Fishing for Followers
From my perspective, fishing seems magical. I’ve been fishing before, but my fishing experience always pales in comparison to the real fishermen I know.
These fishermen know when the lakes are stocked, where the fish are biting, and what time of day they come up to feed — some have even learned insect larvae hatching cycles. They have tackle boxes filled with instruments I can’t identify. Sure, I know what a hook is. But which lure is the right lure? What type of bait should I use? How should I set up the rig? I’m pretty much a hopeless case.
If a fisherman knows the fish and knows her/his tackle box, that’s when the magic happens. At least to the uninitiated, like me, it looks like magic.
Leveraging social media to promote your business looks about the same to most business owners. You know you should have a Facebook page, but what should you post? How do you get people to follow or even care? When should you post? You’ve got a tackle box of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram in front of you, but often you can be overwhelmed with all the options.
But just like fishing, it’s not insurmountable. You just need to learn the basics and work your way up from there. As you keep at it, you’ll begin to learn what gets people hooked. Terrible pun, but I literally cannot avoid using it.
Let’s talk about how to lure people to your posts using a mix of content to engage users. (Sorry, I’ll stop with the puns.)
What Do They Want?
To catch a fish, you need bait. Picking the right bait begins with knowing what the fish is looking for. Let’s take a peek into the mind of a Facebook user.
Simple question: Why do you use Facebook? No, really, take a minute to think about why you open the app every day. Yes, I mean every day. On average, 1.4 billion people log on to Facebook daily. What brings them there?
Here are my top two reasons for being on Facebook during the day:
- Boredom — I’m looking for entertainment
- Awareness — I want to know what’s happening
Whatever your reasons, it boils down to this: You find it useful. Before you post anything on Facebook, ask yourself how it will be useful to your audience.
What Type of Content?
We have bait; now let’s talk about the lure. The lure should be the extra flash you need to get your audience’s attention and keep them there. I’m going to break this down into two parts: the type of content and the format of content.
Now, you can’t just constantly post helpful articles or only post about upcoming sales. One of the keys to Facebook’s success has been creating variety in the content people see.
Facebook gives users a lot of variety. And variety is good, especially when all you care about is keeping people’s attention. Facebook gets paid by keeping your thumb pushing down the news feed. The longer you scroll, the more ads they can feed you.
One of the best ways to keep people engaged with your content is by curating a balanced mix of ideas, messages, sharing, and recommendations.
Let’s list a few types of content you can find on Facebook:
- Photos of friends
- Videos from friends or YouTube
- Text posts of announcements, anecdotes, jokes, opinions, or statements
- News articles
- Blog posts
- Shared posts with commentary
- Check-ins at restaurants/locations
Keep your Facebook content interesting by building variety. Our recommendation is to divide up your types of posts by percentages.
50% Engage and Build Relationships
This content focuses on patient and community interaction. Post pictures of patients celebrating a birthday, visiting with their dog, and joining you at events. Always make sure to have their written permission before posting photos of your patients. Answer comments, comment on posts, and engage with the things they are asking about. Pose questions and see how your community answers.
30% Promote and Share Others’ Content
One of the best ways to make you valuable and relevant on Facebook is to share other pages as well as people’s content on your page. Experts hardly ever only focus on their own information; they curate and direct people to other experts as well. Create value for your patients by helping them find the best information online.
10% Sharing and Participating in Communities, Groups, and Chats
You are likely already engaged with your community through sponsorships, lunch and learns, or partnerships. Have you connected with these organizations on social media? Help promote their events and ask if they’ll highlight what you are doing for the community as well.
10% Sharing and Promoting Your Content and Story
Notice that we reserve only a small percentage to focus on yourself. Notice that we also don’t talk much about posting sales, promotions, or specials. Users will unfollow your page if you spend too much time talking about these types of things. When you share about yourself, tell a story. Focus on how you have changed your community. Talk about what led you into this field. Share how patient experiences have changed your life. Be honest and personal.
Take the Time
The easy thing to do would be to just post without putting much thought into it. Too much thoughtless content already exists on social media.
As you take the time to think about your followers, it will become easier to develop content that engages them. Create a variety of the types of things you post and you’ll be sure to keep their attention.
Good luck fishing!