You’ve used Facebook for years to keep in touch with former classmates, family friends, distant relatives. Some of these folks you probably wouldn’t speak to at all, for one reason or another, had Facebook not made it easy to do so.
Your efforts consistently generate engagement. So why can’t you get the same results on the business side of things, where it arguably matters even more?
photo credit: George Pagan III / Unsplash
You can. It’ll just take some work and some unlearning of Facebook “best practices” you thought you knew. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Share Personal Stories From Your Team or the People You Serve
Facebook audiences are more inclined to connect with brands that come off as authentic and empathetic. This type of content reflects the values and mission of those sharing it and the hope is that most of the target audience will identify with it.
The Facebook page for Oceans Behavioral Hospital, also known as Dallas-based Oceans Healthcare, shows how to achieve this. Oceans’ page showcases compelling, personal stories from members of its leadership team, making clear that they care deeply about the people Oceans services. These stories mix in with helpful content about Oceans’ core areas of expertise, positioning the system as a well-rounded health care provider.
2. Ask Questions That Prompt a Response
If you really want your audience to engage, you need to give them a chance to do so. Open-ended questions are more likely to prompt longer responses that generate engagement from other audience members (and your social media team). Your goal here is to get a conversation going that you don’t have to actively moderate or direct.
3. Add a News or Events Hook to Posts You Want to Pop
Center your Facebook posts in current events whenever possible. Bringing a news hook to the conversation is a sure way to make whatever you wish to share more relevant to your audience. That, in turn, makes it a more fruitful topic of discussion — one that draws out engagement from people who might not otherwise be inclined to join.
Just be sure to do this without diving into whatever political controversy is driving the news this week, unless you know your audience expects that from you. You don’t want to unnecessarily make your brand the center of attention.
4. Refer Back to Prior Posts
Reference prior Facebook posts (and posts elsewhere on social media as well) in new posts. This is a reliable way to generate a “second chance” engagement bump for past posts that didn’t perform as well as you’d hoped. It’s a good use of paid promotional tactics as well, since (if successful) the strategy increases engagement with at least two pieces of content you’ve posted.
5. Lean on Memes and GIFs
For better or worse, memes and GIFs rule social media conversations these days. Unless your brand is truly averse to these types of content or you know they won’t fly with your target audiences whatsoever, you’d be wise not to fight the trend. A well-executed, well-timed meme is much more likely to be shared widely than a text-only post, however interesting it may be.
6. Use Quizzes and Other Interactive Elements
This strategy has two benefits. First, it drives engagement from audience members keen to share. Second, it produces data that tells you more about who your fans are and what sorts of content they react well to. Both assist your Facebook engagement strategy, whether directly or indirectly.
7. Join the Discussion With Your Fans
Finally, don’t be shy about engaging directly with your Facebook followers. Carve out some time each week to review post comments and respond to the most thoughtful (or those you find personally interesting). Even if you step back after the initial response, you could seed a conversation among your followers that shows up in your engagement metrics.
Go Beyond the Newsfeed
Facebook has the potential to be a powerful brand-building, lead-generating engine. But you have to respect it. You have to know what works when it comes to Facebook marketing and prospecting — and what doesn’t. There’s a fine line between an engaging Facebook presence that really does put your brand’s best foot forward and a cloying, annoying Facebook presence that turns off your audience.
These strategies are designed to keep your Facebook presence on the good side of the fence. By personalizing the content you share, asking questions of your audience, using engagement-generating elements like memes and quizzes, and tying your posts to current events wherever possible, you’ll create a social hub that your audience actually wants to engage with.
Whatever you hope to get out of Facebook, that’s something to celebrate.