Creating a Facebook page and posting content and promotional copy guarantees nothing but time spent and diminishing returns. As Monte Lutz, senior vice president of digital for Edelman, says, brands must develop a two-way dialogue if they want to truly build and engage with a community. Lutz will elaborate on strategies to build your following and empower advocates at PR News’ Facebook Conference on Aug. 9 in San Francisco. Lutz, along with Weber Shandwick’s Tim Marklein, will speak on the panel “Next Practices for Integrating Facebook Into Your PR Initiatives.”
PR News: What's the most common misconception communicators have about Facebook?â€¨
Monte Lutz: It’s easy to launch a Facebook page, but more difficult to build a community. Creating a page is not an end in and of itself. Being on Facebook is not enough; you need to be in the conversation. But the conversation is not and should not be all about you. A guest on Conan or the Daily Show spends five minutes talking about what’s happening in the world and one minute selling their show. The same should apply to how you think about Facebook. If you only talk about yourself, the community will start to lose interest. You need to find commonality between what you are doing, what the community is interested in and what is happening in their lives in order to maintain relevance and encourage participation. Engagement drives updates into people’s news feeds, which in turn spurs additional engagement. â€¨â€¨
PR News: Where do companies fall short with their Facebook strategy?
Lutz: First and foremost, companies must understand why they are on Facebook: to generate awareness, build community, empower advocates, sell products or other reasons. The type of content they create, conversations they have and customer relationships they build will vary based on their business goals. Second, companies must be realistic with their goals and specific in how they measure them. You don’t need a million fans to be deemed a success. Also, because of the network effects of amplification and reverberation, it is more difficult to attract your first 1,000 fans than it is to grow a community from 1 million to 2 million. Contests, coupons, targeted advertising and experiences that tie the real world into Facebook can help to attract that first base of fans. â€¨
PR News: What new features on Facebook can be leveraged for PR and marketing?â€¨
Lutz: Facebook is evolving all the time and experimenting with new ways for brands and people to interact. From real-time ads to location-based services, there are more ways to customize your interactions with prospective fans. Facebook Places is relatively new, but is already competing with Foursquare in the check-in game. Look for location, including both Places and Deals, to play a significant role in how retailers are relating to their fans on Facebook.
PR News: What's one key tip you'll discuss at PR News' Facebook Conference?â€¨
Lutz: Everything you read about Facebook today will need an asterisk tomorrow, but the reason why you should be on Facebook will not change. It’s about people, it’s about relationships, it’s about conversation.
Attend PR News’ Facebook Conference on Aug. 9 at the Westin San Francisco and learn more from top communicators like Monte Lutz.