Facebook is huge. I am not. Weighing in at five feet, forty-eight kgs of raw power, most would even dare to classify me as small. This is fine, so long as they are also willing to the use of the “raw power” caveat when doing so.
Being small isn’t always detrimental, even when the playing field is massive (like Facebook). In fact there are often benefits to towering under the other competitors.
Last summer, I competed in an obstacle footrace that forced me to climb up and over walls more than three times my height, to run full-tilt at a towering quarter pipe, and to rely on long-armed strangers to catch me and hoist me up. But, there were areas where I had an advantage over those long-armed strangers! Being small meant that crawling under barbed-wire, squeezing through muddy ice-tunnels, and swinging over freezing water on a giant set of monkey bars was a breeze…
Okay, maybe not a breeze, but much easier! And, as I found with this challenge, being small can also have its bonuses in the online gauntlet that is Facebook. I would go so far as to argue that being small is an advantage. (Shorty pride!)
Small businesses can dominate Facebook in ways big businesses can’t, most significantly through engagement. Being small means engaging fans and finding talent in a much more personal fashion, which is what effective social media is really all about.
Here are a few simple tips on engagement that capitalize on small business status:
#1) Get specific!
Not having a million fans means it’s easier to create relationships with the ones you do have. Use your fan’s names, it makes them feel special and important. Cheesy, but true.
#2) Tailor your posts.
More specifically, tailor your posts to your fan-base. It’s so important to create interesting content. That means posting more than just business updates and job openings (although Facebook is great for that!). Your fans are much more likely to share and Like your content if it pertains to something that interests them, and as we’ve already established, small businesses are in a prime position to really get to know their fan-base. That means you should keep track of what your fans are into, the types of posts they like to share, and use that information to put out content in line with their tastes.
#3) Keep it simple, silly
(Hot Tip: NEVER call your readers stupid, no matter what cliche you are choosing to employ).
To increase engagement through Sponsored Stories and Facebook Ads, keep your call-to-action simple. When you ask a question, make it an easy one to answer. People are much more likely to respond if they can do so in one or two words. With call-to-actions, keep things short and punchy. “Want to work for a company with the best staff parties in all of Holland? Click Like!” Of course you do, that’s why simple, fun CTAs get more clicks.
#4) Create conversation.
Once you post on Facebook, don’t let that post simply drift off into the ether! Stay present to answer questions and respond to comments. Keeping a dialogue flowing makes your post more engaging, your company more personal, and can give you a greater understanding of the hearts and minds of your clients and potential hires.The best way to create conversation is to respond in real-time, or as close to it as possible. The back-and-forth of personal interactions are what people love about small businesses, at the brick and mortar level, and that intimacy needs to be cultivated in the land of Facebook as well. It may not be as personal as a good old-fashioned phone call, but this type of fan engagement is the most effective that social media has to offer.
If four tips just isn’t enough, here are nine more! That’s a lot of tips. For some solid advice on how to build an audience to engage with, check out Ryan’s awesome post. Oh and if you want to see what I look like after crawling through mud for a couple hours, here ya go… It’s NOT a pretty sight, you have been warned!