Facebook’s success is down to the social nature of its interactions. It’s important to treat your Facebook presence differently from other forms of marketing, to take maximum advantage of this social structure by engaging with your customers. Building relationships with customers on Facebook has the tangential benefits of increasing Reach and Brand visibility, making it easier to reach new prospects and keep the attention of existing ones. Most importantly, though, by building and nurturing relationships with customers on Facebook, you can use your Facebook page to reach the people who matter to your business and engage your customers in a conversation, resulting in a more responsive and successful business.
Plan Your Posting Strategy
So, how can you nurture your Facebook relationships? One method is a planned posting strategy. Remember, Facebook has metrics you can use to measure how your fans respond to your posts, when they’re online, what kind of posts they like the best and more. It’s a far cry from the traditional mailshot. Try planning your weekly posting schedule based on a steady level of brand-appropriate, consistent posts with top-ups from special events and topical posts. Use your posts to showcase your goods and services, represent the values of your brand and claim a place in the conversations your fans are already having. A rubber boot company posting lots of festival-related material in summer, for instance, would be doing all three of those things. Crucially, the brand would be entering into a conversation that fans are already having, about which festivals they’re attending and what they expect them to be like.
Promote Engagement From Your Fans
It’s also important to promote engagement. In fact, asking your fans questions, posing surveys or quizzes, even if they’re only one question long, or otherwise encouraging your fans to respond to your posts, may be the best thing you can do for your brand on Facebook. Start by using posts that your fans are likely to see and respond to: the ideal post for these purposes would be an image or video post which links to an article with a conversation-starting topic and an invitation to respond.
It’s also possible to generate greater engagement with your fans by sponsoring stories on Facebook. Go to www.facebook.com/ads/create, select what you want to advertise and your objective, and from here you’ll see the option to show stories under ‘Sponsored Stories.’ Watch out, though – savvy Facebook users know that many of the ads generated this way don’t reflect their friends’ true interests, and Facebook is planning on killing this feature in the near future as it consolidates its advertising formats.
Get Fans’ Attention and Drive Sales With Facebook Offers
A method with more of a future – and less of a history of provoking Facebook users into ‘I hate sponsored stories’ rants – is to run a Facebook Offer from your Page. The Offer option is on your Page within the status update section. Choose the Offer type from In Store Only, In Store & Online and Online Only. Your next step is to add an image and headline. This part is fully under your control subject to the Terms of Service, so make sure that your text is punchy, attention-grabbing and includes a call to action. Add expiration date, conditions, barcodes and terms and conditions, and you’re set. Now, when fans take you up on your offer, the offer will appear in their friends’ newsfeeds, driving awareness of the Offer and your brand. Hopefully that will also lead to discussions amongst your fans.
Whichever method you choose, it’s clear that only marketing that actively utilises Facebook’s social, leisurely and interactive structure has a chance of making the most of Facebook’s ubiquity and market penetration. So work on building and nurturing relationships with your fans on Facebook, and reap the benefits of a network of engaged, interested customers!