1,500 Likes with over 200 reach per post. In three months, one comment. I posted and posted and not only did I receive almost no engagement, I scared people away. I was baffled. Not long before, I started a page from scratch and had at least five Likes a post. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad for a page with under a 100 Likes. It wasn’t until I threw my hands up and walked away that I realized what I had done wrong. Before I began, the page was only posted on once a month for program updates. I had walked into a sleepy suburb and expected a rallying community by day’s end. The word ‘transition’ didn’t even cross my mind.
When you take over a pre-existing Facebook page, you’re adopting a pet. It’s used to a style of living: feed schedule, sleep schedule, and exercise routine. If you try to muscle it into your way of living it’ll just start chewing on the sofa. You have three options: adapt, transition, or incentivize. You can adapt by changing your own approach, transition slowly toward your goal, or provide a strong enough incentive to motivate changes in behavior. Fair warning about the last one, you’ll have to buy some pretty tasty treats for it to work by itself. Adapting is less difficult, but it handicaps your ability to foster engagement because you’re forced to work with a preexisting pattern. A pattern that is certainly unsuccessful because that’s why they hired you in the first place. Both should be implemented, but your focus should be on transitioning.
How do you transition? Well, let’s use my example as an example. The page consisted of monthly updates and nothing else. The first step would be to utilize these updates to foster engagement. Offer a reward for those who use the newly implemented features. Issue ‘Calls to Action’ to comment on the update or rate their approval of said update via Liking it. Then begin increasing the post frequency. From once a month, move to once a week. After a couple weeks, transition to daily posts. There’s also the issue of reach. 200 is not a small number, but it’s a fraction of the total community. Promoted posts. I know those words are scary to some, but it takes money to make money. Start by promoting the updates and utilizing ‘Calls to Action’ to get them engaging with said posts and this will make the EdgeRank happy and earn you a larger reach. This is when you need to get creative. You have the momentum, now you need to maintain it by providing unique, interesting, user-oriented content. Confused by the last one? I mean that you need to know exactly who your community is. Personalization is quickly becoming one of the most valuable commodities in social media. Know exactly who you’re talking to and tailor your content accordingly.
Those are the steps toward turning a populated ghost town into a bustling metropolis. However, the question remains: why do users react so negatively toward blatant change? One of the best aspects of social media is the sense of control it provides its users. Through their actions [e.g. Liking, 'Friending', etc.] the entire experience has been tailored to them. Sudden, jarring changes can make them feel as though that control has been wrenched away. It’s like your favorite double bacon guacamole cheeseburger with extra onions suddenly vanishing from the menu. No, I still haven’t forgiven that diner. My point is that you need to ensure that the user still feels in control as you change things. Change is good. It’s not impossible to change that sleepy town, but if you go at it with whips and flamethrowers you’re going to end up with an empty, slightly singed ghost town.
I’d like nothing more than for you to tear this post limb from limb. Any advice you can give me helps me improve as a writer so please leave a comment.