I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.
It features heavily in my day (both personally and professionally) and is a source of inspiration, new business and conversation with friends, communities and brands.
It’s also a place where it’s becoming more and more challenging for brands and professionals to grow their own communities, as Facebook continues to enhance the experience for its users (and entice us to invest more in advertising to reach their news feeds). If you’re investing your time in creating content for Facebook, building your page, trying to create a community, it can be a bit of a downer to realise your latest post has only reached 1% of your audience. 🙁
The good news is that it’s fixable. There’s always something you can do or change to make your content more likely to be seen by your audience. While our businesses are all so diverse and unique, one thing that we’ll all benefit from is more engagement.
If your lovingly-crafted posts aren’t getting many (or any) likes or comments there’s a reason for it. Maybe they’re posted at the wrong time. Maybe you’re posting too often. Maybe there’s no incentive for your audience to respond. Maybe your content’s AMAZING but what you’ve written doesn’t sell it. Maybe your branding or strategy needs a little love.
You might not see a major transformation overnight (especially with that last one), but if you can invest time and creativity in adjusting your approach to Facebook you’ll start seeing more engagement from those really valuable people – your customers, potential clients or biggest fans.
So, how do you encourage better engagement on Facebook?
1. Be human
Facebook, and social media in general, is where people go to communicate with others. To talk about what’s happening in their life, complain about a TV show’s finale, or seek out inspiration, advice or support.
Business language, corporate talk and glossy brochures aren’t likely to find a home on Facebook. We live in a world where our personal lives and business lives are more linked than ever, but that also makes us more protective of our leisure time.
If you want to appeal to your audience when they’re relaxing, become a brand that integrates into that experience instead of one that interrupts it.
We’re all talking to humans, so be human.
How casual you are on Facebook depends a lot on your brand of course, so if you don’t have one already it’s a good opportunity to consider creating even a simple social media strategy that nails down your corporate ‘voice’ – especially for social media. It’ll help you (and your team if you have one) stay consistent and have the confidence to be human and interesting, while still being ‘on-brand’.
2. Ask questions
Once you’ve figured out your voice it’s time to take a look at the text (or copy) you’re posting on Facebook.
How many times in the last two months have you asked a question of your community? Real, genuine questions – not ‘would you like a copy of my latest guide on GDPR?’ or ‘How was your experience? Leave us a Facebook Review!’.
I’m challenging you to ask more questions.
We all love talking about ourselves. Sharing our experiences or giving our opinions – especially on social media where our comments on That Amazing Bakery In Town’s latest post might pop up in our friends’ news feeds.
The type of questions you ask are something you’ll need to tailor to your brand, what kind of community you want to build, and what you’d like to encourage your audience to do or feel.
If you run an independent coffee shop, put up a post asking people what their dream seasonal drink would be and why. Not only is this the kind of thing coffee lovers (and fans of all things seasonal) enjoy, it’s giving you inspiration and market testing whether your planned seasonal drinks are likely to be popular or not.
If you’re an online fashion retailer, share a photo of a new-in dress and ask your audience how they’d style it. You could take this one step further and turn it into a competition, which is another great way to encourage people to interact – see the SuperLucky blog for a simple guide on running a competition on Facebook.
Asking questions is a really quick way to encourage your audience to get involved and feel like they’re part of a community, somewhere they can participate and get to know your brand or business.
This leads me nicely on to #3…
If you’re finding that people are commenting and are answering your questions – reply to them! Start a conversation.
If you can, find a way to ask another question or encourage a chain of replies with them. Not only is does it count as more engagement (which helps signal to Facebook your post’s likely to be popular with more people, so it’ll reach more) but it’s a great way to build a relationship with your community and change them from passive readers to fans and customers.
There aren’t a lot of brands which invest heavily in having conversations with their Facebook commenters, so it’s somewhere you could differentiate yourself from other brands or competitors.
Like #1, when you’re responding to comments and having conversations it should be human – so un-salesy and genuine works best.
There’s always something more we can be doing to strengthen our brands and communities on Facebook, so I’ll be back with another article soon, but hopefully this has given you a few things to experiment with when you’re planning your social media content for the next few months.
In the spirit of #2… Which are your favourite brands to follow and interact with on Facebook, and why? Tell me in the comments!