Thursday, February 28, 2013

Facebook Organic Is Smarter to Launch

From those of us who either dabble in social media once in a while, to those who spend hours a day Tweeting, Sharing, Posting, Pinning, etc., there is an ongoing love/not love relationship with social. The love part comes from the relative ease of most of these platforms, that enable us to "talk" to literally hundreds of people at a time online. Composing a fun and effective Twitter post takes just a few minutes, although building up a great community can take a while. Bump it up a notch with a relevant photo, video or article link, or shoutout to someone in your community you find awesome, and you're good to go in terms of starting to build identity and buzz.

Birthday wishes on Facebook are one of the best ways to reconnect with your community. Yes it may sound a little cheesy, but when people take the time for even the simplest hello, it means something.

Pinterest is another addictive one--posting a fun and creative Pinterest board helps us discover our inner child, and releases us to the worlds of color, light, texture, and whimsy. While all the time, we may be subtly marketed to, without even realizing it. Pretty clever.

What's the not love part? Growing communities from nothing, and having the patience to start from the ground up. Not being sure of your ROI (return on investment), when it's deemed something you should instinctively know, like your favorite color, or the fastest route home. Then, there's managing it all, and knowing how much time to spend being social. Spend too much, and suddenly the rest of your life starts to pile up like dominoes. Spend too little, and you might be seen as uninfluential by your competitors, not to mention being seen as a weak brand.

Then, there's Facebook. With its changing protocals and timelines, privacy rules and pet peeves, it can drive all of us a little crazy. And yet one of the most interesting aspects of Facebook is the way so many users post in a way that reflects their personality and style. No sooner do we read how short posts are most effective, when long form writers like Joyce Maynard kick it out of the park, with novella style posts that can take up to an hour to read, and are worth every minute. No sooner do we read how posts must include provocative images, when great writers like Joanna Rakoff-Smith post 1-2 line text-only gems, that gain over 20 comments and Likes all on their own.

My top 3 tips for those getting ready to launch a Facebook Page or Profile are:

1. humanize your business and your persona as much as possible

2. post content relevant to your community

3. be organic and real; you don't always have to be Likeable, but you should be consistent in your Voice and Brand

In looking over my past most successful Facebook posts, whether personal or for business, they have all shared in common a topic or content thread that is highly resonant with the audience, and that illustrate mutual shared values and experiences.

Granola Marketing

The screenshot below is from a simple 6-word post I published back in August on my Oberlin College Facebook group. Since co-ops were such an integral part of the Obie experience (don't ask me about that night as granola maker...), I knew posting about food would mean something to everyone. Now, over 6 months later, the post is still going strong, with nearly 40 comments, and contributors continually adding food categories to the poll, as recently as a week ago.


During the course of managing the Menlo Pilates Facebook Page over the last 2 years, I've learned a lot about Yoganomics, and what does and does not resonate with that particular community--a combination of students, teachers, local businesses, and media. Some sharing of fitness related resources has not been as impactful as inspirational photos and funky poetry, so I have learned that a little quirkiness goes a long way toward building your brand and growing your online visibility.

Similarly, a more recent photo and poem were inspired by a quote from Moby Dick that I read in The Wall Street Journal, and received a large number of comments.

What say you? Would you consider your Facebook page organic?

What Facebook posts and strategies have been most effective for your communities?

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