It used to be that everyone’s goal was to figure out the meaning of life. Today, every time I turn around, someone is asking how to increase engagement on Facebook. I’m not sure what that says about our culture but since every business can benefit from more sales, increasing Facebook engagement should be at the top of your list of marketing goals.
I spoke recently to Kia Canada dealers at their annual conference. Kia Canada has an awesome view of the future and is doing a lot to help their dealers navigate this new world of inbound marketing. Robert Staffieri, Kia Canada’s Director of Marketing is committed to each dealer’s success and has some really great things planned going forward. I must give props to Robert for initiating a process and continually supporting their dealers to learn, understand and carry out successful Social Media marketing at the local (dealership) level.
At the dealer conference, I gave two sessions on “best practices” in dealership Social Media marketing. We got a lot of great questions that showed me how many dealers have really welcomed the idea of Social Media marketing and are embracing it. They all said the biggest challenge hindering their success was getting more people to interact with their page.
Here are the reasons a customer or prospect will like your page:
- They’re already a fan in real life & want to show their affiliation
- Get exclusive deals & discounts
- Their friends like your page
- Your posts are engaging & highly sharable
The value of engaging your audience is that Facebook rewards pages with more visibility. Just as SEO and blogging increase visibility and influence for your site, relevant and interesting content does that for you on Facebook. But how do you create relevant interesting content and get more fans to interact with your page? Here are 10 proven steps to increase engagement on Facebook to turn your fans into customers:
1. Identify who you are as a brand. Dealerships are local businesses. The value that Social Media has brought to the table is that you can laser target people in your community who are most likely to buy from you. When you map out the components of your business’ personality, you increase the chances that people will connect with you.
2. Describe your customers and prospects in detail. Not everyone is a prospect. The more you laser define your customer’s attributes, the better chance your marketing messages will reach the right audience. What makes your ideal customer tick? Solve their problems, teach (don’t sell) and bring them solid information to help them buy.
3. Set smart, realistic goals. I see a lot of business owners who are proud of how many Facebook likes they have. I usually ask them, “Why did you want to grow your likes?” Not many have definitive answer for me. Growing likes is great but if no one is engaging with your content then it doesn’t matter how many likes you have, your posts won’t be seen. Growing ideal likes is just one of many important goals to set for your store. Achieving a consistent engagement level should be your main focus because that will bring you more leads.
4. Create awesome visual appeal. Make sure your Timeline Cover represents your business visually. I see many covers with a picture of what they sell, not who they are. Design is also important when you start doing Facebook ads and creating landing pages. A successful landing page converts – it compels someone to do something. We use specific marketing language and a call to action (CTA). We also offer something in return for customer’s contact info. What can you offer your prospects?
5. Define and develop a solid content strategy. This is usually where many dealers and business owners get stuck. Content marketing is new. We used to give a check to the newspaper or cable TV rep in exchange for content they would publish on our behalf. Today, we have to create and publish content on our own. A great description of content strategy is this:
“Your mindset, culture & approach to delivering your customer’s information needs in all the places they’re searching for it, across each stage of the buying process.”
What this means is you need to be everywhere the customer is, delivering your message and engaging them in conversation. Successful content is relevant, human, and helpful. It teaches people how to buy. It creates a strong emotional attachment between you and your customer.
6. Use tools to manage your time. Many businesses don’t know you can schedule content out into the future. Use tools to schedule content and facilitate campaigns so you can use real-time to interact with customers/prospects and other pages. Two tools I use are PostPlanner and Heyo. PostPlanner schedules content, gives you ideas for status updates, and has a special feed option to help you aggregate content from other Facebook pages, blogs and Twitter. Heyo helps you create and install Facebook landing pages. Whether you’ve got a custom landing page or use one of Heyo’s templates, your landing pages are highly customizable and increase conversions.
7. Implement a promotion strategy. How will you continually increase your fan base? Facebook ads are an affordable way to promote your page. When creating an ad, remember that (like all advertising), ad copy and design matter. Make sure your picture is engaging and your text has a call to action.
8. Remind yourself that every sale starts with a conversation. More and more, I see businesses adding or promoting someone to Social Media marketing manager. You need at least one person to oversee the collection of content, listen and respond in conversations, read and digest analytics, and monitor/build your online reputation. This person needs to have sales experience because many times leads happen and responding correctly is an art.
9. Distinguish how fans convert into customers. Some leads happen organically. A smart marketing manager will know how to listen and respond when someone engages with your page. In more direct ways of capturing leads such as driving a prospect to a Facebook landing page, know that they’ve arrived there because they’re most likely to buy from you. They’ve interacted with you through Social Media and feel like you’re a trusted resource. That’s not something we’ve been able to do in the past without having to spend hours on the lot trying to earn their trust.
10. Make content marketing your culture. Leverage your employee’s content ideas and contributions. They are on the front lines with your customers every day. Writing and publishing content is much easier when you crowdsource for inspiration and welcome content from your staff and your customers.