Key tips on Facebook

By Sean Blanks

In just a few short years since Facebook launched its brand pages, they have become almost the first marketing tool businesses choose to arm themselves with when they set up. Businesses old and new feel that they must have a brand presence otherwise they’ll lose ground to the competition, my advice is that while it can be a great tool, if you don’t have your strategy right you could be wasting valuable time on the platform annoying potential customers!

Here’s three tips for to help begin generating some better engagement on your page.

1. Tell, don’t sell

However great your product, however much you believe in it, just using your brand page as a noticeboard for your product links will not convert fans into brand advocates or consumers.

While the print industry is exciting for us, it’s important to understand, our readers, fans and potential customers do not share our enthusiasm, and finding common ground isn’t always straight-forward. Very few people care to tell a brand page what they did at the weekend, or their thoughts on X Factor unless it’s a company or brand that ‘owns’ that space in the real world such as a women’s magazine. If you try to engage fans by talking about television and expect engagement, chances are you’ll get very few responses and demonstrate, in a very public way, a lack of engagement.

When we set up we began by linking to our company blog, pushing links to helpful printer articles. When we decided to change things around and push our Facebook presence we looked at topics we could talk about with authority; we found beautiful photography was a natural step for us to take. It also solved another problem; finding content!

2. Choose your insights wisely

Once you’ve got your approach, it’s not enough to schedule content every Monday and expect your new approach to take off. You have great insight at your fingertips, but the publicly available figures aren’t the answer. Fans is a measure of who you could reach, People Talking About This (PTAT) is a measure of who you are reaching. What’s most useful is the export data feature accessed by the insights button in the page admin area. Download the post and page level export once a month at least.

Use these downloads to assess both your most popular content and the content that turned people off; Facebook will tell you if any of your posts caused your fans to unlike, mute, spam, or hide your content. Asses this figure in the wider context of your fan numbers and decide whether your funny cat picture content published three times a day is actually doing more harm than good. If it is, introduce something else and analyse the feedback soon afterwards.

3. Put your money where your page is

Now you know you’re pushing out the right content, and picking up shares and likes and introducing some links to product (where relevant) it’s worth introducing a little extra budget to your page.

Head back to the insights admin area for a minute and have a look at another important stat, friends of fans. If your content is liked and shared by your friends you can reach these people fairly easily.

A small amount of money can go a long way. Consider promoting some of your posts to reach all of your audience. Introduce a giveaway or competition that fans of your page might be interested in (no leftover branded mousemats) and a redemption mechanic that doesn’t contravene Facebook’s terms and conditions and you’ll see your PTAT figure rise sharply.

You cannot expect all your fans to become advocates of your brand in return for nothing. Incentivise these willing ambassadors and you’ve got an enthusiastic crowd on your hands gleefully promoting your brand to their army of friends.

Alternatively, look at Facebook advertising. Play it carefully and you can get £25 free credit to experiment with too. Again, Facebook provides great reporting functionality for you to tweak and test and determine the best advert to drive the actions you want (decide whether your focus is to drive likes or click through to your website).

What’s key though, and this is our company ethos, is that you trial and test. Set a budget in each of these areas and see which gets the best results.

These three tips helped us build a strong foundation. What’s important now is to focus on keeping them engaged and to build trust and brand advocacy. If you can keep your fans on-board by not treating them as a cash cow or easy route to sales, you’ll find you’ve got an army of supporters collaborating with you to promote your messaging and business.

About the author

Sean Blanks is the Marketing Director of, the UK’s largest dedicated printer cartridge company. By taking a systematic trial and improvement approach, Sean and the company’s Managing Director, Ian Cowley, have created a double-award-winning Sunday Times Fast Track 100 e-retailer which manages 30,000 orders a month; ranks above all its competitors on independent shopper surveys on sites including Google, Pricegrabber and Shopzilla; and is the UK’s fastest growing printer supplies retailer in terms of sales.

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