Facebook

The Most Personal Channel

FacebookPeople ‘like’ your Facebook page for different reasons. Often they’ve been invited by someone involved with your brand. Others hit the thumbs-up button with the expectation of special offers or incentives. Still others just really, truly like you. They think you’re cool enough that they’re intentionally adding your updates to their already cluttered news feed. That’s a pretty satisfying pat on-the-online-back.

In terms of reach, Facebook is king with more than a billion (!) users, including 17 million in Canada. Considering sign-ups have to be at least 13 to have a profile and plenty of teens are choosing not to engage because (ick!) their parents would insist on adding them, it’s a safe bet at least two thirds of your customer base is there somewhere.

A lot of mystery and suspicion surrounds how Zuckerberg and Co. manage your content, but for many brands a Facebook page is their most visible online presence. For a smaller brewery it’s probably as or more important than your actual website.

First things first: How does Facebook fit into your social media sphere? If you’re a smaller brewery, it’s a bigger piece. You’re niche. You can communicate directly with your customers in a more personal, localized tone.

No matter what you think of Rob Ford, this you know: His base was hardcore solid because he took the time to reply to individual constituents. Now think of Facebook. It’s where people spend the most time building, editing and refining their profiles. It’s a more complete reflection of how an individual wants to be regarded than Twitter, Instragram or Pinterest. Users get seriously upset when Facebook changes the layout because they feel ownership over their (free) profiles. This is the best online platform to make a meaningful connection and inspire loyalty.

users know where to find important details like your address

Because Facebook offers a pretty standard layout and prompts administrators for basic information, users know where to find important details like your address, phone number and hours of operation. Taking a few minutes to put your details on Facebook is a very good time investment.

FB also offers a decent set of analytics for the SMM that doesn’t have time to crunch all the numbers. At a glance your page admin(s) can see which posts are connecting with audiences, making it easier to refine your content and plan the best time to make announcements.

Whether you’ve invited people to like your page or if they’ve found you on their own, once you’ve stamped their wrists you’re obliged to give them a show. It doesn’t do you any good to have a page you don’t update, and in fact it’s annoying to ask people to ‘like’ your brand if you can’t be bothered to give them reasons for doing so.

So now that you’ve started a page and entered your basic info, what next? Well, chances are you want to sell some beer. If, like Beau’s, you actually sell some of it online, it’s worth producing some visuals that link back to that section of your website. But that’s only a small piece of the Beau’s business. Every craft brewer should focus more on accumulating ‘likes’ which can generate business in other ways.

Why (other than bragging rights) should you care about likes? Because Facebook is subscription-based.

If someone ‘likes’ your brand, they’ve consented to hear from you

If someone ‘likes’ your brand, they’ve consented to hear from you. Direct mail campaigns claim a 4-5% response rate. Email comes in well under 1%. With a Facebook page however, you’re able to send messages and invitations directly to those that already identify with your brand, absent of any spam filters.

Facebook, of course, also makes it ridiculously easy to extend your reach. Develop content that has the potential to create a conversation and watch as your fans share it on their wall, on their friends’ walls or on pages they run.

So how do you get the ‘likes?’

  • Add links to your page from your website, Twitter account, blog and anywhere else someone might be browsing. Use all your online resources to reinforce each other and you’ll see greater numbers, faster.

  • Invite meaningful engagement. Add polls, questions or commentaries that promote interaction. Give your customers a sense that they have some direction in how you do your business. How about asking which out-of-production beer your fans want brought back? You can either do a poll where you control the potential answers, or pose it as a question and let the feedback fly!

    Either way, you’re not only encouraging engagement with your brand, but you’re also getting free feedback. If your customers feel strongly enough about it, they might even encourage others to make their voice heard.

  • Add incentives. Offer a branded toque or bottle opener to the user that both likes your page and posts the best answer to your question. Give 20% off your brewery tour. Free tickets to festivals or other events you’re part of are easy ways to spread goodwill.

  • Post great photos of people enjoying your beer. Remember, beer is social. Recruit a skilled lensperson to photograph the good people socializing with your beer, then direct those folks to your Facebook page to see the pics. Add your logo to the images (a very simple PhotoShop action) and offer an incentive to people that tag themselves. Suddenly your logo is supporting an awfully fun occasion in dozens of other Facebook albums, potentially seen by tens of thousands of others.

You’ll find Facebook (done well) will take up more time than Twitter. Spam will appear in your comments, messages will beg for replies and photo albums will require edits and organization. But considering each new ‘like’ is one more customer that chooses to hear from you, the potential to build an army of willing supporters is too great to ignore.

Facebook Recap:

  • As a platform, Facebook reaches the greatest number of users and is also the most personal.

  • Because pages for business have a pretty standard format, users go there expecting to be able to find key information in predictable places.

  • Accumulating ‘likes’ is more important than funneling people to your website.

  • Don’t treat your Facebook page as a broadcast medium. It’s actually a forum for conversation.

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