The Do’s and Don’ts of Successful Social Design: Part Two
Last week marked the kickoff of our social design discussion on creating an engaging Facebook fan page as we took a closer look at the top three branded pages. This week, we continue examining the pages of Facebook, YouTube and Starbucks, adding one more rule of thumb to stick with as well as summarizing the do's and don'ts that will help separate your Facebook fan page from the crowd.
Stick to a Schedule
In addition to the need for an organized wall that facilitates visitor interaction and discussion, another key to a successful fan page is making sure to post regular updates that visitors can rely on and look forward to receiving. Facebook's wall posts are inconsistent and primarily relate to service and feature updates but there’s no telling when they will go up. Some days have multiple posts, other times days go by with no kind of update or interaction.
Starbucks is also intermittent with their updates and actually had a gap from July 7 through October 22 where they didn't post a single update. This leaves fans without any sort of posting schedule to look forward to or count on. YouTube, on the other hand, does a great job of posting a single post a day for the most part, which creates a routine that fans can count on and look forward to checking out day to day. The key to continued social interaction is sticking to a schedule that visitors can expect and make a habit of checking out without bombarding their News Feed or disappearing from it long enough for them to forget they are a fan.
It's also important as the owner of a branded page to remember to go back and participate in the discussions once a post is placed. One of the most overlooked aspects of the social interaction between the brand and the users is actively taking part in the thread of comments that follow an official post. All of the top three branded pages are guilty of failing to participate in their own discussions. Sure it's great to get visitors talking among themselves, but it shows a certain level of genuine appreciation when the official site manager is also a part of that conversation. Doing so can help further evolve the discussion as well as show a willingness to respond to other comments. Simply posting updates and walking away until the next update lacks this type of personal connection between the brand and the fan that will help build a stronger community.
To summarize the do's and don'ts of successful social design and management, here's a list each that should help get your brand well prepared for the conversation:
- Do create a compelling landing page that welcomes non-fans while presenting them with relative content justifying their visit and inviting them to become a fan
- Do set the wall default to site managed content to present a clean, concise wall but enable user display filters to allow others to post their comments to the wall as well
- Do post regular wall updates that visitors can count on day to day
- Do check back on posts to actively participate within the comments left by fans
- Don’t overlook the impact that a thoughtful landing page can have on potential fans looking for a reason to click the Like button
- Don’t eliminate the users’ ability to post their own thoughts and comments on the wall as this takes away a key aspect of the social interaction that a Fan Page can offer
- Don’t post too sporadically or flood a visitor’s News Feed with too many updates
- Don’t ignore the discussions taking place after a post - reading them is good, but adding to the conversation is much better
Having a good understanding of the principles raised here will help any branded fan page build a solid foundation for a productive social community that benefits both the users and the brand. A brand that takes the time and effort to reach out to its audience has a better chance of getting their message across but truly interacting with the users will create a rewarding relationship that more straight forward advertising or marketing simply can't touch.
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