Reason 3: An ineffective content and communication strategy
This is the one area where I spend a lot of time counseling brands. Facebook offers a lot of unique ways for companies to engage their customers. The entire premise of the Facebook platform is built on sharing of information, content, and opinions. The brands who are succeeding in Facebook understand that the more they engage their fans, the more their fans are likely to engage with their brand.
From a content perspective, it's important to listen to the voice of the fan in order to maximize the likelihood of engagement. This means creating and serving up content experiences that your fans want. Simply repurposing existing content and distributing it within the Facebook platform offers little reason for your fans to engage. Assume that your fans have already seen your YouTube videos and are already following you at Twitter. If your entire Facebook content strategy is delivering a feed from your YouTube channel and Twitter page, then you need to spend more time understanding the unique benefits that the Facebook platform gives brands.
Whether it's the inclusion of discussion boards, notes, stories, photos, questions, videos, reviews, events, or custom applications and tabs, Facebook can deliver more customer interaction with your brand than most brand websites can. Best of all, nearly all of this functionality comes standard with any company page.
Perhaps the area where brands struggle the most to connect with their fans is the News Feed. Simply put, your company can publish copy and content via your company page and have it distributed to all of your fans by way of their news feeds. Most brands overlook the power of this amazingly simple and highly effective communication tool.
Many companies push out news or content and just expect that their fans will respond. That's a pre-social communication strategy and not very Facebook friendly. If you want your fans to interact, start asking for their opinions. Post more often. Two to three times a day is not out of the ordinary. Ask for opinions. Respond to as many posts as you can. Remember, every time a fan responds to or "likes" your news feed item, that information is shared with their friends. This is where the amazing reach benefit of Facebook comes into play.
Make the news feed a place where your fans can engage with you in a lively and fun conversation about your products or services and the benefits they offer. You want to keep the conversation focused, but don't be too afraid to veer off a bit and make it fun. Check your fan counts and your insights report to make sure you aren't turning the fans off -- they will "unlike" you or remove you from their news feed if you post irrelevant content or post too often. Continuously work to find the right blend of content, communication and frequency in posting your news feed items. Pound for pound, the news feed is the greatest tool you have for maintaining a lasting connection with your fans.
Whether your company has been on Facebook for a couple of years or is just starting out, there are clear pathways to success for brand marketing on the platform. But it requires time, resources and a solid strategy. It doesn't come quickly, cheaply, or through "viral voodoo."
Still, you can avoid these three main pitfalls by creating awareness of your Facebook page in most of your marketing communication assets and channels, by effectively converting potential fans into actual fans, and by giving your fans content and communication that matters most to them. Put the focus on the fans first and you'll wind up building a solid and effective marketing channel that you can leverage time and time again.
Scott Meldrum is the chief pollin8or at Pollin8. His Twitter can be found at @scottmeldrum.
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