When a business creates a Facebook page it aims to connect with its target audiences and engage them. The essential idea is to keep existing customers interested in the brand and inform new customers about the business. Much has been written about the role of content in a social media campaign. While there are no strict guidelines to success on social media, the most important thing that businesses need to keep in mind is what is important to their customers.
People respond more positively to visual stimuli than to the written word. This is also why they tend to click the ‘like’ button on Facebook when they see a picture that interests them. Comments are usually garnered by posts that feature text that offers an opinion, asks a question or gives valuable advice. Facebook users tend to like business posts that make a personal connection with their customers. This makes it essential for companies to phrase their posts with care and thought. Furthermore, comments for the post need to be responded to courteously and quickly.
People share content that makes them look good! Social media users use the platform to stay connected with their peers, and to make a statement. Every time they share a post it has as much to do with them as it does with the fact that they like the post. Sometimes they try to say, “I’ve a good sense of humor.’ And at other times they may share a post because it says, ‘I care about this issue’.
Ernest Dichter’s Word of Mouth study of 1966 summarized that 64% of sharing has to do with the sharer and what they gain from the recommendation. And only 33% has to do with the product or experience that is discussed. People share content for several reasons and these include the following:
- Association with a brand or issue
- To gain attention
- To help
- To offer information
- To express sentiment
- To share humor
When a business designs Facebook posts it needs to consider these points, and is likely to offer content that will be shared. Posts need to be as much about customers as about the role a business and its products play in their lives. If it can achieve both in a post then it is quite likely to generate many shares.
Social Media Censorship
While social media has empowered internet users in many ways it is also surprising to note that a recent study shows that social media users are careful about what they say on a platform such as Facebook. According to Pewter Research Center and Rutgers University, New Jersey, social networks such as Faceboook, Twitter and Linkedin encourage self censorship. Users are careful about the issues they choose to post on and unless they are fairly certain of the response that they will receive, they avoid posting.
Why Businesses Should Pay Attention
Businesses need to understand that there are issues that their patrons shy away from. They are unlikely to respond to posts that discuss the same. Therefore, when a brand is designing posts for the Facebook page, it needs to be careful about the issue and the content. The study found that people liked to stay clear of political discussions in particular. Another interesting fact that the study noted was that people who use social media sites were also less likely to voice their opinions on the same topics when they were in public.
The study included 1801 respondents, of whom 86% were willing to discuss government surveillance in person with friends and acquaintances. However, only 42% of Facebook and Twitter users were willing to do the same on their social media accounts. Quite clearly, social media users are worried about their image on social networks. A fair amount of thought goes into whether they choose to comment or share a post that they deem as a difficult subject to approach. If businesses want to engage their target audiences they need to understand what issues are difficult for them to discuss and best avoided.
In many ways a social media user projects an online profile and avatar that is acceptable to his or her friends and unlikely to cause controversy or lead to censorship. Most people just want to be liked, and on social media too they aim to please. So if a Facebook user feels that by associating with a brand it has an impact on their image they are likely to share a business’ posts and also create content about it. This is also why people choose to share their pictures when a business creates an app or contest that requests for pictures that show them doing something or using a product.