Do you have big-brand Facebook page envy?
Do you, as a small business owner, want your page to be popular and engaging?
It's easier than you think to emulate what Facebook's major players do.
In this article, I'll show you how some of the top brands keep their fans coming back, and how you can follow their lead to build an engaging page of your own.
#1: Capitalize on Major Events and Holidays
During the Sochi Olympics, Coca-Cola hosted a contest/series called #CokeGames. The gist of it was that they created silly Olympics-inspired games like Bottle Cap Hockey, Coke Curling, Ice Cube Ski Jump. Then, they asked their followers to play along by filming and uploading short videos of the Coke fan playing the game. The incentive was a $100 gift card.
Your small business could adopt this idea, using any big event as inspiration. The NBA playoffs are just around the corner, and so is MLB's spring training. Start planning now to play off of summer events like Wimbledon, Formula One racing events, and if you're so inclined, the Handball Championships (yes, there is such a thing!) to encourage fan engagement.
#2: Crowdsource for New Feature/Product Ideas
Skype posts multiple times a day on Facebook, offering up a mix of invitations to chats that feature people such as Victoria Beckham and Vice President Joe Biden, user tips and contests.
Skype is also using Facebook to ask users for ideas for new features they'd like to see on the platform. Then, over on the company's community page, they go the extra mile and tell their users whether their ideas are “under consideration.”
It's a great example of how a business can use Facebook as a mini–focus group and learn what customers really want.
#3: Show Your Fans The Fun
If it's appropriate for your brand, go ahead and get a little weird.
Yes, most of the posts are silly, but it's working for Skittles.
A typical day's posts can include observations such as “Really boring pirates carry pigeons on their shoulders” and shots from the page's ongoing BFF series, in which it posts photos from users posing with their beloved Skittles.
If you're a product-based company, ask your users to send photos of themselves using your product or service in exchange for a shot at a prize, or for the honor of being featured on the page (which seems to be the only prize involved for fans of Skittles).
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#4: Follow the 70/20/10 Rule
You wouldn't think of Intel as the sort of company that would have an especially engaging Facebook page, but it does.
One reason it's so engaging is that Intel is following the 70/20/10 rule. Let me break that down for you. The majority (70%) of content that a page puts up should be brand- and business-building, meaning it's information that is valuable to your followers. Content shared from other sources makes up 20% and the remaining 10% is self-promotional.
This is pretty much what Intel is doing, though it's a little light on the “sharing” component.
Apply the 70/20/10 rule to your own content mix and generate more interest for your Facebook page.
#5: Give Good Customer Service
Have you noticed that the people who love beauty brands really love their favorite brands?
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Take the Avon page, for example. The majority of the comments are just expressing love for the brand's products.
When fans do have questions, an Avon rep jumps in and points out where they need to go for more information.
Customer service is essential on Facebook. You don't have to make the social network your main source for support, but you should respond and interact with your fans to answer their questions. You'll not only boost engagement, but also show that you're human and you care about their opinions and questions.
#6: Post Consistently
Disney fans are just about the most passionate brand advocates around. Take one look at Disney's Facebook page and you'll notice that there is at least one post a day. They also use hashtags really well. Their #disneyside and #ImGoingToDisneyland hashtags get multiple tags every day.
While Disney probably has a whole team working on its page, and you might not have that luxury, you should make it a point to post at least once a day.
#7: Respond To Everyone
Dove is another beauty brand that clearly has a passionate following. Dove's page admins do a great job of responding to most comments.
I did notice that when Dove replies to their followers they don't tag them, and I can't help but wonder why.
Tag people in a comment stream to let them know that you've responded to their inquiry and/or appreciate their comment.
#8: Deliver Content That Interests Your Fans
Monster Energy uses its Facebook page to share content that fans will get excited about.
Unlike most other beverage companies, if you scroll through Monster Energy's timeline, you won't find one picture of the actual product. You will find its signature logo displayed on race cars, snowboards and lots of other high-action sports gear and vehicles. The brand also uses apps to further support the interests of its fans.
Not sure what content your fans want? Test, test and test! Try posting different types of status updates, related and not related to your product and company. Also use your Facebook Insights to see what your fans are engaging with the most, and then deliver more of it.
#9: Storytell With Video
Just because it's a 100-year-old brand doesn't mean Oreo approaches social media like it's the olden days. This cookie company is creative! Oreo's creativity really shines through in its Vine and Instagram videos, which it regularly shares on its Facebook page. Each video is fun and mouthwatering, too.
If you're inexperienced in video marketing, that's okay. Social Media Examiner has a variety of articles on the topic, and a good place to start is with Jon Loomer's article on using video to improve your social media marketing. Start your video creations with free tools like Vine and Instagram.
#10: Capture the Mood of the Seasons
Starbucks knows that the seasons have a tendency to affect a person's coffee choice and mood. The popular coffee chain is a pro at crafting Facebook posts that match how fans are likely feeling and what they're craving. Take one glance at the photo below and you can't help but want to bundle up with a warm cup of joe!
I recently did an article for Social Media Examiner that displayed 25 creative ways to use the cover photo and one of those was to change with the seasons or times. The same idea goes for your entire Facebook page. Find quirky holidays or seasons to play with and use them to change up your page.
Over to You
These are examples of big-brand pages that have their Facebook pages dialed in. Really, though, the strategies are basic.
Apply the same approaches to your own Facebook page. Stay current, listen and respond to your customers, have a little fun, don't talk about yourself too often and be helpful. Pay attention to what your fans like and your page's engagement and popularity will rise.
What do you think? Have you tried any of these Facebook tactics? Are there any smaller brands you're aware of that are doing awesome things? Please let me know so I can check them out.
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