Facebook PR Strategies for Small Budgets
Kohl’s department store has more than 4.8 million Facebook “likes,” a following largely built during a 2010 campaign that let fans vote for which 20 schools should receive $500,000 each. The company gave away $10 million, but gained a groundswell of good feelings and a legion of new fans who now receive the company’s updates every day.
But take heart — you don’t need a multimillion-dollar budget to build a Facebook following. Instead, take a lesson from Kim Miller, Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Time Inc. Style & Entertainment Group. Speaking at the PR News Facebook event for public relations professionals last month, Kim discussed the simple strategy that increased People Magazine’s Facebook following from a few thousand to more than 1.2 million. The magazine offered coupons, giveaways and fabulous sweepstakes — but in the end, the most successful tactic turned out to be a simple free survey that allowed fans to vote on a Sexiest Man Alive poll.
Kim’s advice works, even if your brand name isn’t People and you don’t have beefcake pictures of actors to post on your Facebook page. The strategy: Engage your fans. It’s cost-effective (if somewhat time-consuming), but by doing so, you’ll send a message that you’re building a community — and that you value your customers’ participation in it.
Here are some easy and inexpensive do’s and don’ts that will help you get the most out of your Facebook marketing campaign:
- Appreciate your fans — acknowledge them, interact with them, ask them questions and respond to theirs. Your fans love you and want to be loved in return!
- Post quality content that resonates with your fan base. If you’re not sure what your fans want to see on your Facebook page, ask them!
- Use Facebook Places. Own your space. Check that all locations are accurate. If you are a restaurant, retail outlet or other consumer destination, encourage fans to “check in” by offering a small discount or other promotion.
- Offer incentives exclusively for fans. A coupon program may be less expensive than you think.
- Over-promote, over-commercialize or over-post. Yes, it’s great that you can pull 10 snippets of information out of one press release. But flooding your fans’ newsfeed with commercials is a sure way to get them to click the “Block” or (worse) “Unlike” button.
- Ignore your page. Too much information is bad, but so is too little. And there is nothing worse than those poor abandoned pages created on a whim that now feature only “acai berry diet” and “dude I can’t believe I just got a free iPad 2!” spammers.
- Blow off fan feedback. You never know where the next great idea will start. Starbucks routinely asks fans for advice, and has incorporated several of those ideas in-store.
Remember: Some of the best Facebook tools are free. Facebook Insights offers a wealth of information on fan demographics, most popular posts, activity spikes and so much more. Link-shortening site www.bitly.com allows you to track the popularity of links posted, and also (shhh) lets you see stats on your competitors’ links. Finally, don’t forget about your company website. Post a link to your Facebook page prominently on your home page so your fans can easily find you.
Coming up Next in Part 3 … How to climb to the top of the Facebook news feed.