If there’s one travel blog that really stands out on Facebook, it’s yTravel Blog.
We have been fans of the way that Craig and Caz run their fan page and asked them if they would be interested in writing a post for us about how they have become so successful on Facebook.
How to Brand Yourself and Build Engagement with a Facebook Page
Show Them the Real You
Social media is REAL. It’s life. And Facebook is the ultimate platform to be yourself and brand yourself to show the world the real you.
Sure, link to your latest blog posts. But that’s what everyone is doing. So don’t just stop there. Why not show them you’re a real person by posting lot’s of photos, various updates, and ask lots of questions about things youíre passionate about, both within your topic, and off topic.
Facebook is an Extension of Your Brand
My Facebook page swiftly became a standard extension to our blog’s brand and message.
I intended it to become a highly effective form of engagement with our target market and build a community around our brand.
We made the intention to build an engaged community by starting conversations. We wanted to create a place where those within our travel community can meet for some socializing and fun, not just to get travel information.
And you do that by being yourself and being authentic. One of the best compliments you can receive is that you are just the same offline as you are on.
If you focus on making your fan page your homepage for the social web, you can create a page that serves as your mini-hub. Then use it as your platform to connect on a deeper level.
How to Introduce Yourself on a Business Page
Introduce yourself on Facebook with a Welcome Page.
One of the best ways to show people who you are and to help your page stand out from the noise of over 800 million users on facebook is to create a custom tab with a short video that will give you an attractive “Welcome Page” that explains:
- exactly what your fan page is about
- who it ís for
- and why they should become members.
A custom welcome page can increase your conversion rate from visitors to “Likes” or fans. Without it, new visitors will be taken straight to your wall, which can be messy and doesn’t really tell people exactly what you do.
We used Custom Fan Page Designs to create our welcome page which we are currently updating.
Today’s Currency is Engagement
Being social isn’t about talking. It’s more about listening. It’s very important that you’re actively engaging with your followers and they are engaging with you. By being engaged with your fan page members and becoming a trusted resource they will help you grow your community.
Word of mouth marketing has always been the best form of marketing. One of our favorite mentors Gary Vaynerchuk says…
“Word of mouth is the currency. And now we have the infrastructure for word of mouth to be on steroids. Our engagements are being spread like never before. It’s an eyeballs and ears business. Companies have the opportunity to take themselves from a non-human element to a human element”
So don’t forget the “social” part of social media. Thatís how you build strong and rewarding relationships.
Why It Pays To Engage
Facebook rewards you for building relationships. Engagement is not only important to us, but it’s important to Facebook.
Just as Google has it’s own Page Rank, Facebook has an algorithm called EdgeRank. In a nut shell, EdgeRank determines who sees what. Basically, it determines what updates (i.e. photos, posts, videos, links) you will see in your news feed.
Understanding EdgeRank is important. A high EdgeRank leads to visibility in the news feed, while a low EdgeRank leads to obscurity. The more comments and likes you get on an update, the more viral visibility and free marketing youíll create by appearing in your fans news feed.
Why Is a Strong EdgeRank Important?
Statistics show that 90% of the people who “Like” your fanpage never return to your actual page. They are much more likely to interact with your page through their news feed.
Think about your own behavior on facebook. How often do you type in a fan page URL? So the more you can get your status updates into the news feed, the more engagement you are likely to receive.
Ways to Build Engagement on Facebook
Asking a question is the simplest way to get a response from someone.
Dale Carnegie said it best when he said…To be interesting, you must be interested.
It’s true. People really do like to talk about themselves, so let them. Donít make the conversation all about you, what youíre doing, and your opinion. Ask questions as a way to get your fans to share, to stimulate conversation, and to give advice.
Ask Smart Questions.
With so much noise in the news feed, people’s attention span is very short. So ask questions and post updates that make it easy for people to “answer”, “Like”, and “share”. If you ask a question that requires a three paragraph answer, you’re not likely to get much response.
Examples of easy questions to Ask on Facebook…
YES or NO questions…
Fill in the Blank…
One word answers…
True or False questions…
Then every so often, ask more engagement type questions…
Travel Tip questions…
- Put the question at the beginning OR end of the update.
- Ask other questions later in the thread to create continuity.
- @tag people in the comments to get them coming back.
- Comment yourself to get the ball rolling. However, donít step in too soon.
- Don’t use the facebook questions tab. I have found much more engagement by manually posting the question.
Include a Call to Action
Remind your fans to “Like” and “Share” your updates. Facebook has some easy ready-made sharing buttons with which people can promote your updates to their friends.
Take Note: Facebook recently changed the way users interact with content on fan pages – you now don’t have to “Like” a page and become a fan before you can post on fan page walls and like/comment/share fan page content.
Ask for a “share”…
Ask for a “Like”…
The bottom line is to let your fans know exactly what you want them to do.
Top Tips for Status Updates on Facebook
Say it with photos
Photos are number 1 when it comes to what people look at on facebook. Did you know that using photos to stand out in the Facebook news feed carries more weight than text updates when it comes to your EdgeRank Score?
Photos have always gotten a slightly higher EdgeRank score, which means better visibility in the News Feed. Think about times you’ve spotted a thumbnail-size photo from a friend in your feed and clicked to see it full-size. Facebook likes clicks, and photos deliver them.
Pictures really do tell a thousand words. Being in the travel industry, thereís no better way to inspire others and stir emotion than through travel photos.
Add a question to your photos…
I don’t just post photos of landmarks or lanscapes on our wall, but lots of photos with us in the picture as well, whether it be a travel photo or at an event. We do this because photos are also GREAT for branding and tying your face to your text. It creates a deeper connection between you and your fan (reader).
Encourage your fans to upload photos
Each time your fans upload a photo, the thumbnail goes onto their profile wall and out into the news feeds of their friends. Make sure your settings allow fans to post content.
Get Fans to Tag Photos
If you host any live events, be sure to take plenty of photos and load the photos to your fan page and tag people. This pushes them out into their wall and their friendsí News Feeds, providing valuable (free) exposure.
Use Short Videos
Another great way for you to reach out and let your community members meet the real you is via short video updates. For example, we use video to announce the winners of any promotions we have running.
Keep the Narrative Short
A study by Buddy Media showed that posts 80 characters or less in length receive higher engagement rates. Once again, consider how much content fills the news feed and how quickly. It makes sense that a shorter post will catch Facebook usersí attention quicker.
You want to stand out in the news feed which is busy, so use something catchy, or start with a question. The easier it is for your fans to read, the more likely they are to engage.
Change the Way You Post Your Blog Links
One handy tip I learn’t recently was how to get 18 Times More Likes on a Facebook Update. Don’t simply just add a link to the status update box so that it pulls in the thumbnail image from the post, the title of the post, and the first line or two.
Instead, upload your best photo from the post and then write something about the post (including the link). Better still, turn the update into a question that compels people to leave answers.
Share Valuable Tips
Don’t forget to share useful tips regarding your niche. One thing I love to do is eat, and I like to learn about good options for where to eat from other travel bloggers.
Mix it Up
You don’t have to always stay on topic. In fact, the highest engagement I have ever received was from an off-topic update. Also, when updating your status, use a combination of text, photos, videos, links to blog posts, and share others posts.
Don’t Automate Anything
I manually post all updates to my fan page and NEVER use automated services such as RSS Graffiti or through twitter. And I definitely get a better response manually posting.
Facebook needs eyeballs to earn revenue, so naturally you will be rewarded for being present on the site and posting in REAL time. If you constantly automate everything, your EdgeRank and engagement will suffer.
Post During High-Traffic Windows
Get to know when your fans are most responsive. There is some trial and error here and it can take some time. Think about which part of the world the majority of your fans are based?
I personally tend to get the best response posting late at night Oz time 10-12pm which hits the North American market early in the morning 6am-8am. OR, vice versa. In general, I seem to get better engagement outside of the typical 9-5pm business hours, irrespective of the country.
And I’m not the only one. Companies that post content on their Facebook pages outside normal business hours see engagement rates that are 20% higher than average.
Interact and Respond promptly
Do your best to respond to fan questions and comments as promptly as possible.
If you find you have trouble managing this, considering using a great free app called Hyper Alerts. We have it set so that we receive an email once per day alerting us to all our comments on our threads.
You’ve Got to Earn It
Building your brand and engagement is about taking action.
A well-executed strategy takes time and effort. More than anything, it’s really about showing up daily and taking a genuine interest in the likes, interests and opinions of your community members.
It’s not a case of build it and they will come. Always remember the rule for engagement is to make it about your fans and not about you. Provide value, become a trusted resource, and share the love…
Don’t just create a fan page, create an experience. Get this right, and your brand and community will naturally grow.
How much of a community are you building around your brand on Facebook?