Why isn't my Facebook page growing faster? Why aren't people engaging more?
I usually hear this from clients and in random conversations.
Growing a community or achieving higher levels of engagement with your audience is harder on a Facebook page than through a blog or on Twitter.
Today we review a few things you might lack in your daily operation and how you can build an engaging Facebook community.
It helps to identify your goals. Are you trying to generate traffic from your Facebook page to your site or blog? Are you using the page as a hub or final destination for your online strategy? List your objectives.
More important, do you have a clear objective of what you want your fans/"likes" to get out of the experience? What do you want them to walk away with?
I guarantee you that having these goals in mind will help you with the following 10 points. Here are 10 reasons your Facebook page is not taking off:
1. You don't promote it.
Facebook has made it very easy for you to add Facebook tools on other platforms, such as your blog or website. Visit Facebook Badges for tools you can integrate, including the "like" button, "like" box, and even Facebook comments or login buttons.
Now the user doesn't have to travel to your Facebook page to "like" your page.
2. You don't post regularly.
This one is big. I'm guilty, because I tend to be more active on Twitter. It's no secret that frequency builds momentum. You don't need to post constantly, but have a plan and stick to it. Two to three posts per day should be sufficient; then observe how people react and adjust.
Don't overdo it; find a balance without annoying your fans.
3. Your posts are automated.
Some people automate content distribution by simultaneously posting to multiple platforms using services such as Ping.fm or integrating Twitter with Facebook. Though I understand you're trying to be productive, I strongly disagree with this practice for many reasons. For example:
- Facebook users don't necessarily like Twitter, and when they see tweets they might get annoyed.
- Facebook gives you options like adding a thumbnail to the content you're sharing that are not always picked up by tools like Ping.fm. (If you must post from a third-party application, Hootsuite does a pretty god job). This might seem like a minor detail, but people interact more when they see images.
- The best timing for a tweet is not necessarily the best time to post something on Facebook; it might also be different for LinkedIn, etc. (Again, Hootsuite enables you to schedule posts.)
The best thing you can do is to manually manage your content and front-end interaction on your page. Sorry, I don't have a magic solution for this one; social media is not automatic.
4. You don't engage with your audience.
If your visitors are not encouraged to participate, they won't. Ask them openly to share their thoughts. Imagine if you could turn your page into a Q&A forum in which you share your knowledge and expertise in your field to solve problems.
If you do this right, even when you're sharing somebody else's content, a discussion can start if you offer your thoughts on the topic at hand. Don't just post a link; everybody else does that.
This point requires that you get some creative juice going on. Try to make it fun.
5. You don't use other media.
As opposed to Twitter, where you are dealing with text-only posts, Facebook gives you the option to post different kinds of media—from video to photography and even questions—without having to follow a link and leave your page. Leverage that; people engage more with visuals. There is a ton of content you can share.
It's very easy to embed outside content, such as YouTube videos, or go wild and create your own video without having to leave the page or import anything.
6. You don't post good content.
This is hardly exclusive to Facebook. Especially when it comes to sharing other people's content online, sometimes it's not relevant to our audience or it's not good enough. People have to see you as a great resource.
Obviously, when you post your own blog content, we're talking top-notch, right?
Content is more than links. Be a creator and craft your own stuff; have a perspective on things. Be edgy. Be unique, and post stuff that's exclusive to your Facebook audience.
7. You don't customize your page.
One of the disadvantages of Facebook pages is that there is very little room to stand out visually and make a good first impression. That's why you need to leverage every small opportunity to deliver a unique experience.
A perfect example is to have a landing tab to welcome new visitors. This is not only a perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and integrate a little branding, to communicate what the page is all about, and to point the user in the right direction (asking for a "like"). This piece of real estate is also great for integrating other elements, such as video or opt-in email boxes to build your list.
Hire a designer; if your budget is limited and you want to do something simple, read the How To Build Your Facebook Landing Page tutorial. Also, we talk mostly about landing/welcome pages, but you can create whatever you want with these tabs. In the example, Nick Unsworth is using multiple tabs; the one I'm showing is called "sweepstakes." Be creative.
8. You're not present.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but we're often guilty as sin. If you're able to get people to comment and interact with your content, you also need to be present to turn comments into a live conversation. In other words, you need to host this puppy. You wouldn't throw a comment or a question in a group conversation and walk away, right?
The problem here is that when you come back the next day to follow up on comments, the original commenter is long gone. You must engage in "front-end interaction" if you want to retain and build loyalty among your audience.
By arranging to get email alerts when somebody writes a comment, you can react in a timely manner. Facebook seems to have forgotten that feature, so you must rely on a third-party solution. HyperAlerts does the trick with a simple Web application that you set up in two minutes; then, connect your Facebook page and choose the frequency of the alerts.
I have to give credit to my friend Antonia Harler for this one. She has a list of free social media tools you probably don't know about yet.
9. You post at the wrong times.
A lot has been said about the best times to post content on particular networks. For example, some say the rush hours on Twitter are 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Facebook has its own peak periods; people seem to spend longer periods of time during weekends and when they get off from the daily grind, whereas Twitter pretty much dies at those times.
Experiment with different times, and track when people interact the most. This is a testing game, and we're all in different industries and parts of the planet.
10. You don't pay attention to your analytics.
Most people I talk to spend little to no time observing Web analytics for their own sites or for other online platforms. I don't blame them; it can be tedious—even worse if you don't really know what you're looking at.
Allocate a small period of time for analytics each month; while you're doing so, make an effort to learn a little bit more.
Facebook Insights has been improving a lot; there is sufficient data there to get to know your audience better and be aware of your performance.
Francisco Rosales blogs at SocialMouths, where a version of this article first appeared.