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Facebook:The Rules of Social Engagement

Understanding your audience and minding your manners is key to establishing a Facebook presence and getting the most out of the time spent marketing your shop on Social Networking Sites. It takes more than posting a link to items in your shop to keep an audience's attention. The goal should be to build the number of "likes" to your page. You do this by posting a variety of interesting and relevant 'shares' to your page so readers will want to visit your page and join in and respond to your page by starting conversations and posting interesting comments. This is engagement.

Below is a list of rules to follow and tips to create a dynamic Facebook page or on other social networking sites:

Ask your audience questions. Everyone likes to share their thoughts and opinions so provide them with the opportunity to do so. Questions receive the most feedback – 65% more. The simplest example would be: Tell us about your favorite -----------.

Keep it short and to the point. Just like you, your audience is short on time. Inform them and move on. 60 to 250 words garner 60% more comments, shares and likes than lengthy streams of information. Don't forget to use relevant keywords.

Photos do the trick. Post a photo - they catch the readers attention. Photos with links increase audience engagement by 120%, and photos with stories show a 65% increase in "likes' and 50% more comments.

Share a video. You can make your own or share one that you like from YouTube. Keep your audience in mind; the video should be relevant or entertaining.

Respond, respond, respond. Listen to your audience and respond each and every time the opportunity presents itself - make a connection. This doesn't mean oozing with less than sincere comments, such as, "We are thrilled you have found our page and we hope you visit often." It just sounds a little sappy. And, if you repeat the same sentiment over and over again your readers will tire of it and move on. Focus on the reader's comment to your posts and respond accordingly.

Use Calls to action. Use words that command a response from your audience such as, "Shop", "Watch", "Follow", "Visit".

Offer discounts. Give your "followers" exclusive access to discounts. According to the research the #1 reason people follow or like a page is for discounts.

Don't over post. Posting messages one after the other is a sure way to lose followers. The general rule of thumb is one post every 2 to 3 hours – 2 to 3 days a week. Established Facebook pages with a significant number of 'likes' – in the thousands - can post multiple times per day but again it must be interesting, relevant information. No one wants to be slammed with one post after another, especially if it shameless self-promotion. Mix it up. Along with photos and links to the items you sell, include links to articles and videos, or sites with interesting, relevant content.

Be a team player. Join up with another shop owner or form a group and cross promote your items. This gets your items and messages out in front of a larger audience and will generate more 'likes' for your page which results in more potential customers.

Sources:

http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites

McGrath, Ryan, "How to Boost a Social Strategy on a Bite-sized Budget".AimClearBlog.com. March 20, 2012. May 7, 2012.

Litwinka, Lauren. "From Pinterest to Reddit: Advanced Tactics for Hardcore Social Domination. AimClearBlog.com. June 5, 2012. May 15, 2012.

Weintraub, Marty. "#Fail! 12 Utterly Annoying Social Behaviors to Avoid". AimClearBlog.com. April 13, 2012. May 22, 2012.

Article Last Update: September 29, 2013