Want To Really Engage With Facebook Fans? Listen To Them

Just like with any conversation, the way to really get through to someone isn’t to keep talking and talking, it’s to listen. For companies figuring out how to engage with their fan base on Facebook, listening is the key to success, according to an expert panel at the AllFacebook Marketing Conference in San Francisco (which wraps up Friday).

The panel for “Facebook Pages: Using Content anf Conversation to Build Community”:

  • George DeCarlo, founder and CEO, Woobox
  • Emi Hofmeister, social marketing manager, Adobe Social
  • Toby Yoder, enterprise business leader, Buddy Media
  • Clifford Torng, vice president of marketing, TigerLogic
  • Steve Garrity, co-founder, Hearsay Social
  • Todd Tweedy, managing director, Audience Machine (moderator)

Torng explained how important it is for companies to listen and pay attention to what people are posting on their sites. Panelists said that if it’s a one-way conversation, with your company posting and posting, people will eventually stop visiting your page and stop posting. In Torng’s words:

The way to be a great conversationalist is to be an awesome listener … In order to engage in a conversation, you have to prove that you are listening. There are a number of ways companies big and small can do that.

DeCarlo pointed out that companies on Facebook should have two major goals: Nurture the fans that you already have, and get those fans to post your content to their friends, and so on. Every time you post to your Facebook page, it should have one of these goals in mind.

Torng and Yoder noted that there are ways to keep users engaged, even if posts aren’t 100 percent about your company. Yoder gave the Miami Heat, Dove, and Del Monte as examples. Those Facebook pages know what their fans are talking about, and they tap into that. For instance, Del Monte put up a sponsored story when the Miami Heat won the National Basketball Association Finals, capitalizing on what their fans are buzzing about. However, Garrity said that your voice on Facebook has to be authentic. Don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’re a bank or some other kind of more serious company, it would be odd to post funny cat videos as a way to engage users.

Hofmeister explained:

Fans are meaningless without the conversation and engagement. You have to be able to engage in a meaningful way that drives those actions.

Readers: What companies excel at listening to users on Facebook?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Follow us on Twitter: @JLaffertyAF and @AllFacebook.

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