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An effective Facebook strategy for your business -- one that achieves your goals of education, engagement, lead generation or feedback -- requires thoughtful planning. Cover and profile photos, tabs and favorite apps, milestones and more must be considered in order to maximize all that Facebook's new Timeline layout offers.
Below are seven things to think about when crafting that perfect Facebook post. Figment, an online community for writers to share and connect with other writers, has a great Facebook page that I have used to illustrate a few key points.
I'll state the obvious here: your company's Facebook page is not your personal page. Depending on your personal Facebook usage, this can mean a lot of things. For instance, post with more restraint, post more frequently, keep in mind a more general audience, etc.
Who is your business' Facebook audience? More importantly, who do you want that audience to be? Remember to speak to them when you are posting for your company's Facebook page.
Voice and Tone
Related to the above, the voice of your Facebook page should reflect the image you are trying to project. Unlike your personal network, your company's Facebook fans may not know you (e.g. your business persona) very well. Therefore, as they meet you via Facebook and get to know you, how do you want them to characterize you/your business? Humorous? Quirky? Serious? All of the above?
Keep in mind that the Facebook culture is casual, so make sure you are not coming across as too stiff.
Figment's "About" section accomplishes two goals. First, it states who the page is for (audience). Second, it captures Figment's voice and tone: a bit humorous, a bit fun and a bit self-deprecating.
Your posts shouldn't solely be promotional material about your company and products. Everything you put out should offer engaging value to your fans. News, humor, entertainment and insider insights grab your audience's attention and motivate them to return for more. Simply pouring out post after post of advertising copy will mean losing fans and readership -- people want to be engaged with the material, not spammed.
Content that leads people to interact on your page is particularly powerful. You can use your posts to drive fans to quizzes such as personality tests, surveys and Facebook sweepstakes that are in your Favorite Apps/Tabs slots. This type of content is also an important way to get "likes, "shares" and more.
Also, be positive. Don't trash talk your competitors. No one likes a "negative Nellie."
Figment uses its Tabs/Favorite Apps slots to add in content: contests, quizzes, photos and more. Its "Could You Catch a Killer?" quiz is one of dozens of quizzes that Figment creates and publishes to its page on a regular basis in order to drive interaction and give visitors a reason to explore the site and come back regularly. It is also a clever way to promote products such as the book, "I Hunt Killers."
Context Post as part of a series or to announce an offline event, or in response to customer feedback. That greater context gives people a reason to keep coming back to your page, looking for the next piece of information. It also means you can catch them up on what you have been doing in the interim.
After posting the quiz as a tab, Figment will add it to its News Feed. Visitors who take the "Could You Catch a Killer?"quiz can continue to engage with the quiz/book and others via comments and posts on the site.
The best time to post to Facebook is a matter of much debate. In general, however, think about who you are trying to reach and when they are most likely to be spending time catching up on their Facebook activity. The best posts go live when your fans have time to read and digest them and hopefully react.
Chances are this is not when they are hard at work, but rather during lunchtime, evenings or weekends. Experiment and see what makes the most sense for your page.
Figment makes sure to post frequently on its page, often times several times a day. This is a great way to stay top of mind with your audience.
Drive interaction with your Facebook posts by asking for advice, opinions or related stories. Each time a customer responds to your post, he signs up to get a "bump" from you every time somebody else responds. That kind of conversation gets real results in social media. Personality tests and surveys, where people can share their opinions and results are effective ways to get interaction and information that you can really use.
To get things started, don't be afraid to "prime the pump" by having a friend, employee or loyal customer be the first to comment.
In this example, Figment comes right out and asks for participation: "Share your six-word story now!"
Once people have responded to your initial post, add your own comments to keep the conversation going. Now that individuals can private message your company, there is a huge opportunity to really engage them in a dialog.
Make sure that you are not letting your Facebook page go unattended. For better or worse, most of us have come to expect immediate results online.
Seth Lieberman is CEO of Pangea Media/SnapApp. Under his leadership, Pangea Media's platforms have facilitated 300-plus million customer engagements. Lieberman has 15 years of experience in online advertising, customer acquisition, lead generation and customer engagement.
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.