Squeezing every last drop of potential out of Facebook
The Expert Market marketing boffins who we keep tucked away in a special cupboard thought it would be a nifty idea to share some of the vast knowledge they have collected and honed over years in the industry to provide a weekly presentation looking at various areas of the marketing landscape.
We thought this was a cracking idea and so they drew straws to find out who would be the unfortunate soul to take on this task first. And so it was that Ed, the baby of the gang, was chosen to provide a presentation chocked full of practical and actionable nuggets of advice to give your business a boost and hopefully give you some tips which will give your company the edge over your competitors.
After a lot of umming and arring Ed finally decided to give a presentation on making the most of your business Facebook page and how making a few simple changes to your approach to utilising Facebook to leverage your brand can make a big difference.
So that's enough from me, the rest is all Ed as he's helpfully provided the slides below as well as a transcription of the presentation itself in all it's glory. So please enjoy and feel free to leave your own tips for business Facebook below!
Slide 1: Introduction
Facebook pages have always been a little bit of tough nut to crack and the benefits of having an active, engaged audience of loyal Facebook fans is reason enough to warrant spending more time to cultivate our Facebook pages.
The potential rewards are endless with opportunities to forge relationships with industry authorities and the gain almost instant access to our target audience’s thoughts and feedback.
Then there’s the added bonus of the opportunities for unique relevant and topical content ideas through interacting with a community who are actively looking to talk about the industries problems, developments and news. This is especially beneficial if you bear in mind that these guys and girls that we’re interacting with, sharing ideas and building content off the back of are your audience so essentially you’re getting it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Giving us a platform of potentially thousands of people that are already familiar with your brand so we have an instant platform to show off our awesome content to a wide audience of people who not only find it relevant but have already opted in.
In addition to these incentives there’s the increasing weight given by Google to social signals when it ranks sites and although this will in my mind and many others probably never replace more traditional signals such as on site content quality and back link profiles we’d be foolish to ignore it moving forward.
Slide 3: Suggested Improvements
Interactions can range from everything from photo’s, asking questions and presenting exclusive competitions to capture your audiences imagination and make them come back, like posts and interact on the page.
Slide 4 and 5:
I think one our most interesting social media experiences was using the content and connections we built at Ecobuild this year. I felt it was a great opportunity to present quality content and gather a whole cavalcade of ideas for social media. Some that worked and gave us loads of cool photos, videos and ideas for blog posts that are topical, relevant and engaging. Others were not so successful but at least we learnt from our mistakes and grew our understanding of what works within the specific industry and what doesn’t.
As David Thomas once told me "approach new things as just one big experiment".
It also was a great means of interacting with our target audience and building relationships face to face which can be leveraged in the future. We also managed to experiment quite successfully with video content and no doubt this will be yet another string to our bow gaining some great interviews with people from a wide range of different areas of the eco industry giving us exclusive quality content which we can use over a number of social platforms in addition to using it for outreach and on site content.
And the results were almost instant as we saw a leap in engagement stats on the Eco Experts Facebook page with the reach of our posts quadrupling the days during and after the event. This is testament to the content produced off the back of the Ecobuild conference, the contacts we made throughout as well as the way we integrated our campaign with email shots beforehand, during and after the three days.
This is a virtuous circle as pushing ourselves to invest our time and resources in to more exciting, smarter and engaging content will pay dividends in the future as "content is king" becomes more and more relevant. Creating quality visual content will not only give us more of a social voice but this quality content can be used on a variety of platforms as well as on site.
Visual storytelling as a means of spreading a marketing message is unavoidable now. Just take a quick look at how successful Pinterest and Instagram have been. To stand any chance of being noticed through the noise of Facebook we need to get visual and start investing our resources in to curating and commissioning engaging, exciting and most importantly engaging visual content.
These benefits have been confirmed by an internal Facebook study that states:
"posts including a photo album or picture can generate 2X more engagement than other post types.".
These can vary from photos to charts, infographics, and other content visualizations. This can always also be used on other visual-oriented social networks like Pinterest and Google+ to provide a little more bang for your buck.
Our aim moving forward should be to create and curate quality content for Facebook to increase engagement hopefully giving birth to a community that will create its own content and discussion in the future.
A jazzy and immediately eye-catching cover photo can draw people in grabbing their attention and getting your visitor through the door. An increasingly hard task given the ever-reducing attention span of the average internet user. However before you go off and start chucking massive buttons and loads of info up on your cover photo there’s a couple of rules that must be followed lest you feel the icy wrath of the Zuckerburg.
- The standard cover photo dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels.
- Facebook’s policies state that cover photos cannot include:
Price or purchase info
References to FB features and actions
Call to action
- Most importantly have fun with it, be creative and let it represent the best of your brand!
Slide 9 and 10: Star, Pin and Hide
"Starring" a post gives a visual punch highlighting bits and bobs on your timeline, a great way to emphasise your posts and give them the boost they deserve expanding them to widescreen.
fPin when you’ve got something juicy so it manage to get the coverage it deserves and the response it will hopefully garner, whether this be a poll or questions or a juicy content rich video. This is a handy tool to stop things drowning in the soon to be bustling timeline your nurturing.
Slide 11: Notes
Notes are a brilliant way of quickly micro blogging ideas and tips for your audience. This can even take the form of just be a couple of paragraphs maybe once a week to try to build a following and yet another reason to return to your page. Ben and Jerrys have built up a dedicated following of ice cream lovers looking for more and more elaborate ways of creating elaborate frozen desserts.
Milestones can be used to highlight key points both in the future and historically in the businesses development – when it was founded, product releases. These take the form of a banner spanning the length of your timeline (843 x 403 pixels).
An idea that’s been floated about for a while was using the timeline and milestones feature to provide a comprehensive resource of the history of the industry itself. This would take a vast amount of work however but what a powerful and unique offering to have at your disposal.
Creating unique applications tailored for your target audience can be a powerful means of engaging your audience and providing another incentive for people to visit your Facebook page.
The application tabs at the top of your timeline can be easily changed allowing you also to promote different sections of your site whether it be the blog, or an onsite competition, initiative or sign up form that you want to promote. Again this falls back to the simple concept of putting your best content in front of people that want to engage with it.
They also hold the added bonus of not being included as one of the areas where you can’t place a call to action so take advantage of this and think about creating a like page with a thumbnail with a call to action attached. By including this page or application in your favourite apps segment on your home page you can quite sneakily get around Facebook’s rules on promotion on your front page by having a call to action included in your thumbnail.
Creating apps and additional areas of your Facebook page can be a little a daunting prospect for us less code happy folk however there is tonnes of help available!
Facebook themselves provide a comprehensive wealth of information and support on the subject here - http://developers.facebook.com/docs/appsonfacebook/pagetabs/
However if this all seems little too much then there’s a vast menagerie of different 3rd part application available which make creating a Facebook fan pages and additional pages a doddle with simple drag and drop creation and templates which can allow you to quickly and efficiently create a page. This simplicity however comes at a cost although branded templates with restricted features can be found for free.
Getting a community behind you and creating a space for a community to exist can be a powerful asset for a business to have. A cause could take the form of a scandal, a common goal or essentially something to unite a community which has the potential to be leveraged. Give a soapbox for people to vent their frustrations and voice their opinion on a subject and as we know passionate content is a great emotional catalyst for discussion and ultimately the holy grail of self-generating content. Monster have done this brilliantly by leveraging their brand image as being extreme, passionate and adrenaline fuelled and perfectly aligning it with the military and the likes and interaction just flooded in as a result.
Not only this but these new focussed areas of your brand can be actively promoted through your featured “likes” area on your main Facebook page and vice versa.
Setting up specific “events” can also be a nifty means of gathering round a day or event that’s a prominent part of your industries calendar a community with your brands name attached to it.
Slide 17: Top Tips for setting up and managing your Facebook page
Post twice a day at least, there’s only a short slip of time that your audience is going to see your post in their timeline.
This is a two way street, interact with your community and your potential audience. I know it’s sometimes tedious and take a little time to manage however it will pay dividends! Don’t be afraid to ask. Whether this is feedback or for the community’s perspective gaining their unique incite can be valuable. This can even stretch to suggestions for topics for future posts or content etc.
You must take advantage of the description and company info parts of the page and provide an engaging and comprehensive description of company philosophy. Pack as much information as possible on to this page, take every opportunity to set out your stall.
Branding is a must on both the profile photo as well as cover photo, take every opportunity to get your brand out there and start building on your brand identity. This will hopefully contribute towards establishing your brand as a familiar face within the community in which it resides. It’s one thing to say that we’re experts in a subject and another to be recognised as one. So we need to make sure that everything that we say and do builds towards a brand identity and our reputation when posting.
Once we get the ball rolling on getting our visitors to interact then if no-one replies it’s like they’ll not be coming back anytime soon “responsiveness is key to success”.
How we respond to negative and positive comments are vital to the success of your Facebook presence, as much as we love a positive response to our website, content or service you can’t please everyone. However how quickly and effectively you respond can often turn a negative experience in to a brilliant customer service story.
As always “content is king” however it doesn’t always have to be your content.
Take notice when making connections of their Facebook page and other relevant and prolific ones within your industry. These can be extremely valuable resources when it comes to providing a hub of info and news for your industry.
Try and keep in personal if you can, add your photo, introduce yourself as well as the office if possible and share your stories and experiences. Present a face for your community to engage with and more often than not they’ll be more inclined to respond.
Take a long time to have chat and connect with the demographic you’re trying to attract to your page which will hopefully lead to better understanding our demographics and building and curating content that will appeal.
Pretty neat little guide on timelines - http://blog.hubspot.com/Portals/249/docs/ebooks/guide_to_facebook_busine...
Top tips from the cream of the crop - http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/top-10-small-business-facebook-pages-...
Brief list of top tips for timeline - http://lp.wildfireapp.com/rs/wildfire/images/Top%20Tips%20for%20an%20Eff...