Cyclists, casual and professional, have a unique relationship with their gear. They really depend on it day in and day out to get them where they need to be, and a bad piece of equipment can mean being stranded. This trust and dependency breeds a strong brand relationship between cyclists and their chosen brands — the kind of connection all businesses should aspire to create. We took a look at the timeline pages of four large manufacturers to see how they were fostering that relationship. We also pulled out some best practices that your business could take away from them.
Giant has gone through the effort of establishing and maintaining Facebook pages for its brand in many of the major markets it serves. Although you can circumvent this need now by targeting individual posts for relevant regions, for some use cases, it might just not make sense to roll them all into one page. If your brand chooses to go this route, don’t forget to take advantage of cross-promotion opportunities by tagging relevant pages on your top-level brand page. This also has the advantage of funneling region- and language-specific users into regional brand pages that they might not have found. Another additional way to help segment your users into those pages would be to highlight them in your top-level brand pages’ likes section. Finally, you can drive more users to those pages by posting a targeted post in the language of whatever region you wish to separate users into.
If you segmented your brand pages regionally in the past, you can merge them again now. This might be beneficial for a brand looking to simplify its community management and fan base now that region-specific posts are available. In order to merge your pages, take the following steps:
- Make yourself an administrator of all relevant pages.
- Make the physical address information for each page identical.
- Go to the page with the most likes — this will be the one you keep.
- Select “Update Info.”
- On the left sidebar, select “Resources.”
- Click the “Merge Duplicate Pages” link.
- A box will appear listing pages that you admin that can be merged.
If your page doesn’t qualify or you don’t own the page, you can still report the page as your intellectual property, and Facebook will respond. In order to do that, head to the page you wish to merge, select “Settings” underneath the right-hand side of the cover photo, and select “Report This Page.” Select the appropriate reason for reporting the page, and Facebook should be able to help you get ownership.
As another alternative, you can create a branded application where users can enter in their own ZIP codes for local content. This can be a simpler option to manage, but it has its downsides as well — you need users to engage with your page, and most users never return to pages after the initial like. For most cases, your best option is probably to manage a top-level page that occasionally starts conversations with region-specific targeting.
Another thing that Giant is doing particularly well is engaging with its audience. With nearly 85,500 fans as of this writing and 2,940 people talking about this, Giant has more than 3.4 percent of its fan base engaged with its page. Larger pages typically score somewhere closer to 1 percent. This indicates that the company is doing a good job of creating content that engages with its fans, and probably keeping an eye on its engagement and PTAT analytics.
Cannondale has done an excellent job of really making full use of the timeline format. In particular, it has a good register of apps with optimized preview images that pop and really take advantage of the real estate they have. Apps are the best place to engage a visitor to your timeline in an outside competition or social channel, and Cannondale has taken advantage of this opportunity with a contest app and a newsletter subscription app. Since it takes an extra click to get users deeper into your available apps, be sure to highlight the best or most valuable conversion for your business as your first app in your lineup. Additionally, be sure that the preview images for your apps are optimized for the 111-by-74-pixel space that they get on your timeline. This will ensure an attractive look and feel to help entice your customers to check them out.
Another section that Cannondale has done an excellent job of taking advantage of is the likes section of its brand timeline, where it highlighted sister companies, related groups, and sponsored athletes that its followers might also enjoy. This is a good way to get additional, relevant fans for either other parts of your brand or for sister brands that your company manages.
Cannondale also does a good job of taking advantage of some of the advanced photo options that Facebook has in its new format. It frequently changes its cover photo with high-resolution images that showcase a product, sponsored athlete, or branding image. It also has highlighted posts that are optimized to fit the 851-by-403 sizing of timeline and take advantage of all available pixels. Remember to make sure your images are sized properly so that they don’t have a pixelated or unattractive appearance on your timeline. Don’t forget that Facebook now allows uploaded images of up to 2,048 pixels, so take advantage of the extra pixels. Finally, make sure that you’re optimizing your images for either display on your timeline or display in your users feeds — Facebook just revised its image sizing to give brand pages a huge upgrade in newsfeed image sizes. For an image to display perfectly on your timeline, size it for 403-by-403 pixels (or 843-by-403 for highlighted posts and milestones). Images will show up in your fan’s feed sized at 398-by-296; keep in mind that most of your interactions with fans will be off of your timeline.
When you visit Raleigh’s page, the first thing that should stand out is its high level of engagement with fans. It makes sure to post very regularly and take the extra step of responding to fan feedback.
Responding to fan feedback can do a lot of things for your brand. The foremost thing it will do is generate additional stories in the feeds of your engaged users. It also increases your affinity score, part of the EdgeRank algorithm, with your users, meaning that your content will show up more frequently in their feeds and with higher ranking. The last thing it can do is provide your brand with a source of additional content, either in the form of a blog post highlighting questions and comments, or by repurposing it as an additional post and responding to them in turn.
Raleigh is one of the oldest bicycling companies in the world, founded in 1887 by Frank Bowden and producing bicycles (and, for a brief period, cars) right up into the present day. If your company has a storied history like Raleigh’s, make sure to take full advantage. Fill your timeline with milestones and important moments in your company’s history to provide users with extra content that will entice them to stay on your page and as a way to deepen your connection with your fans. Milestones are also a great way to highlight your branding throughout the years — be creative and consistent.
Raleigh also does a good job of incorporating contests into its feed. For instance, SLIME ran a contest offering the winner a Raleigh bicycle, which Raleigh, in turn, shared with its fan base. This is a great way to net additional fans from competition partners, as well as to help them promote their products and nurture a business relationship with them. If you partner with a region-specific store or chain for a promotion, remember to make use of the targeted posting feature to make sure that users won’t get irrelevant content. This can both hurt your relationship with them as a real-life customer by annoying them, and hurt your relationship with them as a Facebook fan, since they won’t interact with the content, lowering your ranking with those followers and hurting your chances of showing up in their feeds when you are pushing relevant content. It’s also important to make sure that any contests you host are within Facebook’s promotions guidelines.
Fuji has done an exceptional job of really cultivating its fan base and engaging with and exciting them. It makes use of frequent photo uploads, and almost never posts text-only updates, which has been proven to be far more engaging for fans. If you can associate an image with an update, try to do so. For instance, if you’re posting a lot of blog entries to your Facebook page, upload a photo and put a link to the post in the description. This will make your post stand out in your fans’ feeds and provide them more impetus to click and zoom in on the image. When they click through an image, even if they don’t follow the link, they count as an engaged user and, thus, increase your EdgeRank score with that fan.
Fuji also does a great job of making use of resources already at their disposal. It features lots of images of racers, gear, and press about its team. This is a simple way to flesh out a content calendar, since it takes zero additional effort and provides followers with brand-relevant content, the most engaging kind. If you have extra promotional materials, old pictures, or other brand-relevant content lying around, make use of it on your timeline.
Readers: What are the best practices that you’ve found on brand pages?
Dan Wilkerson is a social media project manager at LunaMetrics, a Google Analytics-certified partner with services in social media, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click.