Villing & Company

Like, for Sure: Maintaining Facebook Engagement Through Experience

I have to admit I'm a little Facebooked-out. It's not the tool itself that's causing my burn out; rather, it's this constant droning I hear from businesses small and large alike, shouting at me to become a fan of their page.

Enough already. No one's listening anymore. Least of all millennials, of whom only about a quarter actually find a brand's Facebook page through actively searching for it. The rest hear about a page through friends or stumble upon it serendipitously. Which means that auto repair shop, library and antique store using their outdoor signage to solicit Facebook Likes ("Find us on Facebook!") is relatively useless.

That's not to say the mechanic, librarian or retailer doesn't have any business being on Facebook. But now more than ever, businesses must focus like a laser on solidifying and improving the experience they're providing on their Facebook page – or Twitter stream, or Pinterest boards – before they invite people to participate in it. By experience, I mean a brand's ability to facilitate consumer interaction with a product or service online, which results in a desired offline behavior on the part of the consumer. Why should someone engage with you on Facebook or wherever? Exclusive content? Discounts on your product or service? Why?

The answer to the experience question is so important, because many believe we're entering into a period of pullback in social media. Whereas for a brief period of time you could get by with the Field of Dreams approach to social media ("If you build it, they will come."), those days are all but gone. People consumed so much content in those early social media days that now they're starting to restrict and reduce the amount of news in their feeds. We're like the dieter who over-indulged over the holidays and are turning a new page in the new year.

Which means random calls to "Like" a page are falling increasingly on deaf ears. Social media is moving away from being an information-sharing vehicle, and quickly toward becoming an experience-sharing vehicle. This shift received a major push when Facebook announced its open graph just seven months ago. Consumers have more power and more opportunities than ever before to express how they interact with brands – but only a finite time and space in which to do so. Some brands will be necessarily cut off, and my hunch is it will be the ones inviting people to an experience that doesn't exist.

Filed Under: social media

Villing & Company

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South Bend IN 46601

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