Facebook likes are becoming more important to brands than links as the social site spans to more than 750+ million users. For fans, liking a page on Facebook is as easy as one click. Consequently, it’s just as easy for fans to UNlike pages, a reality most brands need to take into consideration when it comes to their fan count and future acquisition. How do brands acquire Facebook likes, but then hold on to them steadily? Consider the following 5 best practices I’ve formulated for staying “liked” in Facebook’s socialsphere.
1. Don’t let your content stream be a one-way street
Unless your brand has restrictions on engagement, give your fans an opportunity to interact with your content. Fans are more likely to stick around and keep up with your posts if you let them have a voice, (after all this is social media). You as a brand can learn more about your fans, which can lend a hand in your marketing efforts elsewhere. It also builds a unique community within your Facebook page where your brand evangelists can mingle with one another to show support and enthusiasm (a great way to build a positive reputation).
2. Lay off the delete button, confront negativity directly
With the enabling of fan comments and wall posts comes the probability of receiving negative criticism and brand bashing. Of course brands don’t like undesirable comments posted about them, and would tend to favor the delete button over keeping a critical comment on their Facebook wall for all to see. The problem with the delete button is a detrimental one: it creates a false perception for your fans that your brand does no wrong. Let’s face it, no brand is perfect, and not everybody will like you. Instead of quickly hiding the flaws and dissatisfaction that may arise, addressing the issue will show your fan base that you are cognizant of the problem and would like to correct it for the fan’s customer experience. Customer service through social media does an amazing thing: when a fan is taken care of via Facebook, they are incredibly likely to go and share their pleasant experience on their own Facebook wall for many other people to see. Not only does this reestablish rapport with a dissatisfied customer, is builds awareness to others that your brand actually cares about its customers. Cool, huh?
*As a side note: I only advise using the delete button when it comes to posts that include strong profanity, and any other offensive, derogatory remarks irrelevant to the customer/brand relationship. These comments are destined for the trash.
3. Learn about Edgerank and build a content strategy around it
Edgerank is a term many brands may be unaware of, but should come to know and love. Edgerank, in short, is Facebook’s formula for determining what posts appear in a user’s news feed. You may think that the “Most Recent” news feed on Facebook displays all recent updates, but it actually takes a subset of updates and displays them, considering a real-time feed of everything would be status update overload for the user. In order to appear in a users news feed, your page must have the following qualities: lots of engagement on your posts and engagement with that user. The more comments and likes you have, the more Edge your posts gets. The more interactions a user has with your brand’s page, the more likely they will see future posts from your brand in their feed. What does this all mean in terms of content? Post updates that encourage engagement from users (photos, questions, quizzes, opinions , etc.) so you’ll rack up the comments. When engagement comes in on your posts, engage back! This builds a conversation and Edge all in one occurrence (I like multi-tasking).
4. Offer free stuff (that also costs you nothing)
Everybody loves the word “free,” especially when there’s no strings attached. Bringing this value to your fans on Facebook is a way for them to value your brand. Even better is this: offering free stuff when the free stuff comes at no cost to you as a brand. What stuff is this “free stuff” exactly? If your brand has ever put out a white paper, an infographic, a video tutorial, a podcast, a webinar, then behold the inventory of free stuff you have at your fingertips! These resources can be re-purposed on your Facebook in the form of custom tabs for your fans to download, share, and enjoy. Brand evangelists will appreciate the free resources and you can appreciate the free publicity.
5. Relate to your fans: be human
The face of a brand doesn’t necessarily have human qualities, but the tone and personality absolutely should. Your fans aren’t looking for robotic posts around the clock (talking about yourself too much = automatic unlike). Bring forth some variety in your content stream and make it relate back to the very people that keep you in business: your customers. Share inspiring fan stories, fan photos, testimonials, and local news. This does a few things for your brand: it connects customers to other customers in the form of a unique community, it breaks away from the monotony of promotional posts, and most importantly it humanizes your brand and allows customers to relate to you on a personal level. Authenticity, personality, and humility will keep fans on board and engaged. After all, we’re all human, right?