When it comes to social media, it can sometimes be off-putting to see messages from advertisers in between Candy Crush invites from your grandmother and status updates from college friends. After all, Facebook’s original mission was to provide a place where family and friends could keep in touch with one another.
However, the site has expanded its focus, and now it’s far too easy for marketers to view the site as nothing more than an advertising platform. The truth is, it takes just a little bit of planning and forethought to avoid alienating would-be customers on Facebook. The good news is, if you use the following advice, you’ll be able to humanize and personalize your brand’s Facebook page in no time, and start earning back a little bit of the good will of the people you’re marketing to.
Don’t Be Anonymous
This first one is easy, don’t forget about the “face” in Facebook. Corporations are already, by design, fairly anonymous entities. If you want your customers to value your brand not as a thing, but as a collection of human beings, it’s probably time to upload some personal mug shots. There’s a time and a place to retreat behind corporate logos and avatars, but your Facebook page is not one of them.
Create Multiple Facebook Pages
Maybe your brand would prefer that the company Facebook page remain anonymous. Okay, so what can you do? One option is to create another Facebook page that you can use to craft more personal responses to questions and feedback you might get from fans.
Find Your Voice; Be Funny
There’s a great deal of writing to be done in the world of marketing, and any professional writer will tell you that finding a unique voice is hugely important in just about any type of writing. Marketing on Facebook is no different. This isn’t necessarily something that can be learned, but rather developed over time. You want your posts to be engaging and personal.
They should sound like your natural speaking voice, rather than a bland ad copy.
Humor is literally the easiest way to engage Facebook fans. Images and videos will help boost shares, likes and comments – even if the content isn’t directly related with a product.
See the example below:
This is a pretty funny Facebook post from Havahart that touches on a widely shared sentiment; Monday Morning blues.
Regardless of the industry of your business, humor is something any of us can incorporate with Facebook pages.
We don’t have to be Louis C.K. hilarious – light humor is f
Remember That It’s About the Fans
While there’s no getting around the fact that brand pages on Facebook are meant as marketing tools, don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s also one of the best ways to engage with fans and make them feel valued. You don’t need to hit them over the head with product details daily, they’re already along for the ride. Instead, concentrate on building a tight-knit community of like-minded people.
That’s what newcomers to your page are going to notice and value, not the boring marketing stuff.
Show Your Appreciation
For better or worse, most fans don’t “Like” a brand’s Facebook page unless they expect to get something out of it. To that end, rewarding your fan base from time to time is an important way to make them valued and more likely to stick around.
Think about honoring your favorite “fan of the week,” or maybe provide exclusive coupons and other small incentives.
Another way to show appreciation on Facebook is with philanthropy and/or charitable causes. A really extraordinary example is below:
In this example, 12 Keys got involved with the Independence Fund and publicized support for military veterans. They created a ‘social media goal’ to increase exposure and circulation about the cause, which is a great way to show appreciation and give back to society.
Show the World Your Process
One of the very best opportunities that the average brand seems to overlook on Facebook is the chance to show fans and newcomers alike what goes into creating their products or services. You should definitely make a point of posting “behind the scenes” photos to show off all of your hard work.
Make Customers Part of the Process
Some of the world’s largest companies have been using social media with great success by encouraging fans to become a part of the marketing process. For example, Levi’s has a series of promotional videos featuring customers using their products.
Admit When You’re Wrong
Nothing will sabotage your efforts to humanize your Facebook page faster than ignoring or employing misdirection, in order to shrug off any missteps you might make along the way. Everybody makes mistakes from time to time, admitting them is an important way to remind fans that your brand is only human. A great example is Epicurious’ very public apology for some insensitive tweets about the Boston Marathon tragedy.
Show Off Your History
Facebook’s Timeline feature is old news by now, but you still might have overlooked it. The Timeline can be a great way to flesh out your brand’s history. Your daily posts let you live in the moment, but your Timeline can help you to show off how far you’ve come, and what it took to get this far.
While the very fact that your brand has a Facebook page is basically an invitation for fans to give their opinions, it can also be a big help if you go out of your way to inspire conversation. Ask questions regularly, such as inquiring about how your customers use your products, or what New Year’s resolutions they’re going to make in 2014.
We saved this one for last, but it’s probably the most important tip on this list. No matter what else you do, make sure you respond personally to the feedback you get on your brand page. Alternatively, some brands do take the time to respond, but do so with scripted lines that aren’t much help at all.
This is your most important chance to prove that there’s a human element behind the brand, so make the most of it.