Sorry it's been a few days, party people. We are literally one week out from moving and settling on our house. To say that my anxiety is epic would be an understatement. I feel like I could vomit from nerves at any given moment.
But bloggers do not cease blogging because of life chaos. OH NO! We carry on!
Back to the important stuff: Facebook Pages!
In my previous posts in the series, we discussed the importance of posting consistently and frequently, as well as writing quality content, as part of your strategy to increase your interaction and reach on Facebook.
This week, we'll be discussing the Facebook Page as a COMMUNITY.
It is a natural human instinct to want to belong. Whatever our personality, we crave deep relationships and connections. As consumers, I believe we are drawn to the same aspects in a brand or company. People want to be KNOWN and HEARD.
Making it Personal
With this revelation about human nature, one of the best things you can do as a Facebook Page is to make it personal. This goes against everything we believe about marketing and business: "It's not personal it's business."
Well, business just got personal.
Social media has bridged the gap between businesses and people. Before, we saw brands and businesses as big corporations. Now, with one tweet or Facebook comment, we are engaging the Man Behind the Curtain. We like knowing that real live people are behind the brands and businesses we love, whether they are local realtors or our favorite brand of pretzels.
Ask, Share, Respond
In addition to being personal, community is built by creating an engaging two-way relationship. We need to stop looking at our Facebook Pages as a bulletin board for your propaganda and promotions. Instead, we must begin looking at our pages as a forum to engage. A platform to ask, share and respond. As page managers, we are not just throwing information out to fans/customers. We are creating an open and ongoing dialogue.
ASK: Our content is the first way we create community. Remember the 80/20 rule? Our content should be 20% self-focused and 80% other-focused. This is a great opportunity to connect with your audience. The Universal Discussion questions I talked about in my last post begins to open the door to get to know your fans better. Why? Because you aren't just throwing them your latest blog posts or current deals. You are digging under the surface to find out interests, opinions, facts about the people who have chosen to like your page.
SHARE: Yes, your Facebook Page is partly a platform to share your promotional stuff. But if you are that dinner guest who only talks about him/herself, people will quickly be turned off. We really want to keep it at 20%. So, as you get to know your fans by ASKING, you'll have a better idea of what kind of other content to SHARE. I believe sharing relevant content and information that appeals to your audience is just as important as sharing your content and information. The relevant information makes you a resource as well as interesting.
Being A Resource, Being Interesting
If you are a local business, consider sharing local events or promoting other local businesses. This makes you a local resource. If you run a parenting blog/page, share relevant news articles (car seat safety, product recalls) or funny parenting quotes/pictures. This makes you a parenting resource. Being a resource in some capacity make you worth people coming back to. If the topic of the resource is important to them, your content is now valuable and shareable.
Another example: As you get to know your fans, you may find that a bunch of them watch the same TV show as you do. So maybe on the night that TV show is on, you throw up a post right before it airs to ask who is watching or how they feel about the upcoming episode. This makes you interesting, and worth connecting with outside of your business or brand. Or maybe you stumble upon the fact that a portion of your audience loves post-apocalyptic fiction. TALK ABOUT IT. Engage with your fans outside of your business/brand perimeters.
Don't be afraid to get personal! Some of the best post traffic I see on the pages I manage are personal posts. Part of being personal is also having a sense of humor. Loosen your tie a little bit. If you work in an office, show a picture of some fun office antics (even if it's off-topic!). Share a picture of your family. Share some "Fun Facts" or "Trivia Questions" about yourself or your staff. Personal/humorous posts make brands and businesses real, run by real people.
RESPOND: One of the greatest failures of Facebook Pages is a lack of response. So you put out great content on a regular basis. Good! People like said content and actually comment. Great! But if it falls on deaf ears, what entices them to continue engaging? People love to be asked, yes. They LOVE giving their opinions or weighing-in on a topic. But people love to be heard as well. Validate their responses. This gives them a chance to respond back to you. Now you have a conversation. Conversations build relationships, which are the cornerstone of creating community.
One tool I've used to create and build the community on the Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom Facebook Page are Chat Days. This is a one-two-three punch of posting frequently with good content that is personally interesting/engaging. I've been asked a lot about how to conduct these Chat Days, and I thought this Creating Community post would be the best place to lay it all out.
I stumbled across the idea of Chat Days by accident a few years ago. As I was getting more personal with my fans, we got into a conversation about movies. So I spent the day asking questions every few hours on the topic of movies. I was surprised to find how many people wanted to weigh in.
Thus, Chat Days were born.
How to construct a Chat Day:
1) Pick a topic (relevant or not relevant to your page - it's up to you the direction you want to take it). I've done Chat Days that are relevant to my blog (i.e: parenting/moms) as well as totally off-topic (movies, books, favorite brands, etc).
2) Tease the Chat Day. I like to mention the Chat Day the night before (usually after 8pm) - maybe hint at the topic to whet their appetites. Then I mention it again by announcing the topic 10-20 minutes before 9am. This reminds people of the Chat Day and alerts people that the Chat Day will begin shortly.
3) Create questions. Keep reading for a sample Chat Day schedule.
4) Schedule questions. I like to post every hour from 9am-7pm. I usually skip 6pm (I post some other kind of content during this hour), which gives me 10 questions for the entire day. I post every hour on the hour. I have found hourly keeps people interested, and they quickly learn to come back every hour for the next question.
5) Respond to questions. I like to answer each question in the comments, and if I have time, reply to some of the reposes individually. Some Chat Days get a LOT of responses, so I don't go through each one to reply. But if I have time, I do!
Sample Chat Day Content and Schedule:
8pm: "It's time to CHAT IT UP! Stop back tomorrow, where we'll be chatting ALL DAY LONG on a fun topic (if you save the ticket stubs to every movie you've ever seen, you'll be in luck!"
8:50 am - "Alright silver screen fans! We'll be talking today about MOVIES! Get ready with your favorites, your quotes and your recommendations! The fun starts in 10 minutes, so stop back by at 9am. A new question every hour, ALL THE DAY!"
9am - Movie CHAT DAY
Q1: What was the first movie you saw in a movie theater?
10am - Movie CHAT DAY
Q2: What is your favorite COMEDY?
11am - Movie CHAT DAY
Q3: What movie do you quote on a regular basis?
12pm - Movie CHAT DAY
Q4: If you had to choose: DRAMA or ROMANCE?
1pm - Movie CHAT DAY
Q5: Who is your favorite on-screen couple?
2pm - Movie CHAT DAY
Q6: Who are Top 3 Favorite actresses?
3pm - Movie CHAT DAY
Q7: What is your favorite DRAMA?
4pm - Movie CHAT DAY
Q8: Who are your Top 3 Favorite actors?
5pm - Movie CHAT DAY
Q9: When you go to the movies, what is your go-to snack?
7pm - Movie CHAT DAY
Q10: What is your favorite movie of all time?
As with everything you are experimenting with as you create your Facebook Page strategy, give Chat Days time. Have the expectation that you will get little response the first few times you host a Chat Day. It is a new thing for your audience to get used to. They have to learn how to interact with your page in this way. I recommend planning 4-5 Chat Days and hosting one once a week. People will learn to expect them and get excited.
You may find some topics go over better than others. I've had chat days where each response gets an overwhelming amount of traffic, likes, responses. Other days it's like crickets and no one is interested. I learn from those days what kind of content goes over best with my fans and cater future chat days to their preferences.
Are you ready?
Are you ready to get personal? It may be a little uncomfortable at first, and it will definitely take experimentation as to what level of personal your fans best respond to. Use questions, pictures, trivia/fun facts and Chat Days as a way to turn your Facebook Page into a resourceful, interesting and engaging community.
You may just find you enjoy it!
What tools are you looking to create a community?