Social media experts tell you to post content that engages visitors and makes them care passionately about your brand, to the point that they feel compelled to share it with their friends, but that is easier said than done. Face it, most of us sell products and services that are not rave worthy. Don’t make the mistake of projecting your own passion for your business onto prospects. The average consumer is a very self-centered creature. Getting their attention is a monumental challenge. Converting them into passionate brand evangelist is nothing short of a miracle, unless you look at market arenas where players are confronted with the most daunting challenges, and look at those who excel.
Consider mature industries where it is hard to differentiate products and services; industries that are extremely price sensitive, and those that are just flat out boring. Let’s start with the insurance industry. What could be more boring, price sensitive and hard to differentiate?
So what do the highly successful players do? They lean on brand mascots like the Geico Gecko, Aflac Duck, Flo (Progressive), and the Peanut characters (Met Life). These sophisticate marketers know appreciate the challenges they face, and understand that job number one is to “be liked” so they can be top-of-mind when a prospect’s time of need arises. This is why eighty percent of their TV advertising message is focused strictly on entertaining people. The remaining twenty percent may be used to inform people about a particular facet regarding their insurance coverage.
Another brutally competitive industry is prepared foods. Why do you think so many cereals use a brand mascot? How many canned vegetables do you think the Minnesota Canning Company would sell if not for the Jolly Green Giant? M&M’s are just candy coated chocolate – easy to duplicate, but those cartoon characters make people “love” them. A well-crafted brand mascot can convert an apathetic bystander into an enthusiastic brand evangelist.
So how does this play into social media? Simple – Facebook, Twitter, Google Circles and other social media platforms are the perfect place to bring a brand mascot to life – to give it a voice, and use it to build relationships with prospective customers.
While most companies make the mistake of filling up their Facebook pages with posts about their products, the successful ones recognize that eighty percent of content needs to entertain people; and a brand mascot gives them the perfect vehicle for delivering entertaining content and developing relationships.
Dos Equis has the World’s Most Interesting Man, with more than two million likes. Progressive’s Flo has more than five million likes. The M&M characters have more than four million likes.
Just because you don’t have the massive budget of these marketing juggernauts, doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the same techniques. Coming up with a cartoon character to serve as your brand mascot is not difficult. There are lots of online sources for this type of art. Coming up with the right kind of content – what your mascot says to entertain and engage visitors is a little trickier, but there are online resources for small businesses that provide this as well. More later.
First you have to understand what engaging content is, and how Facebook rewards you for it. Facebook uses an algorithm to measure the value of posts. While the algorithm is a closely guarded secret, experts agree that Facebook looks at three factors in its calculations: time, engagement and affinity.
Timing is important because Facebook recognizes that users want fresh content. They put a timer on each post as soon as it is put up, and as the day goes on, it slides down the priority scale. Timing is also important because if you post something at the wrong time of day, by the time people get around to visiting their Facebook timeline, your content is likely to be buried under a landslide of more recent posts. The optimal time of day is different for every industry and depends on the habits of targeted prospects. As a general rule though, people are more apt to use Facebook during their free time – evenings and weekends. Many companies also block Facebook access during the workday, so that can be a less-than-optimal time to post content.
Engagement is a measure of how many people Like, Share or Comment on a post. Facebook puts a higher value on posts that people respond to, so it’s important to be more than just entertaining with your posts. A portion of your posts should tell people what to do, or ask for some type of response. Asking for opinions, or for people to vote on something works well. Fun exercises asking people to come up with a caption for a funny picture, or finish a provocative statement are also effective tactics.
Affinity is the measure of one’s relationship to a brand’s page. The more often a person visits a company’s page, or engages with their content, Facebook is more likely to put a higher value on content from that page, for that particular user. So if you visit the Aflac Duck’s page frequently, you are more likely to have Facebook serve up posts from Aflac’s page on your timeline. Facebook wants to serve you content that you value.
When crafting your content, be careful when using humor. Jokes should come with a warning: “Don’t try this at home because you can hurt our brand.” Not everyone is a natural born comedian. In fact, very few are. Everyone has a different sense of humor, and there are various types of humor. It’s a good idea to stay away from jokes related to sex, politics, religion or race. Also steer away from sharp edged sarcasm and anti-social, or mean spirited humor. Aspire to make your brand mascot delightful, charming, clever and insightful.
You can search the Internet for humorous content, but make sure the joke, or quote, is not copyrighted, and if it is attributed to someone, be sure to provide a credit. Likewise, make sure the humor fits the personality profile of your brand mascot. line. Be prepared to invest considerable time. Ideally, you should post at least once a day. Over the course of a year, coming up with 365 “share-worthy” posts can consume a lot of time. It’s easy to get out of the starting block quickly, but the vast majority of marketers don’t stick with it, and their Facebook pages go stale and lose their appeal – and their followers.
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get all this done, there are companies that provide bundled services that include automated Facebook postings, combined with a library of engaging content, and can even provide the brand mascot. These are typically a monthly subscription service that posts humorous, and engaging, content on your Facebook for you. Posts are automatically delivered at optimal times to maximize impact. Each post features your brand mascot, logo, contact info, plus content that is carefully crafted to engage followers. Each time your post is Shared, Liked or Commented upon, your brand goes along for the viral ride.
One last word. Remember that that Facebook is a “social” media, not a “sell me” media, therefore people use it primarily for the three F’s: friends, family and fun. Use a brand mascot to serve the fun, so next time you post a promotion, your message is seen by an army of engaged followers that are more likely to convert into customers.
Learn how Fun Feed, by Toons4biz, can help you build a strong Facebook fan following by visiting [http://www.toons4biz.com]. This subscription service posts engaging content on your Facebook page featuring your logo, contact info, your brand mascot, and content that is carefully crafted to get people to engage, or respond. Each time your post is Liked, Shared or Commented on, your brand goes for the viral ride. Posts are made every day, 365 days a year. You don’t have to lift a finger. Next time you post a promotion, it will be seen by an army of engaged followers who are more likely to convert into customers.