Tuesday, April 8, 2014

8 Steps To Break Free of the Facebook Charge Machine

…And Take Your Fan Base With You.

Now that Facebook has gone to a full Goodfellas-style business model with regard to brand pages, it seems all but impossible to reach your own audience now without shelling out more money to the network for unproven results.

Add this to the other uncertainties around promoting your page to targeted audiences, and I’d say it’s time for brands to cut their losses and move on to the ever-widening world of social media today. Chances are these other social platforms have probably already taken the attention of some of your old Facebook followers anyway.

If you’re like most brands using social media, you already have a presence on other networks. But, if Facebook is your go-to – where you spend most of your time and energy and grew your largest fan base – it could be tough to make the big switch. How do you get the fan base you built up over time on Facebook to engage with your brand in a new location? It’s not easy. But, thinking about how consumers behave online, and putting together a plan that involves them can give your social outreach the kind of kick start you’re looking for when leveraging new networks.

Here are some steps to being brave and getting a buzz elsewhere.

  1. Find your audience – Where are your customers currently spending their online time? How do they engage with brands there? Don’t just jump in. Sit back and observe while you and your team learn the network and how best to communicate. Make it about the customer and not about your brand.
  2. Engage more – Once you have decided where you want to spend your time, put in the work to be worthy of customer interaction. I’m not talking auto-posting the same content on 5 different networks and waiting for the shares to roll in and lines to form at your door. Actually interact with people. Respond to customer comments and questions, source opinions on what your brand is doing, reveal a personality. You know, be social.
  3. Look like a pro – Learn the tools and techniques of the specific network you have decided to use. The little things are important. For example, as a heavy user of Google+, I can tell when a brand is phoning it in over there – mentions of others using “@” are the first major giveaway. Try to look like you’ve been there before.
  4. Make a clean break – Don’t just start whittling down your usage of Facebook. Stop using it. Less frequent posting can give the wrong impression. Instead, let your fans know exactly what’s going on like these guys did, and let them know what your plans are.
  5. Offer an incentive – Incentive inspires action. It’s what we humans respond to. Do something fun like hold a contest exclusively on another network. Let your fan base know how to participate, and make it easy to do so. If they connect with you on Google+ or Pinterest, for example, they’re automatically entered to win. Easy.
  6. Find your audience again – This time, do it on Facebook. I know it’s not easy anymore (or cheap). But one last paid Facebook promo to reach your fans can be used to announce your new social digs.
  7. Leverage your other customer touch points – Hopefully this is discussed with every marketing initiative. But, multiple touch points allow more opportunity to deliver a message. Where else can customers be informed of this change to your social media strategy? How about your packaging, your storefront, your eNewsletter, your “hold message” for customers calling in on the phone. There are many possibilities here. Leverage every touch point.
  8. Tell Facebook users where to find you – You may not want to shut down your Facebook page altogether. At least, not just yet. Try leaving the page up with an announcement of where you can now be found. Be creative with your cover photo to include this, pin your “departure post” to the top of the page, and disable the option that allows fans to post on your wall.

Remember that it still may be a good strategy to advertise via social networks from time to time. But, genuinely relevant communication from an opt-in audience is what helps make social networks a medium unlike the rest. This is where a deeper understanding of the customer can be gained, and affinity for a brand can take hold leading to a loyal and socially vocal fan base that brings in business.

This post first appeared on +B2C (business2community.com) Read the original here.