Last week, Krista Neher, the CEO of Boot Camp Digital, hosted a Social Media Training Session on Facebook Timeline Features. A poll conducted during our previous session revealed a popular demand for this topic. The new Facebook features seem to have overwhelmed all digital marketers. It is amazing how many changes Facebook has actually introduced under the new format called ‘Timeline’. Timeline allows companies to present their company history in chronological format while being creative and visually appealing. Since Timeline increases the shelf life of Facebook content, it is important to bear in mind that these changes only affect the way brands execute. What doesn’t change, is the engagement strategy.
Facebook seems to be the easiest social networking tool but the truth is, many brands actually fail to engage their audience on Facebook.
Facebook continues to remain a tool to increase your fan base and promote brand loyalty. Many studies have found that Facebook, in fact, is a great tool for loyalty marketing. This can be achieved if you have an effective content engagement strategy.
Studies have also found that brand related posts that are not promotional in nature do most well on Facebook.
Here are the top 5 ways to generate engaging content for Facebook:
Cover photos are meant to display a brand’s products or services. Although Facebook has stringent guidelines for cover photos, there is a lot of room for creativity. This space doesn’t have to be static. For example, Verizon asks its Facebook fans to submit photos from their Verizon phones or tablets for a chance to win a tablet and be featured as the cover photo.
Cover photos are not meant to display call-to-action, price, contact information, or references to Facebook functions, such as ‘Like Us’ or ‘Share’.
One of the primary tools of Timeline is the “Milestones” tab. You can create an engaging story line for your company including your company history, major events, accomplishments, and product launches. A compelling brand promotion leveraging Milestones is Red Bull.
Red Bull launched a scavenger hunt that spans the history of the company and integrates brand milestones with the hunt. What a way to engage your fans!
One of the easiest and simplest things that you can do is share the link to your new blog posts on Facebook. Your Fans are most likely to appreciate a well-written action oriented blog post that offers valuable tips to them.
Photos, Videos, and Links:
Visually appealing content such as photos, pictures, graphs, and infographics not only make your page attractive but is also likely to be most shared. They have a higher virality factor (as measured via Facebook Insights feature). You can also share product videos, testimonials, or links to your website when you launch a new product or service.
Create a content calendar and be consistent on the kind of content you post on different days of the week. This is one of the ways you can train your audience to watch for content updates.
Lead Generation Offers:
You can create exclusive lead generation offers for your fans. These kinds of offers are great to build your Email Lists. You can also include a strong CTA and link to your website, if you have more products to feature.
Contests can be a great way to increase engagement and attract new fans for your page. Follow Facebook’s contest/promotion guidelines, and consider using an application like Wildfire, which works closely with Facebook to make sure its guidelines are followed appropriately.
A great example of a Facebook Contest is “Ikea and the Tag Yourself and Win the Furniture”. Fans were tasked with tagging themselves in the photo of the furniture they wanted to win. The first person to tag himself in the furniture image would win the item. Participants began embedding Ikea images on their respective pages and sharing them among friends. Thousands of images began hitting the news feed and word spread quickly.
Other effective engagement techniques are posting about Industry News, Tips, Questions, and Polls.
What do you want from your Facebook audience?
The most important thing is crafting your engagement strategy based on goals that you have for Facebook. Experiment with your Facebook content and see what content drives more number of Likes, Shares, and Comments. Master Facebook features such as how to schedule and promote a post. Understand how the Facebook algorithm, EdgeRank functions, as this has direct impact on the “reach” of your posts. Use “Facebook insights” tool to effect course corrections.