Filed under: Tip of the Day
From Counselor’s July 2011 issue segment on “Management, by Genae Ginard …
Every company is trying to use Facebook in an attempt to move their business forward and stay connected to their customers. Why are some companies more successful at this than others? Content is the key to staying in touch with your customers and keeping them informed. The content, however, must be a rich mix of information, education, humor and fun.
Indeed, every Facebook effort is not equal. Some companies put forth a concerted effort to update their Facebook page consistently with news, tips and contests to keep their audience engaged. Others? Well, others don’t update their pages consistently enough to make any noise online.
No doubt, the former strategy is preferable. You can’t succeed with online social marketing right now unless you’re prepared to put in the time to create compelling content that engages customers and prospects. There’s a lot to be drawn to online right now, so you need a Facebook page whose content stands out from the crowd.
Here are six steps for ad specialty distributors to pump up their Facebook presence and connect with a whole new audience online. Use this approach to make your Facebook page more successful.
- Humor Is Vital - Humor allows your audience to come away with a warm-and-fuzzy feeling and a friendly attachment to your message. It doesn’t have to be industry specific, although it can be. You can do viral searches on YouTube and/or sites that plug social media. But a note of caution: humor online shouldn’t cross a line that you wouldn’t be prepared to cross when meeting somebody in person. Always watch a video all the way through before posting, as you don’t want it to include any profanity or other unmentionables. Remember, video is king. Written blogs are being trumped by the clever, colorful and often fun video blogs.
- Ask Questions That Solicit Responses - Don’t be afraid to ask open-ended questions to your group. For example, think of timely promotional programs and ask something like, “What’s your favorite corporate summer outing?” The purpose here is to begin the conversation. People posting their answers will create a community buzz. Letting the responses unfold naturally also gives you a marketing advantage. You can then track the answers to find a pattern of summer promotions or even find specific information about potential customers that you can use to call them with down the line. The key is to track it. Don’t just let the responses occur in a vacuum – take notes off the Facebook page so you have actionable data about your new contacts.
- Consistent Content Is King - If you don’t provide a myriad of interesting topics, information and trends, current customers as well as future customers simply go away. Clicking “Unlike” on Facebook is just as easy as clicking “Like.” Smart, clever and challenging content will keep your audience waiting for more. Plus, the ability to provide that type of information consistently is what really separates your Facebook presence from that of other companies. Consistency and creativity count when it comes to providing content online. With most companies having a presence on Facebook, competition will become fierce and you have to stand out.
- Talk About Current Events - If you haven’t done so already, get plugged in to all online media and/or online trade publications. When something interesting pops up, pass it along for other people’s knowledge. If something political or legislative occurs that could impact your customers or the ad specialty market in general, pass it along. Never make a personal judgment about the event. Let your community unfold. One of the best ways to ensure that you’re always connected to current events that impact the market is to use Google Alerts to notify you of events and news feeds when you program in key words. You can also use a program like Hootsuite to consolidate and tweet events out to all of your feeds and accounts at one time. The more you can tie your Facebook content into current events that impact your audience, the more likely you’ll be to consistently connect with a growing audience.
- Use Industry Facts - Keep your followers abreast of changes in the ad specialty market and relate them back to your own business. For example, product safety and legislation are important right now when it comes to ensuring the viability of products in the ad specialty industry. Post articles you find about changing laws and provide insights into how this can impact your customers’ orders. Think of Facebook as a way to educate your customers and prospects about information they may not otherwise seek out. Cotton prices, for example, have increased significantly over the past year or so. This isn’t information that your customers may be directly seeking out, but it does impact their T-shirt orders. So, they need to know about it, and you can be the vital source that provides the information to them. This would be a specific action that endears your customers to your brand.
- Run Promos & Specials - Mention specials, promotions, new products and services on your Facebook page as much as possible. It shouldn’t be a hard-sell approach, but rather a way to entice customers. You can get creative here and run a coupon or contest. Talk about new employees, business awards or articles written by your staff. You can drive traffic to your business and services by using this concept.
For more, go to Counselor’s July 2011 Management section now!