Are You Really Engaging Your Listener On Facebook?
September 13, 2011
Like does not always equal love. That is an age-old truth in this world. And it is no different in the world of Facebook. Your station has Facebook fans that like you enough to hit a Like button and make you feel proud of your page's increasing counter, but do these Likers love you enough to care deeply about you and what you have to say? Do they crave your posts in their News Feeds, or are you on their Hide list, voted too immaterial to have material worth reading? More importantly, are you drawing listeners closer to your brand, forging a deeper bond and more listening? If you are not truly engaging your fans on Facebook, you are wasting a precious opportunity for a consistent constructive consumer connection. Worse still, you could be diminishing your brand with your unfocused or inappropriate efforts.
So how do you use Facebook to deepen your consumer bond and strengthen your station's brand? How do you keep your messages from falling on deaf ears? Here are six ways to deepen your fan connection on Facebook:
- Understand why listeners are liking your station and what they expect from you on Facebook -- is it utility, contesting or affinity? Facebook fans of an Alternative station we spoke with in a recent study say they liked the station on Facebook for three reasons -- to feel connected; to be cool and for a specific contest or ticket sale. Do you know what motivates your consumers to like you?
- Study what sort of posts are most important to listeners of your particular format and station. Our Alternative station listeners are most interested in posts relating to concerts, events and music. Obviously this can vary by format, etc. AC fans might prioritize coupons; Top 40 fans -- gossip, Sports fans -- scores and stats. What sort of posts will keep your listeners reading rather than scrolling past? Know what your fans want from your wall, or risk being hidden in the News Feed.
- Measure effective posts by your specific goals, not the number of comments. Many consumers hate comments and do not want their Facebook accounts flooded with notifications of comments from a bunch of people they don't know. So, just because you get a bunch of comments on a post doesn't mean you're winning over a bunch of fans. In fact, you may actually be ticking them off. Evaluate your posts in light of your overall Facebook brand goals instead of a Comment count.
- Keep messages short and check posts on a mobile phone for length and readability. More than half of Facebook usage is on smartphones, so if your post is long or cluttered, it is likely to be skipped or misread. Also, your listeners decide in a millisecond if they will read a post, so make it interesting or you will be ignored.
- Make deepening your brand's engagement with the audience your goal, not appointment listening. Although about a third of fans indicate that they listen to the station more since liking it, that additional listening does not appear to be the result of posts containing direct calls to listen at a specific time. Rather, the process of generating more listening is more subtle, the product of deeper engagement with the listener and low-key reminders of particular elements and events worth tuning in. Contests with prizes of great interest to the fans may add listening as well. Facebook is a brand builder, not a listener scheduler. Deeper engagement with fans will ultimately lead to more listening.
- Mold the content and form of your message to the delivery means (Facebook, database, website, etc.). The biggest mistake you can do is simply publish a press release from the marketing department everywhere you can. You must find your "voice" in each forum and tailor your message accordingly.
Sound so complicated you want to bail on Facebook? Not so fast. Being on Facebook is expected these days. Facebook has become so central to your listeners' digital existence, not having a Facebook page would be akin to having no business telephone. Many fans suggest that they would assume that a station without a Facebook page is in some sort of business trouble, likely to be changing formats in the near future. So, no, jumping off the Facebook ship is not an advisable alternative to shaping up your Facebook strategy.
Connecting with your consumers can and should be fun. You have your DJ voice down to an art, so now it is time to work on your Facebook voice. It doesn't take a fairy godmother to turn likes to loves. But it does take strategy and some in-tune personality. Get tuned into your listeners' expectations on Facebook, and with certainty, you will win a more tuned-in audience for your station in return.