One simple diagram for getting your brand’s social content right

So you have a branded social media account, and you’re following the first rule of social: Don’t be a dick. Good, but now what?

There’s lots of advice floating around about what content works well on which platforms – making sure your Facebook status is “likeable”, joining in on a Twitter conversation, hashtagging your Instagrams up the ying – but for me, it boils down to this wee venn diagram:


The red circle is about finding out what your audience likes – seems straightforward, but are you sure you know what they like, and not what you think they like? What is it about your audience that is unique?

The blue circle is about being on brand. It’s about promotions and marketing. It’s about the look and feel of updates. It’s about getting the core message of your company across.

The yellow circle is about what works best online. What topics are going off at the moment? Where is the conversation – what is it about? What are today’s memes?

A lot of companies stay in one content type. They may even cross over with another circle, but spend a lot of time delivering one sort of update, to the detriment of the community or their brand. Your brand should never just live in one of those circles. If your marketing push doesn’t exist for the community, it’s not right for social. If your viral content is totally off brand, you’re wasting your time.

Doing updates from sections 1, 2, or 3 is a slightly better option.

Living in section 1 means the content they’re using is engaging, and their fans like it, but it doesn’t reflect the brand. Generic status updates like this are fine, but often your brand can get lost, or there may even be a conflict between the values of your brand, and the content you’re posting.

Section 2 is where you’ve found the niche in terms of what works for your brand, and your audience, but the content isn’t necessarily viral. This is a good place to be in terms of brand hygiene, but not so much in terms of outreach, and fan endorsement.

If your updates are in section 3, you’re producing on-brand content that ticks the box in terms of being viral or engaging in nature, but that doesn’t resonate with your fans. It could be that you’re using the meme too late (remember all those brands that put out Harlem Shake videos the week after everyone declared it dead? Yeah, that.)

The golden space is section 4. You’ve found content that fits with your brand, your audience loves it, and it’s positioned well to go off. And it does! Well done, you. Hope your boss recognises how hard it is to find that sweet spot!

So… How did that happen?

  • You know your brand – it has a clear voice and take on the world, and you’ve stamped it onto your update.
  • You’ve identified what it is about your brand that your fans love and delivered it to them.
  • You’ve reflected the sentiment of your community in a timely manner, or rarked them up in a good way.
  • The community can take ownership – you just got the ball rolling!

Yes, it’s simplistic, but it works.

The worst Facebook updates of 2012

So many people and brands are now gaming for Facebook “engagement” that it’s ruining the platform for a lot of people.

Luckily, not too many of my friends fall for this stuff, but plenty of people have friends who do, so here’s a selection of the more desperate attempts to raise page awareness.

Lets start with this one.

No, I’m going to let my mum die. She knows it, too.


Because spamming your mates with crap always makes you lots of money, right? And cos magic.


Well played.


I liked this four times. It was heaps of fun. Changed my life.


The old “vote with a like or a comment” spam. Also if you don’t vote you obviously hate your country and won’t get any pavlova, which totally puts a dampener on my plans to finish an entire one by myself on Christmas day.


Not pictured: The “one like=one dollar donated” spam, and the “leave your password in the comments to see what happens!” spam.



Facebook’s tips for a strong social media strategy

Facebook have recently released revised best practice documents.

It gives us a glimpse into how they see the social space, as well as some good tips for both Facebook and general social media strategy.

Ranging from tips to organisational structure to audience participation, Facebook have offered what they believe is the best way to manage social.


Assign clear ownership. Have one person oversee all social activity. This person is a social media champion for the wider organisation, and works across many teams including marketing and digital .

A single team should own social. They operate with a “daily editorial calendar”, are responsible for engaging content and gleaning insights. They co-ordinate requests from other teams (PR, Legal, ecommerce etc) for space on the page.


This is about working with an agency to get the most out of your wider media strategy. Facebook see the agency as running the campaign and alerting the social team as to spend. The agency must be focused on “reinforcing Facebook content with marketing messages in other channels, both online and offline”. (This is a mark against solely social agencies – interesting move, Facebook)


A creative team can be used for participatory campaigns (apps) and must be across insights and ad manager to see what content is working. They must be fuelled by “what is inherently social about the brand” and focus on virality.

Facebook then go on to offer advice about making successful posts:

  • Be succinct. Posts less than three lines of text see about 60% more engagement.
  • Post at least five times a week.
  • Post at the optimal time for your page.
  • Know your audience. Use insider language.
  • Be seasonal. Fans are more likely to engage with content that is already top of their mind such as current events and holidays.
  • Post photos and videos. Albums generate 180% more engagement, photos 120% and videos 100% more engagement than regular posts.
  • Use simple, bold visuals.
  • Speak using your brand’s voice.
  • Position your brand as a hero or problem solver.
  • Give fans exclusive content, offers, competitions, events.
  • Create a question or a fill-in-the-blank post.
  • Include your call to action early – in the first 90 characters.
  • Share posts from fans.


So that’s Facebook’s best practice – some of it only applicable to larger brands and those engaged with media agencies, but still some good nuggets in there.

The 4 stages of a business Facebook page

Although no two Facebook pages are the same, there are some similarities that appear across multiple pages.

There are four main stages your page goes though, and once you identify the stage your page is in, you can use some standard tips and tricks to get it to the next level.

Sometimes pages will naturally progress from stage to stage, sometimes they’ll go backwards, and sometimes they won’t fit any stage at all! Don’t worry– just keep your eyes on where you want your page to be, and work towards that.

Stage 1: Getting your page off the ground.

When Facebook pages are new, the community is still finding the boundaries and tone of the page. It is at this stage you can easily convert brand advocates though quick wins, answering questions and being the good guy.

By turning your early fans into brand advocates, they will help you monitor and set the tone for your page when it enters stage 2. These fans are likely to be your friends, family and workmates, so be explicit about asking them to be active on your page. Honest – but active.

Tips for a page in stage 1

  • Think like the person you want to attract. What would they like to see on your page?
  • Post regular, interesting and infomative content – posting no more than four times a week and no less than once a week.
  • Keep your tone friendly. Facebook recommend you “push” in only 20% of status updates. The other 80% should be relationship-building.
  • Set your spam filter, and any keywords. Pick wisely as to not stifle the natural conversation, but to not allow any content that may disturb your audience.
  • Fully complete the “info” section of the Facebook page.
  • Set flexible strategies around dealing with negative feedback now. Where are your brand’s boundaries around negative posts? Should you allow them on your Facebook page? (I say yes, by the way, that’s a natural part of being in a public forum. Don’t delete it unless the language is filthy or threatening.)
  • Create a landing page that explicitly asks people to like your page.
  • Upload lots of photos and any videos you have to make the page interesting and useful.
  • Read Facebook’s brand page terms and conditions.
  • Get a username ( once you have 25 fans. Make it short and to the point. This URL will help you in stage 2.

Stage 2: Building momentum with existing fans

Reach out to your existing fans by promoting your Facebook page to them using the custom URL. This may involve putting a social plug-in on your website, a mention in your e-letter, or a notice on your front counter or shop window. They already like what you have to offer, why not make it easy for them to find you on Facebook?

Tips for a page in stage 2

  • Keep an eye on your page’s insights to see who your fans are: Their locations, demographics, what they most respond to on your page, what they’re clicking on. If they don’t match your wider marketing plan, something’s a little off.
  • Be seen to be responding to feedback, good and bad alike. Seek feedback from your fans and act upon it. If they say they’d like to see x happen, and it’s reasonable, make x happen. If it’s not, be honest about that.
  • Keep an eye on what’s going into your spam filter and restore anything that’s been mistakenly tagged as spam.
  • Find pages similar to yours and see what works on their page. Try similar things on yours to see if they work with your audience.
  • Plug your website into Facebook insights to see the demographic that’s impressing against your social plug-ins. Who are you not converting to a Facebook fan?
  • Keep an eye on which posts get the most impressions – what time of day were they posted?

Stage 3: Time for a push

This is the stage where your page is doing ok, but could do with a boost. Consider some advertising. Facebook ads can cost as little as 60cents CPM. You may want to add your custom URL to any external advertising you have running as well.

This means you’ll be getting a lot of random likers – which can often mean trolling. Don’t be afraid to ban troublemakers – but be sure that’s what they are first! Often we can mistake grumpy customers as trolls and not treat them the way they deserve.

If you’ve done stages 1 and 2 well, your loyal fans will help weed out trolling, and be able to answer basic questions for users – Dell found this a useful tactic when coming out of their Dell Hell phase.

Tips for a page in stage 3

  • Lots of new people will be hitting your landing page – adjust it slightly so anyone can understand why they should like your page. “Like our page to hear about special offers” etc.
  • Create custom tabs – for example a FAQ section or latest news section might be a good start.
  • Logged in as your brand, like and write on the walls of any brands that compliment or partner with yours. Check with their page admins first if you can, and don’t be cheeky about it or they may ban your page.
  • Empower, support, and reward users who want to be brand advocates, and acknowledge them for their help.
  • Make sure your community mangers are equipped to deal with negative feedback – both professionally and personally.
  • Don’t run promotions where users leave a comment or upload a photo to enter. That’s against Facebook’s terms and conditions and you may come out with egg on your face.

Stage 4: Organic growth

At this stage your page should be pretty healthy and you should have strategies in place for processing trolling, negative feedback, suggestions, and answering questions you don’t always have answers for. There’s an interesting phenomenon that I noticed – and have had confirmed to me by other major account managers across multiple brand types and sizes – that you no longer need to run ads during this stage, and the page will grow exponentially.

Don’t be alarmed when the growth starts to level out. The size of your page when this happens depends on your reach, and the profile of your business. Your organic growth may slow to 1 – 2 % per week.

Tips for a page in stage 4

  • Don’t rest on your laurels. Set big engagement and impression goals. Continue to evolve your page, being lead by your fans and wider business objectives.
  • Keep an eye on hide rates and unlikes and moderate your postings
  • Crowd source. There’s likely to be some users with amazing ideas for your business, or some feedback trends going on.
  • Consider another ad spend.


This is by no means a fully comprehensive list of things to check off with a Facebook page, and may not be applicable to all brands. In fact, this is quite general, and somewhat oversimplified compared to reality and the curveballs that get thrown at you.

The main thing you need to keep in mind is to think like a page user. What do they want? Deliver that and you can’t go wrong.