What Your Own Facebook Newsfeed Tells You About Increasing Brand Engagement
Mathew Ingram of GigaOm recently wrote about Facebook's challenging ad business model. It touched on an issue I've been thinking about of late with regards to finding the right voice on a company Facebook page.
In short, Facebook is the most personal of any of the social networks. It's not far from the truth to say that the reason that almost all of Facebook's users joined the network in the first place was to connect with personal friends and family. This is what drives them to log-in everyday, check their feed on their phone and is the basis for the status updates they share.
They can follow their favorite sports team, celebrity, media source and products. But that is a convenience, and they won't tolerate it if one of these entitites fires off too many self-promotional updates that get in the way from people interacting with their friends. And what Facebook watchers like Ingram are trying to determine is what will keep sponsored stories from doing well (will people scroll right past them in their feeds to get to their friends' fun updates?).
Learn From Personal Interaction
There is no shortage of research and advice out there on ways to increase Facebook page engagement. The factors discussed tend to be fairly common -- using photos, asking questions, timing, frequency, running contests, etc.
Beyond these more formulaic factors, there is one that more intuitive, and it's right there in front of you -- your personal newsfeed. On a regular basis, take a step back and look at your newsfeed and the posts that have the most interaction at any given time. What are the characteristics that make them popular, and how can those be applied to posts from your brand page?
Here are some examples from looking at mine this morning:
Vacation & Travel -- Who doesn't love being on vacation, especially this time of year? Vacation photos get a ton of likes and shares in my feed, and they help us daydream and look forward to our next one. Post a photo of a beach on your brand page and ask your fans to name their favorite one.
Anniversaries -- One of my former co-workers posted how she reached the one-year mark at her company and generated a dozen comments and likes. I posted a picture of me and my wife from our wedding for our recent 15-year wedding anniversary, and it generated over 50 interactions. Why not use your brand page to celebrate anniversaries involving employees or even that of a key customer or partner relationship?
What's the weather like? -- The weather always is a topic of conversation among friends, even on Facebook. Extreme weather events also get people talking, like the derecho in Virginia or the lightning storm that forced everyone at the Boston fireworks show into a tunnel on Storrow Drive. Companies can do well by connecting to this topic with useful information, like my insurance agency did here.
What's your favorite [fill in the blank]? -- Whether is music, movies, athletes or books, it's always fun getting friends to talk about their favorites. And it can lead to spirited comment threads. Asking your fans' to share their favorite whatever likely will engender the same kind of interaction.
These are just a few of numerous ways you can tap into the very personal experience people want to have on Facebook - a great way to balance your channel content, making followers more receptive to campaign-oriented updates. I'd love to hear of more examples.
What's worked for you?