A lot of companies are investing resources in launching Facebook pages and for good reason: Theyre a great cost-effective way to stay in touch with customers, spark loyalty and stay top of mind. But they only work when used correctly.
How can you spot a Facebook page thats faltering?
- It has become a wasteland of self-promoting posts.
- Posts on the page generate zero Likes, Shares or Comments.
- The Like count hasnt grown by more than a few Likes in months.
- Weeks (instead of days) go by between posts.
Most of these problems are usually the result of attrition a company launched a Facebook page, was very active at first, then began to see a falloff in returns and started mailing it in from there.
The good news is whether your Facebook page is designed to act as a customer service channel or generate direct sales there are ways to make sure it doesnt fall victim to the problems listed above.
Here are five best practices your company should follow to increase customer engagement on your Facebook page and ensure youre receiving a great return on the resources youve invested in it:
1. Integrate Facebook into your website
There are at least two ways Facebook should be integrated into your website:
- With a Facebook icon. Insert a large Facebook icon above the fold on your homepage. Customers today want to see what others are saying about your company on social media and that youre responding to problems and questions in real time. And by touting your Facebook page and not making visitors hunt for it, youre telling them you have a social media presence that youre proud of.
- With a Like button. Position Facebook Like buttons on product pages and next to blog posts. The more Likes your stuff accumulates, the more your reach on Facebook expands.
2. Use photos (lots of them)
With its purchase of Instagram and redesign of its site to make it more image-friendly, Facebook sent a clear message to its users: Post photos!
Facebook then followed all of that up with research that revealed posts that include an image generate 120% more engagement on average than text-only posts.
Bottom line: No matter what youre posting, try to include an image of some sort even if its an infographic or a basic bar chart.
3. Talk with not at customers
Facebook users dont take kindly to the hard sell. Theyre on the site first and foremost to socialize.
That means you have to be willing to have a conversation with your customers not just push promotional messages at them.
Your Facebook page cant be a one-way street. Talk to your customers. Ask them questions. Gather their feedback. Start a debate.
And if you really want to turn customers heads, go to their personal Facebook page and comment on their posts.
4. Utilize Facebook ads
Facebook ads excel in one area in particular: attracting new customers to your company.
Buttons on your homepage, blog and product pages are great for drawing an audience to your Facebook page but they only garner the attention of those who are already looking at or doing business with your company.
What about those who havent heard of your company or one of its products? Thats where Facebook ads come in.
There are two main types of Facebook ads that can help drive people to your page:
- Marketplace ads. These ads are fairly straightforward. These are purchased on a cost-per-click basis directly from Facebook and are used primarily to generate Likes (using Like Ads) or draw attention to particular Facebook posts (Sponsored Stories). These ads use Facebooks massive treasure trove of data to help marketers target the audience they want. For example, you can target Facebook users based on their location, school theyve attended or specific interests.
- Exchange ads (FBX). These are retargeting ads that must be purchased through FBX ad providers. FBX ads differ from Marketplace ads in that they use Facebook users online behavior, which is tracked using cookies, to construct individualized ads. For example, say a person has been searching for cheap airline tickets online but has yet to purchase any. Cookie data will reveal to an FBX ad provider that the person is interested in airline info. The ad provider will then generate an ad for Southwest Airlines (or another airline) that will appear in the users news feed the next time he or she is on Facebook.
5. Make the experience worthwhile
Sure, a customer may pop over to your Facebook page because you ran an ad that addressed a need or desire, or because a friend shared a link to your page.
But to get more than just a one-time page visit, you need to offer something worthwhile on your site an incentive of sorts.
The incentive doesnt need to be a discount or free swag. It could be sneak peeks at new products, insider info, fast responses to questions or fun contests.
A good place to start: Take a look at your Facebook posts that have generated the most Likes, Shares or Comments to date. Theyll give you clues as to what grabs customers attention and may get them to return to your page.
Christian Schappel is the managing editor of Customer Experience Insight, which is published by Progressive Business Publications to help organizations optimize the customer experience. The more than 155,000 marketing, sales, customer service and C-level executive subscribers depend on the sites weekly dose insights to drive revenue and improve customer loyalty. Connect with PBP on LinkedIn.