A Simple Trick For Responding More Directly to Fans on Facebook

Monday, 13 February 2012

As your Facebook page grows, your fan comments and posts should increase. This keeps them engaged and helps boost your EdgeRank. It also provides a great customer service channel for you to provide real-time assistance and gather great feedback about the good (and the bad) of your company.

It goes without saying that you should be replying to comments and keeping the conversation going on Facebook. One of the best ways to boost fan numbers and engagement is to ask questions and lead discussions yourself, by posting interesting content that makes people want to chime in. There’s nothing greater than seeing a single Facebook post that has hundreds or even thousands of comments. But that can also make them hard to manage or even read.

For many pages, this giant comment thread might not be a daily issue. But how do you ensure that your fans know you are responding to them, even when there are just a few comments to sift through? There is a lot of competition for attention on Facebook, and most people don’t visit an actual fan page very often; they only see its content in their Newsfeed. But you can ensure that your fans see your reply simply by using the @ tag.

Reply Directly to Fans With The @ Tag

You’ve probably used an @mention to reply on Twitter, and you may have tagged a friend on Facebook from your personal profile. But did you know that you can do the same on Facebook as a page? As you read through the posts and comments on your page’s Facebook wall and find fans you want to reply to, use the @tag. Simply type the “@” sign and then start typing the first name of the person you are replying to. Their profile icon and name will pop up below the post. Click on it to insert a clickable link to their name, which also send them an alert that you mentioned them.

It’s very simple, but highly effective. Email has proved again and again that using a person’s name in the subject line increases open rates. This works on the same principle, while also sending the fan a notification and a link back to the page. This is especially useful for older posts, where the fan may have forgotten to check, or on busy pages where content gets pushed down quickly. Above all else, it makes the fan feel special since you are explicitly calling them out by name and remembering to respond to them.

Try it out on your page. Often, you’ll get even more comments from the people you’ve tagged as they begin to feel a stronger connection to your brand and to your Facebook presence.

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How To Get What You Want Out Of Facebook

Wednesday, 08 February 2012

Almost every brand has a Facebook page these days, from the global chain to the single mom and pop grocery around the corner. But a surprising number of brands, both big and small, set up a Facebook page only to quickly abandon it as they become overwhelmed or unsure of what to do next.

Sound like you? You’re not alone. Without naming names, I can assure you that there are some big name companies whose Facebook pages are currently gathering dust. And whether you have 10 employees or 10,000, the issue remains the same: Facebook is seen as a quick fix, an add-on to existing marketing strategies. To really succeed, you’ll need to break out of that mindset and understand what makes Facebook work. Then you can start to figure out your goals and how to achieve them.

Ready to dive back into your page? Follow these four tips below and you’ll start to see the results you were expecting from Facebook. Just don’t expect miracles overnight. It takes time to build a community, and there is a lot of competition on Facebook. After all, your posts are showing up next to not only your direct competitors in the real world, but also all of your fans’ friends and family members on the site as well.

Do It Right

Brands need Facebook pages. Period. Profiles are for personal use, for sharing photos of your cute cat or new nephew. If you are using Facebook for business, to drive leads, sales or engage in any type of marketing, you need a page. Even if you’re a lawyer, a doctor, a real estate agent or some other type of “individual personality” in business. Celebrities and politicians use pages for business; you should too.

That’s not to say you can’t make it personal, too. Share behind-the-scenes photos and insider info. Give fans a glimpse behind the curtain. This works especially well for larger companies, which can be kind of a mystery, and individuals (such as real estate agents) who can easily share personal info.

Customize Your Content

Automated tools (such as RSS apps that post right to your page’s feed) are tempting, especially when you are first starting a Facebook page and don’t have the results yet to justify an actual person manning the page every day. But Facebook  users are smart. And they don’t respond as well to automated posts as they do to manual content posted by an actual human. In fact, Facebook used to devalue automated content in their EdgeRank algorithm.

Facebook claims that all content is now considered equal, but automated content can still be problematic. They can break, and you might not know your content is no longer being imported. They can format funny, or post at odd hours when your fans may not be on Facebook. And above all else, they draw attention to the fact that you did not post that update by hand. Plus, there’s no chance for editing, so you are stuck with whatever the app grabbed for you. These tools can be useful when used in conjunction with handcrafted posts, but you need to be able to customize content and create timely posts based on what’s happening right now.

Tell It Like It Is

One of the major drawbacks of automated tools, as outlined above, is the page administrator’s inability to edit updates before they post to the wall. That means you lose a valuable opportunity to add directives to the post. Because what works on your blog or Twitter page might not fly on Facebook. Again, these are separate sites and different pieces of your marketing strategy. Respect and embrace what makes each site unique and put it to work for you. On Facebook, this means getting “likes” and comments. And the best way to do that is to explicitly ask for them.

There is a lot going on on Facebook. The average Facebook user is connected to 80 pages, groups and events–not to mention friends. (They average 130 pals, for a total of 210 entities they can interact with on Facebook at any given time.) Your posts need to break through this clutter, hold a fan’s attention and get them to take an action on the update to keep your EdgeRank up and allow them to keep viewing your posts in the Newsfeed. You have limited space to convince them, so get to the point: if you want them to “like” or comment, say so. You can’t afford to beat around the bush.

Get Others Involved

Facebook doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it shouldn’t be your answer to everything. Remember, you own your website and the content on it; you’re just borrowing Facebook’s space for your page. So while the social network might provide a lot of cool features and existing database of users, don’t discount your website, email list and other social sites.

If your fan count has stagnated, bringing other sites in can be the quickest way to get those numbers moving again. Make sure you’ve got “like” buttons on your site, and try to incorporate specific posts about Facebook on your blog. Send an email blast asking people to “like” the page and create a new promotion to breathe some life into the page.

Above all else, remember that content reigns supreme on Facebook. But “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t apply here. Just because you’ve got great content doesn’t mean your fans will multiply overnight. Work on building engagement, and look at new ways to drive traffic to your page.

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