Thursday, April 21, 2011

Moving from a monologue to a dialog. 10 Dos and Don'ts

Maintaining an active Facebook page is about building up a conversation, a dialog and not a monologue. Often you will see a page heavily active during a certain event, competition or give-away session, and then it returns back to a monotonous activity, little interaction, almost dying out and leaving all the initial investment dry.

The essence of keeping your page active, and always popping up on your followers' news feed, thus increasing your chances to be "mentioned" and getting additional followers is all about keeping your followers attached by building up a conversation. Below are Do's and Don'ts that you should follow to keep up:

1. Don't over-post, maintaining an appearance on the news feed is important, but overdoing will back-fire, and your followers will start disregarding your posts, either by visually skipping them, or simply by un-liking your page. You should aim at having 1 post per day and build up the conversation. A feedback % between 1 to 2.5 means that you are on the right track.

2. Don't simply push information to your followers, i.e.: by posting a product update, a promotion, a service update; because that usually results in people "liking" your post and a couple of "WAW" or "YOU SUCK" replies. That is fine if you do it once or twice, but you need to focus on building a conversation. The best way to do so is to start with a question, asking for opinion, involving people in decisions your business is about to make, in brief, anything that involves asking for replies, self-promotions would implicitly come somewhere in between.

3. Don't let posts drag for too long, although you are happy with the level of engagement with the current post, you need to keep in mind that it is hard for people who have just joined your page to contribute to a post with more than 200 replies, firstly, they will surely not read everything to follow up on the conversation, and secondly they would most probably be shy of intervening, afraid of posting something that was already discussed.

4. Do summarize the discussion every 50 reply to a single post (or any other appropriate number you see fit), this would allow new comers to join in the conversation, and will keep the conversation on the right path and disallow it from drifting apart from your original topic. (Refer to Point 3 above, this doesn't mean that you are allowed to drag for too long)

5. Do link your posts together; since you are building up a conversation, keep your posts revolving around the same topic, and mainly make them a continuation of each other, as if you are building up a story, you can start by a post, then use the Facebook questions, the next post could be about an image, then a post...and so on. Keep the theme going and set a mindset of discussion. Implicitly you will market your products/services and promotions.

6. Don't automatically/immediately reply to any new post by followers, give it some time so that other people can comment as well and give their thoughts, intervene at punctual time frames to steer the conversation and moderate it properly. When you feel it is dying out, revive it with an alternative road map, a new question or additional insights.

7. Do make it personal, and mention followers by their name, and give out personal replies and feedback. Remember that everybody likes to feel important. Do not forget to Like other people replies, and be authentic in that action (don't just like every single reply posted out there). Thank people for their replies, their sentiments or their feedback too.

8. Do ask people to share your page with their friends from time to time, don't be shy, if done at the appropriate moment, you will be impressed by the response and impact. Similarly, ask people to subscribe to your website, newsletter, blog along with the conversation.

9. Don't gang up on followers, in other words do not take sides in conversations, remain neutral and friendly. Avoid sentimental feedback request, such as religious, political or ethnic feedback.

10. Do watch your page insights on a regular basis, and learn what your followers like to talk about. Compare and contrast the types of interaction you are receiving and benchmark them against the LIKES and DISLIKES you are getting. You might find out that your audience likes images more than videos, or videos more than text. Remember that every Facebook page has a different audience demographics with different preferences, there is no one-rule-fits-all.

In a nutshell "Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social." - Jay Baer

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