“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.

people-talking-0

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

relationship-selfIf 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. facebook-demographic

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.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook: Advertising | Facebook: Pages | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing Column

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About The Author: is a content crafter at Buffer. She has been an editor and writer at publications including Allure, Time Out New York, Playboy and The Tennessean. She speaks frequently on social media marketing and community management topics.



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  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Timing is so important for social media. It doesn’t matter if you craft the greatest update ever written, if your audience isn’t online to see it than it doesn’t do you much good. Not every business is the same, and sometimes your audience might be most receptive outside of normal business hours. 

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    Very true, Nick. And you can’t rely on other people’s studies of other brands to determine what’s best for YOUR audience. Gotta do it the hard way :)

  • http://twitter.com/ACTeeple Amy C. Teeple

    A big turnoff for me is when I like a page (either to get a discount or to show support for the company), but then I do not see an update from them for 6 months. When a post ends up in my feed after that time, I am often confused – wondering, “Did I like that page?” When updating my Facebook friend and likes, those pages are often the ones who I remove.Another pet peeve is when someone is an admin for more than one page and they use the same quote or status update on all of the pages. Why do I need to like these pages if you are just regurgitating the same thing on each one?

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    Yuck, posting the same update to multiple Facebook pages seems like a particularly terrible idea! Hard to believe all the audiences would ever be the same.

  • http://twitter.com/danielhaim Daniel Haim

    What about filters?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=703259916 Shanley Wright

    Great 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=519063119 Tereza Litsa

    Great tips, thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    Happy to offer something that might help out a bit!

  • http://www.facebook.com/speakers4inspiration Paul Davis

    Fun read and good insight. Any personal stories of your own failures by which you learned these things?

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    Hey Paul! Oh, definitely. I really believe you can only get to a good place in any of these channels through trial and error. Most of my failures (in jobs before Raven Tools, of course) involved not being able to convince higher-ups that we needed to answer all comments, even (especially!) the negative ones in order to create a community around a brand. It’s so painful to watch comments and questions languish when you know you should step in!

  • http://www.seo.com/ Darin “Doc” Berntson

    Great post Courtney. I think a lot of these points fit for the majority of social networks. And each one can have different audience and flow to them. Facebook however is the big daddy, and I like the points you make here. 
    I think number 15 in your post would have to be to “Because you do not dedicate the time”. So many people either (a) rarely post, like you mention or (b) automate posts and never monitor and respond when needed. I have seen so many companies that do not dedicate the resources needed, and do not get online to answer basic customer service questions that could make their page a success!

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    You’re so right, Doc! It’s pretty easy to tell which brands are putting in their time on Facebook, and fans are savvy enough to notice, too. 15 would’ve been a much nicer number, too! :)

  • http://twitter.com/kent_ong Kent

    My question is except asking what they need, is there any other ways to know what my audience needs?

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    Asking is always good, but other than that your best is probably experimenting. Experiment with different kinds of content, different ways of phrasing your message, different times of day and frequencies of updates. Test each new element individually (i.e. one at a time) and you should be able to get some idea of what your audience is most responsive to.

  • http://twitter.com/pdx_couples Lindsay McGrath LMFT

    Right now my fans are colleagues and we communicate a bit.  It’s the branching out and getting real potential clients to like the page and begin to interact that seems to be the mystery for me!  I didn’t know I could schedule FB posts, so thanks for that tip!!

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourts Courtney Seiter

    Lindsay, if you have a bit of a budget, some super-targeted Facebook ads could help you out in terms of building up a fan base. If you don’t, you can focus on brand-related (but not brand-specific) content that’s likely to garner you a bigger viral reach to help reel in new fans. Good luck!

  • http://twitter.com/kent_ong Kent

     Hi Courtney, thank you very much for your advice! :)

  • http://twitter.com/bigstickdogg Stickdogg

    Great article, garnering facebook interaction has been a constant struggle. I know I am guilty of not posting frequently enough or with enough relevant content.  It is hard to find the time to look for more content to post about on facebook when you are doing the rest of your duties.  At http://planforlifesuccess.com we are fledglings yet to these whole internet marketing and social media marketing games but they are fun to learn how to utilize. Even more fun when you recieve the interaction you are looking for.

 

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