I’m gonna say it right off the bat, I believe growing a community or achieving higher levels of engagement with your audience is harder on a Facebook Page than on a blog or Twitter.
I usually hear this with clients and in random conversations. What is it that we fail to understand about them? Is it that we don’t really understand how the user interacts with a page or consumes its content? Do we know where this interaction happens, the Page or the News Feed? Do we see a “Like” as more commitment than a “Follow”? Are we leveraging all the available features and tools to achieve growth and interaction?
Are we supposed to deliver more in exchange of a “Like” than what we do for a Twitter “Follow”?
Today we review a few things that we might be lacking in our daily operation and what we need to do in order to build a growing and engaging community on Facebook.
What Are Your Facebook Goals?
Before we dive in, it is a big help if we have a clear picture of the desired outcome. Are you trying to generate traffic from your Facebook Page to your site or blog? Are you using the Page as a hub or final destination for your online strategy? Lists your objectives.
More importantly, do you have a clear objective of what you want your fans/likes to get out of the experience? What do you want them to walk away with?
I guarantee you that having these goals on lockdown will already help you with the following ten points. Here is the list of 10 reasons your Facebook Page is not taking off:
1. You Are Not Promoting It
Facebook has made it very easy for you to deploy assets that integrate with other platforms such as your blog (or any kind of website). Visit Facebook Badges for a wide variety of tools you can integrate including the Like button, Like Box, and even Facebook Comments or Login buttons.
The point here is that you not only integrate your blog/site with the biggest website on the face of the earth but you get to display promotional points on your property. Now the user doesn’t even have to travel to your Facebook Page to give you that precious Like.
2. You Are Not Posting Regularly
This one is a biggy. I’m also guilty since I tend to be more active on Twitter. No secret here, frequency builds momentum. With this I’m not saying you need to be posting stuff all the time. Have a plan and stick to it, 2 to 3 posts per day should be sufficient, then observe how people react and adjust.
Don’t over do it, find a good balance without annoying your fans.
3. Your Posts Are Automated
Some people try to automate content distribution by posting to multiple platforms at the same time using services like Ping.fm or integrating Twitter with Facebook. While I understand we’re trying to be productive, I have to say that I strongly disagree with this practice for so many reasons. To give you a couple of examples:
- Facebook users don’t necessarily like Twitter and when they see tweets they might get annoyed
- Facebook gives you options like adding a thumbnail to the content you’re sharing that are not always picked up by tools like Ping.fm (If you must post from a third party application, Hootsuite does a pretty god job). This might seem like a minor detail but people interact more with images
- The best timing to send a tweet out is not necessarily the best time to post something on Facebook, it might also be different for Linkedin, etc. (Again, Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts)
The best thing you can do is to manually manage your content and front-end interaction on your Page. Sorry I don’t have a magic solution for this one, I said before, Social Media is not automatic.
4. You Are Not Engaging Your Audience
If your visitors are not encouraged to participate they won’t. Ask them openly to participate and share their thoughts. Imagine if you could turn your Page into a Q&A forum in which you share your knowledge and expertise in your field to solve problems.
If you do this right, even when you’re sharing somebody else’s content, a discussion can get started if you share your thoughts on the topic at hand. Don’t just post a link, everybody does that already.
This point requires that you get some creative juice going on. Try to make it fun.
5. You Are Not Using Other Types Of Media
As opposed to Twitter where you are dealing with text-only posts, Facebook gives you the option to post different kinds of media from video to photography and even questions without having to follow a link and leaving your page. Leverage that, people engage more with visuals. There are tons of content you can share.
It’s very easy to embed outside content such as YouTube videos or go wild and create your own video right there without having to leave the page or importing anything.
6. You Are Not Posting Quality Content
I guess this is not exclusive to Facebook but the social web in general. Specially when it comes to sharing other people’s content, sometimes we make the mistake to share stuff that’s not relevant to our audience or it’s not good enough. People have to see you as a great resource.
Obviously when you post your own blog content, we’re talking top notch, right?
Content is not only links. Be a creator and craft your own shit, have a perspective on things. Be edgy. Be unique and post stuff that’s exclusive to your Facebook audience.
7. You Are Not Leveraging Customizations
One of the disadvantages of Fb Pages is that there is very little room to stand out visually and try to make a good first impression. That’s why you need to leverage every small opportunity to deliver a unique experience.
A perfect example is to have a landing tab to display as a welcome for new visitors. This is not only a perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and integrate a little branding, communicate what the page is all about and point the user in the right direction (like asking for a Like) but this piece of real estate is also great to integrate other elements like video or opt-in email boxes to build your list.
Leverage these opportunities, focus on conversion. Hire a designer or social media expert or to do it by yourself. Also take in consideration that we mostly talk about landing/welcome pages but you can create whatever you want with these tabs.
8. You’re Not Present
Another one that might seem like a no brainer but we’re often guilty as sin. If you’re able to get people to comment and interact with your content, you also need to be present to turn this comments into a live conversation. In other words, you need to host this puppy. You wouldn’t throw a comment or a question in a group conversation and walk away, right?
The problem here is that when you come back the next day to follow up on comments the person is no longer there. This is called “Front-End Interaction” and you need to have a plan to approach it. It is key if you want to build loyalty in your present audience.
A great solution for this is getting email alerts when somebody writes a comment on your page, that way you can react in a timely manner. Since Facebook seems to have forgotten that feature, you will need to rely on a 3rd-party solution. HyperAlerts does the trick with a simple web application that you setup in 2 minutes, connect your Facebook Page and choose the frequency of the alerts.
9. You’re Posting At The Wrong Times
A lot has been said about the best times to post content on different networks, for example, some say that rush hours on Twitter are 9am, 12pm and 3pm and you have more exposure at those times. Facebook is the same, people seem to spend longer periods of time during weekends and when they get off from the daily grind while Twitter on the other hand pretty much dies.
Instead of recommending best times for you I’ll suggest you experiment with different times and track when people interacts the most. This is a testing game and we’re all in different industries and parts of the planet.
10. You’re Not Paying Attention To Your Analytics
Most people I talk to spend little to no time observing web analytics for their sites or any other online platforms. I don’t blame you if you’re resisting it, it can be tedious and it gets worse if we don’t really know what we’re looking at. What I recommend as good practice is to allocate a small period of time for analytics each month and while you’re there make an effort to learn a little bit more.
Believe me, when you start to understand this not only is a bit more fun but you’ll be able to make decisions and actually see how testing different approaches can impact the outcome. When you a spike on your weekly interactions don’t focus on the pretty chart, focus on how you were able to deliver a better experience.
Facebook Insights has been improving a lot if you haven’t paid a visit in a while, there is sufficient data there to get to know your audience a little better and be aware of your performance.
So there are my 1,800+ words on how to make your Facebook Page take off. Now it’s your turn, what are your secrets for success? How are you engaging your audience? Or are you struggling with this? Share your thoughts or your questions in the comment section. I’m pretty sure you have something to say!