For companies like ours, a small-medium sized B2B business working within a rapidly expanding global network, it’s hard to fall in love with Facebook.
When I look at Weidert’s “likes” on Facebook (334) versus our number of Twitter followers (2,238) and LinkedIn followers (543), it often feels like we just started our page. Each month, our Facebook growth feels slow and our reach looks small, and often, it’s a frustrating experience.
The reality is that Facebook is a tough crowd, and you have to be smart about growing your audience. Social media marketers sometimes talk about the various “cultures” of online social networks. LinkedIn is like a professional cocktail party; Twitter is your personal news ticker. But with Facebook, users tend to treat their profiles a bit more personally.
How Users Treat Facebook
In a recent article by Jayson DeMers, CEO of AudienceBloom, he described how Facebook is increasingly a place where people “scrapbook their lives” and prune their activity to portray a specific persona. Twitter, on the other hand, is “about speeding things up, often becoming a source in and of itself.” Users self report their experiences, opinions, and ideas as freely as they would tell friends or co-workers some exciting news.
These two paradigms give us some idea about why users might be willing to follow a company on Twitter, but not like the page on Facebook. Just today, it was announced that in 2013, Apple replaced Coca-Cola as the top global brand by value. Certainly, that’s huge news for Apple marketers. However, if you check both companies’ Facebook pages, you’ll see that there, Coca-Cola beats Apple 8 to 1 (Coca-Cola has 73 million likes).
What’s the lesson here? It’s that Facebook is not optimal for all companies and certain businesses, and we shouldn’t expect it to be. Often we find that depending on your industry and target audience, other social media options can be more effective. In the past year, Weidert has seen our Twitter audience grow by 9.8% each month—exciting news for a company of our size and type. Other companies see huge success with visual social media like Instagram or Pinterest where they can promote their products and services and artistic stories. And still others value LinkedIn because of its huge potential for B2B connections.
How to Attract More Facebook Followers (“Likes”)
This does not mean we should all give up on Facebook. Instead, we have to think more carefully about how we attract Facebook users. If Facebook is really becoming a place where users “scrapbook” their lives, how can you convince users to include your business or brand in their personal identity? I have three ideas:
1. Emphasize meaning in your Facebook presence.
If you’ve developed cause marketing, a company culture identity, or results-based case studies, promote this kind of material on Facebook. Meaningful stories are things that your current audience will feel good about sharing, which will help generate more page “likes”.
2. Tell stories with images.
More than any written update, an image or video is a sharable piece of content. Studies show that Facebook photos get 39% more interaction than normal updates, and videos are an opportunity to draw people in with good, well-developed storytelling.
3. Promote your Facebook page with other social media.
Now, don’t tweet: “Like our Facebook page. Here’s the link!” Instead, draw people in to your Facebook presence by giving them real reasons to visit. Create Facebook-oriented content offers, like coupons, contests, or special photo albums. Or, link to events you’re hosting, and promote interesting discussions when they develop on your page.
For many businesses, Facebook has the potential to be a supporting social media vehicle but shouldn’t be relied on as a standalone. Especially if you’re looking to create a robust Inbound Marketing presence. For tips on how to best maximize your daily Inbound Marketing routine, check out our free checklist!