Facebook Page Strategy 101
November 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
When considering adding social media to your marketing mix, in this case Facebook, a myriad of questions come to mind. Issues such as privacy, additional workload, and how to respond to criticism that has the potential to go exponentially “viral” are legitimate concerns. The potential for problems is certainly a reality and you will probably have some. However, the opportunities to better communicate with your constituencies and promote your initiatives far outweigh social media’s inherent challenges. With a smart plan, some experienced guidance, and a good dose of common sense, your Facebook Page efforts will pay off for everyone involved.
- Have a strategy.
Take a step back and ask yourself, “Why do we even need to be on Facebook?” Good question. For a your organization, Facebook can act as a great way to promote members, the local business environment, and events. Additionally, it can be used to field questions and enable your audience to comment on whatever you have going on. Simply creating a Facebook page by itself and not having a purpose for it will certainly lead nowhere.
- Ugh! More work. I have enough on my plate already.
We said the same thing when we had to start checking email from our new websites we created back in the late nineties. Now look at us. Don’t let some elbow grease get in the way of this opportunity! You certainly don’t need to hire a full-time person to manage your Facebook page, as you will only need about an hour a day devoted to it. To get up-to-speed quickly consider hiring a social media consultant on an ongoing basis (hint, hint).
- Build your audience.
We’ve all heard the cliché, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” In the Facebook universe, if you don’t have any fans that “Like” your page, you can rest assured that it will make no sound. Building your audience is as critical to your efforts as ranking high in Google is to your website. Some great ways to build your audience are to promote it through your existing communication channels, encourage members to “Like” your page while reciprocating, creating discussions, and conducting sweepstakes, contests, and promotions. The goal is for your page reach a tipping point where it grows organically through viral messaging seen on Facebook users’ news feeds.
- Dealing with grumps, heffalumps, and woozles.
There are always a few negative people in every forum. The key to dealing with these folks is to look at their contributions as opportunities to show your audience-at-large the character of your organization. Let’s say someone posts something critical about an experience with your brand. First, be prepared to respond within 24 hours — even on the weekends. If you don’t respond, it tells your audience your Facebook page isn’t useful and that non-communication is preferred over dealing with issues. Second, when you do respond, be professional. It is too easy to answer back with an emotional response in an online social environment. Keep your answer to the point and state your position. Be authentic. If things look dicey, send a direct message and request that the dialog be handled “offline.” Issues can easily be diffused in real life. If things get really out-of-hand, you can delete inappropriate posts.
- Work it, Baby!
You’ve got a strategy and audience. Now what? Time to provide meaningful content. Remember, Facebook is a conversation and an environment to share. While it can be used to post one-way information, the purpose is to engage. Post your events, ask questions, ask for volunteers, ask fans to post photographs, highlight your fans who have done something great, etc.
With a little work and support, both internal and external, your Facebook page will become a great channel for your brand and its fans for years to come. Need help with your strategy? Let me know.