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Turning facebook fans into brand advocates

Opening a Facebook fan page for your business or brand is very easy and gaining followers not that difficult; the real task is in turning your Facebook followers from passers-by to your posts to active participants in your discussions.
To achieve such audience attention and retention on a crowded platform like Facebook is no easy task, the reason many organizations employ full time social media executives (SMEs). But even these SMEs, many of them gurus at their job, still struggle in this ever-evolving task. So here is some help for them – SMEs, as well as you – entrepreneurs, brand managers, PR executives etc.
Social media expert, Matthew Kobach, whiwriting in Business 2 Community, proffers The 10 Rules That Every Business Needs To Know Before Posting On Facebook; below are some of them -short and simple, and most importantly, effective.
Keep Things Positive
First, Kobach, whose Phd was focused on the prediction of social media behaviour, says you have to keep things positive. “People are quick to unlike a business if posts are negative or controversial,” he asserts, arguing that being negative may cost you fans. Instead, if your posts are positive they would move your followers to engage more as well as share with friends –exactly what you want them to be doing to help grow your page’s reach.
Give Tips And Links
Next, you have to make your posts informative by giving tips and including links. Your audience will be more interested in you if you post interesting facts. According to Kobach, “the most appealing updates are ones that offer something. Don’t disclose everything — this increases the likelihood that fans will click… If you’re sharing a blog post or an online article, create a status update that features the piece’s most interesting fact or statement to stir reader curiosity and encourage click-throughs”, he wrote. And one other minute but equally important detail, instead of copying and pasting a long URL into your status update, Kobach advises you use a link-shortener like Bit.ly to make your post brief and more likely to be shared (Ventures Africa does this and can confirm its effectiveness)
Make sure your posts are engaging
It’s not just okay to simply share stories or information, Kobach warns, you have to also make sure your posts are engaging. “Ask questions to get engagement. Multiple choice questions, fill in the blank, and describe this picture in three words are all simple techniques that increase engagement.” If you do this right, and get more people are engaged with your content, then more people will see your content.
Get feedback from fans
Closely related to the above advice is to always get feedback from your fans. “All too many companies fail to get feedback from their fans,” Kobach laments. “Your Facebook fans can be your own personal focus group and they are often interested in sharing their opinions.” You have to make your fans feel like their opinion could help shape your future business decisions.
And always respond to posts, he advises. More importantly too, he warns you should never delete a negative post. “Instead, address it and own it”.
Respond to posts and comment on comments
Posts alone are not enough for your Facebook page; Kobach recommends comments and responses, describing them as equally important in the bid to grab attention. “Engage with people and build relationships through conversation. This includes being available to respond and addressing negative feedback.” And admit your fault is also important, he stresses, “(it) makes you (your organisation) look more credible.
Mind what you post
Another important marker to you or your organization’s credibility is the consistency of the ideals of what you post. According to Kobach“It is important that you aren’t harming your brand by posting information that does not match your brand identity. Just because you find something amusing, doesn’t mean that your fans will.”
And always thank and reward your fans
Kobach also makes a huge case for thanking and rewarding your fans, stating that it helps your business grow through word of mouth and proves popular as a post topic. “Your fans want to feel as if they are part of a community. This turns casual fans into brand advocates. Make your fans feel as if they are benefiting from being your fan. Offer Facebook exclusive deals and thank them.”
Don’t Forget To Check your time
Kobach also says the timing of posts is important, observing that you try to reach them when they are listening not just when your business is open. “This will ensure more user engagement,” he assures. But he also warns that you should not always post at the same time of day. “Fans that are on in the morning are going to be different than the fans that are on in the evening.”  (VENTURES AFRICA)
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