Facebook has gone from a concept of bringing students together into a global phenomenon that links friends, family, colleagues and even businesses together through a series of likes and friend requests. When it was founded back in 2004, nobody could have seen that it would turn into the kind of network that it has today with nearly 1.2 billion users.
These users do all kinds of things with their personal accounts, updating people on what they’re doing, where they are and posting pictures for the world to see; and even businesses have got involved by creating their own pages as part of an ongoing marketing strategy that requires very little investment in comparison to their traditional methods. The problem that they have is, many of these companies seem to expect the likes and shares to just happen and when they don’t they want to understand why.
The fact is, you have to earn the likes and shares that make such a difference. The businesses that use sites like Facebook do so to try and engage their audience, the people who are likely to be investing in their goods and services or interested in what they have to say. For example, the people who have liked Hidden Hearing on Facebook have done so because they’re interested in the content they’re producing and they might be directly or indirectly affected by a hearing impairment.
The same could be true for the people who like Smith Opticians from Texas, they are most likely to be customers or people who wear glasses and would be interested in offers on eye tests or new frames. This isn’t to say that those two pages in particular are using Facebook the right way – there is no right or wrong way after all – but the content is specific to their audience.
One way that you can be sure to increase engagement is to try and drive conversations between yourselves, as the company, and the people who already like your page. Each time you post a piece of content, it will appear on that person’s News Feed so they can see it as soon as they log on to Facebook. It’s then down to their own personal choice if they get involved in the conversation by posting a comment, but even clicking the ‘like’ button will put its own message onto that person’s Facebook account for their own friends to see – free marketing for your page essentially.
Once people start engaging with your page, talk to them and show that the company is friendly and approachable.
Another great way of engaging your audience and encouraging new people to like the page is to offer some kind of incentive or reward. Many Facebook pages for businesses have a landing page that encourages them to like a competition before they like the page, meaning that there is something in the ‘like’ for both parties. It’s important that you don’t forget the existing people, however, as it’s just as important to maintain the existing fan base as it is to expand it. There’s no point gaining a like if you lose two after all.
The key to a successful business page, essentially, is giving the people what they want. There’s likely to be plenty of trial and error until you get it right, but with a solid and long-term strategy in place you will soon realise the tone of voice you need to be using, the type of content you need to be posting and the best times of day to post.
That final part, about the time of day, is all dependent upon where you’re targeting your audience. If you’re running a solely UK-based marketing campaign, you’re best to post around lunchtime or in the evenings when people are on a break or at home after work, but with a global campaign you need to stagger your posts to handle the time differences.
Ella Mason, an experienced freelance writer, wrote this article. Ella specialises in providing useful and engaging advice to small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @ellatmason