Social Media Tips: How To Nurture Your Facebook Community
You’re here because you know that social media is an effective and free way to communicate with your customers and followers of your brand.
Maybe you’ve been on Facebook for quite some time already, but the ever changing algorithms are making it harder and harder for you to reach your followers. It’s starting to feel like those hard earned Likes are going to waste.
All too often we see business Facebook pages become digital graveyards of sale posts and random pictures, so we shouldn’t be too surprised at the lack of interaction they receive.
Real engagement, from real human beings in the form of commenting, sharing and liking, play a crucial role in expanding your community and subsequently your online business.
The better and higher quality that engagement is – the more effective your message, and in turn your ads, will be.
Here are some simple steps to help you develop a thriving business Facebook Page.
Top Social Media Tips For Community Management in 2017
Interaction Brings Everyone Together
You may not know it but it’s likely you’ve already interacted with a bot.
Comments like “wow, nice post!” or even just emoticon responses are often generated this way.
Don’t fall into the trap of using bots to grow your Facebook account – ever.
Not only will you build an echo chamber and skew the results of your marketing efforts, but you open yourself up to some very poorly timed comments that can result in a social media storm.
The key to engaging and preserving your following is genuine interaction. Small gestures go a long way in voicing your company’s personality online. It’s important to keep in mind the ‘social’ element of Social Media as seen in this great example when Southern Rail put Eddie in charge.
Whether it’s interacting with other similar fan or on brand accounts, acknowledging users for commenting on your post, creating two-way communication channels will create significant benefit in the long run.
Facebook rewards communication with visibility.
The more you interact outside your own page, the more valuable your page presence becomes.
It’s easy to see why we often think of Community Management in terms of what we do inside our own page, but by extending your reach further you can learn more about audience sentiment, problems, opportunities and establish your brand as a source of topic knowledge.
If I run a Bicycle shop, I’d want to be active in various interest groups on Facebook, not to promote my products or sales, but to offer helpful advice like riding tips or questions on mechanical problems.
The purpose of my activity should always be driven by “How am I helping this person solve a problem or fill an immediate need?” Not “How can I sell more stuff?”
Ask for it
I’ve always been a big fan of the adage “You don’t ask, you don’t get.” On social platforms this is particularly true.
Simply broadcasting a message does little to encourage interaction, but ask a question and watch people weigh in.
A technique taught to interviewers is to always ask open ended questions that can’t be answered with a simple Yes or No.
The same technique can be applied here. In a pinch even captioning posts like “comment down below what you think!” or “tag a friend who can relate!” can still be effective because they encourage an open discussion forum, but be careful not to over do it with these.
The more topical your post, the more likely you are to generate real discussion and commenting. If you’re a subject matter expert and can answer questions along the way, this is even more effective as it improves your overall credibility and increases the likelihood of fans interacting with you and seeking your advice in the future.
The potential for viral posts on Facebook are generally found in this format. Lively discussion, debate, entertainment or vital information all form the basis of a good viral post.
Similarly, reacting to criticism and feedback is also an indicator of the activity levels of your Facebook community.
Thanking online users for constructive advice beats sweeping them under the rug and substantiates the transparency of your account, making you more trustworthy and genuine in the eyes of your community.
Involve your Audience
With millions of Facebook posts generated daily, you have only a second to capture the attention of users. To help users to feel more compelled to visit your Facebook page, the key is involvement.
An easy way to boost follower retention is to make them feel like, and actually be, a part of the process. Help them feel as valuable as they are to you.
Asking for feedback, input during research phases, naming products and highlighting them individually when an occasion arises, is a signal to followers that they are part of the journey your company is on.
Involving your audience is an effective tactic in establishing that your online promotions are reliable and relevant and they can feel secure in seeing the steps leading up to the end product or service. More importantly it allows you to create a marketing feedback loop and when well executed, can lead to significant revenue growth.
The consistency and quality of posting on Facebook helps users fall into a routine of checking in with your Page as well as developing a habit of seeking you out for advice.
And that is Gold.
Personalisation Goes a Long Way
It might come off as unnecessary and even odd to sign off on every single social media post, but personalisation will have a large impact on many readers.
As a community manager, if you use your name when signing off, you will be drawing a closer, more personable, connection with your audience. That doesn’t mean you need to use your full name or have your personal account visible, but by using your name you establish a level of personal accountability and therefore trust with your audience.
Using your own voice and tone has proved incredibly effective for many organisations. While it pays to have solid social media guidelines in place to prevent any potentially embarrassing incidents, the benefits of a ‘real’ voice can’t be overstated.
It reminds your community why they Liked/Followed your account in the first place and reaffirms the notion that although your company is professional, it is also warm and welcoming.
Forming a solid, valuable community may appear daunting and high maintenance, but it is possible to achieve through these simple tactics. You can’t be in it for the short term or immediate sales.
The benefits of building a strong brand community aren’t just in working with who is following you now, but in helping them become such engaged, satisfied customers that they share your message for you.
And that’s exactly what Social Media is all about.