The following is an excerpt from Clara Shih’s best-selling book, The Facebook Era. This section is from Chapter 11 – How to: Engage Customers with Facebook Pages and Twitter. She outlines how to write compelling social media content that leads to higher engagement and response from your fans.
A good rule of thumb is you can talk about yourself or your product once in every five posts (or less). Facebook Pages are all about the soft sell. Overly self-promotional pages are a major turn-off. People should be able to figure out from your Page name, info tab, and blurb box what products and services you sell.
The best way to engage your fans is to offer something valuable on a consistent basis. Value can take different forms, including entertainment value, information, or financial value from special deals and coupons. Here are eight kinds of posts that generate high engagement and response while contributing positively to your brand:
Provide news and information people will appreciate. What you post should be relevant to your business but most importantly relevant to your fans. Rather than going for the hard sell, Chicago-based Newman Realty posted about the federal tax credit for first-time home buyers. By being helpful, Newman Realty is building credibility, authority, and trust so that when people are in the market to buy, they will know who to call.
The Page for Newman Realty focuses on providing valuable information and advice for first-time home buyers rather than going for the hard sell.
Be Funny and Entertaining
Share jokes, stories, or musings that reflect your personality and people will thank you for brightening their day. For example, Saint Louis real estate agent John Jackson has built quite a loyal following with his sense of humor. Each day, he posts a “Horrible MLS Photo of the Day.”
Realtor John Jackson makes his fans laugh by posing a “Horrible MLS Photo of the Day” on his Facebook Page.
Love Your Fans
Periodically recognize your fans. If someone just bought a car or house, thank and congratulate them. Encourage your fans to post content like pictures, videos, links, and musings. Your Facebook Page should be all about your fans!
Dunkin’ Donuts runs an ongoing “Fan of the Week” contest where fans submit photos of themselves with the brand, and each week the winning photo is used as the Facebook Page profile picture for all one million fans to see.
Invite Fans to Your Events
To create an event, click “Edit Page” on the top right of your Facebook Page. On the left side of the screen, click the “Apps” tab. Find the “Events” application and click “Go to App.” Provide the specifics of the event and invite your fans!
Announce New Products
Share new product announcements. Ideally you can link to a page on your website with more info and a picture. For instance, Ford drummed up excitement for its new 2011 Ford Fiesta by posting videos from the Los Angeles Auto Show featuring the new model.
Ford got fans excited about the 2011 Ford Fiesta by letting them preview photos and videos from the LA Auto Show.
Announce New Locations
Celebrate new offices, franchises, and locations by sharing with fans using geography targeting. For example, Chipotle has unveiled new locations such as one in Buffalo, New York, with Wall posts and special grand opening events.
Provide Special Offers
Give your fans early or exclusive access to deals, offers, discounts, special events, free gift with purchase, or free gift for referrals to thank them.
Safeway Grocery Store gave away a free five-pound box of Clementine oranges to Facebook fans and grew its Facebook Page by tens of thousands of fans.
Ask fans to weigh in
Engage your fans and let them know you value their opinion by periodically asking questions, either via a poll or survey application, or simply posting a question on your Page Wall.
Let your personality and office culture shine through. Share tidbits of personal information that help build trust and let people know you are really someone who cares. Businesses can establish a genuine connection with customers by letting the personalities of their staff shine through on Facebook Pages through photos, holiday greetings, and other forms of authentic sharing.