The #1 Trick (or Treat) to Successfully Engage Your Facebook Community

Is the eerie silence from your Facebook fans becoming spooky? This Halloween we have just the trick to ignite (or reignite) your fan base and drive more fans to your page, which is the perfect Halloween treat for any Facebook community manager. Ironically, it’s this seemingly simple piece of advice that haunts you time and time again: you must first and foremost figure out the type of content your community “likes” (literally and figuratively) and when they want it most.

“But my community doesn’t respond at all, it’s like a ghost town.”

Witches brew! You just haven’t discovered what trick or treat makes your community bite yet (and I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to invest in a bunch of Facebook advertising to make it happen). PadillaCRT client Albemarle Health is proof of this. A hospital based in a rural community in Elizabeth City, NC, Albemarle Health first launched a Facebook page in 2010. It was apparent their community was more present on Facebook compared to other social networks, and their fan base grew steadily, but slowly. We knew Facebook is where we needed to focus our efforts; the next step was to build a more engaging community. After experimenting with different content, we realized one thing that seemed to ignite our community over and over again – celebrating real people and the larger community.

What makes your community tick?

On October 8 Albemarle Health posted a photo of a hospital employee, Josh Hammond, congratulating him for a career accomplishment. The post received 139 “likes” and reached 1,201 people, resulting in more post “likes” and reach than any other post on the Albemarle Health Facebook page to date. Inspired by these Facebook insights, we realized we were on to something.

Leverage a captured audience.

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, Albemarle Hospital challenged different departments to a “Think Pink” decorating contest, the “pinkest” department would win a strawberry ice cream party. Ding, ding, ding! This would be the perfect opportunity to leverage the attention of one of our target audiences, hospital employees (which should, but may or may not already “like” us on Facebook), and drive them to our Facebook page. We decided to do this by incorporating Facebook into the contest by posting a photo of each of the participating department’s decorations and including the amount of Facebook “likes” for each department’s photo as part of the judges’ criteria.

The final verdict.

In the past, Albemarle Health’s Facebook page gained just a few new page “likes” in any given month. But within 24 hours of posting the contest photos, the hospital’s fan base organically grew over 50 new fans.

Within three days our fan base totaled 870, a 92% increase. The Facebook post announcing the contest and linking to the album of photos quickly skyrocketed to the most engaging post the page has ever seen with a total of 646 likes, 19 comments, 106 shares, 2,900 post clicks and a reach of 4,764.

Analytics don’t lie.

We figured out the trick to engaging our community and Facebook insights proved it. You don’t have to be a big brand with unlimited resources like Coca-Cola or Oreo to foster engagement; and you don’t need an expensive prize or a fan base over 10,000 either. The real trick is figuring out what ignites your community to act and using this knowledge to advise future content and experiments that continue to amplify and drive engagement one step further. This Halloween don’t let the silence of your community haunt you; trick your fans into coming out of their hiding place by triggering their sweet spot!

What other advice would you offer to help Facebook community managers ignite or reignite their community? How do you keep your fan base engaged while continuing to drive new fans to your page?

This post is dedicated in memory of my best friend’s mom, Ann Marie Gill, who passed away from breast cancer nine years ago this month.
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