Recently, I started questioning the value of Facebook for my business.
Our Facebook page looks good, and to a certain extent, it makes us real to our audience. But what are we really getting out of it? How can we reach our customers using Facebook in a way that doesn’t waste time, that keeps growing, and that contributes to generating revenue?
Three months ago, my Facebook community reached over 14,000 fans without using paid advertising. To get there we used all traditional techniques to grow our Facebook community organically. We invited contacts, ran competitions, had special offers and had a Facebook box and buttons on our site and newsletters.
Then we reached a plateau and we had to start using new ways to keep growing and make sure we get the best return out of the time we spend on Facebook.
Here are five tips that I believe we should all implement to better manage, build and monetise our Facebook communities for free.
Tip #1 – Engage your Facebook community with remarkable content
Posting status updates is pretty much all you’ve got to do to manage your Facebook community. Your challenge: identify or create remarkable content.
Posts using words only are often boring, repetitive and unoriginal. On the other hand, posts using pictures are a lot more powerful. Facebook users seem to be a lot more inclined to “like” and “share” a post when it is a picture.
A tool like Pinterest makes it much easier for us to find the pictures that will make our post remarkable. Pinterest is an almost endless library of images that people think are cool. These are the images that will get people liking and sharing!
Keep being interesting, inspiring and entertaining and you’ll maintain an engaged community of active users.
Tip #2 – Harness the viral power of Facebook with shareable content
To grow your Facebook community, you’ve got to use the power of sharing so you can leverage from your existing network.
Using remarkable content and having a lot of “likes” on your post is great and is definitely a good start. What will make a real difference in growing your community is the number of people that will “share” your posts.
Every time one of your fans shares one of your posts, that post is exposed to your fan’s entire network giving you a much greater reach.
Don’t be afraid to ask your community to share your posts! Why not even incentivise them for sharing?
Tip #3 – Use your time productively with the Facebook scheduling functionality
Have you noticed that little icon that looks like a clock in the status update box? Until recently I had never really paid attention to it, yet it is such an important feature of Facebook for businesses as it allows us to schedule our posts and use our time a lot more productively.
Once you’ve identified the most popular time to engage your community (for us it generally is early morning 8am, lunch time 12pm and late afternoon 5pm), you can use that tool to schedule your posts.
That way, posting at the most optimal time won’t be a disruption to your day any more. Scheduling your posts will give you a lot more flexibility and will allow you to post at all times of the day including while you are away from your computer!
Tip #4 – They must “like” your Facebook page to benefit from your offers
A very efficient way to keep growing your community is to incentivise your audience and use a “Like Gate” (a pop-up box that requires people to like your Facebook page to be able to get the incentive). Of course, do bear in mind that this is repellant to some users and those neo-luddites not using Facebook, bless their hearts!
Use something free or cheap that offers high perceived value to your target audience, i.e. an ebook, a video, a white paper (that’s your calling card, or lead magnet) and promote it through emails, your website and ad swaps.
Don’t give it away too easily though! Make it so that to benefit from your offer, your audience must “like” your Facebook page. This can be done using tools like the 5min fan page or Pagemodo.
Adding an additional step creates user involvement (they’ve got to really want your e-book to keep going!) and that creates a greater commitment to be a part of your business.
Tip #5 – Create ‘”V.I.P.’s” to monetise your Facebook community
Facebook can be used in many different ways that will greatly benefit your business.
You could use Facebook to sell stuff, creating a buying platform within your Facebook page with tools like BigCommerce and Ecwid. You could also use Facebook to promote your products and services using paid ads.
The last tip of this series is to use Facebook to create Very Interesting Prospects (a different type of V.I.P.’s!). Use Facebook as a tool to gather leads and take the relationship back to what your business is about. Facebook is a fantastic platform to introduce your business, products and services, in a friendly way that will facilitate building rapport with your customers.
If you have any doubts about the relevance of this article to your business, ponder this: over 10 million Australians use Facebook each month (Facebook Nielsen Study). Clearly, your customers, just like mine, are on Facebook!