Nonprofits and businesses seem to have the hardest time with the fact that social networks don’t seem very business friendly. Remember the big dust-up when Facebook switched over to Timeline and started limiting the percentage of branded page posts that appear in news feeds? Can’t stress it enough, social sites will continue to protect the social experience for the individual. It’s all about people. That’s why they’re not called business networks or business sites. In fact, the up-and-coming Google+ appears even more adamant about it than Facebook with its version of pages. (Google+ branded pages use the profile pages of the individuals who create them.)
Don’t miss out on the beauty of this social arrangement. Social networks are spaces where people GO to hang out with organizations. Not “opt” out, like they do with ads that get in the way of their online entertainment. The social atmosphere makes the engagement friendlier, more inviting, more relaxed. In other words, more personal. So treat the engagement like a friendship, not a business relationship. Organizations should create a social media voice that always respects the social interests of fans, not their consumer needs.
Mind Your Social Manners
As always, content is the key. Here are some content best practices that will increase engagement.
- Post content that informs and entertains rather than just sells.
- Use larger visuals and less text.
- Be generous: share posts from fans and other pages. Post links from relevant organizations.
- Be positive, not critical.
- Be present. Show up at least once a day to view posts, answer questions, add comments.
- Say thank you. And welcome.
- Be real. Allow fans to know the person behind the brand voice.
- Be sincere: Don’t bait comments or trade “likes.”
- Give a lot. Fans like some exclusive freebies for helping you out. Think downloads, podcasts, research reports.
- Keep videos short and non-promotional. If you do create a promotional video, it’s okay to post it as a celebration, not as an advertisement.
- Nonprofits, post donor requests sparingly and inspiring stories generously.
- Photos and inspirational quotations are the topmost shared content on social networks.
When Facebook switched to Timeline, businesses were frustrated to see a reported 52% reduction in engagement rate. However, according to Econsultancy with data from Vitrue, 27% saw a greater than 20% increase when implementing best practices like these. Check out that Econsultancy article for “Facebook’s 6 Tips For Timeline Transition.”