Monday, October 15, 2012

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Six Simple Tips For Better Facebook Page Success

If your brand’s Facebook page isn’t exactly the life of the social media party, there’s still hope. Digital marketing agency iCrossing studied the brand pages of Fortune 500 companies for one year and came up with some ways that engagement can be fostered. Although most page administrators don’t have the big bucks to spend on campaigns, the six steps from iCrossing apply to any budget.

Include a call to action
If people aren’t commenting, liking, or sharing posts, maybe it’s because you haven’t told them to. Of the pages that iCrossing analyzed, the company found that posts that contain the word “like” gained 240 percent more likes than posts that did not. Additionally, posts that asked for some kind of input from users garnered 70 percent more comments.

Get to the point
The agency found that to really get through to users, prose or long-winded posts didn’t work. Success was found in shorter, more succinct postings. Questions that were fewer than 144 characters gained 129 percent more comments than longer posts. The iCrossing study explained:

If your question won’t fit in a tweet, it doesn’t belong on Facebook, either. Posts with more than one question generate 37 percent fewer comments than single questions. Questions followed by a link get normal response rates, but links followed by a question seem to confuse people and get 60 percent fewer comments.

Ask for short responses
Just as users don’t want to read long posts, they don’t want to get too technical with their comments. The researchers found that simple, fill-in-the-blank prompts, such as, “My favorite flower is _____,” received 370 percent more comments than when a company posted an open-ended question — “What is your favorite flower?” When pages gave users choices, such as “Paper or plastic?,” posts received a slight bump compared with open-ended queries, with 18 percent more responses. However, iCrossing noted that pages shouldn’t patronize their audiences by delivering specific instructions for replies.

Pin the important posts
Facebook allows page administrators to pin one post, giving it higher prominence on the page. The folks at iCrossing don’t have statistics regarding pinned posts, but they believe that doing so boosts likes and comments. Facebook marketers should include pinned posts in their social media strategies.

Keep a casual, yet appropriate tone
If you’re a bank or an investment firm, you’re probably not going to post happy-go-lucky status updates and viral photos of kittens. However, it’s still important to have a conversational tone on Facebook, iCrossing notes:

After visually reviewing thousands of successful posts, we noticed that a casual, conversational tone was much more engaging than a formal tone. We call it the “water cooler” principle, meaning that there are some tones of voice and topic that will encourage conversation at the office water cooler and others that will drive coworkers away. Hard-sell, condescending, or overtly business-oriented posts consistently performed poorly. Facebook users expect to interact with friends; brands that don’t act like friends will be defriended.

Picture your success
This one is a bit of a no-brainer. People love to look at (and engage with) photos on Facebook. Brands should make sure to post interesting images that will make users click on the post, like it, share it, or comment on it. The agency believes that the old adage of a picture being worth 1,000 words definitely rings true on Facebook. People are more likely to stop and examine a post if there’s a striking image attached to it.

Readers: How have you managed to boost engagement on your Facebook page?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted by Justin Lafferty on October 12, 2012.

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