Thanks to numerous Facebook changes recently, many businesses are thinking about dropping Facebook entirely. Engagement is in the toilet, and the page just isn’t growing.
Before you do, it pays to take a fresh, close look at your Facebook strategy. Often the problem lies there and has absolutely nothing to do with algorithm changes.
Here is a sneak peek at part of my evaluation processes to identify where the disconnect lies.
1. Figure Out Who Your End Buyer Is
When a business doesn’t really know who actually makes the purchase decision for their product or service, they don’t know who their audience is.
Without understanding that audience, odds are slim that the content being posted will resonate with them. If the target customer isn’t something a company can rattle off the top of their head, then it’s important to do a quick analysis of who has purchased their product and why.
If I am working with a security company, for example, here are the types of questions I might ask:
- Do you sell commercial or residential solutions?
- Residential -> Are most of your buyers men or women?
- Women -> Do you know what triggered their decision to improve security?
- If you were to set aside the fear tactics so common to the security industry, what kinds of things would interest them? Engage them? Build a relationship with them?
Questions that dig into buyers and their purchase decision make the foundation of your social media strategy. They tell you who you are talking to, what concerns they have, and what brought them into your sphere of influence. It gives you a basic foundation to begin understanding who your prospects might be.
Once you understand the largest segment, you can branch out into looking at smaller segments. Then, you can start being creative with how to reach them because you understand who these people are and what motivates them.
In keeping with the security company as an example, I might create a Facebook presence around a fake “thief” that posts stories of his/her activities.
Targeting women? Maybe it’s a cat burgler that is actually feline. Furry fun to entertain and trigger laughter while educating.
I’d use Fiverr or (preferably) a local illustrator to create some custom images with captions, if the budget allowed. Or perhaps we would create a sexy fake Sean Connery-styled James Bond who does residential burglary and corporate espionage. Have fun with it! Don’t be scary, be interesting.
(Note: These ideas are my intellectual property. Don’t steal them unless you hire me and have my permission.)
You can’t be successful on Facebook without understanding your customers and prospects.
Once you understand who they are, you can put on your thinking cap to focus on what might interest and motivate them. It’s important to keep the niche narrow – don’t try to sell everything to everyone.
Then, forget about marketing. Start conversations. Tell stories. Fit your activity to your audience.
2. Realize They Just Don’t Care
Other than current customers, who make up the bulk of fans for most Facebook pages, understand that the general population doesn’t care about your brand, product or service. They care about their own needs and interests.
Most people follow very few brand pages, so giving them a compelling reason to stick around is critical.
What can you give them that they can’t find anywhere else? Education? Entertainment? Emotional reactions?
Get over any ego and assumptions that make you think they are innately interested. Your customers might care because you’ve already proven your value – which is why Facebook is a wonderful customer retention and customer service platform – but prospects? They. Just. Don’t. Care.
How are you making them care?
3. Do an Audit of Your Facebook Page
Now that you understand the buyer and target audience, look at your existing Facebook page. Would it appeal to them? Why or why not? Are you giving them reason to engage? Are you promoting too much and acting in YOUR interests, instead of theirs?
That’s common. Entrepreneurs and marketing professionals that think of social media as a marketing tool often lose sight of what matters. Remember: It’s not about you, it’s about being a part of your community and providing value.
Take an honest look at your page from an outsider’s perspective. Consider asking your customers/prospects what they like and don’t like about it and take their recommendations into account as you re-vamp your Page.
4. Define Your Marketing Objectives and Customer Acquisition Goals, Then Map Them to Your Facebook Strategy
Understanding your audience is essential because it helps you build community and engagement. But what good is that if it doesn’t lead to revenue, website traffic, or other marketing objectives? Be clear about what you are trying to accomplish. Common objectives include leads, traffic, reach, and sales.
Back to the security company. Say we decided the primary target audience is women homeowners purchasing residential alarm solutions. If the marketing objective is website traffic, how can your posts trigger click-throughs? If your marketing objective is building your email database, how are you giving them incentive to subscribe?
I follow the 80/20 rule – eighty percent of social media activity is entertaining, conversational and/or educational, and twenty percent is marketing about the company/product/service. All of it works to build the brand, but in different ways and always being careful not to over-promote.
After all, this is social media, not advertising.
5. Define Your Brand Attributes, Then Make Sure Your Posts Fit Them
Brand attributes aren’t the graphic standards you use – they are the attributes you want your company, product, or service to be known for.
What do you want to build your reputation around? Is it complicated installs? Knowledge of iPad integration? Complex computer security? Inspiring women to put safety first?
Posts should connect with these attributes and tie in with your marketing objective. It’s part of what makes you different. Unique. Worthy of interest and connection.
Identify your top 3-4 brand attributes, then connect them to your activity. Showcase these brand attributes in everything you do: your cover image, your tabs, and every post you make. Make it smack-upside-the-head obvious, so page visitors and fans don’t have to guess.
You can also include product or service attributes. These are your key differentiators on a product or service level, instead of a company level. Are you different due to uber simple control panels when everyone else offers a hot mess of complicated computers? Or your panel is a crazy simple smartphone app? Or your installation service is faster and cleaner? Then your Facebook posts would speak to those specific attributes and create conversation about it. Know what makes you different and build on it so your audience has something to connect to.
As you start integrating your attributes, some will interest your audience more than others, so don’t forget to try new ideas for your page! Make sure they fit your audience, objectives and attributes, but constantly test new ideas and monitor the results using Facebook Insights.
Putting It All Together
This is just a quick, down, and dirty overview of my basic process, but I urge you to give it a try before you delete your Facebook page.
Map out these strategies in a spreadsheet or Word document that you can refer to often and you may be able to identify a major gap that is killing your success.
Editor’s Note: A version of this post originally appeared on RocktheStatusQuo.com.