“We need to be on Facebook” is a phrase that echoes from the boardrooms and offices of businesses across the nation. Often the task is assigned to some junior level employee who management thinks “gets it” because they are young and spend half their time surfing Facebook while at work. Instead of viewing this person as a drag on productivity they decide to leverage their lack of focus by essentially making them their new public relations spokesperson. Not good. Not good, at all.
I’ll readily admit my company’s Facebook Page is no pillar of greatness. We have less than 100 “fans” and most of them are friends and family. Sound familiar? In our defense, we don’t view our Facebook page as a primary channel in our marketing strategy; we focus on business-to-business professional services so more effort is put towards content marketing (I.e. blogging, speaking, article syndication, and word-of-mouth).
We primarily use our Facebook page as another distribution channel for our content, a place to let our hair down by sharing humorous stuff, and as an experimental zone for trying new tactics before recommending them to clients. Our eyes are open, but many companies are still easily blinded by the shiny lights of Facebook Pages as their savior.
Many organizations put up a Facebook page because they feel they have to but have no real strategy for doing so. If you’re currently managing your organizations Facebook page or thinking of launching one, then here are some Do’s and Don’ts based on personal experience and wisdom shared to me by Dennis Yu who is President of BlitzLocal, a successful online marketing firm in California that specializes in creating custom Facebook pages.
- Like your competitors so that your likes are on their page– not removable by them.
- Like your own posts, since it boosts EdgeRank.
- Always respond to comments and posts on your wall to demonstrate reciprocity to your users and to Facebook for EdgeRank.
- Hold a contest or sweepstakes to get likes in return for entries. Use tools like Shortstack, Wildfire, or BuddyMedia to hold a contest.
- Consider having a welcome tab that first time visitors see that explains who you are and the benefit “liking” you will offer.
- Post valuable content that informs or entertains – Consider pictures and stories that will illicite likes, comments, or be shared since this helps with EdgeRank (Tip: Tag people in photos so that it show’s up on their wall and in their news stream so their friends will see it)
- Ask questions using the poll feature to get interactions.
- Most people become a fans of pages to get discounts or exclusive access to product, so feed their appetite by offering special deals.
- Exclusively post information about your organization and promotions.
- Try to update the page everyday to maintain an appearance of activity. If you’re just doing it for the sake of doing it, then you’re doing it wrong.
- Ignore comments and criticism. This is an opportunity to solve a problem and you can avoid things getting messy by encouraging people to deal with their concerns through a different channel (telephone, private email, face-to-face).
- Answer questions by referring people to your website or some other place. It’s your responsibility to answer their question so it should be you who does the research and then posts the answer.
- Be a douche-bag. Have fun and be natural but don’t forget you still need to be respectful and professional. People will try to get a reaction from you so stay cool (this is often where the junior employees will stumble due to lack of experience with public communications).
- Ignore Facebook. It’s the most popular social network in the world so even if you do business-to-business, there’s a good chance you’re customers are frequenting the network in their leisure time. You might not need a Facebook page, but it could be a terrific advertising channel.