Evolve Your Facebook Page Community Outreach Strategies, #SMX-Style

Gorilla on the computer

Gorilla on the computer

Blazing forward with more coverage of #SMX West, Day 2 had the Building Buzz on Facebook: Getting Liked & Shared in store for attendees looking to spice up their social sides.

The evolution of Facebook has been remarkable – from a college student directory to an almost essential marketing asset for many companies. In order to attract, grow, and nurture an online community, you have to stay current on what they want and how they want it – a killer way to achieve this is to follow best practices embraced and evangelized by successful brands.

Moderator Elisabeth Osmeloski, Managing Editor at Search Engine Land led speakers Tami Dalley, VP of Analytics and Insights at Buddy Media, Aaron Friedman, Content Strategist at Resolution Media, and Dan Robbins, Director of Marketing a Fox Racing Show, through this titillating session, discussing everything from some top tips for generating likes and shares in Facebook to Facebook advertising. Deep philosophies behind how to best grow your Facebook community were on the agenda, and the crowd was stoked.

Read on for a recap of the techniques, tactics, best practices, and highly “likeable” takeaways. Yuk yuk.

Tami took the stage first and shared her top 15 tips for generating likes, comments and shares in Facebook. She also offered some insight into social sharing outside of Facebook.

Tami’s Secret Sauce for Growing a Facebook Community:

1. Try to keep your posts short (the more characters, the less engagement).

  • This is especially relevant for photos and videos.
  • When people see a photo or a video, they generally don’t want to waste their time reading additional text too.

2. Be sure to post on Thursdays and Fridays.

  • Engagements on the final 2 days of the work week are 18% higher than on other days.

3. Keep it simple!

  • Photo and plain status posts work well.
  • Photos have 53% higher engagement than other posts.

4. Have a crystal clear call to action.

  • ASK for the like, post, take, comment, or submittal!

5. Sell softly if you’re going to sell at all.

  • The more direct/aggressive your language, the more you will turn people off.

6. Insert questions at the end of the post update.

  • If the post ends with a question (rather than having it in the middle of post) it will likely have a 15% higher engagement rate.

7. Ask a question right.

  • Focus on where, when, would, and should types of questions.
  • Don’t ask why if you can avoid it.

8. Use fill-in-the-blank posts.

  • Generally, they have a 9 times higher comment rate.
  • You can find data about your fans by mining their comments.

9. Be topical and relevant.

  • Prior to the Super bowl, company posts had 60% higher engagement.
  • On game day, they has a 99.7% higher engagement rate.
  • Less than 30% of brands posted about the Super Bowl (whomp whomp!).

10. Win the Super Bowl (Huh?).

  • If you’re a brand in a competition, winning the competition can bring higher engagement rates.

11. Asking someone to share means understanding that it’s a bigger risk.

  • Don’t expect same share rates as you do “like” rates.

12. Actually ask for the shares.

  • Less than 1% of brands actually ask for the share.

13. Post visually-appealing content.

14. Support social sharing outside of Facebook (on your website through badges, buttons, etc.).

  • People are much more inclined to trust information emailed or shared on a social network from a friend.
  • The average Facebook sharer has 240 friends (83% higher than average user).
  • On average, a single share can drive up to 6 new visitors.

15. Tie your shares to Sales/ROI.

When it was Aaron’s turn to take the stage, he talked about how Facebook’s immensity offers both pros and cons.

  • Pro: Facebook has over 800 million users
  • Con: Facebook has over 800 million users

Because Facebook has such a freakishly large community, your potential audience is enormous, but it’s also pretty daunting for some companies.

Aaron’s Golden Rule for growing your Facebook community is to above all else, be passionate! Make visitors get excited about your page. So, if you’ve got that rule covered, how do you reach a larger audience? How do you get your posts to show up? Since EdgeRank is how Facebook ranks brands, you need to know and be sure to strive to achieve these 3 metrics:

  • Affinity
  • Weight
  • Time Delay

Don’t be afraid to buy some ads to further target your audience – grow your audience! You’re not buying an audience, you’re directing them to your content in a different way. Use the Facebook advertising tool to reach people who you know are already interested in what you have to offer.

When posting content, consider quantity vs. quality. You need to post good quality content or no one will want to engage with you. However, even if you are posting good content, some people may not be seeing it. How can you control what they see? Optimize your posts with keywords. The post description explains what article is about, so make it a good, keyword-rich description. Also, be sure to pick a an eye-catching or fitting image.

Last up, but certainly not least, was Dan Robbins. Fox Racing Shox focuses has a core marketing focus. All their marketing efforts are focused around creating brand awareness. So where does Facebook fit into the mix? Facebook can help support marketing efforts and is an additional outlet for your fans to interact with the brand.

How does Dan develop his Facebook audience? The simple answer is: organic growth. Dan is not a fan of paying for fans and recommends never paying for likes. A slightly different approach from Aaron, Dan mentioned that all brands are different and asking for likes in his community would turn off the Fox Racing Shox fans, so they avoid it at all costs. (Costs, get it?)

When it comes to posting content to their Facebook page, these are some of the types of content that work best with his fan base:

  • Photo galleries and videos: both raw and polished footage
  • Links: website content, product reviews, event coverage and videos
  • Contests and special offers
  • Market research
  • Fan calls-to-action

When Facebook fans post content to the Fox Racing Shox Facebook page, Dan has a few general rules of thumb for handling the content efficiently and in accordance with the brand personality.

  • Rather than reply to the antagonists, simply ignore them.
  • Your Facebook page is a place for sharing and encouragement, and antagonists shouldn’t be given any time.
  • Only remove posts if they are hateful or spammy.
  • When community members direct a question at the community, let the community answer – you don’t always need to step in.
  • One thing many people forget to do is to check the hidden posts on a daily basis – you want to be sure your fans aren’t being neglected.

Lastly, it’s okay to take a whole day or even a few days to respond to make sure you get your fans the right answer. Be as quick as you can, but it’s better to be right than to post an incorrect response. In this day and age when brands have such large fan bases in Facebook, your fans will notice when you delete posts and they will say something about it.

How did Fox Racing Shox reach their guidelines? What philosophies are behind them? The ExactTarget 2011 Report of The Social Break-up, which explains why people stop “liking” or being fans of you on Facebook, lists these 3 reasons as the top reasons people become alienated by a brand’s Facebook page:

  • Too many posts
  • Too much marketing
  • Repetitive or boring content

How should you measure growth of your community?
Dan referenced these metrics as the most important for his team:

  • Weekly “like” growth
  • Likes, comments, shares and clicks
  • User posts

If you’re looking for a way to see how you measure up in the industry, take a look at the Facebook pages of your direct competitors.

And that’s about it for Facebook today! Thanks to the speakers for their insight into managing and growing Facebook communities – it’s always nice to know the philosophies and methodologies behind other companies’ Facebook strategies. We’ll be coming atcha with more coverage of SMX, so don’t forget to check back!

© davidevison – Fotolia.com

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