Marketing 101: Engage your fans on Facebook!

By Ayesha Shuaib
Published: May 30, 2011

Social media networks are among the most effective marketing tools in modern business. DESIGN: S.JAMAL

The social media boom simply cannot be ignored. Over the past few years Facebook has witnessed a remarkable rise in new users and right now has more than 500 million users and with that has come the opportunity for brands to amalgamate directly with existing customers and connect to new ones through fan pages. It is like having an amazing advertising campaign without paying a penny. All the tools and applications used are free of cost and the best part is the rewards are instant.

Fan pages allow you to brand your business, use your logo and customise your page style just as you would your website. With this extremely valuable tool available, you can keep your brand stable across the board as it relates to all aspects of your online presence. There are numerous ways for brands to promote themselves on Facebook by having a single “Fan” page.

Your brand’s fan page allows you to have an unlimited number of “fans”. Some Facebook fan pages have thousands and even millions of fans. As per the latest statistic Facebook page Texas Hold’em Poker tops the list with 43,552,626 fans. While the fan page for Facebook itself is at 2nd spot with 41,951,143 fans, Eminem takes third place with 37,420,794 fans, followed by pop star, Lady Gaga and YouTube – the video sharing website – with more than 35 million fans each. Hence, if any promotional update is posted on any one of these pages it appears in the news feed of each fan. Imagine how easy it is to reach out to millions of people with your message by just having a single fan page.

Be dynamic

However, creating a fan page, generating a promotion and sitting back will not lead to success. One needs to engage the fans-customers. When fans “like” a certain brand’s page they need to be provided with content or activities to keep them active on the page. You can share content, videos, photos, run contests, ask questions, create polls etc. The interaction will build relationships with your fans which are your target market. Otherwise, having a fan page without interaction or input from the fans will lead to nothing. Just a dead end.

To keep your page alive it is important to launch an interactive activity every day. Facebook has provided and is coming up with new interesting tabs and tools which can be utilised by brands for maximum outreach. Easiest way to do that is by daily status updates. The more engaging your status update, the greater the chances of having interaction on it, in form of “like” and comments and greater word-of-mouth marketing for your business in return.

Keep it short and simple

The shorter your communication the easier it is for your fans to read, the more likely it is for them to respond. Keep your status updates short and simple. Facebook allows you have up to 420 characters per update, but shorter is better. For longer updates, one can use the Notes app or write a blog post and update. Do the same for any kind of advertising campaign. If you are introducing any contest make its communication simple and to the point.

Be direct with your fans. Use the word “you” more often “What do you think?”, “What are your thoughts?” etc. This makes customers/fans feel valued, respected and included. They would like to participate in activities on your page and make their presence felt. Most people will come back to your fan page only if there’s a real sense of community.

Contests are one of the most effective ways of keeping your fans interested and engaged. Introduce various competitions with giveaways to keep the fans involved.

Be timely

A study found that daily Facebook engagement has three peaks: early morning, after work and late at night. Therefore, posting all of your updates during the workday means you’re missing key prospects to engage fans at non-work hours. It does vary from brand to brand so get to know when your fans are most responsive. Depending on which part of the world the majority of your fans are, you might want to post between 9 am and 2 pm in your time zone.

Do your best to respond to fan wall posts as punctually as possible, at least within 24 hours or so. By leaving your fans unanswered might discourage them to contribute any further and you, as a brand, wouldn’t want that.

Use the apps provided

Facebook recently introduced a new Question application. It helps you have surveys, random interaction, fans views and suggestion in shorter span of time. Make sure you don’t overdo it. Try for a maximum of three to four updates a day, preferably just two updates in a day. Otherwise, your fans might restrict your posts from their news feed and hence they won’t be getting any information of the promotional activity you do.
There is no denying the fact that Facebook pages are breeding grounds for excellent feedback and engagement with your customers. It’s simple and always available. And best of all, its free!

The writer is a social media manager at Prymus Technologies and blogs at https://socialyzd.wordpress.com
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2011
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