One of the many great aspects of creating a brand presence, and/or marketing strategy using social media, is that you can do it with very little cost. For example, creating a Facebook page with some basic branding can cost nothing more than the time it takes to create!
Now, it is important to understand that just because a Facebook page is free, doesn't mean there is automatically inherent value for your business. It also doesn’t mean that because you set up a page and declare your brand to the Facebook world, that fans will come pouring in…
Have you had this experience?
Building a valuable community on Facebook takes time, energy, and focus. Before we dive into the 5 keys, let's kick this post off with one of my favourite topics…
Your Facebook Page: Start with Why
Before you set up that first page ask yourself those big important questions, here are a few:
- Why is a facebook page important to your target audience?
- What will a vibrant page look like?
- How will you create a high value environment and community in this space?
- If you could envision this space any way you like – what would it look like?
- What conversations, engagements, and activities would be taking place?
Once you get a clear vision of Why, you will be able to quickly and effectively find the answers and solutions to How and What!
Okay, now for the 5 key tips:
1) Website Integration
Once you have started to create your high-value Facebook community, you want to give that page exposure wherever a relevant audience may be. There are many tools and tactics to do this, get creative and think about where your tribe (AKA your people!) live, both online and off! One of the best places to leverage this exposure is through your online hub, which is your website.
Yes, I know I may be stating the obvious in saying it is important to add a Facebook link to your website – hopefully you are way ahead of me here. However, there is a second part of this equation which will greatly increase conversation that I see many business misses. Give your website readers a clear reason to visit your facebook page. In marketing lingo this is called a “Call to Action” (CTA) – what does your Facebook Page offer that your website visitors would love? Turn this into a catchy one liner CTA and add it to your Facebook link.
2) Cross Promote with Your other Social Networks
Chances are if you have a dedicated strategy to growing each of your social network communities authentically, you won’t see a majority crossover in audience. This means there is an opportunity to re-purpose your Facebook Posts/Albums/Questions/etc to engage your other communities. I am NOT suggesting that you set up all your social networks to “push” out your Facebook updates automatically.
Instead, try taking the link of an update that you posted on facebook and re-purpose it as a question/comment/thought that really hits home with your Twitter community. The link where they can answer the question, see the picture, or otherwise, will go directly to your facebook page.
3) Engage in Value Added Interactions with other Facebook Pages
A way to increase your exposure to new audiences is by finding the communities they are already a part of on Facebook and jumping into those conversations when you can add value. Again, note this is not about “spamming” all your competitors pages, or mentioning other pages in your updates just for the sake of it. It is about finding ways to authentically engage with similar communities in a way that adds value to the community members, as well as the community owner (this would be the business that hosts the page).
4) Leverage Facebook Ads
If this is a business page than your goal is to build a community made up of your target demographic, correct? Unfortunately, there is likely only a small percentage of your personal facebook friends that fall into that target market, so how do you reach beyond? Facebook Ads are a great tool for this. Because of the information that is available to Facebook, customizing an add and targeting a very specific niche market is one of the things it does best!
The goal here is to do a great job of understanding where your people are and what describes them, get as specific as you can and tailor your message to resonate.
Play around with a couple of ad campaigns, at the end of the day for $40 it will be a great learning lesson to see if your page is truly offering aligned value to your target market.
5) Reflect, Measure, and do More of What Works!
Do you know what your most popular Facebook page posts have been in the past? If increasing engagement, virality, and the overall sense of community of your page is a goal of yours, than understanding what's working and what isn't is critical!
While every page will be slightly different, here are some best practices:
- Great pictures are always an effective way to share an experience with your audience
- Questions that require a one word response are easy and quick for readers to answer,
- Controversial topics (if aligned properly with your brand) are a good way for sparking meaningful conversations.
Moving from Friend and Family Promotion to Vibrant and Thriving Community
You can ask your family to like your facebook page to get the momentum started, or you can run contests giving away Starbucks gift cards and then constantly promote it to all of your facebook friends – these strategies however are only a small part of the equation that sees your page growing to a vibrant, thriving, and valuable community.
Eventually you will find that it doesn’t really matter if your family likes your page or not, and your friends don’t really care to promote your page for another Starbucks card – what is happening is that you are not aligning your business Facebook page to it's true value proposition with your ideal audience member in mind.
On the other hand, when you post great content that is aligned with your brand, and you encourage your community to like, comment, share (when appropiate), then will you start to see the viral effects of the interaction with your Facebook page. This is because you are creating authentic exposure to your audiences community. In other words, when one of your fans shares your post because it has moved them in a real way, their Facebook community will see this and acknowledge that it is meaningful to your fan, and therefore more emotionally engaging to them. Continue to measure and reflect upon what types of content and posts are the most effective for creating this type of emotional engagement (tip: it doesn’t always have to be positive for everyone – think transparent, authentic, vulnerable!).
What has worked for you?
Do you have a Facebook page that is thriving?
What are the tips that have helped you get there?
If you have any questions, please share in the comments below, send me an email, shoot me a tweet, or give me a good old fashioned phone call!
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