Facebook users have gotten fed up with how much branded content is crammed into their newsfeeds. That’s why Facebook changed its algorithm to show more posts from friends and family and fewer posts from brands.
Unfortunately, even with this change, Facebook has become less of a social space where you can interact with the people you love and more of a hectic arena in which you’re bombarded with either a) viral gifs in video format or b) rants from people you barely know about everything from pop culture to politics.
As a result, brands have to think carefully about how they use Facebook in order to actually reach their fans (and potential customers, too!).
If you want your brand’s Facebook page to cut through all the noise, keep these three goals in mind: interact, inform, and inspire.
Interact, Don’t Invade
The reason Facebook adjusted its newsfeed algorithm in the first place is because its users were getting annoyed with seeing more irrelevant content than posts from people they actually care about.
If you’re worried that this change means people will see less of your brand page’s content, don’t worry (and definitely don’t start flooding their newsfeeds in desperation). You just need to be a little smarter about what you post.
Instead of only posting when you have a promotion going on (or worse, constantly posting promotion after promotion), have conversations with your fans. At the very least, make Facebook a place where you’re open to those conversations.
“Consumers want to have a positive relationship with your brand. You just have to be much more proactive about enabling those relationships,” explains Dayle Hall, SVP of Marketing for Lithium Technologies.
His advice? “[Think] about social media less as just another channel for broadcasting promotions or publishing branded content and more like a platform for building relationships with customers.” That way, you can give customers what they’re looking for and improve their impression of your brand as a whole.
“Your brand is only as strong as your most loyal customers. The onus is on you to help them see how important they are to your brand,” says Hall.
“When they need your help, enthusiastically lend a helping hand. When they ask a question, answer immediately. When they give you feedback, say thank you. It really is as easy as that. Show your customers that you truly care, and they’ll reward you with their trust, loyalty, and positive word of mouth.”
Inform Before You Invent
While it’s certainly possible that your fans are following your Facebook page just because they adore you, it’s far more likely that they’re there for information.
If you’re a restaurant, chances are people view your Facebook page for info on your hours and daily specials. If you’re a clothing store, they’re probably there for the latest discounts…and probably info on your hours, too. (Hours are super important. Make sure yours are on there.)
Unless you have a creative team working around the clock to make Arby’s-style pop culture references out of cardboard and ketchup, your fans are probably not holding their breath to see what you’ll post next. Instead, they’re more interested in what you can tell them—or provide them.
So how exactly should you give them what they’re looking for?
When responding to customers on your Facebook page, the more personalized (and personable) your comments, the better. Formulaic responses quickly begin to sound canned, especially to that potential customer who’s currently browsing your reviews.
“With social media, customer service is a spectator sport,” points out Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert. When you interact with a customer, you’re really addressing a group of current and potential customers.”
While that can be a little intimidating—what if you mess up in front of all those prospects?—it’s also a good thing: you can instantly build credibility with new customers just by handling existing ones with skill and care. It’s really no different from how you would treat customers IRL.
And before you start to convince yourself that it’s easier to not interact with people complaining on your Facebook page, think again.
“Not responding is not an option,” says Baer. “Failing to respond on social media can trigger a 43% decrease in customer advocacy; a reply, however, can give you a 20% bump.”
In other words? Focus more on your customers’ needs than on your creative ego. Taking the time to interact with them will pay off far more than trying to impress them with artsy shots of your products (those do better on Instagram, anyway).
Inspire (Without Inflating)
Once you’ve taken the time to create a relationship with your Facebook fans, you can move on to this step. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time—and your customers’.
Posting content you’ve barely thought about—for example, trying to force the latest meme to be relevant to your business—is pretty much no one’s idea of a good time (except maybe r/fellowkids). Doing so puts you on the fast track to making your Facebook fans feel disillusioned at best and annoyed at worst.
If you find yourself with extra resources (i. e. time and people) that you can throw into your Facebook marketing strategy, take it seriously. Think carefully about what to create—the more share-worthy, the better. Quality over quantity is key.
“The more people share your content and talk positively about your brand, the more likely your content will be algorithmically tagged as ‘quality content’ and eventually surface higher up in more people’s news feeds,” says Hall.
A good place to start in your journey to Facebook greatness is asking yourself exactly why you post. Your page should not be a place for you to force yourself into your customers’ lives. It should be a place for communication: where you can interact with your fans and where people can ask you for help. Only once you’ve accomplished that should you start to think more about creative, entertaining posts.
“The things that continue to work on social networks regardless of algorithm changes are the things that our prospects and customers value most: useful, engaging content; real help and interaction with real people at the business; and a sense that their lives are made better because they know you,” says Mark Traphagen, Senior Director of Brand Evangelism for Stone Temple Consulting.
“When you are creating and doing those things, not only will you do better with the social networks, you’ll likely accomplish what you should be there for in the first place: gaining new customers and business.”
Is your business’s Facebook page a pain point? Admitting it is the first step. For the next steps in improving your social media presence, contact Kirkpatrick Creative today.