First and foremost, contrary to popular belief (and indeed the movie that was made about it), Facebook is no longer a ‘social network’. Facebook is a ‘content sharing platform’ and nothing else. As a merchant, your primary aim on Facebook is build and maintain an engaged audience that you can then monetise. You do this by adding value.
The reason a lot of merchants fail to see a return on investment on Facebook (or indeed any social platform) is because they are what we like to call takers. They spend all day saying “buy my product”, “attend my event” or “subscribe to my channel”. People’s Facebook feed is precious to them and is a place they can escape. What they see on their feed has been crafted around their interests and things they’ve engaged with in the past. When they’re scrolling through their feed and see a “Buy one get one free” offer from you, not only does it feel unnatural to them, it feels intrusive.
Defining “adding value”
Adding value comes in many forms and is subjective to the recipient. Whether you make somebody laugh, inspire them or teach them something, adding value is forming a positive relationship between you and your audience. One of the most basic laws in social psychology is the reciprocity principle which states that if we give or do something for somebody, they feel compelled to give you something in return, regardless of whether they like you or not.
The rule of 4
Facebook is a game of giving and then asking. Adding value and then asking for something in return, but how do you know when to give and when to ask? There is a well-known idea in leadership called ‘the rule of 4’ – that is to give 4 times before you ask in return. This structure can be applied as a basis for your social media strategy.
How to give
Now you’ve got a general structure of the intent for your content, now you need to know how to add value to your audience. The creative will vary depending on what you’re selling, however, here some great examples of content that gets great engagement:
Whether you link out to a blog post or a short video, teaching your audience how to do something is great way to engage them and build a connection with them. A perfect example of this is makeup companies / influencers who post videos of makeup tutorials for their followers.
Think first about why your audience goes on Facebook, it is the global #1 pastime and form of escapism. Besides connecting with their friends (which has now predominantly moved to messenger apps such as Whatsapp), people go on Facebook to be distracted from everyday life and catch up on their world, so why can’t you be the one to distract them? Sharing funny videos and photos is a great way to engage and grow your audience.
Inspirational and positive messages
The things that people share on social is essentially a reflection of how they want the world to see them. The majority of people want to be perceived as positive and inspirational (even if they aren’t in their everyday lives). This means that positive and inspirational content is highly shareable as it is something people want to be associated with in the eyes of their peers. Posting daily or weekly positive images such as famous quotes it a great way to get your content seen and shared.
#Protip: When sharing images, be sure to subtly place your logo in the image. If the content is shared, your logo and brand will then benefit from the network effect and be seen by more people.
Competitions and two way conversations
Instead of just talking at your audience, create the opportunity for a two-way conversation with them. A caption contest with a reward is a great way to start conversations whilst getting feedback about your products.
Offering exclusive discounts and coupons on Facebook gives people a reason to follow you. It also shows your appreciation for your audience. This type of content will be sure to drive engagement and interaction from willing customers.
Test, test, test!
Always keep testing what works and what doesn’t with your audience. Soon enough you’ll know what content your followers like to see and at what times are best to post. Keep a close eye on the Insights tab on your Facebook page as this will give you a good idea of how your content is doing and what works best.
#1. Schedule your posts in advance so you don’t have to keep logging into Facebook to post during the day. Set a couple of hours every 2-3 days to schedule your account and creating content. Here’s a great guide on how to schedule posts effectively.
#2. Be conversational with your followers. People buy from people and establishing a real connection and building a relationship is the key to an engaged audience that will repeatedly buy from you. If a customer comments on a post, get them talking. This little bit of extra interaction will make your customers feel special and will go a long way. Here’s a great article that explains the value if this interaction.
#3. Try and jump in on trending topics. Not only will it expose you to a wider audience, if you’re talking about top-of-mind, trending information, people are more likely to jump in on the conversation.
#4. Videos, images and GIF’s work best. We are very visual in nature and people will always respond better to visual content (as opposed to just words).
How to ask
Now you’ve got an idea of what type of content to post to engage your audience, it’s time to ask them for something in return. As we’re mainly focusing on Facebook as a function to drive eCommerce results, I’m going to assume that your ‘ask’ is for a sale.
There are a few dynamics to a successful advert on Facebook. Here’s a few tips:
#1. Effective targeting – When you place an advert for a product on Facebook, you will pay every time somebody clicks the link on the add (Cost Per Click Advertising). You want to make sure that only relevant people are clicking your ad. For instance, if your ad is for a women’s fitness vest top, you want to exclude all Male’s from seeing the ad as it will likely be wasted on them.
#2. Link to the correct place – Place yourself in the shoes of the customer when creating an ad. If you saw an ad for a specific type of Nike trainers on Facebook and when you click the ad you’re sent through to Nike’s homepage, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re selling a product, make sure you send the customer straight through to the product page of your website as they had intent to buy when they clicked the ad. If you were simply promoting your website/brand, sending the customer to your homepage would be more appropriate.
#3. High quality images – Facebook has guidelines on what is considered a good and bad advert. One thing that Facebook hates is anything too text heavy. In fact, if you’re ad is too text heavy and hard to read, Facebook won’t permit you to post it. Make sure your images are high quality, with little text on them. If you’re unsure what acceptable on Facebook ads, visit their advertising policies.
#4. Think mobile – Remember that the majority of people use Facebook via mobile devices. When creating an ad, Facebook will help you out and show you how it will look on both mobile and desktop, however, think first about how your ad will appear on mobile.[quote]
- Why social media is important to your business
- How to create a Facebook Page for your business
- How to create a Twitter Page for your business
- How to create an Instagram account for your business
- What type of content you should be posting on Facebook
- What type of content you should be posting on Twitter
- What type of content you should be posting on Instagram
- Building a content strategy
- Measuring the success of your content
Next up, we’ll discuss what type of content you should be posting on Twitter.