort. Do you want to drive more people to your website, get more traffic to your brick-and-mortar, establish new customer channels or promote your products more visually? Measurement tactics should include monitoring your website analytics to watch referrals from your social media vehicles and tying hard numbers to online promotions. If you think about watching the potential reach of a customer sharing your tweet or posting a sale on their page, the numbers might make you get more excited!
5. Get smart on social media. Most people either starting out or in a stagnant mode don’t realize how many resources are available to them to become smarter about growing their online presence. Google has a plethora of good articles on social media tips and marketing ideas for business. Join online groups that make sense for your industry and marketing groups that are constantly pushing out new information. Attend social media events in your community – not only will you learn something, you’ll have the ability to network or at least commiserate with folks that are in your same stage of social media development. Join online webinars or search YouTube for videos at your desk or after business. Even if you only take a few minutes a day to get smarter, it will pay off and keep you motivated to be the industry standout in your digital marketplace.
With some preparation and commitment, you can have a successful social media initiative. You really can’t afford not to have a digital presence – your customers are online creating networks and communities you can access, influence and convert to new customers. All you have to do is dive in.
Yes, you read that correctly. At SXSW, attendees stood in line to get a paw-tograph with one of the internet’s biggest sensations, Grumpy Cat. David Berkowitz, VP of emerging media at 360i wrote a great article about the whole meaning of this madness and what it means:
1) SXSW is a festival for memes. Pundits and attendees looking to find the next big thing are really looking for memes. In years past, Twitter, Foursquare, and GroupMe were all memes that successfully spread within the SXSW community and then far beyond. Great speakers are memes too; this year, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was the biggest meme among keynote speakers, albeit a meme with one-twelfth the search volume in Google as Grumpy Cat over the past week. Great food and parties are memes too. Memes are bits of cultural information that spread, and what makes SXSW attendees unusual is that they constantly seek out these memes and spread them further.
2) Brands can be memes too. In 2012, Nike’s FuelBand became a product meme. While the product couldn’t be shared easily, the experience transferred among attendees in a very salient way. Memes don’t always spread quite that widely. This year, in the Convention Center exhibit hall, I picked up a $30 gadget called the Palm Top Theater which encases the iPhone to turn it into a 3D video player. I carried it around in my pocket all day, and I showed it to most people I met. On a smaller scale, that became a meme. Memes aren’t just about products though. BBC America combined Texan and British icons and created a mechanical bulldog that partygoers could ride. The bulldog became a meme, something people couldn’t stop talking about. People like me who rode the bulldog shared photos, videos, Vines, and GIFs of it widely. For years, people will talk about what it was like riding the mechanical bulldog at SXSW. A meme is born.
3) Memes don’t just live in the digital world. Grumpy Cat is a real cat – a cat that wouldn’t be very famous without Reddit. People don’t just experience Grumpy Cat online though. In becoming a part of culture, people will refer to anyone scowling as being a Grumpy Cat. It’s a brand with emotional resonance. There’s no such thing as a purely digital brand. When Twitter and other software companies broke through at prior SXSW festivals, it was because they built brands that became memes.
4) People want the one unforgettable experience. Why did people wait in line for three hours to see Grumpy Cat? Because everyone else was waiting in line. When I visited installations in the Convention Center from Oreo, HBO’s Game of Thrones, and The New York Times, they looked more fun when the lines were longer. While FOMO (“fear of missing out”) is a tired buzzword by now, at SXSW it’s a persistent phenomenon, where every decision to attend something is usually a decision not to attend several other compelling options. Despite the fear, people gravitate toward what they think will be most memorable, and most social. I’ve held quite a few cats, but only at SXSW did I tell everyone I met that I took a photo holding one; it was by far the most liked SXSW photo that I posted on Facebook too.
5) Marketers capitalize on memes. Before SXSW began, Friskies tapped Grumpy Cat to star in a new campaign. Usually it’s not quite that literal though. When brands resonate with consumers, it’s often because they know what motivates their consumers to spread those ideas – or memes – with others.
See the whole article here: Grumpy Cat at SXSW