I have been managing a couple of brand’s fan pages directly for some time – Savvy Cellar Wines (which I’m a Co-Owner of) for over two years and Organic Wine Review (which was video blog launched last year). My consulting practice SmokeJumper Strategy is increasing being called upon to assist software and Internet companies with their social media and marketing strategy, which inevitably includes Facebook. I was also recently asked by Facebook to become an Advisor to their Local product and marketing efforts.
During this time, I’ve experimented with many aspects of managing a fan page for a small & local businesses: from times to post, different media types and observing and measuring what types of posts seem to drive social interaction. Along the way, we’ve managed to grow our fan base (now at 2,100), hopefully engage them in a positive way and taken advantage of the advances Facebook has engineered into their tools and apps for fan pages, their advertising platform and their analytics to measure audiences and responses to actions.
Recently I read the Buddy Media report “Facebook’s Edgerank: How to Make Sure You’re in the News Feed“. While, I’m not sure I understand the calculation of Edgerank (or Google’s PageRank for that matter), reading the report served to do several things for me:
- Confirmation of some of the things I had observed casually or intuitively.
- Generated new ideas to try out.
- Motivation to write this blog post & adapt their “Top 10 Tips”
So here is my adaptation of their list, morphed into what has worked for me in managing a Facebook fan page for a small, local business:
1) Ask Questions. Sounds obvious but if you want people to do more than passively read your posts (or skip over ‘em altogether), ask them questions. ”What item on this month’s menu are you most excited to try?”
2) Games & Trivia. We recently created an iPad contest app “Know the Savvy Sommelier” as an anti-dote to Groupon, Living Social and other daily deal sites. This gives us the ability drop clues about current contests or announce winners from prior contests. You don’t need to have a custom mobile app to come up with a basic trivia question.
3) Interact with Comments. Again, another tip that sounds obvious. If someone posts on your wall (and it’s appropriate – not spam) or responds to one of your posts with a comment, then you should respond. Brief and direct is good. Fun, friendly and personable is better. TIP: if someone asks you a direct question such as “What time are you open until tonight?” it is best to respond ASAP. However if the comment is more conversational, I try to wait to respond – hopefully more fans will engage by commenting on or liking the post and then when I respond, all that have liked or commented will be notified of my response.
4) Use Polls. A twist on #1 is to use Facebook’s Question app. Here are examples of the types of questions we ask our fans. We recently asked fans which of our award-winning wine class they were most excited about attending. On opening day of the baseball season, we came up with a poll as to what their favorite wine & baseball stadium food pairing was. (Garlic Fries & Brut Champagne was the clear winner!)
5) Offer Incentives. This is an emerging area of tech start-up activity – the ability to target and offer incentives to your fans to help drive additional patronage and “fandom”. We have a mobile fan list – when you join we offer 25% off your next wine tasting flight. (Text “wine” to 244326 to try it out). Periodically I’ll ask Facebook Fans if they have joined our mobile fan list. We are experimenting with incentives for social activity – e.g. grab this mobile coupon if you fan us on Facebook.
6) Photos. Our fans love pictures. I’ll post almost anything – staff tasting and evaluating wines behind the scenes, fresh flowers planted on the patio, a big stack of empty wine boxes burying one of our team members. Last week I took a pic of a pitcher of sangria immediately after it was freshly made – it generated a dozen likes and even more comments!
7) Relate to Current Events. We often entice folks on warm sunny days to partake in hanging out on the Best Patio in Mountain View! We also try to offer up events related to holidays – Father’s Day Wine Tasting, “Hallowine”, St. Patrick’s Day Green Wine Special, etc.
Video. We need to do much more of this – classic case of a consultant (or parent) saying, “Do as I say, not as I do“. We have a YouTube channel and post videos of our servers reviewing certain wines they are excited about. We then post links to those videos on Facebook.
9) Reviews. I periodically will draw attention to our reviews (primarily on Yelp). Typically I’ll thank a person for posting the review. Sometimes, when we’ve been hit with a bad review, I’ll lament and ask others what they think – sometimes it helps getting a broader perspective, can generate constructive feedback and often will pick up my mood after being lambasted. (It also can be cathartic to blog about it).
10)Funny Tweet. This is a new idea I haven’t tried out yet, but as we are active on Twitter I think there is a way to find a humorous tweet periodically and share with our fans. Perhaps a quote could work as well.
Buddy Media offers a couple of others that didn’t make my Top 10 List as they are not really specific ideas for a post itself but rather practices that should be adhered to continually:
- Provide Links. Most posts should provide a link to relevant content.
- Be Explicit. We periodically will ask fans to do something such as vote for us in a “Best of” contest.
What practices do you employ in posting to your Facebook fan page?