In my most recent article for iMedia, I highlighted the three main reasons why some brands are lacking fans. And while fans are very important component in building your Facebook marketing channel, the work doesn't end once the consumer clicks the "like" button. In fact, fans often like your page with little to no intention of maintaining frequent communication with you. What got them to click "like" is probably not what it will take to keep them loyal.
Facebook fan loyalty is not a given. Between interacting with friends and family, personal interests, events and groups, and other brands, Facebook users are barraged with a constant flow of activity. As a result, they are starting to prioritize their activities on the platform. Facebook users are loyal to those things that reward them for their time and effort. And so, engagement with your page needs to be a rewarding experience. Here are 15 simple engagement strategies that will enable you to inspire loyalty with every click of the "like" button:
1. Target your messages to your audienceFacebook's page insights will enable you to determine the mix of ages, gender, and locations of your fans. While you cannot segment your message so that only certain fans see it, you can start to use these demographics to better focus your messages. Try occasionally addressing audience segments in your wall post copy (e.g., "To all of our Chicago fans, we are..."). By targeting your posts, when appropriate, you add relevancy to your message and gain loyalty points from your fans.
2. Call your fans back to the page with solid CTAsOnce people like your page, the only way they will return is if you invite them. Your wall posts should contain regular calls-to-action to interact with content on your Facebook page. Facebook users are more likely to consume branded content within the platform rather than clicking to leave it. Use this to your advantage by making your page a hub for your fans and call them to it regularly.
3. Ask interesting questionsBy now, you probably already know that asking questions in your wall posts is one of the best ways to engage your fans. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine the relevancy of your posts. Fan interaction (responses and likes) with your posts increases that relevancy. The more relevant your posts, the more frequently they will show up in your fan's newsfeeds. By asking questions, you increase your reach and turn fans into loyal participants.
4. Post frequently: 8-10 times per weekStaying top-of-mind with your fans isn't easy. And while you don't want to fatigue them by monopolizing their newsfeed with useless messages, you should maintain frequent and consistent communication with your fans. Be sure to use page insights to find the right frequency rate. If you see too many fans unliking your page or disabling your posts in their newsfeeds, dial back the frequency of your posts.
5. Use wall insights to optimize reach and interaction ratesFor pages with more than 10,000 fans, Facebook will enable you to view metrics on the number of impressions of your wall posts and the percentage of those impressions that led to feedback (responses) being given. These insights are critical in determining the effectiveness of your communication strategy as they help define what messages are getting through -- literally and figuratively -- to your fans.
6. Respond to posts by your fansYou're not the only one who is seeking interaction. Your fans are asking questions and making comments on your wall. They are also commenting on some of the content on your page such as photos and videos. Are you responding to these questions and comments? There is nothing more disconcerting to a customer than a lack of response to a question, compliment, or complaint -- especially when the customer has opened up the communication channel by liking a brand's Facebook page. Brand loyalty by fans is only possible when brands are loyal to them. Check your wall, photos, videos, and other content for questions or comments by your fans regularly and respond immediately.
7. Serve up new content regularlyYour Facebook page should be a living, breathing, dynamic community. Facebook allows your fans to have a multimedia experience with your brand. Photos, videos, audio, polls, notes, discussions, reviews, and custom tabs are all content that can be consumed via your Facebook page. Keep new content flowing regularly to keep engagement level high.
8. Thank your fans for liking youYou should be regularly thanking your fans for joining you at Facebook. It's important to acknowledge their willingness to form this two-way communication channel. If you are adding a small number of fans each day, send out a wall post thanking your new fans once a month. If you are seeing large growth spurts, make those posts more frequent. Acknowledging your new fans can add to the loyalty factor in a big way.
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I really enjoyed this post. I often share some of your tips when I'm asked about Facebook best practices. One additional tactic my company, Bulbstorm, uses is contests. Here is a link to a post I wrote about increasing Facebook fan loyalty through contests: http://www.bulbstorm.com/blog/2010/from-like-to-loyal-facebook-contest-apps-boost-consumer-loyalty/
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