Engaging with consumers via Facebook is kind of like dating. You’re looking to connect, but you don’t want to appear too desperate. There are plenty of fish in the sea (we’re talking about a pool of one billion active users), but you don’t want to attract just anybody. You’re on the hunt for a long-term committed connection. So, you tell consumers a little bit about yourself on your page, try to seem interesting by sharing relevant and valuable content, and hope to see them again sometime.
But marketers weren’t always so suave when it came to courting consumers via Facebook. On day three of the 2013 DMCNY breakfast series, Facebook’s Industry Lead of Global Marketing Solutions Kirstin Frazell compared marketers’ early engagement days—back when the marketing-Facebook status was “it’s complicated”—to bowling. She said marketers used to throw their marketing messages out to their audience members, or “pins” (not to be confused with Pinterest), and see how many and which ones they could hit. However, Frazell admitted that this tactic did not bring in a lot of interactions. Today’s engagement is a lot more like a game of pinball, Frazell said. Marketers will shoot out a post and consumers will react with feedback and likes.
“The social media world has really turned into building relationships,” Frazell said. “It’s really about how people feel about you over time.”
However, consumers can be commitment-phobes and may want to get to know you more before investing in a relationship. Hence, Frazell advised brands to “feel like a friend” to consumers and to design content and posts for their news feeds rather than for a company page. After all, the news feed is where people spend 40% of their time when on Facebook, Frazell said. In fact, after consumers like a page, they typically don’t come back and solely rely on viewing your content via the feed, she added.
As a marketer, you want to play the field a bit. You not only want to win over a consumer, but you also want to catch the attention of the consumers’ friends. Frazell noted that incorporating quality stories —stories with several likes, comments, shares, and clicks—will result in a higher distribution.
“Stories are the currency of Facebook,” she said.
And while this might start to feel like a one-sided relationship and that you’re the only one putting in any effort, be patient and be consistent. Here are Frazell’s four strategies to winning over the consumer of your dreams.
1. Connect to your fans
When it comes to accumulating Facebook fans, quality rules over quantity, so instead of being set on winning “the million race” focus on cultivating relationships with fans who truly want to interact with you, Frazell said. After all, you don’t want your brand to give off too much of a player vibe and seem like the kind of brand that will just take anybody.
“It’s not just you having to speak about yourself. It’s allowing people to go out there and speak on your behalf,” Frazell said.
2. Engage consumers through lightweight interactions
To bring your consumer relationship to the next level, take it slow and work on fostering a unique relationship. Frazell recommends following these nine steps to leave your consumers wanting more.
- Tell stories that are unique to your brand and will help you stand out from the crowd
- Know your audience
- Post things that people will want to share (such as information that will make consumers’ lives easier, enhance relationships, or generate feedback)
- Induce emotion
- Highlight your product and make it clear that this product is part of your brand
- Include rich, crisp imagery
- Keep text short, sweet, and to-the-point
- Invite consumers to respond with a like or comment
- Highlight your fans and emphasize their importance to you
3. Get them to influence their friends
You want your consumers to gush to their friends about how great you are. This is a relationship where you want to be introduced to the parents, family, and friends. Give them a reason to do so, or even ask them to share you with their friends. But don’t be clingy and over-post. Facebook advises marketers to post one to two times a day (or four to seven times a week).
“It’s not just about your fans. It’s about the friends of the fans that they have,” Frazell said.
4. Integrate data from across the social Web
Frazell admitted that Facebook Insights can be a “scary place” for marketers. “It’s a whole bunch of number and you don’t always know what to do with them.” But what marketers need to do is marry the arts and the sciences of marketing if they hope to attract the right audiences.
For example, Frazell advised marketers to analyze the post time, type of post, and even number of post characters that drive the most engagement. For instance, By looking at the data, Frazell said Faceook was able to determine that 50% of Facebook users log on more than once a day.
“You can be doing all the right things on the storytelling side, but if you’re not on the data side, [then] you’re not reaching the right people,” Frazell said.