4 Rules of Successful Facebook Engagement
Pat Rhoads - Nonprofit Marketing & Social Media Professional
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Another 'Expert', only I'm not

4 Rules of Successful Facebook Engagement

I've seen a number of lists recently which tell you what to do and not to do in social media. Many of them have been pretty good. And of those, quite a few have dealt with Facebook specifically.
In my work, Facebook is the primary social media tool we use (though we are also active onTwitter), and I've learned a few things that I thought I'd pass along to you. For the most part, I'm going to avoid most of the things you typically see on these lists, and deal with some I haven't seen much yet. So without further ado, here are my 4 rules for being successful on Facebook.
  1. Make sure the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. I'm not just talking about making sure messaging on various social media outlets are in sync. I'm talking about a comprehensive, multi-channel communication plan that integrates your social media, email, direct mail, and any other channels together into a cohesive message. If you're posting whatever you feel like, and it's not in line with your organization's other communications, you're not only missing a great opportunity to enhance effectiveness, you're actually in danger of hurting the message.
  2. Make sure your posts cover a variety of relevant topics. Within the bounds of the communication plan, offer readers a wide array of content. It needs to fit your organization's branding, image, messaging, and the stated goals for the Facebook page, but that should still leave some room. I regularly post features from our web site, articles and blog posts from others in our field, videos from our YouTube channel, and more. When I see Facebook pages with the same basic thing posted over and over, I get bored with them pretty quickly.
  3. Listen and respond. This one you do see in most other lists, but it's so important it bears repeating here. Constant monitoring of your Facebook page for posts and comments is vital for your page to reach its full potential. Every post and comment is a chance to build a relationship, whether its through answering questions, thanking people for their input, or even just clicking "Like" on what they posted. You worked hard to get all those people to 'like' your page, now engage with them.
  4. Start conversations. This is not the same as listening and responding. This is actually starting the conversation. We do this two different ways on our Facebook page. First is through a weekly feature called “Feedback Friday”, where we ask a question we expect we’ll get a lot of responses to. Often the question is actually posed for our fans to provide info to other fans (book, blog or movie recommendations, for example), which generates further conversation. The second is to look for questions posed by our fans where they actually want other fans to answer. Most of the time the others fans won’t see those questions (it won’t appear in their News Feeds), so we post the question as a status update to generate more responses for them. This not only creates a conversation between our fans, but makes the person who originally posted the question really feel how much we value them and want to support them. The goodwill this creates is invaluable to any organization.
These four principles have helped our organization be quite successful through Facebook, especially in terms of steadily increased engagement with our fans. Are there any others you’d add?

3 Comments to 4 Rules of Successful Facebook Engagement:

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Rochelle on Monday, September 26, 2011 12:21 AM
Thanks for this post. :-)
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patmrhoads on Monday, September 26, 2011 1:17 PM
You're welcome! I sincerely hope you find it helpful. And with the new changes to Facebook, I think some of these rules will be even more important than before.

Alessia Watson on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 2:20 AM
You get to boost engagement with your audience at no cost to you. And your partner gets exposure to a new audience.
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