Put your Facebook page to work

New Zealand is one of highest users per capita of Facebook, but many Kiwi brands have been slow to make the most of it. Catalyst90 CEO Tom Reidy has a few ideas about how you can get your Facebook page working harder for your brand.

1. Don’t broadcast, engage

There are lots of good Kiwi brands doing well on Facebook – those are the ones that are talking back and using engaging, brand-relevant content. Each post is an opportunity to engage with your audience and provide inspirational content that is unique to your brand and resonates with your community. But there are still plenty of brands that use Facebook to post statements, press releases and just overload their followers’ timelines with sales-driven content. It may be acceptable for traditional media, but social media is about connecting with your audience on an individual level, using content designed to inspire rather than interrupt. Inspirational content is the key difference between social media marketing and traditional marketing.

Consumers on social networks don’t want to be shouted at or to have their feeds interrupted. When content is crafted it should be done in a way that inspires them, because a brand is competing for attention in a target market with things like cute photos of children and pets. The main reason most users are on Facebook is to keep up with their friends, family and loved ones, not to talk with brands. I also must point out that inspirational content is not about cute or romantic quotes but content that inspires people to engage with or share it. Having an engaged community is equally, if not more important, than achieving a large community.

2. The image is the key

The digital world has made people a lot more visual when it comes to digesting information, and the volume of content has shortened attention spans. This means communities are less likely to read your wonderfully worded and witty post than to engage with the image that accompanies it. Keeping your imagery strong, punchy and of good quality will help ensure the success of your content marketing. The majority of the time, it’s much easier to like an image than like the words behind it.

Check out any Facebook page that only has posts with text and no image, and just experience how engaging it is, or isn’t. Scrolling through a brand’s Facebook Timeline should have the look and feel of an online magazine. But keep in mind most content is consumed through people’s feeds and not on the brand page itself.

3. Timeline versus apps

Recently, Facebook removed its third-party app requirements on brand pages, making it easier to hold contests and promotions. This is both exciting and concerning. It’s exciting as it is a great way to develop fast and spontaneous promotions of brand pages. It is also concerning, because although it is quick and simple, it does mean businesses are missing out on valuable marketing techniques.

Facebook’s new rules really only allow basic voting controls, which is great for fast and fluid competitions, but doesn’t capture any ability to market these campaigns across platforms. Third party apps allow brands to capture competition entrants’ email addresses and can promote across social networks by making it possible to share through channels like Twitter and Pinterest, which makes the distribution part of the competition a lot easier.

It is also a quick and simple way to expand a brand’s community. The use of third party apps also means brands can maintain some independence from Facebook. Keeping all your marketing eggs in one basket such as Facebook, can pose issues in the future. Don’t get me wrong, we are fans of Facebook and as a business we make money from third party app development, but Facebook has a habit of changing terms to suit itself, so it pays to keep a balance of your client contact across different networks as well as good old fashion email communications. This will mean, however, that more competitions will start to pop up, and it may be harder to stand out from the crowd. Keeping competitions unique and engaging is important now more than ever.

4. Facebook advertising

Many brands think being on social media equates to free marketing. While it is a low-cost marketing channel, like any other it should be supported with marketing spend. We’ve come across brands that have competitions or campaigns within their Facebook page, but choose not to support it with Facebook advertising. What’s ended up happening is that their app or campaign went largely unnoticed. With targeted Facebook advertising, you can cost-effectively find your ideal community and make it easy for them to connect with your brand using promoted posts and Facebook ads. You’ll end up getting a lot more market visibility and bang-for-your-buck by spending $500-$1000 on Facebook advertising for your campaign.

5. Breaking the call-to-action rules

Your Facebook page has a beautiful Timeline cover photo that showcases your brand with an exciting call-to-action for your latest campaign. Something like, 50 percent off all today! Now everyone will notice you, right? Right. But probably for the wrong reasons. Facebook now allows for this, but that doesn’t make it right. It is best to avoid using Facebook purely as a selling channel but more as a social channel; using inspiring, eye-catching content to engage, as opposed to the ‘sell, sell, sell’ approach.

Engaging with your community on Facebook in ways that resonate with them will always reap better rewards. Think of it more as a relationship sales tool, not a direct marketing channel. To summarise, inspire with engaging content that resonates with your community. Lead each post with strong and relevant images, don’t ‘sell’ but listen and respond to your community. Simply put: Marketing in the social media space is about inspiration and not interruption.

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