According to Facebook, more than 1 billion pieces of content are shared on the social networking site each day! This presents a huge challenge in trying to get Facebook visitors to engage with your brand and your beverage program.
How have some restaurant companies figured out how to move from “broadcast” mode into “engagement”? How have they engaged people so well that their fans invite others along for the viral ride? You and your team may or may not be directly involved in social media marketing, however, it’s important to understand how to execute it properly so it reaps the greatest rewards – traffic and sales – for your drink program.
If you are like restaurant execs, you want to know:
• When should we post?
• How often should we post?
• What type of content to post?
• Should we get outside consultation?
Here are 6 ways that savvy Facebook marketers are using the medium to engage with their fans.
1. Ask for Feedback
Open-ended posts invite audience participation, which establishes relationships with Facebook visitors. News blasts and yes/no questions do not require much effort, but open-ended posts, such as “What should we name our new cocktail?” entail insight and provoke greater volumes of response. Buffalo Wild Wings, knows this from first-hand experience. Boasting 5 million fans on Facebook alone, the chain drew 6,521 responses from the simplest open-ended post: “Beer is ______.” But open-ended posts aren’t just for growing the fan base; they also help maintain the fans you have by showing that you care about their opinions!
2. Strategically Time Your Posts
Here’s an overview of what days and time are more effective to post:
• Users are most active on weekdays at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. ET.
• Activity increases towards the middle of the week, while waning around the beginning and end, tapering to its lowest point on Sunday.
• Most people use social media in their free time before any all-day work and academic commitments.
• Do not be tempted into only posting during hours of heavy traffic; that tactic could alienate the fans of your brand by flooding their newsfeeds during these times of activity. We recommend a more balanced system where you spread out posts throughout the day and schedule the most important messages in the mornings and evenings.
• People who frequent happy hours most days of the week generally access their computers later than those who return straight home. Therefore, you may want to consider posting your most valued messages even later than 8 p.m. to reach this target audience.
3. Keep the posts concise
Posts that are 80 characters or less have 27% higher engagement rates. Remember that users are very selective when scrolling up and down their feed. A short message is much easier to decode.
4. Think twice about using URL shorteners
Engagement is, in general, three times higher for posts that use a full-length URL. Users like to know where they are directed before they click on a link.
5. Fans follow instructions well
If you want your fans to like or comment…ask them! Encourage fans to take action and do something. Be direct, short and concrete rather than ambiguous or subtle.
6. Ask questions
Posts that end with a question have 15% higher engagement rates. If you want your fans to answer questions only ask one question and do it in the end of the update.
If your company has neither the time nor resources to effectively post on Facebook or manage social media platforms, or if you wish to see the fastest gains, it may be easier to contract an outside expert. Make sure this expert possesses an in-depth knowledge of your business and refers the right social media platforms to produce the greatest returns.