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This is a dangerous topic and I'm heading down a steep slope on this one as people may misunderstand, but it's important to get it out anyway. Your Facebook page is important to you business, but it should only account for a small portion of your social media marketing day.
Most businesses that we work with have a strong leaning towards Facebook, just as they should. Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, even Google+ have a role in the social media strategy for most businesses, but Facebook covers most of the needs simply because it's where most of the people spend most of their social media time. The challenge is no longer with convincing business to use Facebook. It's in getting them to stop thinking that their Facebook page is their Facebook presence.
There is so much more to Facebook than putting up landing tabs and status updates.
Facebook is a communication tool that allows businesses to reach out to their customers and prospective customers while allowing these same people to reach the business. Everyone has seen example of how a properly-handled objection or complaint on Facebook has been turned into a positive. This is a good thing. Now, it's time to take it to the next level. Here are some things that businesses should be doing on Facebook to make their real presence known and effective.
When Facebook opened up the ability for pages to post on other pages just as if they were people, it brought in new strategies that surprisingly-few employ. While navigating around Facebook as a page, you can like and post to other Facebook pages. It's been around for months but it still surprises me how few people know about this.
This is something that should not be abused. Knowing this, you may now be thinking about redirecting traffic from competitors by posting on their walls all the time (it's a natural thought - don't be ashamed if it crossed your mind) but this is, of course, futile and potentially dangerous. Instead, this feature should be used to advance conversations, to join the right ones, and to expose your brand on relevant pages without succumbing to spamming.
For local businesses, they may post to the local newspaper page, the chamber of commerce, other local businesses (this is a good one which I'll detail shortly) or charities. The goal is to get exposure for your page and your brand to a wider audience. Think of Facebook pages like ponds. Every pond has a certain number of fish. When you post to other pages, your dropping your line in another pond. It's not something that you should abuse; page owners will notice if you're constantly spamming their page. Instead, be diverse and post occasionally so as to not make anyone mad or accusing of you being a spammer.
The easiest way to not be accused of being a spammer is to not spam.
I heard Jeff Cryder over at Lebanon Ford talk about social media engagement like it was double-dutch. You don't just jump in as soon as the ropes start spinning. You watch, wait, plan out your timing, and then jump in at the right moment. Patience is key - don't jump prematurely. Look for your opportunity and then enter the conversation when you're ready to bring value to it.
Local businesses are able to get involved with other local businesses this way by being both complimentary and advancing their cause simultaneously. For example, a car dealer who is having a big sale next week might post this:
"We are so pumped about having Stan's Barbecue serving the best ribs in town at our sale next weekend." Posting something like that on Stan's Facebook page does two things - you're giving them a compliment while exposing their Facebook page likers to your sale. Your fishing in their pond, but doing so in a way that they won't mind.
We all get lazy sometimes. It's easy to say, "I have my Facebook widget on my blog and my website. I'm doing what I need to do to get people to my Facebook page."
No. You're not. You're doing what everyone else does, which means that you're doing something that will be ignored by most. When we see something over and over again, we no longer see it. That's the case with Facebook buttons and widgets. Unless we want to find the Facebook page of a particular business, we're not seeing the buttons from these pages because we see them everywhere already.
To truly move the needle and get people to your Facebook page from other sources, we have to get creative. We have to offer a reason or incentive to do so. Every business-type is different in what they can offer, but here are some ideas that should spark thinking on how to do it in your niche or market:
Notice that I didn't include giveaways. They have become so commonplace that the effectiveness of "Win an iPad" has simply diminished. The numbers are down on like-building contests and the messages sent by having them are now considered negative. You don't want people coaxed into liking your page. You want them to like it because they truly like it or find value in it. Contests are silly.
Also absent is the gaming aspect. While social gaming is a huge and growing phenomenon and can be an extremely effective way of bulking up numbers of likes, they're empty likes. Don't forget, Facebook is a numbers game and one of those numbers is percentages of involvement. Having 100k Facebook likes but only having a few dozen actually engaging with you on your wall can do more damage than good.
I'm always hesitant to recommend this because I'm always fearful of orphaned or abandoned pages floating around. Businesses should have a central Facebook page that they use for the majority of their interaction, but if they have enough time and if they're committed to using Facebook as a true marketing strategy, there are distinct advantages to having focused pages that deal with particularly niches or elements within their business.
Ford has a very robust presence with their primary Facebook page approaching 5 million likes. They also have more focused pages specific to vehicles and departments that are growing as well, such as Ford Trucks, which has over a quarter million likes.
It requires more work and the risk of abandonment is high, but a business that really wants to succeed can do amazing things with focused pages. It isn't just for the big brands. Even local businesses can take advantage of this technique. For example, a restaurant might have their regular Facebook presence, but they might have an "All You Can Eat Tuesday Lunch Page" where people who like it get a free drink when they come buy.
I can imagine the page itself being entertaining by "frowning" on every day other than Tuesday. For example, the page could have a post on Friday saying, "Everybody like to thank God about today, but they they should we believe in TGIT around here." On Monday, they could post, "The only good thing about Monday is that it's the closest day to All You Can Eat Tuesday. See you all tomorrow!"
On their primary Facebook presence, they would want to direct people to the new page every other Sunday and/or Monday, and definitely post about it (at least once) on Tuesday itself.
The key here is understanding that your Facebook page is important, but there is so much more out there in Facebook marketing. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't have a robust and engaging page. Just don't forget that there's more to your Facebook presence than the single marketing hub. Use Facebook the right way and you will find that it's better for getting your brand out there than you even imagined.
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(This article originally appeared in Soshable but was definitely relevant for the automotive industry)