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Social Media: quality always tops quantity

Emmet McNally has strategically grown his organisation’s appeal to the point where 100,000+ people have given him the thumbs-up. An impressive feat in a socially crowded world.  So I asked Emmet what’s worked best for him in building awareness and support for the work his organisation do.

In recent years I have had the privilege to speak at a number of different events on Social Media. Typically the area of greatest interest has always been Facebook. The same question always pops up during the Q&A part – “I don’t have a budget for Facebook, how do I get to 100,000 fans?” To be fair, there is not one answer to this question for every industry but I will try to give you an answer that should set you on the right path.

I am not going to give you the same old spiel about engaging emotionally with your users, posting content at different times or using images with your posts. They are all good points but it’s something that I am sure you have already heard 100 times before. If you have had this question about getting more fans on your mind, then now is a good time to have a think about what your organisations objectives are for Facebook. Having 10,000 people go into your store every day is good but unless they buy something then it’s all been a waste of time. In a similar way, if you are investing a lot of time and energy into developing your Facebook presence then you need to focus on your organisations objectives:dDo you want to increase sales, build brand awareness or perhaps recruit volunteers? 

Figuring out what you want to get from Facebook is the first step towards achieving it. Once you figure that out then next you need to have a think about who cares. Imagine you had a spot on the podium right after Obama’s speech on his visit to Ireland. Tens of thousands of people from every walk of life have been “engaged” and now you have your chance to strike with your message. What are you going to say? Wouldn’t it be great if you were as skilled at speaking as Obama is or Steve Jobs was?

Steve Jobs followed three golden rules. Explain the problem. Tell people why they should care. Then tell people your solution. It’s a tough one but once you figure out what you want to achieve then you need to work on how you can get people to care about it. Once you’re at this stage then it becomes apparent that investing tens of thousands into getting random people to like your page is a waste of time because it becomes extremely difficult to target all these people with a message that gets them all to care about your organisations specific goals on Facebook.

The best way to start off is with the group of people you know will care about what you want to achieve. These are the people who already like your product/service and are happy to hear from you. They will also form the core of your audience. They are the people who will influence their circle of friends to care too. It may be 10 people or it could be hundreds. Do what it takes to attract them to your page. Be it advertising, offering discounts or even just straight out asking people you talk to.

Once you have done this then the next step is to produce content that you know they will care about. The key is making this content easy to share with their network. Draft up some content and then ask – Why will they care? Would I share this with my friends? Does it jump out on the page as something my friends will want to read?

“Content does not have to always be about your industry or sector. Would you talk to your friends about the same thing every day? If you do then it might be worth thinking about how many friends you actually have?”

— Emmett McNally

Keep it varied and keep it interesting enough that it makes you say – “actually I would say this to my friends/family”.  Once you are at this stage then your page likes will begin to grow steadily. If you don’t do this and just push out any old content, keeping the number of likes up with advertising then you will soon notice that the number of unlikes your page receives will outpace your advertising efforts. You will be fighting a losing battle.

Once you notice a steady growth rate in fans then you can begin your sales pitch to take your fans a step further and generate a greater ROI. Post content like this once a fortnight at the start and watch closely how it impacts your fan growth rate. By doing this you will know how often you can post this sort of content. It takes time but by starting out with a strong foundation you can then begin to build upwards.

External links & references

  1. Facebook for business
  2. Emmet McNally @ LinkedIn
  3. Social media for charities @ The Guardian
  4. Down To Business : Social Media for SMEs : Redcert.com
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Andy O'Donoghue talks about technology, some say, too much.

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