“I’m not sure why someone would want to follow our brand on social media.” I hear this question often from our current clients, as well as prospective ones. Usually, after digging deeper, they admit they feel their industry is too boring or traditional; they’re uncomfortable using social media effectively; or they’re unsure of the business case for investing the time, energy and money to be social.
But the case for using social media for brands is pretty straightforward. Currently, about 84% of the U.S. population is on social media. The most popular social platform is Facebook, and it works for brands: the average Facebook user clicks on 12 ads a week, and 58% of consumers have visited a company’s website from a Facebook story.
Search Engine Journal and Hootsuite provide great at-a-glance overviews of these trends.
So, why do people follow brands on Facebook in the first place? Because they like the brand. It’s a simple answer, yet there’s an emotional undercurrent driving it.
What makes a brand “likeable”?
Likable brands have a high level of friendliness, which includes being approachable, empathetic, relevant and real. This is demonstrated by the brand’s ability to communicate with a human voice. They speak with -- and listen to -- their audience like a friend, not a robot or a pushy salesperson.
Being approachable means people feel welcome. They aren’t talked down to, or left out by trying to decipher your industry jargon, buzzwords or acronyms. Sounding “smart” can be alienating to your customers. Through empathy, an emotional, intimate connection is made. With Facebook, engaging visuals and video can help open up opportunities for empathy.
Fans derive value from relevant content, which influences their purchases and allegiances. Relevant content may include new products and announcements, discounts or coupons, contests, "behind the scenes" reveals, or anything that makes your brand more personal. Reviewing your Meta Business Suite's Insights can help you glean data on what kinds of posts are resonating and what’s falling flat. Also take into account your timing, frequency, and audience. Look beyond who’s following you to who’s truly engaging with the content.
Last but not least, being a likable brand means you’re keeping it real. When brands aren’t honest and authentic, people can feel it and they disengage. Just as we read a person’s body language and tonality in face-to-face conversation, people can sense a company’s authenticity through digital media.
What should you share?
Statistics from Sprout Social reveal that when people follow brands, their top reasons include: having a genuine interest in it’s products and services; seeking promotions; and, not far behind that, being interested in a brand’s entertainment value and personality.
Fans are usually very interested in learning about what’s new and coming up, as well as how the brand’s offerings, team, and culture are growing. To continue to garner interest, successful brands share engaging visuals, infographics, and short videos. Often, a brand’s page analytics will show that this variety of content is very easy for folks to enjoy, respond to, and share with others. They’ll feel part of the brand’s journey, especially when the brand is also responsive to their communication, ideas and feedback.
With promotions, it’s a tenuous balance. While many fans follow a brand to have access to special promotions and offerings, too many postings about promotions is the top reason a fan un-follows a brand. Un-follows also occur when fans don’t feel the content is relevant to them anymore; or they feel inundated with posts, as well as slang and industry jargon.
This information is a helpful reminder to us at A-LINE, and I hope for you, too. Here are some ideas for cultivating a brand worth following:
- Learn more about and understand your audience. (Here are some of ALINE's tips for defining audiences).
- Share a variety of posts, balancing promotion with value.
- Include photos often, especially those of staff or “behind the scenes” at your company.
- Write like a real person. Be You.
- Eliminate jargon.
- Be aware and responsive.
- Use video often, including Facebook stories and Facebook Live.
- Periodically evaluate your page’s Insights and Ads results to fine-tune your approach. You can find a wealth of information in your Meta Business Suite about your audience, their usage and their responses. ALINE is always available to help you make sense of this too.
These tips will help your fans be more receptive to your content, which will ultimately lead to happy, loyal customers.
Why do you follow brands on Facebook? We’d love to hear your “why” and ideas! Share here or on our Facebook page.