PR News Q&A: Keys to Increasing Facebook Engagement

Jason Winocour

Communicators and brands have been busy testing new tactics that may turn some of Facebook's 500 million users into "likes." But, according to Jason Winocour, social and digital media practice leader and agency partner at Hunter Public Relations, building a truly active Facebook community involves a commitment to building long term engagement and retention rather than just collecting likes. Winocour will discuss community building, engagement and more at PR News’ Facebook Conference on May 24 in New York. Winocour, along with GolinHarris’ Idil Cakim, will speak on the panel “The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Facebook as a PR Tool.”

PR News: What are the key elements of an effective Facebook PR strategy?

Jason Winocour: It needs to be grounded in clearly thought-out and articulated marketing objectives. Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for building awareness and stoking engagement, but the jury is still out as to whether Facebook is an effective vehicle to drive sales. Too often, a Facebook strategy is built on the never-ending quest to acquire new likes, or likers, but gives short shrift to engagement and retention. For many companies and organizations, coupons and giveaways prime the pump for new liker acquisitions. But useful and entertaining content coupled with an open dialogue is what keeps likers engaged for the long haul. 

PR News: What are some other ways to keep likers engaged?

Winocour: Thorough analysis of Facebook Page insights and analytics is the best way to determine effective engagement tactics for your brand. Give your fans a variety of ways to interact by posting questions, polls, links to related outside sources and pictures. By identifying the content that results in a spike in newsfeed posts, likes and comments, you can accommodate fans’ interests and ensure deeper interaction with your brand. And be sure to post with an authentic voice that reflects the personality of the brand, rather than the voice of the CMO presenting results at the annual sales meeting.

PR News: How often should you post new content?

Winocour: Posting relevant, interesting content three to four times per week helps keeps followers engaged. Multimedia posts generally receive higher levels of engagement (likes and comments) than posts that contain plain text only. According to a recent study conducted by Buddy Media, brands that post outside business hours tend to have the highest engagement rates.

PR News: What's one key tip you'll give to our audience at PR News' Facebook Conference?

Winocour: It's better to err on the side of not deleting negative Facebook posts—unless such posts fall outside of the company's "Rules of the Road" specifications. Deleting posts that are negative, but not offensive, can anger the community and unwittingly pour gasoline on the fire. Let the community self-police whenever possible. It works most of the time on Wikipedia, and it works most of the time on Facebook as well.

Attend PR News’ Facebook Conference on May 24 in New York and learn more from experts like Jason Winocour.

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