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A creative agency with deep digital DNA
How to Build a Loyal Facebook Following
When she’s not reporting on data for some of Huskies biggest clients, our Junior Social Analyst Enya Martin is busy uploading comedy gold to her Giz a Laugh Facebook page (which currently boasts an impressive 94,000 followers). Here, she explains the power of strong, relevant and topical content when it comes to building a loyal social following.
As a kid I spent most of my Saturdays watching comedy greats with my dad; Monty Python, Alan Partridge, Fawlty Towers and of course, Only Fools & Horses. At the age of 22 I was finishing up my last semester in IT Tallaght, where I undertook an Advertising and Marketing Communications degree. It was during this period I produced my first viral video.
I really enjoy making people laugh, and I’ve always known how to do it. And that’s the key, knowing what your audience wants. Although I’ve gone through trial and error phases (because nobody handed me a book on ‘Becoming a Viral Facebook sensation for Dummies’!), once I knew what my audience wanted I was able to produce great content and grow my page.
First up, if you’re not an established brand, you’re going to have to seek out and entice followers, because they won’t come looking for you. I knew video was going to be my secret weapon in overcoming that hurdle. According to Nielsen, over 64% of marketers will expect video to dominate their strategies in 2017. Here’s a snapshot of the post format my followers engaged with the most last month:
So what was the approach I took in order to gain that first follower? I began to observe my Facebook timeline over the space of a few months, and monitored what content my friends were sharing, what made them laugh, what made them sad, what made them angry. I noticed one common trend in every piece of content they shared – it evoked an emotion. If you can make someone feel something when they see your content and associate that emotion with your brand, well, you’re already in their subconscious. Remember, emotions drive decisions, prompt actions, and thus lead to loyalty. The sooner you build a relationship and deep connection with millennials, the better, because they’ll continue to engage with you as an adult. Here are some more tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years:
Evoke an Emotion – For me, that was humour. Comedy was a big genre that appeared through my Facebook timeline and fortunately for me, I was good at it. So if I was going to produce funny content, I had to make sure it was going to entertain people, which leads me onto my next piece of advice…
Be Relatable – I had to produce material that would make users laugh, but I also wanted those people to imagine these situations going on in their own lives, or around them. I’ve only ever lived in Ireland, so my material was heavily saturated with Irish humour. I’d recommend finding what’s relevant to your target market and building content around that. For example, my most successful video to date was one I made in 2015 and was something I knew everyone in Ireland could relate to – asking an Irish mother for money. It got 18,149 shares and was viewed 1.2 million times.
Sometimes when I’m having a dry spell, I assess Facebook Insights for further opportunities to put the spark back into my page. For example, I looked at my audience and saw that over 75% were women, and 30% of those women were aged between 18-24.
I asked myself, what have I got in common with all these girls? I immediately thought of the famous chick-flick Mean Girls, because what girl hasn’t seen that cult classic?! I decided to dub my voice over some iconic scenes and captioned it, ‘If Mean Girls was set in Dublin’. I gained almost 3,000 followers organically, and it was viewed 1.1 million times in under 24 hours.
The best thing about good content is the post clicks. A user has the option to like your page via the post, or if you impress them enough, they begin to explore what else you have to offer. I value page likes more, because it means the user moved beyond one piece of my content.
Know what your audience is talking about – Find what’s topical and build a post around that. Pokemon Go is a prime example of this; plenty of brands were taking advantage of the craze and putting their own spin on it. During the 2016 Euros, I made a satirical video on how to get your boyfriend’s attention during a football match, and it performed really well due to the fact that it was on topic and so many women could relate. It reached over 3.1 million people organically and was viewed by 661,000 people.
Consider your caption – Caption is everything across all social media platforms. It’s the first thing users see, and it will determine whether they’ll engage with your content or not. You should be able to tell your story or ask a question in a clear concise way because if not, users will keep scrolling. Also, if you have collaborated with an influencer, you should tag their page as this will impact organic impressions – especially if they have a large number of page likes.
Quality is a must – Technical quality is really important when producing content, because if images and videos are grainy or pixelated, users won’t take you seriously as an influencer. You’ll notice all the major vloggers on YouTube film in high definition. You see many viral videos floating around the web that are filmed on mobile, but you don’t see them coming from a brand or service; most of the time they’re one-hit wonders. Invest some money in good sound and film equipment, or outsource a production company – trust me, it’s worth it! Taller Stories Productions helped me produce a parody version of the Channel 4 hit show Gogglebox and if it weren’t for the great camera work and lighting, I don’t think it would have done as well as it did.
And finally……go where your audience is going – Experiment with different platforms like Snapchat or Instagram. Snapchat has many features that can be beneficial for brands, like their sponsored lenses and geofilters. I find it useful for short 10-second videos on the go when I don’t have my DSLR with me. According to Forbes, 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they’re more likely to become a loyal customer.
All these tips and tricks have aided me to steadily increase my following. Even today, I’m still learning. Through my page, I’ve networked and collaborated with other viral Facebookers and have learned a thing or two from them too. One important piece of advice they’ve all given me is to keep posting consistently to maintain a high organic reach! And although my unique selling point is comedy, it doesn’t mean that your brand has to provoke laughter with every post. Just try to make your audience feel something, stand out from the clutter, try not to be generic, and finally – watch those page likes increase!