“Engage or die” might seem like an extreme social media axiom to live by, but if your Facebook fans aren’t actively engaged with your content, are you just wasting your breath? Sure, you’ve worked hard to develop a large fan base, but you may feel as though many fans have just “liked” your page and now remain silent and uninvolved with your brand. The question remains then: how do you spend your time and energy wisely and get more actively engaged Facebook fans? While there are many clear benefits to maintaining a Facebook business page, when you have an active fan base, you can exponentially increase your business credibility, strengthen brand loyalty, and drive transactions.
Standing out in the Facebook crowd
With over 30 million small businesses now maintaining active Facebook pages, there’s no question that a Facebook page is tremendously desirable real estate to share your voice with the world. But with so many pages crowding up peoples’ News Feeds with increasing amounts of content, you need to develop a smart strategy to grab peoples’ attention and get them involved with your page. And as if that weren’t enough, Facebook’s recent News Feed redesign, which shows more relevant content to each user, has created a panic that a decline in organic reach will mean fewer people may see your posts. While these developments create new hurdles for getting your voice heard, they also reinforce the importance of establishing a loyal following of active fans. According to Brian Boland, VP for Facebook ads product marketing and Atlas:
“Fans make your ads more effective. When an ad has social context — in other words, when a person sees their friend likes your business — your ads drive, on average, 50% more recall and 35% higher online sales lift.”
Stop Shouting and Start a Conversation
While the timing and frequency of when you share content with your Facebook fans is important for garnering engagement (generally speaking, more than 2 times a week, and not more than 2 times a day), there are many techniques to develop a more active community. And nurturing an engaged following doesn’t mean inundating your fans with constant pitches, quite the opposite; you want to generate thoughtful content that starts a conversation. Digital marketing guru Harry Hawk explains:
”Facebook is used for intimate and interpersonal communications; marketers who engage in conversation worthy behavior are greatly favored by Facebook’s algorithm and their fans.”
So, exactly how do you get more active fans on Facebook and thrive amidst the recent changes to the News Feed? Here are some useful techniques to help you better engage your audience:
- Share Quality, Relevant Content – This may seem like a no-brainer, yet many pages continually blast their followers with sales pitches that most users ignore. Focus on starting a thoughtful conversation about topics relevant to your business or conceptually adjacent to your product or service. And keep it brief: studies show that shorter posts get 23% more interaction.
- Get to Know Your Fans – Find out what topics they’re interested in and allow their voices to be heard throughout the community. When people feel that their input is valued they are more likely to get involved. When you ask a question in your post, statistics show that you are nearly 100% more likely to receive a response. The more you know about your fan base, the better you can target posts, as well.
- Explore Third-Party Apps – There are countless apps designed for Facebook or that enable you to utilize Facebook’s wealth of user data that can help you encourage your fans to become more active participants. Ben and Jerry’s recently launched a successful Facebook app campaign, amusingly inviting fans to find out which of their Facebook friends they would “Wanna Spoon”. Clever campaigns such as these make engagement fun and encourage fan interaction without users feel like their being pitched.
- Host Contests and Offer Discounts – A recent study revealed that 35% of Facebook fans like a page in order to participate in contests. The prospect of winning something can excite us all, and we’re more likely to engage when there is a potential return on our commitment to a page. Coupon based campaigns have also proven to generate extremely high levels of engagement.
- Experiment with Different Types of Posts – Fans will quickly grow tired of seeing similar styles in each post, so engage them with a variety of formats to keep them interested and active. Post relevant photos from your business and invite fans to share photos as well. Introduce yourself or your business through videos to connect directly with your fans. Virtual and live events are an excellent way to make fans feel they are a part of a community and will increase the likelihood that they engage with your page.
Build Your Community
While it may not come as a major surprise that quality and diverse content can help generate more active fans on Facebook, taking the necessary steps to engage those fans are often ignored by businesses and organizations. As the number of Facebook users and pages increase, and establishing a secure seat at the head of your fans’ News Feed becomes more challenging, establishing a loyal and active fan base has become undeniably critical. By taking steps to build your community and invite constant engagement, you’ll position your business to make the most of Facebook’s potential.
Let us know what’s worked for you in the comments section below. What approaches or techniques have you found to be effective for getting more active fans on Facebook?