Photos, Engagement Are Keys To Facebook Marketing Success

By Justin Lafferty 

Want to get people to like, share, comment, repost and talk about what you post on your page? Post a picture. Panelists at the “Facebook Places: Deals and Store-Level Marketing,” discussion at the AllFacebook Marketing Conference Thursday in San Francisco agreed that photos and personal engagement with fans usually leads to success.

The panel:

  • Lisa Buyer, CEO, The Buyer Group
  • Mike La Rotonda, co-CEO and founder, Votigo
  • Elaine Mesker-Garcia, social media manager, Luby’s and Fuddruckers Restaurants
  • Ben Pickering, CEO, Strutta
  • Dennis Yu, CEO, BlitzLocal (moderator)

Pictures are essential to Facebook marketing, especially if the page belongs to a restaurant or something that lends itself to visuals. Mesker-Garcia explained how this works for Fuddruckers:

If you just put up, “Have a great weekend,” and post a picture of a burger, people go nuts … It doesn’t have to be the best picture, but it’s still engagement.

Mesker-Garcia said the photo can just be something taken with a cell phone. Companies don’t need to hire a photographer for Facebook posts. Sometimes, she’ll be out to lunch at Fuddruckers or Luby’s and just snap a quick picture of her meal, posting it to the company’s Facebook page. Buyer noted that often, user-generated photos from Instagram are the most popular.

So now that you know what you should post, how often should you post it? Many of the panelists agreed that generally, once or twice per day for most businesses works, but companies should find a balance that works with their audience. There’s no magic number of posts for a given day. Yu pointed out that Facebook personalizes news feeds based on users’ interests. For instance, if your restaurant posts about how a local sports team just won a championship and you’re having a limited sale, users who hate sports probably won’t see that post. Make every post count.

La Rotunda feels that the balance is key:

If you can post 10 times a day and get tons of engagement, that’s great. I would try to push it more until you can find that balance.

Panelists also felt that companies big or small should really tap into their local location. Posting about things that people in the region care about — even if it’s not solely about the product — is a great way to engage users. As an example, La Rotunda noted that businesses in Colorado should post that their thoughts are with those affected by the wildfire. Yu showed off the Facebook page of Chicago restaurant La Gondola as model of fine local engagement. This kind of connection will keep people coming back to the page, as they can see how it relates to their life. According to Yu, the average length of a fan relationship doesn’t even last a month — 24.7 days.

La Rotunda talked about the need for a local feel with Facebook pages:

You have to have that local conversation. There will be posts that will be open to everyone, but you have to have that local presence. We tend to always recommend franchises to have that local presence on Facebook. You have to have a local voice, or it’s not going to be authentic.

Pickering noted that one of the biggest mistakes companies make when using Facebook for marketing is a lack of planning. They’ll start running contests (note: the panel agreed that you should give away brand-related swag, not iPads) and beg for likes before they have really established themselves. Pickering and Mesker-Garcia felt that businesses should establish their reputation on Facebook, engage with users, and then try to sell their product.

Pickering talked about how users’ attention spans aren’t as great as businesses believe:

What really matters is what you do after people click the like button … If they liked it, then they start seeing irrelevant content, they’re going to unlike it pretty quickly.

Readers: What companies really do engagement well? Do you have a local coffee shop or store that knows how to market themselves through Facebook?

Image courtesy of Fuddruckers.