Are you managing your company’s brand page on Facebook? Running out of conversation topics with your fans? Do you really know how to make good conversation?
I suppose every brand should be considered an individual so it’s very hard to generalize. But below are some general tactics our social media team has been practicing with clients on Facebook. If you’re stuck in bottleneck writing posts for your Facebook brand page, you can use them as reference.
1. Think personal First, you need to design a persona for your brand. You might have heard many advertising gurus tell you the importance of designing a brand personality. When managing your brand in social media, this traditional brand management wisdom still works.
However, don’t confuse it with advertising copy writing. A normal person would not talk like the way Tony Tiger does in a Kellogg’s commercial. Imagine your brand as if it’s a real person you like to talk to. You also need to define what type of “friends” you want to make on Facebook. Do you use only local language or bilingual? Do you use colloquial speech? Based on responses, you can fine-tune the most appropriate tone and manner for your brand.
Now you can review your designed brand. If your brand is a person, do you want to sit next to “yourself” in the next banquet? Are you an interesting person worthy for “yourself” to “like” on Facebook? Ask yourself candidly.
2. Think lateral All right, you have designed your brand personality. You can start thinking what kind of content you want to post on your Facebook brand page. Consider your brand as an individual again, what hobbies does he/she have? What type of magazines/websites is he/she reading? What other brand pages does he/she “like”? (besides the competitors’ page you are spying on).
The reason for doing this exercise is to avoid restricting your brand’s conversation topics within your company’s territory. In fact, no one wants to “like” a brand with only one dimension. The most “social” brands are usually the ones that care about the world and the community. Think laterally from the point of view of a brand as a person. Then actively look for relevance with the most topical conversation that your brand can participate in.
If you are Gatorade, for example, besides posting news on the numerous sports, your fans might also care about the latest research on sports nutrition and health. Even if you are an airline flying to only a few destinations, you might think you don’t have much to say. But you can actually cover destination related topics from the most typical to the most trivial. For example, as smartphones become popular, a lot of travelers would like to know if any data roaming package/local Wi-Fi services are available for their coming travel destination.
The content above might not have a direct relationship with your brand. But this information is usually those your customers will care about. To make it relevant with your brand means to make your brand more relevant with your customers.
3. Think global If you are lucky enough to manage an international brand, you have no excuse to run out of conversation topics. Do you think Starbucks fans in Hong Kong would be interested with another exciting campaign from Russia? I would say yes. By tracking what your counterparts is doing is not only as important as spying your competitors, but also useful for sourcing inspiration for content from other third party news channels. In many cases, local fans aspire to brand stories from overseas market. So it’s a very good way to keep refreshing your brand at the local level while leveraging resources from your mother company. Developing an inter-offices exchange practice will be even better.
4. Think seasonal Any Facebook manager should develop a conversation calendar for the brand. Don’t do it monthly. Do it at least three months in advance. Map out some key topics your brand will talk about in the next few months. The topics can be seasonal or according to your product launch/promotion roadmap. Nevertheless, you can still be flexible and come up with new topical posts in response to current events. The key is you need to see the bigger picture in order to better evaluate your content strategy in the long run.
Seasonal content doesn’t mean it has to be just about festivals and events. You can also prepare a lot of smaller conversations such as mentioning about the weather changes, holidays, long weekend, and so on. If possible, make these content relevant with your brand or product. But don’t try too hard.
5. Think borrow Yes. You can always borrow content from others as long as you give them credit and get the approval if necessary. There are probably thousands of interesting posts that mention your brand in either other news portals or social media on the web. Why not aggregate these useful content on your Facebook page?
If it is a positive post, of course you shouldn’t have any problem to repost it. Even for negative posts, why not tackle it with your customer service managers? Once the issue has been resolved, you can amplify the whole story via your Facebook page. Turn around a negative story to a happy ending and make other customers notice it is one of the most effective ways to generate word of mouth. In the world of social media, pull is always more effective than push.