As usual, you need to start by solidifying your goals. You can then craft your content strategy around those goals. Your overall Facebook strategy might be to humanize your company, to position your company as a thought leader, to engage your customers or to show yourself as a company involved with the community. Maybe you want a particular piece of content to be widely shared, or your goal is to generate feedback on your page. Most ultimate goals focus around customer engagement in some way. Whatever your goal is, keep it in mind as you make all of your decisions for your Facebook page.
Some basics things to think about:
1. You’ll need to decide how frequently you want to post, but if you have nothing to say, best not to post anything that day. A reason often cited for why a fan ‘unlikes’ a page is because the company posts too much.
2. Decide how much time you have to devote to your page. Some business-to-business (B2B) companies feel they don’t need a Facebook page at all. Facebook can play a role in B2B, just a different one from business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.
3. You already can see that Facebook is a very visual medium. Here are some statistics from KISSmetrics that show the value of posting with pictures:
- Posts with photos get 53% more likes
- Posts with photos get 104% more comments
- Posts with photos get 84% more click-thrus
4. KISSmetrics also states that posting with a question generates 100% more comments than statement posts. Get users to engage with your brand by asking questions!
Facebook is a natural if you are talking directly to your customer and brands use Facebook in a variety of ways. Most important to your strategy, know your target, know your goals and design your content around both. Consumers like to connect with brands. And brands like to put on a human face. Facebook is a great place to do that. Be honest in your communications and make sure they reflect the tone you want your brand to take.
- Don’t be shy about asking your personal network to ‘like’ your business page. It’s a great way to get started and generate some immediate buzz and activity on your feed, and helps you to gain exposure to their networks.
- Also ask your network to ‘share’ particular posts. You will generate more shares by saying specifically in your post: Please share this.
- Advertising. I know a relatively new company who went from a fan base of less than 1,000 to over 5,000 fans in three months. They did it by buying Facebook ads that offered a cents off coupon for their product. Period. They had been on Facebook for around 6-months before they started buying ads. They fielded the occasional customer comment during that time but they couldn’t generate the traffic they wanted. Once they tried advertising, they were able to generate a much wider base. Now they are enjoying much greater customer engagement, with fairly frequent posts from customers on their page. Facebook has some easy to use methods to help you maximize return on your advertising. This post is a great read on the subject. (Little known fact from the folks at Hubspot: you can test your messaging in advance of running your ad by creating unpublished posts, known as dark posts. Dark posts appear in the News Feed but not on your timeline. This article tells you how to do it.) If you aren’t sure how to get started, here’s another gem from Hubspot explaining the options.
OTHER THINGS TO KNOW
1. It’s no secret that a big reason consumers like brands is because they are hoping for coupons. In a survey by market research company Lab42, they found that 77% of those who had ‘liked’ a brand saved money as a result. Tweet that stat! In the same study, 69% said they ‘liked’ a brand because a friend did.
2. Understand the Facebook Algorithm. Facebook’s goal is to keep users interested, and to do that, they show content they think a particular person will be interested in seeing. It’s important to understand this because it impacts how your posts will be ranked. How is rank determined? Through an algorithm, formerly known as EdgeRank. EdgeRank was created as a way to prioritize stories in a user’s news feed and referred to the concept of ‘gaining an edge.’ The key elements have remained the same over the years, although according to Facebook, they now use over 100,000 factors:
- Affinity Score – This is based on an action the user took, his ‘closeness’ to the person posting, and how much time has passed since the posting. Commenting on someone’s posts, or ‘liking’ those posts, increases a fan’s affinity to a brand. Think of it this way: liking a brand’s page gives the brand an edge.
- Edge Weight – Edges are weighted based on the effort required on the part of the user. For instance, leaving a comment has more weight than leaving a ‘like.’ A video view has more weight than leaving a comment.
- Time Decay – This refers to the length of time that has passed since an edge was created. As time passes, it loses value. However, if a story is very popular, even if it’s a few hours old, it could be bumped to the top of a feed.
You can read more about EdgeRank here.
3. Promotions. Promotions are a great way to garner fans on Facebook. But there are rules that have to be followed. The rules around promotions continue to evolve, so make sure you are using the most current set. For instance, it is now okay to use the ‘like’ functionality as a way to collect entries. Here’s a summary of the <current> Facebook rules as of August, 2013. You also must follow local and national rules imposed by the government (check with your lawyer!).
There are a few ways B2B companies use Facebook.
- Human Resources. A common reason a B2B company has a Facebook page is for future employees. It’s a place to gain some insight into the corporate culture and learn a little bit about the company in a more casual way.
- Putting on a Human Face. It’s not unusual for someone to reach out to their friend base to gain information on a product or service they might be contemplating for their business. If a recommendation is made on Facebook, it’s a natural response to click over to see that company’s page. It’s also a great place to interact directly with your customers. And remember, it’s Facebook…photos are important.
- Leads. Tough in a B2B environment, but to gather more leads some companies will offer a white paper or something else of value for ‘liking’ their page. The user exchanges their email address for information they want to read. As a business, it’s still a person who buys your product, and Facebook can help you to connect. You can also indirectly create leads by posting pictures of an event or something of interest. The key here is that every post can’t be a sales pitch. Think entertaining and/or educational. You can also buy ads on Facebook to reach others who are not yet your fans (see the Advertising section above under Business-to-Consumer).
Be prepared for trolls. Trolls are users who frequently post negative comments on your page. They may feel wronged by your company or just have nothing better to do. You need to have a plan for how to deal with this. In addition, it’s important for management to be aware they are likely to see some negative comments on the company Facebook page. Let them know you have a plan.