You use your personal Facebook account to have fun, relax and stay in touch with friends.
But it's different when you get down to business... right?
No goofing around there. You've got to sell, sell, sell.
Let's talk about that for a few minutes.
Let's step back and look at the basics.
Maybe there's a way to make your job easier AND more effective.
Maybe there's a way to have more fun, make more money and realize a greater return on investment from the Facebook business Pages you manage.
Here's a 5-minute guide to developing a Facebook posting strategy that works!
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Essential Elements of an Effective Facebook Posting Strategy
I've a friend on Facebook who gets a flurry of likes and comments on everything he posts. His enthusiastic community of readers responds gleefully to the most mundane topics imaginable.
Here's the (complete) text of something he posted recently: "Sing it now all together, JOY TO THE WORLD, JOY TO THE FISHES IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA, JOY TO YOU AND ME !!"
That was it! There was no photo, no graphic, nothing to make it stand out... yet that post drew a string of likes and comments within minutes.
Why do all of my friend's shares get around-the-clock interaction and support?
His readers are drawn to one thing: He cares about people consistently, and they respond to him in kind.
1. Write your post like you're talking to a friend
Do you know anyone who is two-faced? Does it bug the broccoli out of you when you see him be really kind to someone, then turn aside and make a nasty comment about that person? And don't you know your 'friend' would likely do the same to you?
The Facebook crowd can detect sales pitches and insincerity in a heartbeat... and they'll pass right over your post when they do. On Facebook, perhaps more than on any other social media site, the sale will likely come only after you've established a track record of trust-building touch points.
Facebook is typically NOT the place to press for an immediate sale (at least not constantly). It's the place to foster relationship, to build rapport.
Write your posts like you're talking to a friend -- not to a 'pigeon.'
But that doesn't mean you ignore business altogether.
2. Maintain the fabric of your theme and brand
Have you ever seen clips from the "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" campaign?
It was a splendid of example of how a brand can leverage a theme (world peace) and tie it to a product (Coke).
Talk to your fans like they are friends, certainly, but keep the talk on the right trail. Remember, sales is a journey -- a journey that begins on first contact and progresses through relationship building to the transaction (and it definitely doesn't end there). Look at how Media Marksmen (see the screenshot) uses a cool and humorous sign to foster relationship.
Everything about the photo speaks of lightheartedness and fun. There's no obvious business intent, nor is there a blatant sales message.
But guess what the company sells?
You got it, one of their specialties is signs!
How cool is that? They maintain the thread that binds their products and services to their customers... but in an unforced, natural way.
Isn't that how you would want to treat a friend?
3. Don't make the same soup for every meal
Visual content marketing is all the rage -- and for good reason. Technology now affords quick digital imaging, uploading and rendering. And any armchair neuroscientist will tell you the brain processes images a zillion times faster than it reads text.
Some say EVERY post should include an image. Others like to break up the visuals with text-only posts here and there. To find out how your audience reacts, try some text updates and see how it goes. If you get encouraging response, try again. Experiment and keep experimenting. That's part of the fun of Facebook marketing.
One thing FOR SURE, though: Don't be redundant.
Contest posts, for example, can be a welcome and productive change-up to Facebook link posts and quote graphics. Note how The Flag Makers draws a straight line between dogs and flags -- then gives their audience a reason to click through (like I did). Once you're on their website, you discover their business is generated by providing tools and resources that allow visitors to play around with designing their own flag -- and flag-making is, of course, The Flag Makers' business.
Had they hit me with an ad blatantly telling me to go buy a flag, I would have moved on. Rather, they gave me a chance to test my knowledge and win $300 bucks to boot -- THEN they got me to thinking about how a family flag for our next reunion would be a great idea. Let's see, one flag for each family in the clan... how many flags would that be?
One of the worst things you can do on your Facebook business Page is get in a rut and begin posting robotically.
Do that and you'll put your visitors to sleep. Then, they'll forget all about you.
Post Planner's Facebook wizard, Scott Ayres, says there's an algorithmic reason for mixing things up. He likes to use an encouraging quote graphic to get plenty of shares and comments -- then follow it up with a post meant to send traffic to Post Planner's website. Since the Facebook algorithm favors engagement, the activity on the quote helps the link get better organic reach.
By giving your audience what they want, you stand a better chance of getting the sales you want.
>> Shout Out to Sudo App <<
4. Shake things up now and then
Everybody loves a little controversy -- especially if it touches on politics, currently hot issues of debate, celebrity scandals or contains a healthy dash of conspiracy theory.
Sudo App does a great job of setting the stage for discussion here (see the screenshot). I want to FEEL like it's just me at my desk... writing this article for you to read and (hopefully) comment on so we can continue the discussion. It's just you and me, right?
Behind the scenes, though, there's an open door called "the internet." My hosting company, my internet provider, HubSpot and all of Post Planner's security measures are protecting me (and you) against hackers who would still data, insert malicious code and generally upset the apple cart and steal the apples.
Not only that, but we're not alone. The world is watching. Hundreds of thousands of people will see this post. Many may click on my profile link to find out more about the writer. Some will follow that trail to social media, maybe to a search on my name... every little bit of information online can be parlayed into more info and more and more... until "privacy" has disappeared almost entirely.
Sudo App lights a fire to that discussion -- seemingly without selling anything at all. Follow THEIR trail, though, and you'll soon discover that Sudo App is a forthcoming tool that will provide stealth personas to use online. Want to do some undercover research without anyone being able to detect your identity? Sudo wants to make that possible.
They get viewers thinking about the gap between the internet and privacy -- then (when the time is right) Sudo App presents a way to bridge that gap.
5. Get your audience right
If you take nothing but this away from the past few minutes, you'll have invested the time wisely. I wrote more about the concept in an earlier post, How to Find Content Your Fans Will Love, but the gist of what I mean by "getting the audience right" can be grasped quickly.
Let's say you're a musician -- a singer-songwriter perhaps -- and you're on the way to a performance. Everywhere you go people see the guitar case you're carrying... and what do they say?
"You play guitar?"
Am I right? That's what they ask in the elevator, while you're waiting for a cab, in the cab, on the street... everyone who sees you carrying a guitar wants to ascertain whether or not you play it.
And what's the next question?
"What kind of music do you play?"
Some like jazz, some like rock, some like folk and some would love to hear some Merle Haggard or Johnny Cash. But they ALL wanna know which genre you do, and they'll carry that conversation on until you tell them a few of your favorite songs and maybe even pull that Martin out of the case and sing a few.
And -- once you get to the gig -- you'd darned sure better play what the audience came to hear.
Singer-songwriters know their audience, and they live or die by how well they attend to the desires of that audience. And how do they know who their audience is? Well... they're the ones who PAY for tickets and purchase their paraphernalia and recordings.
The same fate awaits you on Facebook.
Avoid the temptation to think your audience is measured in likes and shares. It is not. Your TRUE audience consists of those who already bought (or are prime candidates to buy) your product or service. That's assuming your reason for managing a business Page is to help keep you or your client in business.
Find out who your REAL audience members are and talk to those people. The best thing that could happen, perhaps, is for your non-audience fans to get tired of you talking about classical guitar when they want to hear about hard rock -- so tired, in fact, they move on to the Led Zeppelin fans Page.
Those left behind -- those who keep listening and commenting and wanting more -- those are the ones you want to nurture and lead along the sales journey to become pleased customers (then on to brand advocacy).
In our example (see the screenshot) the culinary arts school makes no bones about the identity of their true audience. Anyone with a flicker of desire to become a chef is going to stop and read. Anyone who doesn't want to become a pro chef will keep going (or maybe pass the info on to a friend who wants to study culinary arts).
Either way -- read and click or pass on by -- the school is finding out which fans are members of the audience and which are there only to download recipes and smell the cooking.
There's nothing wrong with non-buying visitors. Their likes, shares and comments are valuable too. And they may even experience a life change that turns them towards customer status someday. For best business results, though, you want to focus your efforts on KNOWN buyers and those who fit your customer personas.
Otherwise, you're going to have hungry children.
Essential Elements of an Effective Facebook Posting Strategy -- Wrapping It Up
If you remember to cultivate the "social" part of social media and pay attention to the 5 essential strategic elements we've talked about, your Facebook results will be the 'proof of the pudding.'
Just as with my "JOY TO THE WORLD" friend, people will be drawn to you because they know you care.
Lead with your heart. Attract your true audience, and walk with them down the path that inevitably leads to a sale.
Here are the 5 essential elements one more time:
- Write your post like you're talking to a friend
- Maintain the fabric of your theme and brand
- Don't make the same soup for every meal
- Shake things up now and then
- Get your audience right
Sales are important. The global economy depends on them. You and your family get fed by them. Every single one of us is selling something daily. Maybe it's an idea or an opinion instead of an app or a custom flag, but we're ALL 'in sales.'
I'm not advising you to get sneaky about sales. That's not it at all. I'm suggesting you slow down and enjoy the process. Fall in love with selling... that will pave the way for your customers and clients to LOVE buying from you!
Comments are open. Let's talk about it.