This is a guest post by Tamsin Fox-Davies, Small Business Evangelist for Constant Contact.
You know that silence during a dinner when, suddenly, no one has anything to say?
That uncomfortable silence is being recreated on Facebook Pages everywhere.
Businesses are asking questions that go unanswered and posting news items and product pictures that tragically go un-liked.
Here are 11 reasons that you might be getting the cold shoulder from your Facebook fans, and examples of how you can start avoiding those awkward dinner silences and get engagement on your Page.
If you’d like to find out even more we will be hosting events throughout Social Media Week at Google’s London Campus – I’ve included further details below.
Many small businesses and organisations know that questions can get fans involved, but it’s a certain kind of question. Don’t ask people what they’re doing for the weekend – if they want to share those plans on Facebook, they’ll do so with their friends.
Instead, focus on questions that directly engage what you know your audience is interested in. How do you know your audience’s interests? Well, they liked your Page, so they must like your industry. Go with that:
Suffolk-based calligraphy supplies company Scribblers regularly asks industry-based questions.
Remember, Facebook isn’t necessarily a business environment. You want to keep things conversational and inspiring.
That doesn’t mean you need to throw eight exclamation points at the end of every post; just be positive and try not to sound like a robot.
The best part is that, if you do hit the right tone, you can post about almost anything:
USA-based burrito franchise Boloco has such a close relationship with fans on Facebook that the business shares marketing initiatives and asks their opinion on upcoming offers.
A Facebook Page that is crowded with an army of text isn’t just painful on the eyes – it’s boring. Smartphones and digital cameras have made it extremely easy to share pictures of what you do, so don’t neglect those opportunities.
Better yet, make some pictures of your own. Our social media team here at Constant Contact will search Google or Pinterest for pictures, or even take snippets of infographics and put a quote or a remark on it, so they come out like this beauty:
Fans like your Page because they’re passionate about your organisation, but they’re also passionate about your industry.
That means that the occasional post about a product is fine, but make it clear that there’s a reason behind the post. Maybe the product just came in, maybe it’s a solution for a recently published news article … or maybe the photo just came out really well and you know your fans will love it.
Since fans are passionate about your industry, you can bet that they expect news, tips, and photos that are from that industry. The idea is to start becoming a great community and, most importantly, a resource.
Confusing? Let’s say your business is a gym. You can share exercises and routines, but what else is your audience interested in? Well, it’s probably safe to assume that they wouldn’t mind healthy recipes, beauty advice, or posts that help them get to know their trainers a little better:
Work It Out Fitness shares a lot more than just gym tips.
Every time you post something to Facebook and expect engagement, ask yourself: “Why would someone ‘like’ this?”
People like posts because they agree with them, find them interesting, or find them funny. That’s about it. If there’s no passion in the post, then you won’t get any in return.
FairyDogParents uses Facebook to keep donors up to date.
Speaking of return, don’t forget to return the favour. Commenters should feel like their feedback is appreciated – otherwise, what’s the point of getting involved? Be sure to respond when appropriate.
Before your organisation steps foot onto Facebook, it can pay to design an editorial calendar. This can give you a sense of what you’ll be posting on Facebook regularly.
But don’t get stuck on an editorial calendar, either. That risks putting your Page in a bobbing bubble of boring. Give yourself some flexibility to engage about current events in your business and in the industry at large.
Give your opinion when you’re sharing these things: that gives your Page a personality, and that personality (and your expertise!) is what fans will want to see.
Some businesses choose to use third-party apps, like Constant Contact’s Social Campaigns, to create contests or offers that require fan participation:
Prepare for more than a few awkward dinner room silences. Building up an audience on Facebook takes time and engaging them can take even longer.
Your goal should be to establish a personality and establish what, exactly, people will find when they come to your Page. The rest should follow naturally.
Nonprofit FairyDogParents recently ran a survey to find out what fans wanted on the Facebook Page.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – I personally have a very high standard for outright ‘liking’ a post. So do 99.5% of fans of the top 200 brands on Facebook.
That’s right. A study found that just 0.5% of fans of these 200 brands were actively engaging the Page on a given week.
Don’t forget that people come to Facebook to connect with their friends and family first. Everything else is secondary.
There are a lot of lurkers out there – just because no one is responding doesn’t mean no one is reading!
How Small Businesses Win in a Socially Connected World
Tues 25th Sept, 11.30am – 1pm at Google Campus
Multi-Channel Social Media – Small Biz Friend or Foe?
Thurs 27th Sept, 11.30am – 1pm at Google Campus
And we’ll also be hosting the first ever SMEET Up where I’ll be discussing how you can use your Facebook Page to drive real business results – contact us on Twitter @ctctuk if you’d like to come along! It’s a great opportunity to network with other people who ‘get’ social media and email marketing.