I was interviewd by Tier One PR last week, so wanted to share the full interview here…
It’s no secret that Facebook can be a powerful platform for brands to build and nurture relationships with target audiences. But staying on top of Facebook’s seemingly weekly updates and new marketing programs can be a tad overwhelming at times. Accepting and embracing change is one of the keys to success when it comes to marketing on Facebook. To help us filter out what’s really important in today’s noisy world of Facebook marketing, we sat down for a chat with Facebook marketing expert Rachel Melia, co-author of the 2nd edition of “I’m on Facebook…Now What???” Here are some insights Rachel shared with us:
first, tell us a little bit about your book.
I’d love to! I helped write the second edition of “I’m on Facebook… Now What???,” which was published late last year. The book is designed to help businesses of all sizes successfully market on Facebook. It’s written in easy to understand language and covers topics like how to create engaging content, how to manage a Facebook Page and build community, how to create Facebook ad buys and promotions, how to use Facebook applications and plugins, and how to measure success. It has many examples of how businesses and organizations are using Facebook successfully, and Action Items to help readers implement what they learn.
you clearly follow the world of facebook marketing very closely. what advantages does facebook provide brands that other social media channels do not?
Facebook now has 1.1 billion users that are very active online, and want to connect with brands and organizations. It’s a great place to reach and build relationships with a mass audience.
are there shortcomings that facebook has that are solved by other social media channels?
Everyone’s mom is now on Facebook which makes it not as cool for younger generations. While many teens and 20 somethings are on Facebook, many are spending more time elsewhere. Twitter and Instagram are two properties that are picking us a share of these younger audiences, and good places to reach them.
what do you think are the most exciting new opportunities for brands using facebook as a marketing tool?
Facebook is always making changes, which keeps things exciting. Some new changes that I think are great opportunities are the new ability to run contests and sweepstakes directly on the News Feed and the ability to target and serve ads to email list subscribers on Facebook.
It used to be that businesses were required to use a 3rd party application to run sweepstakes and contests, and these promotions needed to live on a Facebook tab. Facebook recently relaxed these rules, and now allows Pages to run promotions directly in the News Feed. Running a contest or sweepstakes in the News Feed is a great way to increase engagement and excitement about a product or service.
Facebook’s ad management tool now allows Pages to upload an email list and target those users with ads on Facebook. An example of how this functionality could be used is to target everyone that has not yet RSVP’d for an event, or to target your best customers for a special promotion.
ok, here’s a back to basics question. what is the best way to build a following on facebook?
Bigger businesses and organizations often see a lot of organic growth on Facebook. But smaller or lesser known organizations need to put a lot of effort in to build a follower base.
First, do the obvious things like put a link on your website, let current customers know about the Facebook Page, etc.
After that, some ways to grow a Facebook Page include offline promotion, co-promotion with relevant Pages, sweepstakes that include a Like component, and Facebook ad buys.
what are the most successful strategies you’ve seen to increase engagement on facebook?
The formula for increasing engagement on Facebook is pretty straightforward. You need to:
- Create highly valuable and interesting posts that are relevant to the audience. Try to solve their problems, or make them laugh.
- Include an image as often as possible. Images that are shareable like inspirational/motivational, funny, or are related to holidays, often do very well.
- Keep copy short and catchy, and ask for engagement.
what are the most common mistakes you see brands making on facebook?
One common mistake is being too salesy. People Like a Page for interesting content, not to be sold to. Remember the 80/20 rule and focus mostly on providing great content, and to a lesser extent selling.
A second mistake is not posting images. Posts with images are more likely to be seen and get more engagement. Even if you are posting a link, include an image.
And, a third mistake is being too spammy. Nothing will get your Page unfollowed faster than bad content posted too often.
what brands do you believe are using facebook to its fullest potential as a marketing tool?
There are so many great examples. Two bigger brands I love to watch are Ben & Jerry’s and Sephora. Ellie is an example of a lesser-known consumer brand doing a great job driving traffic to their site and generating sales. A favorite government organization is Nasa. And, a b2b favorite is Social Media Examiner.
with things changing so frequently in the world of facebook marketing, what are the best ways to stay current with all of facebook’s changes?
There are many great resources for staying current will all of the Facebook changes. A few of my favorites are:
I’m happy to announce an upcoming webinar… Here are all the details..
Images have become a very important part of Facebook page posts. Facebook gives a higher EdgeRank score to posts with photos so they are more likely to show up in a newsfeed, and posts with photos get increased interaction.
Here are a few examples of brands doing a great job with images. Several are in the food and beverage category as I’ve been paying close attention to the category because of my client in the category, Margaritaville Mixed Drinker. And yes, I did include Margaritaville Cargo, the Facebook page for the Mixed Drink Maker, in the list 🙂
Bright, fun images with clever copy make we want to head to my nearest Jamba Juice.
They have a passionate fan base of 31 million coffee lovers. I’m not a coffee lover, but their posts makes me want to become one.
Their close-up images and clever copy make me yearn for a cold one.
Who doesn’t love classic Disney images and iconic quotes? I’m ready to go to Red Box and get a movie for Friday Night Movie Night.
I can’t wait to get the Daily Moment of Zen each day. Time to start planning my next vacation.
We use enticing images, fun fill-in-the-blanks, and exotic locales that make fans want to mix up a refreshing cocktail.
It is really important to get Facebook page engagement rate up as much as possible to maintain EdgeRank score (Facebook’s algorithm for deciding which posts make it to your fan’s newsfeed), and to meet other objectives like awareness, brand affinity, referrals, and sales. Here are some tips.
1. Get the right people on the page
The more highly interested fans, the easier it is to get interaction on a page. So, first focus on getting anyone who has any interest in your brand to your Facebook page. Make sure to have a Facebook icon front and center on your website. Also send emails to your email list, promote via other social media, and include links everywhere else you can.. signage, email signatures, etc. Next, do targeted ad buys or sweepstakes/contests with highly relevant prizes to increase the number of fans that are interested in the page content.
2. Post stunning images
Facebook has become very visual. Facebook gives preference to images and people are more likely to interact with images that catch their eye. Take advantage of this by posting images as often as possible. See this example from client, Margaritaville Mixed Drink Maker’s Facebook page. Who doesn’t love seeing a picture of Bora Bora?
3. Use clever copy and include calls to action
Make your copy short and appealing to the audience. Not always, but often, include calls to action to comment, Like, share, etc. Here is another example from client Margaritaville Mixed Drink Maker’s Facebook page. This post earned a 9.21% engagement rate (vs. 2-3% industry average).
4. Respond to comments regularly
People want to be heard. So show them you are listening by replying to their questions and comments. If you don’t respond they will stop interacting, and if you do, they are more likely to interact again as well as buy your product.
5. Make it fun with events and offers
A great way to get fans excited and interacting is with a fun sweepstakes or contest. As a bonus (and often primary objective) increase Likes, email opt-ins, and referral traffic.
What are some of your tips for increasing engagement rate?
If you have a Facebook page for your business and want to increase Likes, here are some suggestions. Some are very basic (but work) and others will take a little more effort. Here goes..
1. Send an email to your friends and family asking them to Like your Facebook page. Maybe they are not your target, but they will get your Likes up to make your page look more legitimate and may be more likely to comment/Like which is helpful to get interaction going on the page, and helps for newsfeed optimization.
2. Send an email to your email list (current clients, partners.. anyone that you think might benefit from your Facebook page). Again, let them know your page exists. Email really is the best way to increase your numbers quickly.
3. Add your Facebook icon/url everywhere. Add icons to your website and blog, add an icon or url to your business cards and email signature, add a link from your LinkedIn profile, add an icon/link to any presentations you do and printed collateral, and put up signage if you have a physical presence.
4. Add a Facebook Like box to your blog. This way people can see others that have Liked your page (including their friends if any have Liked your page) and Like the Facebook page without leaving the blog.
5. Cross promote your Facebook page on your other social media properties. Periodically simply mention your Facebook page on your personal Facebook page, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Or if there is anything exciting happening on your Facebook page, mention that.
6. Take advantage of any opportunities to share your Facebook page. Some Facebook pages periodically let others share their Facebook page on their wall for their audience to see. Facebook guru, Mari Smith, does this periodically. She has 44k Likes so a huge potential audience. The WIC Facebook page also does this periodically, so be on the lookout for this opportunity. Some LinkedIn groups also post Discussions allowing members to share their Facebook pages. And periodically email lists ask members to share. Look for these opportunities.
7. Link to other Facebook pages in your posts. To do this, first Like the other page, then link to the page in your post by typing @ and then the page name. Your post will show up on the other page’s wall and the page owner or others may notice the post and visit your page.
8. Host a Q&A on your Facebook wall. Get an expert to answer questions on a relevant topic. If the expert has a large social media following, many may come to the event and Like your page.
9. Promote your page at live events. Beyond mentioning your page you can get more creative. Let people know they can like your page from their phone by texting the name of the page (for example, womeninconsulting) to FBOOK. Or, if you have a computer, ask them to Like the page on the spot in exchange for something (entering a contest, free product, etc.)
10. Do a Facebook ad buy. If you have a marketing budget, consider a Facebook ad buy. Cost are going up, but advertising may still make sense (and if you want to advertise at some point you may want to do it now, while costs are still reasonable).
Do you have any other suggestions?
*This post was originally published to the Women In Consulting blog