Unless you’re going down the route of paying for interaction every time (which we don’t recommend), getting sizable and consistent organic interaction on your brand’s Facebook page can be really, really tough.
In fact, a study by Social@Ogilvy in March 2014 found that organic reach had declined to 6 percent meaning that on average only 6 out of every 100 fans you have will see your content. Those numbers are expected to continue to be on the decline, however there are plenty of ways to get people to interact with your content organically through hard work, perseverance and clever content strategies… but there are also shortcuts.
Here’s a Web Marketing Today exclusive – it’s our no-nonsense strategy to getting at least one or two solid posts up on your Facebook wall every week or so which will drive up interactions and your reach.
Perfect for brands.
The method: giveaways based on interaction
What we’re going to do is create a giveaway. This is going to be a Facebook-exclusive giveaway – only the people who like your page can enter. They enter by liking, sharing, and commenting on the post. Each like, share, or comment counts as one entry.
The obvious question is this: What are we going to be giving away?
It’s very simple – we’re going to be slapping our names on high quality items that people love to get for free (apparel, dishware, etc.) and then giving away a few of these items every week.
We accomplish three things with this strategy
Increased interaction on not one, but two posts
Our main goal with this strategy is to increase our average overall interaction so that we get more organic reach on the posts that we care about.
The actual contest post is self-explanatory – you say the rules, post what’s up for grabs, and add an enticing, eye-catching picture. Followers will be interacting with the contest post like crazy.
You also have an opportunity to announce the winners publicly and detail next week’s contest in a separate post. That way, you’ll get people liking the post because of the winners and because of next week’s giveaway.
That comes out to two posts per week. If you post heavily on social, you can do a contest once per week (assuming you have the capital to give that much away); if you’re a smaller brand, biweekly or monthly giveaways might be better. (You don’t want your entire brand page to be giveaways… that looks cheap.)
Interaction leads to visibility and new followers
Facebook users interacting with your post will make that action appear on their timelines and sometimes in the feeds of their friends. This makes people who aren’t your followers see your posts…
…and because your posts are so awesome (you’re giving away free stuff that they want), they’re going to pay attention to your page and who you are. They might even become followers themselves.
Fans using items leads to visibility
Whoever wins your giveaways will become walking advertisements for your brand… happily!
You have to be steadily active on Facebook for the best results – curating and creating content can be time-consuming. These giveaways count as activity, and you don’t have to put much effort into them past choosing a product and shipping it out.
Choosing what to give away
What does your audience want?
Consider your Facebook audience demographic, what your brand does, and how it relates to the needs and wants of your followers.
Make it valuable and cool
Whatever you choose, it has to make the person commit to liking, commenting, or sharing your post. You can’t be giving away pens and stickers. Give away something that the user perceives to be worth at least $20+.
And make sure that it’s somewhat cool to the social media crowd – a plain white t-shirt with your brand logo in the center probably won’t catch eyes. On the other hand, what about a slick t-shirt designed by a graphic artist that has your logo subtly incorporated? That’s a different story.
Make winning odds related to size of page
200 followers on your page? You might be able to get by with a single winner. 1,000? Still, maybe.
But let’s say that there are 10,000 followers on your page. Your giveaway post can blow up very quickly, and if it does, you’ll hit a wall – entering a single-winner contest when there are hundreds of entries seems almost not worth it. Followers won’t react.
And you can’t be giving away high-ticket items to entice followers… that will cost far too much if you do it on a consistent basis.
Instead, the items that we’re going to select are going to be cheap for us, and high in value to the user. That way, we can select multiple winners and simply increase the number of winners for each contest as our pages grow.
Easy: hoodie, t-shirts, hats, etc.
Who doesn’t love a new hoodie? Or comfy shirt? We’d bet that your favorite hoodie or shirt is worth a lot more than $20 to you.
Take this thinking and apply it to your own brand. What’s a relatively cheap item to buy in bulk that holds enormous value for the user? A unique, quality piece of apparel always will.
You can also venture out into dishware (glasses, pitchers, etc.) and other items like that where winners of all types will constantly be using them. (Glassware and apparel are both universal.)
Harder: brand-specific items
Giving away an item that’s actually related to your brand (and not just forcing an item like a t-shirt to be related to your brand) is a lot harder, but also more fruitful in the long term. For example, if you sell bed sheets, give away nightside lamps, alarm clocks, etc.
We’ll give you some tips on sourcing these brand-specific items below.
Getting it made and ready to give away
Find a supplier, get a sample, order bulk
Promotional products like this are remarkably easy and cheap to get made.
You can either go with an all-in-one supplier, such as…
Or, you can do a simple Google search for “custom [product you have in mind]” and see what comes up. Giving away products is big business – you’ll almost always be able to find a supplier for whatever you want. If you’re not sure yet, browse the categories of the companies above or do a search for “promotional products”.
Make sure that you get a sample and check it out before putting in a bulk order. Give away quality products and your followers will love you for it. Give away junk and you’re not doing anyone any favors.
Making the post
Hype up the contest for a few weeks in advance
Generate some buzz around your contests before they even begin. For a few weeks, make posts explaining the contest and getting users excited to enter and win.
Post nice product pictures with each post
One of the key elements in getting the interaction that you’re gunning for is catching the eyes of each of your followers. Pictures are paramount! You can’t post a basic “product picture” with a white background like you’d see on an e-commerce store.
Instead, take some pictures of the products so they looked like they are geared towards social media. If you don’t have good photography skills, or just don’t have the time, use a stock photography site like iStockPhoto, ShutterStock, or 123rf.
Don’t be afraid to get creative… the better the photos of your items look, the higher they will be perceived in value. No one knows that each contest costs you an almost-negligible amount of money between product costs and shipping costs… you have a blank slate to create value.
Boost first couple of posts like crazy
To help gain traction with your contests, pay Facebook to boost the first few giveaways for pennies on the dollar. Just make sure that you select to advertise only to people who like your page, and not friends of people who like your page.
If you can reach all of your followers with the first few contests, everyone will know what’s up when he or she sees a giveaway post from you. Your attention to detail, great products, and sleek pictures will then make them interact… which is what we want.
If you do all of this correctly, you’ll have an interaction machine humming along as frequently as you choose to schedule it. Compared to other forms of social media content generation, getting custom promotional products isn’t expensive at all, and everyone loves free stuff. Your brand’s image will go through the roof as long as you’re giving away quality.
There’s no reason to stop once you’ve seen success on Facebook. Creating products that people want (even if you’re giving them away for free) is powerful – you can use that value other places, too.
- Can you add in promotional products with your paid products to make customers happier?
- Can you replicate this interaction-based giveaway process on any other social networks?
- Are the products popular enough to sell for a small profit?
Feel free to put your own unique twist on this, too. What sort of contest can you hold that will get users interacting on a mass basis? It’s an easy way to increase the organic reach of the rest of your posts without having to constantly pay Facebook for engagement.
Selling on Facebook
Now that you’ve built a strong audience that’s ready to interact with your posts through Facebook, you can start using the social network to sell items.
One of the easiest ways to do this is through a social commerce app like Soldsie which let’s businesses sell directly on Facebook (as well as on Instagram and other networks).
Soldsie allows your fans and potential customers to make a purchase directly through Facebook. All you do is post a status update or photo containing a product that you’re looking to sell – people who want to make a purchase just leave a comment that contains the word “Sold” somewhere in it.
The benefit of having people make the purchase through Facebook is that it dramatically increases conversion rates compared to asking people to leave Facebook immediately and navigate to a site that’s unfamiliar to them.
Additionally, when someone leaves a comment on your post, Facebook will show this activity to the customer’s friends – this leverages the concept of social proof and increases the likelihood that others will make a purchase of their own.
Hopefully this post helped you, or at least inspired you to create a similar social media campaign. Interaction isn’t hard – you just have to be creative! And by increasing your interactions, you can then either push more traffic to your eCommerce business or take advantage of an app like Soldsie to sell directly to your followers.