Tamir Berkman (@TamirBerkman) is the co-founder of Wholesome Media and TownHall Social. He has years of experience as a social business strategist, consultant and speaker. He has worked with government organisations such as Parliament of Victoria, ACT Government and Yarra Valley Water. As our latest guest blogger, Tamir shares is top 10 ways to engage with communities via Facebook.
With more than 11 million Australian users, Facebook is the biggest and most cost effective platform to seed, nurture and grow a community. But when it comes to your Facebook community engagement efforts, there’s some good news and bad news.
Let’s start with the bad news: Facebook acknowledged recently that your messages now reach, on average, just 15% of your fans. In order to reduce unwanted marketing material, your messages will only be seen by your “engaged” fans. These people liked, shared and linked to your content in the last seven days.
This means that the most important number to focus on is the “People talking about this” as a percentage of your overall fans. A great example is Edgar’s Mission Facebook page, who regularly get large number of “People talking about this”.
The good news is, there are simple ways to increase your fan engagement. These actions will make sure more people opt-in to hear from you regularly as opposed to just “like you and leave you”.
Here are my top 10 tips on how to improve your Facebook engagement:
1. Believe in something. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your organisation does, your community needs a shared goal. We call it your “higher calling” and it’s the answer to: “What is your organisation’s most important task?” For example, a local council’s higher calling might be to “Support Inclusive Communities”. Finding out your higher calling will make it much easier for you to decide on which content to post, what competitions to run and how to measure success.
2. Focus. I’ve seen plenty of organisations posting cute photos of kittens, getting plenty of likes and calling it engagement. It might be engaging but it will do very little to help you reach your goal. Focus on content and activities that will support your higher calling and use kittens with discretion and only in context!
3. Make it personal. Heck, make it emotional! No one likes talking to a machine or a faceless organisation. Facebook is a personal medium so get personal! Put some photos of you and your team, sign posts with your own name etc. Remember that an emotional connection is what makes your own relationships so special so start making an emotional connection with your fans.
4. Build relationships. Relationships start when you make someone feel they matter. How about congratulating your fans and staff members on their birthday? Acknowledge regular fans for their contribution, or even better, introduce “guest speakers” – a group of devoted fans to become contributors to your Facebook page (Like what I’m doing now on Becky’s blog).
5. Ask: “What’s in it for them?” ROI (return on investment) is probably the most over used acronym these days. But what about your fan’s ROI? What do you give someone for giving you their attention? Is it information? Education? What about sense of community? Find out what is the return on attention you can give to your fans. If they’re not getting anything out of the relationship with you, why should they engage more?
6. Ask questions and improve on feedback. Don’t be scared to ask your fans for help, feedback or ideas. Some of them would love the chance to be more involved. After receiving input from fans, try to act on it as soon as you can. Acting on feedback will show your fans you’re truly listening and this will increase their trust.
7. Answer questions quickly. Don’t leave questions un-answered or let your fans wait a long time for an answer. If you do, you’re not only making them frustrated but also allowing this neglect to be visible to others who visit your page. Answer within a couple of hours so your fans see you respect the relationship.
8. Ask to “Like if you agree!” Sometimes a simple call to action is what’s needed. Post a video or a photo, add a question and ask people to act on it.
9. Introduce other Facebook pages. Everyone likes a good host. Someone who is introducing guests and making new connections happen. You can be that perfect host by introducing other organisations, fans and causes to your network. This will help you make new friends and help to establish yourself as a thought leader.
10. Take advantage of the social media eco-system. What happens on Facebook doesn’t have to stay on Facebook. Content and posts can be re-posted on Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Tumblr, your blog, youtube channel and more. Drop the silos and use a few channels to get the word out and engage. Facebook has just started using #hashtags, which can lead to a good sync with your twitter account.
Do you have any other tips to share? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
And remember, you don’t have to try all ten tips at once.
How about starting with one as a trial?