This is the 3rd in my facebook business page blogs. Last week’s looked at how to organise photos of products and take better photos and the 1st blog looked at how to organise your page so your customers can find their way around it. In this 3rd blog I wanted to think about how we communicate to our customers by our posts…
How do you type your posts?
I don’t mean literally how do you type your posts what type of language do you use? Are you friendly? What do you chat about? How do you learn to engage your likers? Do you use text speak? Here are some things to think about with text speak. It’s fabulous between teenagers or those with a limited character space but on facebook you don’t have this problem. Take a look at your demographics (using your statistics) and look at who’s using your page. My age group audience are ladies who are between 25-45 so this needs to be taken into account when I type. My ladies went to school around the same time as I did so they weren’t brought up with text speak and may not be fluent in it. Reading is an automatic process that we do without thinking (Teacher’s hat on here) and to take that away from most of your customers may put a barrier between you and your potential customers and this is isn’t something you want to do. Reading text speak slows my reading down, I get annoyed and have to re-read to make sure I’ve understood what’s been typed and most of the time I just give up. I don’t tend to click on an unknown page if there is text speak as I know I won’t be comfortable. Remember you can’t speak to your customers you can only communicate by what you type and you need to make this as easy as possible for your customers to feel a connection to you. Use ‘text speak’ by all means (if your business warrants it as your demographics show your target customers are comfortable with this method of writing) but do think if it should be just for your personal life and only for those who you know can understand you. Also think that those with literacy issues may not be able to work out what you’re saying; maybe just being clear and readable to everyone is best.
What’s appropriate to post?
This is a matter of opinion and a matter for your decision. This isn’t a blog to tell you what to do but make you think about aspects of your facebook page you may not have thought of. I see posts where page owners are quite aggressive to their customers, pages where ‘posting too SN25…’ lists are detailed. These aren’t that many but they are there. Being aggressive to your customers alienates them and I, for one, wouldn’t return to a page where the page owner has had a bit of a rant to their customers. Yes I am grumpy occasionally, no-one is a saint, but I am not aggressive in any way. If there are issues then ask your customers to email you and take the ‘chat’ off facebook. Orders do go wrong, machines do break and things get forgotten (I am guilty of all 3 of these!) but it’s how you deal with it that makes people want to be part of your page. The ‘posting to sn25’ (with another 10 postcodes listed) posts I find these a bit difficult. Do I really need to know that a page owner is posting 10 parcels to various different people? Should I know this? I’m going to email my customers to let them know when their item has been posted. Using my excel spread sheet this can be very quick and easy as I fill in my tracking number in the sheet and can then click on their email address. Is it more professional? I’m not sure and I have posted these ‘posting’ messages in the past but I won’t be in the future. Is it a surreptitious way of letting everyone know how busy a page is? Maybe, but it’s not one that I’ll be using. The odd occasional plea will come out ‘Please will XXX email me as I can’t get hold of you!’ but it shouldn’t be a daily occurrence.
I post about my family, my home and my business. I always have in the back of my mind –would I be happy saying this to my Grandmother? And If I would then it’s appropriate to post. I also think about ‘How would my children feel seeing what I have talked about on my page in a few years’ time?’ this is a whole other blog on the ethics of blogging about other people but I don’t belittle them or make jokes at their expense. It’s the same with my blogs –would I be happy for them to read them when they are older? If yes then I know I’m okay.
How often should you post?
This is another difficult one to pin point an exact number. Different people are around at different times of the day. It’s quiet for me 1st thing in the morning but I know around 10am the school run is over and mums have done their jobs and they sit down for a bit so I try to post then. I know that after lunch and the late school run are also busy as is 8-10pm ish. The weekend during the day is quiet but Sunday night is prime time for me. Knowing the busy times of my page means I can post and have interaction. I would also say only post when you have something interesting to say. By all means show a new make, ask an opinion or share a fab new page but don’t just ask ‘Is anyone out there? Is anyone going to post today? Can you see me? Like my post if you can see me’ these scream ‘Please come and talk to me!!’ and I avoid those like the plague.
Don’t post to often or you will clog up other people’s newsfeeds and you will annoy your liker into hiding your posts. At worst they may come and actually unlike you. But on the flip side don’t go all quiet as you will lose interaction, a shared history with your likers is what attracts them back and your page will feel disjointed if you are absent for any length of time. (You need to think that if you had a bricks and mortar shop then you could keep changing the opening hours as eventually people would get tired of you being closed all the time and find another shop elsewhere.) I had a liker say that when I was away recently she missed ‘popping in ‘to see what we’d all been talking about. This really showed me that people like to lurk, they like you to be about and they don’t like it when you disappear. If you are away for any length of time post on your wall and tell your likers so they know. They like you and they care about you if your page is a busy one so care a little back.
I have asked 3 pages whose posts I find particularly engaging…
Here you can find the home of ‘shabby chic’ as Emma ‘lovingly make shabby chic style & country items for all occasions in a cosy cottage deep in the Essex countryside’ Her posts are fun, eye catching and make me want to comment. Here’s a post from last week that made me laugh;
‘That blasted dodgy path tripped me right into the shop again today, right over to the fabric which fell in my hands & toppled me to the till :0/ whoops ;0)’
I asked her how she approaches her facebook posting and this is what she said;
Umm that’s an easy one I think, I just be myself and whatever I feel I want to share with everyone I will, It all depends in what mood I’m in at the time and what’s been happening during the day, It’s not always about sell, sell, sell but keeping in contact with my likers and making friends. I feel it’s important to appear “Normal” so to speak rather than just a computer generated selling machine. I would say keep the updates interesting, informative & funny at times, apart from asking for advice or updating why you’re not around. Most of all enjoy :0)
More Tea Vicar sells a range of vintage items from china to cake stands and also tea sets. I’ve lots from Mrs Vicar and I particularly like the way she has adopted a ‘persona’ and I love catching up on her adventures with Mr Vicar. Here’s a really good example of her wicked sense of humour;
Blinking Nora- the madness never ends! Mr Vicar is quite partial to a drop ‘o’ brandy and has just sat down with a glass. He took a sip, and then moaned that he didn’t like his new glass! “New glass?” I thought. His new glass is for Valentine’s Day! The silly man was only drinking out of a Vintage stemmed trifle dish! No wonder I drink gin.
Here’s what she sent me in reply to my questions about posting;
I read your blog every Sunday. I am usually sat with a pot of tea using my phone, so I can’t add comments. I read one of your comments, where you said you were a naturally chatty person, me too! We live in ‘W’, in a quiet village, so I suppose Facebook is my contact with the outside world, as now my children are older, I don’t do the endless round of Playgroups and chatting at the School gates. Though the School gate wasn’t always fun! Not that I’m a Hermit or some sad solitary soul, who lives a lonely life, its just nice to know, that at the click of a mouse, I can chatter away to lots of lovely people!
My head is always full of thoughts and I suppose I just add them to my page. I don’t sit and think of what to say as its already there, waiting to come out. I comment on our lives, poor Mr V is unaware of the extent that he features, my children, grandchildren, just general everyday things.
I am known as Mrs Vicar and I have to say, that is the real me! I love Vintage china and Afternoon Tea and truly always drink from a china teacup. I adore gin, though sometimes I mention it so much, I fear I come across as an “old soak”.
So really what I am saying and could’ve said without all those words is, I have no formula or words of wisdom, I just sign into Facebook and the comments come spilling out! But isn’t that the best way, just to be yourself and chat to people as if you were face to face, having Tea and a gossip, to naturally love the items that feature on your page and have a true passion for them?
Cheeky pickle is the brain child of Alison Benyon who designs and makes her own range of stitched paper items. Her products range from cards to pictures and lots in between. Her posts are great because she uses photos very often as another resource to catch people’s eye.
Here is a post from last week that really made me laugh! It’s a great one as lots of women identify with her problem so they commented…
How much does this wind you up? If you aren’t sure what it is, well you must be one of the lucky ones to be married to one of those rare species…. a respectful husband!
Her thoughts cover some of the points I have but I thought it best to include all contributions in their entirety as I did last week. Here is what she said when I asked her for her opinions on what and how to post;
Posting on Face book
I am a rather strong character. I may now live in Australia, but I was born and raised in Manchester and I am northern through and through. I find that, whether I like it or not, my personality comes through in the posts I send out on FB every day.
My advice to you all would be these three things.
1- Know who your customer is
2- Be yourself, honest, positive and polite
3- Stand out from the crowd
Know who your customer is
I am lucky as my customer is actually rather similar to myself. Female, aged 24 – 49 and a mother. Start by looking at your FB and blog stats. This will help you to find out who YOUR customers are. What do they like to do, to read, to chat about? Get inside your customers head and think like they do.
So using my page as an example, my customers are generally mothers, in their 30’s, very busy with kids, jobs, cleaning and cooking….. These women are trying to do everything and be everything. These ladies want a page that will chat about cooking, cleaning, family, kids, multi tasking, escapism and getting together to have a laugh when it all gets too much!
Be yourself, honest, positive and always be polite
So once you have a good idea who your customer is, you need to add another ingredient. YOU and your shimmering personality! So with my strong, a bit quirky, let’s have a laugh type of personality, I try and put together posts that will engage my customer. Make them feel that they are part of Cheeky Pickle, that they are involved with my page, that they are helping me make decisions on things to do with the business, let them in a little to see my family life (not too much though, there is a fine line here) and have a laugh at the same time.
I try and make my page almost like a girly get together, where we can moan about the kids, the untidy husband and the endless to do list we have. I do try and put a positive spin on it though and intersperse these posts with, obviously, photos of my work and what’s happening with my business.
Stand out from the crowd
Finally I would like to say, don’t bore your customers. There is now huge competition on FB with LOT’S of new little craft pages popping up every day. Personally, I am sick of reading the same type of posts “look at my new product….”etc. I am a “liker” of a LOT of pages and I skim past every one of these posts with a heavy sigh. They are BORING. However, the posts I come back to again and again are honest, real, engaging, make me laugh, bring me closer to the page owner, great product photos and are conversational (if that’s a real word!!) Also be polite. I try to answer all of my customer’s posts in record time. It makes a difference, trust me. It shows you care and that they matter to you.
Hope that helps guys. Just try and stand out from the crowd, because that crowd is getting much bigger!
So. LOTS of things to think about and some fantastic points made by these contributors. Each one has their own unique way of posting that reflect both their personalities and their business. They have fun whilst engaging and through the engagement comes sales. If you a wiser poster and think through what you post this can be a very powerful tool.
Thank you so much to my 3 contributors, once again, I couldn’t have written this without them.