Facebook – Why it works for some businesses and not others

Over the last few years I have been doing lots of consulting with smaller businesses about their Facebook business pages. Every single time I ask them what the goal is, the answer is the same – get as many likes (fans) as we can.

So ok – this is a fair enough strategy, however the energy it takes to continually generate new fans is exhausting for a small business as they don’t have the massive dollars the larger companies have. The other side to this is that recent studies have shown that only 1% of Facebook Fans actually engage (or communicate with) your brand. Great! – You’ve now used your marketing budget to attract as many fans as you can afford and only 1% will communicate! It just doesn’t feel like a solid strategy.

Taking a backward step here and looking at social media, we need to remember why it is so popular. This is a way for people to connect with each other. It’s massive because your voice as an individual can reach places you can’t in your smaller circle of friends. It also ads credibility, status (being the first to discover something cool), it’s  a way to stay in touch and retouch with old friends. See the pattern? – It’s all about ME ME ME and this is perfectly normal human behaviour.

If we wanted to take this into consideration and involve the ME’s in our strategy, it would make sense that we would be engaging with our fans. If your thinking “that’s just common sense”, then why do we still see so many companies with posts such as “come and stay with us” , “pay 5 stay 7 nights because we’re the best” or the one I hate the most, “like our facebook page”.

OK enough with the negative – you get the message. So what does work?

1. Create a persona – a personality for your business. Remember you’re trying to get other humans to connect with your and these humans are interested in your brand – be the personality you try and represent in your other media campaigns. If more than one person manages the accounts – then agree on a style and voice that best conveys who you are.  To demonstrate the difference in personality check out Globe Surf and Wall Street Journal – both have content and a voice that engages with their fan/follower. Globe at times will use slang and language based around it’s own sub culture where the wall street journal would never write things like this  – “Did my dog have asparagus for dinner, dude whizzed on my wetty, almost passed out in the surf…” This works for Globe – find what works for you.

2. Reply to your fans – If you successfully connect with your followers via a post – AND receive comments back – acknowledge that, as this is the perfect opportunity to converse.  A way one post by you does not constitute engagement. The other thing to realise here is that Facebook has an algorithm (Edgerank) that puts your post in place of your competitors as a result of the engagement. More people talking about a subject means it is more popular right! – makes sense.

3.  Frequency and Content – what you post and how often can have a big impact. Facebook offers insights which is one tool that can be helpful to determine what posts reach more people. In our experience we find 3 areas work the best. Videos, a photo and posts that talk about events, festivals and smaller intimate nights such as book launches or networking evenings. Mind you the content still has to be relevant.

As for how often – this will really be determined by your audience, however to get a good start on things – twice a day is safe. Experiment with times of post  – does the morning before work reach more people or is it later in the evening? Make sure you check out your analytics to see what’s working for you.

Just in case you’re wondering how you post twice a day at different times and measure the effectiveness – get onto Sprout Social and organise an account. It’s cheap and the tools you get around the ability to schedule your posts on any day and time are so worth while.


Note: The 1% of facebook fans article on Adage article points our that the engagement strategy is not the be all and end all. Of course the writer is referring the article to larger corporations and in any case – there should always be focus on engagement that advocates your brand via word of mouth. It has never been different, even before the social media days. Word of mouth is part of the reason you strive so hard with your customer service, after sales support, quality and image – engage away!

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