Facebook Page Strategy — What Works?

(Warning: this is a very long post, and despite my attempt to break it up with bullet points and puns, you may need to bookmark and come back to really soak it all in!)

When I attended Social Fresh 2011 a few weeks ago, we spent an entire day on one topic.

Any guesses?

You know it. You love it.

It’s Facebook.

From personal profiles to pages to check-ins to ads and analytics, even a full day wasn’t enough to really get into all that Facebook is. I mean, just look at the stats:

  • More than 500 million active users
  • 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
  • Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

The $50 billion question is…how do YOU get a piece of the action?

First, I’m going to assume a few things: you’re on Facebook already and you’re reasonably Facebook literate. If not, no worries — just go play around and come back to this post when you’re ready.

Second, if you have not started a page yet, head here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and pick the type that is most appropriate for you.

Third, make sure you’re up to speed on the latest Facebook page features (they changed in the last couple of weeks). A few resources to check out:

Successful Facebook Strategy: A Few Basic Tips

Homework: HubSpot’s “Tactical Facebook” Presentation and Facebook Webinar/Q&A

1. Connect with your fans by letting them behind the brand

IMG_1522

Why do people “like” your brand to begin with? Web Trends has some really interesting stats**:

  • To take advantage of promotional benefits
  • Because I like this brand
  • To be informed of new products
  • To access exclusive information
  • To give my opinion about the brand

**source: http://www.slideshare.net/socialfresh/facebook-masters-training-facebook-advertising-from-webtrends

So remember to treat your fans like VIPs — and let them in on the stuff they won’t see in your official news releases. I shared the above picture of my boss and his dog at a recent fashion show on The Growing Bolder TV page on Facebook and people went nuts! Now, all day before and all day after, I shared important, work-related information, but this is what made people smile. It’s all about the balance, so when in doubt, do something surprising and special on your page.

2. Respond and get engaged

You.must.be.involved.with.your.fans.

Ask questions. Answer questions. “Like” comments and be out in front of possible problems. Please consider setting your wall so that it shows posts from both admins AND your fans, so it doesn’t look like you’re having a conversation with yourself.

As Brian Simpson says — “The conversations are happening. Choose to be a part of them.”

(Remember that you can now subscribe to email notifications for your fan pages: https://www.facebook.com/editaccount.php?notifications or even better, via Hyper Alerts)

3. Post every other day, early in the morning (and make weekends a priority!)

I’m a little lukewarm on this one, so take it with a grain of salt. But studies show that when you factor in Facebook’s EdgeRank (the algorithm used to decide which posts show up in your feed and when), posting every day can actually hurt you.**

(Bonus info: sharing things about sex and or Facebook will get you a lot of interaction)

**source: Hubspot / DanZarrella.com

4. Include images and meta descriptions

We recently celebrated a big milestone at Growing Bolder, and we shared pictures of our cake with our fans.

Our best picture? Nope. Super serious? Nah. But it was a way for us to put our faces on our brand…because who really wants to be friends with a logo?

Photos and meta descriptions (the short summary that comes up when you share content) are crucial, and usually they can be automatically pulled from your website. So make sure that your plugins are correctly configured and that you include photos in as many posts as possible.

Another example, from the A Night With The Hops Facebook page:

5. Keep things simple

Should you share company/organization news? Offers? Complex crisis management?

Sure. But you should also keep your asks very simple.

Examples:

  • How many of you have seen the latest episode of “Growing Bolder?” What did you think?
  • Click “like” if you’re glad it’s Friday!
  • Fill in the blank: The thing that makes me most happy is _____.

I’ve had great luck with all of the above…because those are easy-to-answer prompts.

What else should you be doing? Making it super easy to like your content on your website — if you’re not using Facebook Social Plugins, you’re missing out.

Did you like Steps 1-5?

Coming soon (NOW HERE!):

6. Ask users to get involved

7. Choose your landing page wisely

8. “Like-Gating”

9. Offer exclusives

10. Spread the word

If you’ve read this far, you REALLY like Facebook. So why not find me at the following links?:

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Comments

  1. says

    Great info, Katy. I can’t wait to read 6-10! My fanpage is very much in the “gestational” phase but I’m trying to take in as much info as possible to make it great!

    One question, with the new design and photo viewer at the top of pages, I’d like to maintain control of what images appear there rather than show the last 5 I’ve uploaded to FB. In #4 above, are you recommending linking images from your website to control the meta data?

  2. says

    I think points one and two are spot on! I see so many brands using Facebook as an extension of their website (which technically it is), but as a consumer why would I “Like” their page if I can easily find the same information they’re sharing on FB on their website? There’s no incentive for me.

    However, If I can connect with the people behind the brand and they’re willing to loosen their collars enough to show they’re not all business all the time, the. I probably will join in the party.

    The last thing I’d add (speaking of being long winded) is consistency. So many brands(or bloggers for that matter) get excited about the “potential” of Facebook that they create a page in excitement without planning out when and how they’re going to use it.

    Whenever I get people wanting to create a Facebook page I always ask them who is going to manage it and how much time that person has to dedicate to it, because it’s work, not the “magical beans” of growing your brand’s message.

    And a dead Facebook page is worse than no page IMO…

    Great post Katy! (Sorry for the dissertation ;) )

    • says

      Ryan,

      Great points, especially when it comes to the management…I know that I’ve reached my own tipping point with pages that I admin, and I’ve had to call in colleagues to help. :)

      Consistency is huge…I’ll be sure to tackle that on a deeper basis on the next post.

  3. says

    Wow, Katy, I learned a lot here! Thanks for sharing! I’m not sure about posting every other day– I post sometimes more than once a day. Going to have to think about that one!

  4. says

    I have been anti-facebook for the longest time. I have my reasons.

    My goal is to have a sucessful business online after I complete school and I know I need traffic. I also joined foodbuzz for my personal blog and would like to make some money on there too.

    Im a little scared to have it. I dont really want anything personal up there and I dont want to interact with people that I went to high school with that I STILL dont like :p

    Is there a way to use facebook as a vehicle just to get people to go to your website?

    • says

      Val,

      At Social Fresh, a lot of people were asking about this very topic — many of them wanted to keep their personal stuff off Facebook while still taking advantage of the business tools.

      Short answer? I think it can be done, although I’d point you to the fact that you CAN have a personal Facebook profile with very strict settings, so you really do choose who sees the content.

      The biggest change that would help you in the recent Facebook page redesign is the ability to comment as a page (you used to have to post as yourself on other pages). See this:

      http://thebabyboomerentrepreneur.com/1781/changes-to-facebook-post-as-your-profile-or-your-page/

      It really does allow you to market and connect as your brand, not as yourself.

      I totally respect your reasons for staying off FB, and would just submit that with 500M+ people on Facebook, you’re going to want SOME presence on there at some point.

  5. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this info!! I’ve been thinking about starting a FB page for my blog for awhile now, but always hold back because I’m a part of the “Facebook generation,” (I’ve had mine since 2006, my junior year of high school) and as such, I’ve seen how it can be used negatively among young people and I’m not sure that I’m ready to start that gossip. But this post has really given me some food for thought- when I decide to start the page in the future, I’m glad to have this information!

  6. says

    Great info! I just shared this post with someone who was asking me about FB pages. I have to admit that I don’t pay much attention to mine. It falls to the wayside with all the blog reading and writing and my little forays into Twitter. So much social media, so little time. What do you think about linking Twitter to auto post to FB? I tried that for a while but was not sure if I liked it.

    • says

      Karen,

      There were MANY compelling reasons *not* to link the two accounts, and I agree. I’ll get into in future posts, but briefly:

      1) The formats don’t match — @ on Twitter means something different than Facebook, and when you just auto-post updates, you don’t take advantage of all the tools. Your FB fans don’t want to see hashtags, and your Twitter fans don’t want to see updates that go longer than 140 characters.

      2) Different updates for different audiences…your FB friends and fans are looking for more content and context, while Twitter fans typically look for quick communication.

      3) In terms of your time concerns, the studies show that posting LESS often with BETTER content is good for FB, while posting more on Twitter, without everything being super deep, is better.

      My bottom line? Don’t link.

    • says

      Nick,

      You’re so right! We recently did an ad campaign though FB, and it was great because we got a ton of impressions for very little money. We’re also now doing a sweepstakes through FB, for a reasonable cost.

      At the end of the campaigns, it will be my job to look at what we spent and what we got (we have a TEENY WEENY budget!) and whether it made sense.

  7. says

    GREAT post. I particularly like #3–a little research backing of how often & when to post. I often wondered this, but hadn’t researched.

    Also, if you don’t follow/Like the KnockKnock company on FB, I highly recommend them as an example. I love their posts, and their MO is being funny, not just selling more product. Also, they tweet & FB on evenings and weekends, and respond well to their followers.

  8. Patty Hewitt says

    You’re right, I’m going to have to bookmark this and come back later to soak it all in, but thank you for writing such awesome posts! I don’t think I stated my question very clearly. Consistency is huge…I’ll be sure to tackle that on a deeper basis on the next post.

  9. Lucille Puckett says

    So many brands(or bloggers for that matter) get excited about the “potential” of Facebook that they create a page in excitement without planning out when and how they’re going to use it. However, If I can connect with the people behind the brand and they’re willing to loosen their collars enough to show they’re not all business all the time, the. I found this tutorial awhile back and it’s definitely the most comprehensive and innovative use of the photo strip I’ve seen. I’m not sure about posting every other day– I post sometimes more than once a day.

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