“How do I get my Facebook fans to participate more on our page?”
It’s one of the biggest questions — and toughest to answer – when it comes to social media engagement. For many businesses, Facebook is the number one site for building a community and engaging fans. With its 900 million active users, the potential is great but sometimes difficult to harvest.
Motivating fans to like, comment on, and share your posts not only strengthens your bond with existing fans but also helps get you in front of a new and bigger audience: their friends. If no one’s talking to you on Facebook, it’s hard to know if your social media marketing efforts are going anywhere — and it’s definitely not much fun.
If you’re not seeing the kind of Facebook engagement you’re looking for, the culprit might be one of these reasons:
Because You’re Not Interesting
The best thing you can do to connect with your audience? Remember the reasons real people use Facebook every day, and act like a real person when you post.
Be funny. Be interesting. Post different types of content. Be worth liking. Don’t make posting to Facebook each day a mindless item to check off your to-do list. Strive to make each post meaningful.
Because They Don’t Know Who You Are
Are you telling your story in a way that makes your fans proud to identify with you and let their friends know it?
A large percentage of people who become fans of a brand on Facebook do so to show their support of the brand to their friends. Make sure your Facebook page and posts reflects your brand’s personality — and make that personality one that people want to be around.
Because You Never Asked Them To
Lots of evidence (PDF) shows you may be able to get more engagement going by flat-out telling your fans what you’d like them to do (the old-fashioned call-to-action).
Ask them to like your post once in a while. A simple “Like this post if you want to see more like this” gives your fans direction and provides you with some nice feedback. Ask them to share content (sparingly; a share is a much bigger “ask” than a like) if they find it useful and compelling.
Make sure you balance out your “asks” with fun stuff they’ll want to share without having to be asked — even if it’s not your own content.
Because You’re Not Provoking Them To Respond
If it’s comments you’re looking for, make sure you make it clear by posting irresistible statuses that beg your fans to weigh in.
Some examples include fill-in-the-blanks (e.g. “The best thing about my job is _______”), one-word answers (“Describe your weekend in one word…Go!”) and photo caption contests.
Don’t be afraid to ask your audience quick-to-answer questions (think “would” and “when” over “how” and “why”). If no one answers, just move on and try it again later.
Because You’re All About You
If fans are accustomed to seeing a daily update from your brand that’s nothing more than a link to your latest blog post, they’re not going to be very motivated to talk with you. Why would they? That’s a broadcast, not a conversation.
Bring new voices and content sources into your channel. Scour the web for photos and information related to your industry that you think your fans would be interested in, regardless of where it’s from.
Because You Don’t Know Why They’re There
Your fans liked your page for a reason, so be sure you don’t stray totally away from your subject area in your attempts to drum up engagement.
A study by Facebook revealed that the one thing that posts with high engagement levels had in common was that they focused on brand-related topics, but were not specifically about the brand.
Because You’re Not Giving Them What They Want
Learning about discounts and promotions is the single biggest reason consumers give as to why they become a fan of a brand, with free samples and coupons not far behind.
When you do post your own content, make sure you’re able to give your fans a treat once in a while — it’s what they’re looking for.
Because You’re Posting the Wrong Stuff
The type of content you post — whether it’s links, statuses, photos or videos — makes a difference.
Photos typically draw the most engagement, but brands on Facebook are more likely to focus on links, which draw the least engagement. If links are a necessary part of your Facebook strategy, make sure you switch it up when you can.
Because You Don’t Know Who They Are
When you’re writing, you’ve got to know the reader you’re writing for. The same is true in social media.
Use Facebook Insights to learn key information about your audience, like age group, gender and where they’re from. Once you’re able to develop a picture in your head of your typical fan, keep them in mind with everything you post.
Because You’re Posting at the Wrong Time
Once you’ve got a clear picture of your audience in mind, consider what their day looks like and when they’re most likely to be spending time on Facebook.
While B2B brands might be more successful posting within regular business hours, B2C brands should consider evening and weekend posts, particularly now that Facebook has added post scheduling. Experiment to find the right time for your audience.
Because You’re Not in the Conversation
Once you begin to see some responses to your posts, make sure you nurture those seeds. Answer questions, reply to comments and encourage others within your company to get involved once in a while using their own accounts. This helps your brave first wave of commenters feel secure and lets other fans get to know the people behind your brand.
Merely answering questions on your own page puts you in elite company — one study estimates that brands rarely respond to queries posted by their fans or followers. That’s an easy win.
Because You’re Not Consistent
It can be dispiriting to keep giving it your all day after day on Facebook without seeing conversation bloom. But don’t give up – it takes time to build a rapport with your community, and for members to feel confident enough to speak up.
A seldom updated Facebook page looks even more desolate in light of the new Facebook Timeline design, and sporadic updates don’t give your fans the confidence needed to get involved.
Just keep being casual, conversational and interesting. It’ll happen.
Because You’re Not Paying For It
If all else fails, Facebook’s Promoted Posts can give you a hand if you have some extra dough to spend.
For a variable amount per post, this option allows your posts to be seen by a larger chunk of your fan base (though not necessarily a more engaged one).
Because Your Fans Aren’t On Facebook
Facebook is a great spot for many businesses, but some brands will find their audience is more active in other social spaces.
If you’re a B2B company or in a particularly niche industry, your audience might be on forums or chatrooms. If what you offer is highly visual, maybe Pinterest or Instagram is a better choice.
If you’re doing everything right and still not seeing the engagement you’re looking for, do some social media monitoring for your keywords to make sure you’re not simply barking up the wrong tree.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.