Content really is King! You can have all the Facebook “Likes” in the world but without engaging content, your Facebook page is about as useful as a 3:00 a.m. infomercial.
We know Facebook isn’t a tool for talking at customers; its greatest strength is to provide a place where people can have lively interaction and form new relationships with your company and with each other. This is why Facebook is a powerful tool for creating a loyal fan base, which grows organically as you engage your community.
It’s important to measure your success on Facebook based on the level of social interaction on your page. To create a successful page, you must generate engaging content that produces social actions such as “Likes” and “Comments.”
In fact, fan interaction is so important that it impacts whether your posts will even appear in your fan’s News Feed! The more interaction you have, the more often your posts and updates will appear before your fans and their friends within the News Feed.
Here are three ways to create engaging content aimed at igniting an active community:
1. It’s OK to be Human
Using the right tone with your customers is vital. This isn’t a press release and you don’t want to come off as a corporate mouthpiece. This is the place to sound human and to be conversational. Speak to your fans as you’d like to be talked to. Humor and personality will attract more followers.
Write in the first person and be a part of the conversation rather than trying to control it. By having an authentic voice, you will be able to build a relationship with your clients – and that generates more social interaction.
Burt’s Bees exemplifies how we can create an authentic presence on Facebook. Not only does the company convey a human tone, they permeate their page with pictures and video aimed at creating a very comfortable and familiar relationship with their customers. By posting behind-the-scenes videos of their own people, Burt’s Bees creates interesting content while simultaneously humanizing their brand.
2. Create Connections
When users engage a page they are there to not only connect with your business but with each other as well! Your followers will find your page more engaging if you provide them with a stream of content that inspires a sense of community.
Local contests are a great way to bring your fans together. Contests can let your followers get into direct interaction with one another. These interactions subsequently create stream messages, which appear in front of your fan’s entire friend network.
The rental space serves as a great example of where contests can be used to heighten engagement and build a sense of community. A property manager, for example, could create a contest among their tenants to help build relationships both online and in person.
One clever property manager created a “cutest pet competition” for their tenants on Facebook. Participants submitted pictures of their pets on the page and voted for the winner who was awarded a prize. The contest achieved two goals; it created a sense of camaraderie among the tenants and served as a prolific promotion for the building as the tenants’ friends saw the feed stories resulting from the contest. Always make sure contests are compliant with Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines and seek legal counsel prior to launching a contest or promotion.
Rich content, such as contests, promotes fan interaction, which is the ultimate form of engagement as it feeds itself and grows with each social action.
3. Get the Most Out of Your Posts
Wall posts are one of your most powerful tools in your Facebook arsenal. It is important to consider not only what you are posting but also when you are posting.
What to Post:
We already know it’s important to post in a familiar human voice, but what kind of posts produce the highest engagement? Based on one of Buddy Media’s latest studies, the simpler the post the better.
According to Buddy Media, “posts 80 characters or less have a 27% higher engagement rate” than posts of longer length. So keep it short and post things that you think will get people talking.
Questions and “requests for action” are always a good way to produce responses. Posts that end with questions result in a 15% higher engagement rate while the top two keywords for producing engagement, “like” and “post,” are both calls to action.
When to Post:
There are hundreds of posts a day that have the potential to appear in your fan’s News Feed. Facebook determines what makes the cut based on an algorithm called Edge Rank. One key component to this algorithm is the time of the posting. The older a post the less relevant it becomes and the less likely it will end up in front of your followers.
The timing of your posts is crucial in order to maximize engagement.
Buddy Media found that businesses that posted outside of business hours (early in the morning, at the end of a work day and late at night) saw engagement rates 20% above average. This makes sense because people are more likely to check their Facebook when they’ve got some down time, which is not in the middle of the day for most people.
So you’ve got the time of day, but do you know which day of the week is best? BuddyMedia discovered that “engagement rates on Thursday and Friday are 18% higher than other days of the week.” As the week comes to end people are less motivated to work and more likely to stray on over to Facebook. According to Facebook the “Happiness Index” on their site spikes by 10% on Fridays making the end of the week an ideal time to post.
Don’t forget to have a bit of fun with your content! If it’s interesting to you, it’s going to be interesting to your community. You have the opportunity to have a nice balance of informality and professionalism. These are just a few hints to inspire you to produce more engaging content. If you focus on being real and finding clever and relevant ways to meet the needs of your community, you’ve got the keys to success for engaging them!