By Samuel Scott
Social media is all about the “social.” On Twitter, you want to converse not only with influencers and journalists but also with current and potential customers. On LinkedIn, you want to brand both yourself and your company as experts in your particular sector while still participating in group discussions and LinkedIn Answers.
On Facebook, however, the rules have changed. Now, the social-network giant has set its sights on establishing its monetary benefits. (More on that later.)
In this series, I have been discussing how to use integrated-marketing strategies to build a personal website online. I have taken you through the various techniques and practices that I have used to build my own website, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Online.” (I have been a fan of the cult-television program since I first saw it in 1998.) My goal is to show how holistic marketing can benefit any website – no wooden stakes needed – and highlight the inherent similarities to what my colleagues and I at The Cline Group do for our clients.
Before you continue with this installment, I recommend that you begin by reading part one, on website development and optimization, and part two, on calls to action and holistic marketing. Within this post, I will be discussing the specific social-media and public-relations tactics that I use on a daily basis.
How to Get Facebook “Likes,” Now
How do you increase the number of Facebook “likes” on your business page? The old answer, in part, was to comment (as your page!) on other pages’ walls and as replies to other individuals’ comments. Engaging the social media platform in this way could be used as a tactic to pique the interest of the followers you are targeting.
Unfortunately, this system does not work anymore (at least not as much as it used to). Following Facebook’s less-than-successful IPO, the company is under enormous pressure to increase advertising revenue. As a result, Facebook has made some significant changes. First off, page administrators can rescind (like I did) the posting permissions for any third-party users:
Secondly, I have noticed on my page that many postings by other pages, comments with links, and duplicate comments are being flagged as spam (and do not actually appear unless I specifically approve them). Finally, page owners can ban any user or page from commenting again – as often occurs because most posts by pages are little more than spam.
The point: Facebook has made it more difficult for pages to promote themselves for free. As a result, marketers now have three options to garner more “likes”:
- They can post on other fan pages, hoping that people will see the posts, click on their page, and subsequently “like” it – gaining a small number of “likes” each month, over time
- Directly promote their page on their websites and other related portals
- Use content marketing and PPC advertising
As is probably obvious, the latter two are the most successful. Unfortunately, it is all too common that a website, seeking to grow its Facebook page, situates its Facebook icon in an almost imperceptible location. If you want to pursue a Facebook-based strategy, then it is essential to include a call to action to “like” your page “above the fold.” For example, I placed Facebook’s box in the top-left corner of my “Buffy” website and (until recently) had a banner advertisement above each page’s content:
By optimizing my website for social media, I had, over a period of time, gained several hundred “likes.” Unfortunately, this did not meet my business and marketing goals. I required content marketing and PPC as well.
The next part of this series will detail precisely what I did. Here is a teaser for the coming blog post:
- At the start of your page creation, using the network’s PPC advertising is a better way to gain “likes” than the more-traditional methods
- Creating and publishing original, quality content sparingly but in a way that will spread both on Facebook and via your website and targeted mediums
- Using public relations to identify and communicate with targeted influencers on Twitter (and elsewhere) and getting links from them
- Having your Facebook page fulfill the same goals as your main website
- Adding social sharing and related items on your website
Stay tuned for the next part – how much of social-media marketing is just a type of public relations.