Thursday, 28 July 2011

How to build engagement through your facebook page

Lots of housing organisations now have facebook pages, which is great – facebook is undoubtedly where our customers are. But social media only really gets powerful once you achieve engagement with your audience. How can you generate conversations so that you can improve services based on the feedback you receive?

What we found at Wolverhampton Homes is that it takes perseverance and ideas. We’ve been on facebook for just over a year and at first, we had very little interaction or engagement.

We knew that we had to do more to get tenants involved so we promoted the page online (our website and twitter account) and offline (newsletter, posters, events and merchandise). We developed a content plan, which sets out which stories, pictures, videos and topics we post. We had regular brainstorms in the communications team on how we could generate conversations. I also gave my team members targets of how many likers we wanted to achieve and asked them to come up with new ideas to spark engagement.

We all use facebook personally and that has helped us understand the platform as a consumer; we could see what tactics other companies were trying. We also went to social media networking events where we picked up tips from other organisations.

Not everything worked – we ran a couple of competitions that we had very few takers and we had many posts that didn’t achieve any likes or comments, but after about six months, we reached a tipping point.

We finally had enough customers who liked our page to start seeing some genuine and useful engagement and we were producing regular, useful, interesting content that our customers seemed to like. Customers started writing on our wall, asking questions, commenting on our posts and even posting their own pictures.

Now we are fortunate that we have regular interaction and engagement with customers through our facebook page. It’s rare that a day goes by without some level of engagement or discussion, and all these comments and feedback give us the opportunity to improve our services and change things for the better.

Anyone who is trying to build engagement through a facebook page should stick with it. The engagement won’t come quickly (unless you’re very lucky!) so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t start seeing engagement straightaway.

(I originally wrote this post for a publication by Verse One.)

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