Stop Trying to Fit in on Facebook and Start Standing Out
There is a truly annoying trend that I’m seeing when visiting the various Facebook pages I check out on daily basis. If you were to ask the page managers if they’re trying to stand out, most would claim that it’s their goal. When you look at the actual pages, you’ll see that the exact opposite is true. So many are trying to blend in on Facebook, to post the same images and links that they see are performing well for profiles or popular pages. While this is a valid strategy, it’s definitely not the type of strategy that’s going to help you truly stand out in the sea of posts that flood everyone’s news feed.
First, let’s take a look at what not to do, then we’ll go into some of the best practices that you should be following that will help your page differentiate itself.
Don’t Post Funny Cat Pics
Trendriding, the art and science of taking something that’s popular on social media and putting your own unique and relevant spin on it, can be extremely beneficial if done right. Let me repeat: “If done right.” The window of opportunity is short. The negatives associated with riding a dying trend are heavy.
Cats, bacon, hating Nickelback – these are all trends that will likely never die on social media. Avoid them. So many people fall back on trends for their posts that it’s extremely difficult to stand out with them. Can you get some likes? Sure. Will you get people who unfollow, block, or report your page as spam without ever knowing it? Yes.
If you don’t have a relevant, timely, and unique spin on a popular topic, don’t try to fit in just because everyone else is. This is the easiest way to make you blend in with the rest of the sheep. You’re not trying to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing blending in and playing natural. People can tell when you’re only posting a popular picture because you’re a business and that’s what businesses try to do (at least in their opinion). If you have to be a sheep, be a black sheep. Stand out.
Now that we know what not to do, let’s take a look at a few ideas of what you can do to make your page stronger.
Original, Unique, Relevant
You have to make a promise. When you’re trying to entice people to follow your pages and profiles, asking them to do so blindly simply won’t do. Instead, you have to give them a reason and fulfill the promise that you make.
Despite trying some creative advertising text on a car dealer client of ours, we found that the most successful one kept it simple and to the point: “See great car pictures and automotive content on Hawaii’s #1 Chevy Dealer Facebook page.”
That’s it. A simple promise and one that could be easily fulfilled. The page has grown over 1200% (yes, that’s two zeros at the end of the number) in local fans in the past month and they aren’t losing people because we keep delivering on what we say we’re going to deliver – cool car pics and relevant automotive news.
Here are some things that you can do with your posts to make you stand out rather than fit in:
- Constantly take pictures. This cannot be said enough. If you have a local business and you specialize in a particular product or service, you should be taking pictures constantly. You might go through 3 dozen pictures before you find one that’s good enough to post to Facebook, but once you find it you’ll be thankful. Original content always performs better than stuff you find on Buzzfeed if the image is strong enough. Stay patient but never stop clicking your camera button. Even better – encourage your employees to do the same and send the best pictures to you.
- Give incredible advice. You’re an expert at your trade. People, fans in particular, rely on you to give them tips and tricks on how to best use your product or service. It can be industry-specific general advice as well. Either way, write out a nice tip that people can use and your fans will be grateful for it.
- Find great content but put your spin on it. Anyone can find an article about the latest hybrid technology by Honda, but a Honda dealer can give more insight into what it truly means to their fans. It’s okay to post links, but be absolutely certain that you apply a personal touch in the description. You opinion about the news is relevant. You’re the expert. Show your expertise.
- Address the audience in your videos. One of the neatest tricks I found to work for videos is by starting it off by addressing the fans directly. “Hey there ABC Motors Facebook Fans, it’s Bob Bobbins here and I wanted to show you this amazing trick for getting better gas mileage while you’re stuck in traffic on I-5…” This makes them feel privileged to know that they are getting something that can’t be found on YouTube by the average Joe. They chose to follow your page and you’re delivering something useful to them that others won’t be able to get.
- Have Facebook-Only offers. The majority of people claim that they like a business Facebook page so they can get deals. It’s pretty simple. If you have the power to run promotions at your store, do it. If you don’t, get the permission. The real ROI of Facebook for many local businesses can be justified by driving foot traffic to the store. Offers are the easiest way to do it and they help your Facebook page stand out because chances are your competitors aren’t doing it, your fans aren’t used to seeing it, and their friends aren’t able to duplicate it. Running a “Facebook Fan Appreciation $12.99 Oil Change Special” can drive the foot traffic and help you to make your page stand out.
There are plenty of other ways. Brainstorm. Find them. Look at pages regularly. Most of the things that I preach about regarding Facebook didn’t pop into my head. I saw them because I’m a student of the art of mastering Facebook. I check out Facebook pages in various industries every single day. You should, too.