Facebook can be a powerful tool and an important part of your marketing mix. Your fans become brand ambassadors and spread the word about you every time they ‘like’ posts, post about your brand, share your content and comment on your page. Building and nurturing an online community empowers your fans to work on your behalf.
Three indicators can help you evaluate the health of your community on Facebook and make needed changes: engagement, tone and growth.
We use the term engagement to refer to quality interactions. Are fans commenting, sharing and responding to your posts?
If you want to improve in this area, start by monitoring responses to each post you make on Facebook. Do recipes receive the most ‘likes’? Are photos receiving the most comments? Pay attention to the content your community responds to the most and increase those post styles moving forward.
People need to find value in being a fan of your page. Think about how you can mix it up. If you’re only posting traditional marketing messages, then the experience for your fans is similar to going to coffee with a friend who only talks about what he or she does. Share your story, but diversify your content.
If you find yourself stuck posting the same types of updates, check out the list below to jumpstart your ‘style of content’ brainstorming.
• Ask questions
• Share photos
• Provide useful links to relevant content.
• For example, a gluten-free food company should provide content that a gluten-free person would find useful, such as links to content from respected gluten-free bloggers and media like Living Without magazine
Remember, your Facebook page is a tool, not a strategy. Your content needs to support your overall marketing objectives.
Are fan comments positive, negative or neutral? A 100 percent positive tone in all comments is unrealistic, but the overall tone of the community should be positive about your brand.
This requirement does not mean that there cannot be negative comments or hot-button questions. If you use these posts as opportunities to spread accurate information about your brand and its values, you can turn a displeased or concerned person into an advocate.
It is important not to be afraid of negative comments or hot-button questions, and to keep your brand tone positive/informational rather than defensive when responding to such posts. If your business made a mistake, you must own up to it quickly and explain how your business will prevent the mistake from happening again.
Opportunities for engagement increase with each new fan. Are new people joining your community? Has your fan count stagnated?
Here are some tips for growing your fan base:
• In our experience, Facebook Advertising is one of the most powerful ways to attract fans from your target markets.
• Create a clever email blast inviting people to become a fan of your Facebook page.
• Include mentions of your Facebook page in print collateral.
• Include a link to your Facebook page on your website homepage.
• Verbally invite people to join your community on Facebook. Speaking of invitations, you’re invited to join our community on Facebook!
A vibrant, active online community doesn’t happen overnight. Like growing a garden, building a community requires a plan and consistent care to create a healthy and flourishing result.
If you have questions, need a marketing plan or support, please get in touch.