What do you do on Facebook?
Stop and think about it.
If you're anything like me, you scroll through your smartphone 'Liking' baby photos and weird statuses from that girl you sort of know from college. Doing business might not cross your mind.
Even so, you should be using Facebook to engage your customers. There are 500 million people on it.
Yes, Facebook's algorithms are daunting. Yes, the platform has more rules than the pool in a retirement community, but that doesn't mean you should throw your hands up and go to the beach (or maybe it does, but we'll get to that later).
Pictures and Photos
The number 1 rule of posting on Facebook?
Make sure your update includes an image, no matter what you're sharing.
Images perform far and away better than simple text updates, so it's a no brainer to include some kind of picture, whether it's a photo or a clever image you made.
Facebook sees any photos that they ask customers to “Like,”“Comment,” or “Share” as potential spam.
When you post a new update, you need to be careful how you frame it. Instead of saying “LIKE this photo if you think this puppy is cute!” you may want to say “This little guy is adorable, isn’t he?!”
To appease Facebook, add in variety. You can always re-use successful content, but not too close together. So if you've posted something that saw tons of engagement, you should wait at least a month or two before you re-post it (if at all). Otherwise Facebook will see it as spam.
Anything Inspiring, Hilarious, or Culturally Relevant
How do you get people's attention on Facebook?
Cater to their hearts.
People aren't looking for a list of business tips. Instead, they 'Like' inspiring, hilarious, or culturally relevant updates.
Here are a few examples:
Nomadic Matt's Travel Site
Why this works:
It's inspiring for everyone. The message is motivational, encouraging people to aim high and realize their dreams.
This quote appeals to Nomadic Matt's fans-- travelers, who've given up the rat race to travel on their own. A quote like this justifies their unconventional choices.
Why this works:
It's funny and culturally relevant. Mean Girls was a hit movie, and Diamond Envy has found a way to cleverly align their products with the film.
This update appeals to the audience. Diamond Envy's target audience, young women between the ages of 25 and 40, know and 'get' the reference.
Pics of Babies and Cute Puppies
People use Facebook for spying on their relatives and friends from high school, so it makes sense that emotionally-gripping photos of babies and cute puppies work well.
If you can find a way to cleverly include these sorts of photos into your Facebook posts (or even allude to puppies and babies), you're bound to see engagement.
Star Staubach of Ignite Radiance saw a ton of success from a post about how happy she was to be grocery shopping without her children. Check out how many people were into this post.
Relevant and Practical Articles Perfect for Your Audience
Why are you serving your customers? Probably to help them.
The best way you can do this is by posting relevant and practical articles that cater to the interests, concerns, hopes, and dreams of those you're trying to reach.
Case in point? If you run a yoga studio, post articles about your instructors or, even better, post links to articles on the benefits of yoga or how yoga is changing the world.
Discussion Questions and Talking Points (Controversy Works!)
Discussion questions can be good, like “we’re rolling out xyz product – tell us how you’ll use it!' and a bit of controversy can work too.
I'm not talking about expressing your political opinion. There are plenty of hot button issues that people feel passionately about that are perfectly safe.
Which is worse-- rats or snakes?
What's yummier? Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?
Should toilet paper be oriented 'over' or 'under?'
Customer Spotlights & Local Happenings
Don't use Facebook for selfishly getting 'Likes.' Foster engagement by reaching out to customers and promoting other local businesses and events.
Here's an example of a customer spotlight on our Facebook page:
Give other people a spot in the sun on your page!
Many businesses promote local events, even if they're not directly involved. Tying your Facebook to your customers, supporters, and local community will help get you on the map.
When You Shouldn't Use Facebook
If you've tried everything in this article, and nothing works, your business model might not be right for Facebook.
I have a friend who does marketing for pest control companies, and no matter what kind of creative strategies they try on Facebook, people are unlikely to 'Like' the guy who gets rid of their cockroaches.
Rather than giving up and screaming 'social media doesn't work,' try some other networks. Many companies that see diminishing returns on Facebook have joined other networks (like LinkedIn and Twitter), where they've quadrupled their engagement.
Some have coped with this in super creative ways. Instead of encouraging people to 'Like' cartoons of Tilly the Termite, Ford's Hometown Services set up a bug museum at their headquarters with a few bug-filled aquariums. Rather than promoting pest control, they let kids come in and check out the bugs-- all this required was one person to man HQ. The bug museum is a lot more likable on Facebook than the pest control company.
The most important thing is that you're engaging your community-- we really don't care where.
Your Turn: What success have you seen on Facebook? Any recommendations for others?