Remember when "how to build sticky websites" articles were everywhere? Well, the goals for Facebook are different, and you risk being disappointed with your social marketing investment if you don't understand this new paradigm. Luckily for all of the social marketers, a Facebook "like" is inherently sticky. It is a persistent relationship you can capitalize on with smart social marketing.
Let's start with some definitions. A website is "sticky" when visitors stay on the same site for an extended period of time. They navigate around the site, clicking on links to other pages, tabs, or sections. It's measured in minutes and average page visits per visitor. Your Facebook presence, on the other hand, is not measured by clicks, but rather by fan count (and therefore potential impressions), "likes," and shares. The social paradigm for your Facebook presence isn't to get fans to come to your Facebook page -- it's to get them to be social.
You already know by now that users are engaging with your brand wherever it is. Sharing those interactions with their friends amplifies the engagement. The goal to enhance your Facebook page's "stickiness" is to create an experience that makes users want to return and repeat the cycle.
This social engagement cycle can be achieved in many ways: news feed optimization, social applications, off-Facebook engagement, cross-platform integration, and, of course, not getting hidden in the news feed. Providing users with experiences worth sharing, amplifying the engagement, and coming back for more is the new "sticky."
Here are five ways you can make your Facebook page socially sticky.
We know people spend most of their time in the news feed. The more engaging the content, the more people will interact with it. The more people who interact with the content, the longer it stays in the news feed. This creates more opportunity for engagement amplification, and we can let the cycle begin. When users engage with updates, they are shared to all of their friends. This viral effect creates more opportunities for fan page "likes." And, of course, the more engaging the content, the more likely the user is to come back for seconds (or thirds!).
In this example from See's Candies, content was published that was on-brand, heart-warming, and clearly asked for engagement. The brand is tugging on the heartstrings of their fans while still including a reminder of what the company has to offer. Closing the gap between special holidays and how these holidays can affect the brand is a great way to garner engagement and stay top of mind with the consumer.
Building an engagement experience that automatically asks for sharing amplifies the engagement. This call to action simplifies the user experience and makes it increasingly easy for you to extend your message naturally.
In the Expedia FriendTrips Game, users must invite five of their friends to join them on their virtual plane. Those five friends must visit the application and confirm before they are entered to win. Each friend can create planes of his or her own as well. Now that Expedia has five new users with the potential for an unlimited amount of users, there is ample opportunity to bring all six back to the page for repeat engagement.
So, your website is already sticky, eh? Use that stickiness and make your site social. Add "like" buttons and share features to your site. That way, users can share with their friends and bring them into the social experience living on your Facebook page. A visitor to your sticky website is just one. A user that likes something on your site (a product, a blog post, etc.) will be sharing that with his 130 friends. What's more, advocacy is incredibly valuable. We know friends are heavily influenced by what friends like. Word of mouth is priceless.
Above, Endless.com has integrated multiple share features to each product on its site. With the new "like" button, a user can share the product with friends easily. These shares include an entire link, description, and thumbnail, and they enable the user to customize the message. Sharing these products creates brand awareness on Facebook without a user necessarily ever visiting the Endless Facebook page. Mission accomplished. What's more, you can now re-message that "like" with targeted and relevant promotions and information. That's sticky.
Engage across channels
Use other avenues that ultimately share back onto Facebook to amplify your brand message. For example, location-based check-ins show up in a user's news feed. Check-ins don't require a user to ever actually visit the Facebook page, but they're still sharing their affinity to a larger audience.
Virgin America encouraged check-ins in a fun manner with the Virgin America check-in leaderboard. The leaderboard encourages users to participate in the rewards and also to visit the leaderboard to see how they're ranked. This competitive gaming incentive pushes users to engage, interact, and share with their friends.
Don't get hidden
In many cases, it all comes back to this: Listen to your audience, find out what its members ultimately want from your presence on Facebook, and publish content accordingly. If you're giving your fans what they want, they won't hide you from their news feed, and they're more apt to continue engaging with you.
Facebook is social (and inherently sticky). People join Facebook to interact with their friends, and your goal is to engage, amplify that engagement, and reel in repeat interactions.
Final tip: Don't squander that "like." It's a powerful connection with brand loyalists, but it's easy for them to hide or un-"like" you. Keep it social so it stays sticky.
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