In the social networking world, whether your business is keeping in touch with its customer base using Facebook, Twitter or e-mail marketing, your message is only as effective as the number of people who read it. One of your primary objectives, therefore, must be to build your base of likers, followers and subscribers. Concentrating on Facebook business pages, although it should not be looked upon as Armageddon, you should do your utmost to avoid forcing those folks who have “liked” your page from changing their minds and “unliking” the page, effectively cutting themselves off from your marketing messages. The best way to maintain your base of fans and followers is to understand the type of content that they want and expect to see, and to understand the predominant reasons that people choose to leave.
Let’s start by looking at what people want to see in your Facebook posts.
• First of all, they want to see information that either directly or indirectly relates to your business AND ties in to their interest in your business. Try to be the first to present this information. If the information that you post is exclusively presented to your Facebook fans, that is even better. If it includes a special offer, incentive or coupon, that is best yet. Do not post irrelevant information about Lady Gaga, just because you think that she is of popular interest (for some reason that I could never possibly understand). Stay focused, topical, and on target.
• Secondly, as much as we all like to be informed, people respond in a more positive manner when they are entertained. They are also more likely to share entertaining content, expanding your sphere of influence and growing your base of fans. If you can present useful information in an entertaining manner, you have hit upon a winning formula! You will know you are on target when your posts generate a high percentage of “likes” and – better yet – comments that generate a conversation between you and your fans … and among your fans.
• Next, people want to feel that they are part of an active “in” place to be. If they visit your page, and the latest post is three weeks old, your page appears to be unattended, uninteresting, and unlikeable. You must post content on a regular and ongoing basis. The same thing, incidentally, applies to groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn.
How to generate more “likes”.
Forget the nonsense about building a ball park in a corn field. You have to seek out your prospective fans and hold up the Welcome sign. Here are a few random tips:
• If you are willing to spend a little money on Facebook advertising (which, incidentally, can be very cost-effective!), run an ad campaign that targets Facebook users who like your product or service, like your competitors, or like related products, services, or organizations. Send them to a landing page that offers them a coupon or other incentive to want to stay in touch with your company.
• When logged in as your business page admin, find and “like” related pages. For example, if you run a local tourism business, you may “like” your local chamber of commerce, tourism agency, or an annual event. By doing so, you may now post comments on those pages that will be of interest to their fans while subtly promoting your own page and business. If you run a campground, and an upcoming local event draws visitors from beyond the local area, you may want to post the fact that you have cabins or sites available for that weekend.
• Contact admins of groups that are related to your page. Provide them with news that will be valuable for them to share with their readers. Because of the manner in which information is shared within groups, this may allow you to reach people who would otherwise not see your message.
• Promote your Facebook page on your website, but also promote your Facebook URL in itself. To do this effectively, you should have a Facebook vanity URL. When you create your business page, it will have a long, cryptic URL that ends in a series of 15 digits that nobody will ever remember. As long as your page has at least 25 “likes” (enough to convince Facebook of its authenticity), you are entitled to a Facebook vanity URL that will make your address memorable and easy to share. Go to:
• Cross-promote your content across the social media, but beware of overdoing it. A perfect example of how to do things right is the “People of Walmart” music video produced by Jessica Frech, a talented, Nashville-based college student, singer, songwriter, and filmmaker. Her video was released on May 5, 2011, quickly went viral, and had over 1,000,000 views in less than 2 weeks. Above all else, it was the quality of the production that earned its accolades. As I write this post, it has now gotten over 2,770,000 views and has generated its own series of challenge videos! If you have not seen this excellent music video, enjoy it now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvxNgdFeWqM. The end of each of Jessica’s videos includes a self-promotional message that encourages viewers to download her MP3 and to visit her Facebook page, which now has nearly 5,000 fans. Bear in mind that this represents less than 2/1,000 of 1% of her views on YouTube that have translated into Facebook page likes. Social media cross-promotion is challenging for even the best of sites!
How to avoid “unlikes”.
People can “unlike” a page on Facebook just as easily as they can “like” it. If your content fails to meet their expectations, they will do so.
As you can see, the # 1 reason that people unlike a page is because the company posted too frequently. One of the pages that I follow on Facebook is The David Wax Museum, a talented musical duo out of Boston. Last night, they posted 25 (yes 25!) consecutive “events” on their Facebook page, which monopolized quite a bit of real estate on my wall. This was not a good idea, and something that easily could have led people to unlike their page. (I was more tolerant, at least this first time.) Another way to wear out your welcome? Re-tweet to Facebook. At first glance, this may sound like a good idea that will help to broader your reach, but the fact is that the frequency of posts on Twitter and Facebook are entirely different. What is more than acceptable on Twitter totally crosses the line on Facebook.
The # 3 reason for unlikes is repetitive or boring content. Again, provide stimulating and useful content. One of the pages that I follow (but which disappoints me) is for Florida’s Natural Orange Juice. I want discount coupons for their product. Instead, I get pointless, self-serving posts such as “LIKE this if you need to go grocery shopping!” and “Do you call it Orange Juice or OJ?” Somebody on the company’s marketing staff is totally missing the point! The company’s posts also tie in with the # 5 and 6 reasons for unlikes: Did not offer enough deals, and posts too promotional.
Examine this chart and the survey results carefully, and then ask yourself whether your Facebook presence is working to generate “likes” (not “unlikes”) that translate into an ever-growing and loyal customer base. Treat your fans with respect, meet their expectations, and you will reap the rewards.
This post was written by Peter Pelland