Sunday, 22 September 2013

8 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Engagement

Are you looking for fun ways to get your Facebook fans engaged?

Wondering how other pages are developing their posts to increase likes, shares and comments?

In this article I’ll show you eight examples of how to create Facebook posts that drive more engagement on your Facebook page.

#1: Solve Problems With Photos

Posts with a simple image and a caption that shows fans the solution to a problem or a way to improve their daily lives receive marked engagement.

Whole Foods uses this post tactic to encourage fan discussions about product-related solutions to common problems.

whole foods lifestyle tips
Whole Foods boosts engagement by sharing lifestyle tips.

Tips for posting images to Facebook:

  • Larger images tend to get more likes, shares and comments. Use the Upload Photos/Video function to publish photo files directly into your post instead of posting a link that shows a thumbnail.
  • Optimize images for the 403 x 403 pixel display in the timeline. Larger images display from the center of the image, and some of the edges may not appear in the news feed unless a user clicks through.

Find a great selection of socially recommended how-to’s on Snapguide or Reddit’s Life Pro Tips.

#2: Give a Shout-out to Your Customers

People love to see their content and their friends’ content shared by brands.

Use your fans’ content instead of your own to give your post a viral push through specific communities that are close to the content creator.

Starbucks showcased a talented customer’s drawing as their cover photo, then provided a shout-out to this dedicated customer by including a link to the artist’s Instagram profile in the image description.

starbucks customer cover photo
Starbucks uses customers' art in their cover photo.

Every few weeks, Walmart creates a new seasonal cover image with photos of real people from their fan base.

Check out a recent one below:

walmart fan photos
Walmart using fan photos for its cover photo.

Tips for customer shout-outs:

  • Cross-promote your Facebook shout-outs with Instagram and Twitter to extend your reach and impact.
  • Call attention to fans who show off your products or promote your brand.
  • Capitalize on brand-related content from clubs and teams with many members to boost your shout-out exposure.

#3: Involve Customers With a Question

Every customer wants to be heard and questions let them use their voice in the form of comments.

Ask your fans to share about consumer preferences, help you name a product or describe memories and moments associated with your brand.

When Skittles asked fans to describe the moment they opened a pack of the candy, the post received over 5,000 interactions.
skittle asks questions
Skittles asks questions to engage their Facebook fans.

London Drugs asks their fans to weigh in on either/or questions.
london drugs photo
London Drugs' "Crafty or Tacky" photo.

Tips for asking questions on Facebook:

  • Keep your questions simple.
  • Relate questions to specific consumer lifestyles, such as where or how they use your product.
  • Monitor your customer feedback on Facebook posts and comments, Twitter mentions and emails to find question topic ideas.

#4: Let Them Fill in the Blank

Use a short sentence with one word missing to generate a significant amount of comments, likes and shares.

Pringles used a fill-in-the-blank post to connect their chips with a relaxing summer holiday. A bonus of this tactic is that Pringles got a snapshot of their fans’ product preferences by monitoring the comments.

pringles fill in the blank
Pringles markets using fill-in-the-blank posts.

Tips for fill-in-the-blank posts on Facebook:

  • Use fill-in-the-blank posts as a two-pronged engagement tactic: interact with your online community and get to know them better for future marketing campaigns.
  • Use the post tactic in conjunction with a specific event, such as a summer holiday or a family ski trip.
  • Awkward or funny situations get people to engage on a more personal level.

#5: Crowdsource Photo Captions

Photo caption posts combine the allure of photos with people’s love of interacting with brands they identify with.

Think about the emotion you want to trigger and choose an image that makes participating irresistible. Upload your image and write a short description that invites fans to provide a caption.

In keeping with their core 125-year-old brand, National Geographic posts the world’s best photos from experts and amateurs alike. They interact with their Facebook fans by asking for captions. This one post had over 250,000 interactions.

national geographic invitation
National Geographic invites us to do what we've always dreamed of—contribute to its photos.

Tips for photo captions on Facebook:

  • Use inspiring, provocative or humorous images for captioning.
  • Find photos on Reddit’s Pics, Flickr Creative Commons, Shutterstock and iStockphoto. Remember to mind copyright if you share images that aren’t in the public domain.
  • To add a boost to your photo caption engagement, offer an incentive through a photo caption contest.

#6: Share Quotes

Quotes are great for engaging people’s “Me, too!” feelings. On Facebook this is especially powerful as the Like button makes it easy for fans to express that feeling. A quote can associate your brand with good feelings and create a deeper connection with your market on Facebook.

Just like Apple used imagery of iconic 20th-century personalities in its “Think Different” campaign, you can use quotes from icons to reinforce your company’s brand.

Disney uses quotes from their feature films to inspire, relate to and create funny moments with their audience. Each quote is posted with a full image to increase engagement.

disney shares a quote
Disney shares a classic quote to connect emotionally with their audience.

Tips for quotes on Facebook:

  • Tie your brand to quotes that support your campaign goals.
  • Use visuals and memes with your quotes to increase shareability—a few good sites to create memes are Quickmeme, Imgflip and Memecrunch.
  • Find quotes on and The Quotations Page, or use a #quote hashtag search on Facebook or Twitter.

#7: Gather Votes With Like vs. Share

Ask your fans to like a post to vote for option A, or share the post to vote for option B. Because vote counts are visible, fans are motivated to participate.

Walmart frequently uses the like vs. share post with a mashup of two competing images and a small graphic overlay of a like vs. share icon. They post the full image with a brief description that tells fans how to participate.

walmart asks for likes and shares
Walmart directly asks for likes and shares by giving their fans a face-off.

Tips for like vs. share posts on Facebook:

  • Use controversial choices that evoke strong emotions within your community.
  • Integrate your product or brand in the posts.
  • Use digital image editing applications like Photoshop, Photofiltre or to create your image with a graphic overlay that shares simple participation instructions.

#8: Use Hashtags

A relatively new addition to Facebook, hashtags use categorized terms behind a # symbol to increase brand, product and campaign awareness to wider audiences.

Sephora uses the hashtag “#OneQuickQuestion” to open up engagement for a campaign beyond the reach of their current fans.

sephora uses hashtags
Sephora spreads its reach with #hashtags.

Tips for #hashtags on Facebook:

  • Use tags to create awareness and engagement for specific marketing campaigns such as contests or product sales.
  • Use common terms such as #socialmedia in your hashtags to increase post dialogue and visibility.
  • Search for hashtags being used by your customers, competitors and partners to find keywords and conversations you can participate in.

Your Turn

These are just a few examples of posts that can be adapted to help you connect with your customers and drive engagement on your Facebook page. Incorporate them to help you build long-lasting relationships, extend your post visibility and learn more about your customers’ preferences.

What do you think? How do you intentionally create interactive posts on your Facebook page? What successes have you had? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tags: engagement, facebook, facebook engagement, facebook page, facebook post, fan content, hashtag, krista bunskoek, post engagement

author: Krista Bunskoek

Thursday, 19 September 2013

5 Ways to Sell With Social Media

Do you want to convert your fans and followers into paying customers?

Are your social activities working?

In this article I’ll show you 5 simple ways to tweak your social media updates for better sales conversion.

Some social media updates can go further toward bringing in sales than others. And they can do this without detracting from the spirit of social media.
sale sign
Some social media updates can help with sales more than others. Image source: iStockPhoto.

#1: Incorporate a Clear Call to Action

Your customers and fans visit your social media pages for a variety of reasons, but generally speaking, they want to do something or learn something.

Some people are looking for information about your company, some are looking for details about products and services, some want access to special deals and coupons, some want to see if you have any contests or promotions running and some may be looking for expert tips and how-to tricks.

If you don’t give them what they’re after, they won’t return. Use status updates to give them what they want and what you want: a sale.

Post calls to action like “Click here for a Facebook fan exclusive coupon,” or “Enter to win…”

Here you see how Target offers daily deals on Twitter.

target twitter account
Target has a Twitter account where followers can see deals the retailer has in stores.

But remember to stay true to the 70-20-10 rule: 70 percent of your page’s content should be information that’s valuable and relevant to your fans; 20 percent should be content that comes from other people and 10 percent should be promotional.

Once you know why your audience wants to interact with you on social media, be sure to give them the types of information they’re looking for.

#2: Convey a Sense of Urgency

Due to the ticker-tape nature of most social media platforms, you have a very limited amount of time to catch the attention of your customers/fans/followers. If they see an update with verbiage that compels them to “act now,” you win.

Using words like “For a limited time” or “On sale this week” or “Own it first” will catch the eye of your visitors.

You can also offer incentives for booking or buying immediately instead of later. Depending on your business, you could waive shipping fees, offer an extra week of your service or even a buy-one/get-one, etc. Ideally, post different time-sensitive offers on different networks.

For example, “The next 10 people who retweet this will receive 10% off their next purchase.” On Facebook you could use an app to make an offer like, “The first 10 people to share this on Facebook get $25 off a $50 purchase,” and so on.

Here, Chili’s uses their Facebook cover photo to connect and offer a deal.

chili facebook photo
Chili's uses their cover photo to announce a limited-time offer.

This is one way to use the instant nature of social media to your advantage.

#3: Offer Followers and Fans Exclusive Deals

This idea is similar to the previous one, but you want to make sure that your fans know the deals you’re offering are for fans of a particular network only.

To grow your following on a variety of networks and inspire loyalty, offer deals that are exclusive to each network.

Kate Spade New York always has something special cookin’ for their Facebook fans. Periodically offering special deals is a great tactic for a business that wants to keep its fans coming back again and again. And doesn’t every business want that?

kate spade new york
Kate Spade New York offers Facebook fans exclusive deals and coupons on a regular basis. It keeps them coming back again and again.

This is a great way to reach out to specific audiences within your social media strategy.

#4: Encourage Sharing

It never hurts to ask your fans and followers to retweet, repin or share. Ideally you’re offering such a great deal that your fans and followers will want to share it anyway, but a little nudge is okay.

If your update is about a Facebook contest, you can even let your followers know that if they share the news about your contest, they’ll get an extra chance (or chances) to win.

National Builder Supply uses Pinterest to give fans a chance to win a chandelier.

repinning contest
National Builder Supply gives fans a chance to win a new chandelier by repinning their contest image on Pinterest.

When you ask your audience to interact with your content, they’re more likely to do it.

#5: Keep All of Your Social Media Profiles Current

When potential customers land on your various social pages, they should have a clear idea of what your business/brand is all about. At the very least, go through each of your business’s social profiles (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) once a quarter and make sure all of the information is current, because social networks occasionally change dimensions and other details.

For example, earlier this year Facebook relaxed its rules about using calls to action on cover photos, but many companies haven’t yet updated their pages to make the most of this space.

Tip: You can now include price or purchase information on a Facebook cover photo including phrases like “40% off this week only” or “Download our new eBook here,” contact information or other calls to action such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.” The main image should also give customers and prospective customers some insights about you.

In this image, Trunk Club tells you everything about what they do right on their Pinterest page.

trunk club pinterest profile
The men's personal shopping service Trunk Club has a fantastic Pinterest profile that tells you everything you need to know about what the company does.

Never forget to give your social media audience the information they need about your business.

Over to You

These are just a few opportunities for you to connect with potential leads for your business. But together with a strategic plan, they can help convert the quality leads your business is looking for.

What do you think? What kinds of posts and updates have you found are the most effective for making a sale? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

Author: Jim Belosic