Creating Brand Engagement on Facebook

If you like using Facebook as promotion media, the question is  “does your   content create   engagement in the form of  being liked, commented or shared by readers?  Based  on more than 1,000 wall posts from 98 global brands, Malhotra et.al (2012)  identify  eight ways    how different wall-post attributes impact the number of “likes,” comments and “shares” a post receives.

1. Express yourself through photos. Every picture tells a story. A photo is personal, and it can communicate quickly and easily. It also requires more thought and effort to take and include a photo in addition to text.

2. Be topical. Keep up with the times. Messages considered topical are those referring to holidays, festivals, important events, etc.

3. Don’t hesitate to be in your face. Promote the brand and its products. When consumers visit the brand’s wall, promotional messages are expected. Consumers visit the walls of brands they identify with and want to engage with.

4. Share the validation. Take a bow. Everyone wants to align themselves with a winner. By sharing success stories, achievements, awards and praise through wall posts, consumers can signal approval while also basking in the glory of a brand they identify with. By “liking” the post, fans indicate to their personal network their alignment with a successful brand. They are expressing their own positive self-identity through the brand’s achievements.

5. Educate the fans. Create informational value. Brands that generated or passed along information through wall posts also garnered a high number of “likes,” especially information designed for fans’ enrichment and education. This education could include informing fans about the history of the brand or the ways in which the company operates or produces products. When fans “like” these posts, they are in turn creating educational content for their personal networks.

6. Humanize the brand. Inject emotions. The salience of brand communication using social media is the “social” part. Fans like messages that paint the brand as a living object and express human emotions. Brand managers should view Facebook as a personal communication platform rather than a broadcast medium. Sharing posts that contain emotions helps fans convey their own emotions to their network of friends.

7. Humor is the best social medicine. Laugh and everyone laughs with you. People like to laugh. Funny things are appreciated. Being funny is an art, and not everyone can be funny. In terms of sheer numbers, most posts are not funny, especially brand posts. So the posts that generate a chuckle receive a significant boost in the number of “likes.”  Posting funny pictures  is one of the most common ways to present humor. Art and copy can often be combined to send a humorous message.

8. Ask to be “liked.” Ask and you shall receive. It’s as simple as it sounds. We found that if you directly ask to be “liked” on Facebook, you tend to receive more “likes.” Granted, this should be done in a polite way. Additionally, this should not be overdone, which could lead to diminishing returns or something worse, such as a consumer backlash.

What Prevents Wall Messages From Being “Liked”

1. Brevity Is Better The longer the wall posts, the less likely they are to be “liked.” Brevity is strongly correlated with the number of “likes” a post garners. We advise brand managers to convey their messages in the briefest manner possible.

2. Event-Related Messages: coming soon to an area not near you. Sharing event information via wall posts can significantly lower the number of “likes.” Many fans did not even “like” messages related to online events, which are geographically neutral. It appears that Facebook is a medium in which to organize and coalesce around information in the here and now, rather than at some later time and other place. Event pictures or descriptions were also not well “liked.”

3. Social Cause Affiliation Don’t assume consumers care about the same causes you do. On average, posts regarding social causes also did not generate many “likes.” In fact, these posts were not well “liked” at all. Brand managers should not assume consumers will care about the same causes as the brand. These messages may come across as pushy and preachy.

4. Enter Our Contests They can see through your brand promotional strategies. Contests are a popular sales promotion technique, but our research showed that wall posts announcing contests were less likely to be “liked.” Given the informative content (contest availability and participation instructions), these messages may be read and acted upon but do not result in many “likes.”

5. Deal (or No Deal) We’ll take no deal, please. Wall posts offering deals were less likely to be “liked.” In fact, deal-related posts, on average, got the least “likes” of all the attributes we measured. These wall posts from brands could be electronic coupon codes, complementary offers or time-sensitive discounts. While fans might want to avail themselves of these deals, they see no need to express appreciation through the click of a “like” button.

Let’s try!

Source   Winter 2012.

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