Last month I wrote a blog post about the various ways to work around Facebook’s declining organic reach while maintaining an ad-free presence. I’m now sharing a few of the Pages inBLOOM manages to show you the fundamental ways we achieve success with our organic social media marketing strategies.
Warning: some of my cupcake pics may induce an immediate craving for sweet treats.
With the help of Facebook Insights and monthly reporting, we’re able to determine the strategies that encourage the most commentary and actions online and motivate people to make purchases or attend events offline.
Our two case studies, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation and Cupcake Magician, couldn’t be further apart in their marketing goals, but both resonate with their target audiences due to relatable content that evokes emotion.
NEW JERSEY VIETNAM VETERANS’ MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation (NJVVMF), located in Holmdel, NJ, is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about New Jersey’s veterans of the Vietnam era. Their Memorial honors all those who served our country and state during the Vietnam War, especially the 1,563 New Jerseyans who never returned home.
Since September of last year, inBLOOM has more than doubled the amount of likes on the organization’s Facebook Page. The majority of their fans live in the NY and NJ region, 46% of which are women, 53% men and 71% being over 45 years of age. Clearly we’re reaching their target marketing.
Let’s review some of the ways we’re able to organically reach their audience on Facebook.
Engage your audience with relevant and sharable content.
Daily we post photos and biographies of the men honored at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial who died on that very day during the Vietnam War. These posts receive a lot of engagement from their Page Fans because many of them are Vietnam veterans, family and friends of veterans. Our content is relevant specifically to them.
Douglas Dickerson died in the Vietnam War and we shared his story on August 15:
We also maintain a calendar of national holidays related to the Vietnam War, U.S. military branches and patriotism, and acknowledge them on the Facebook Page. Our designer creates attractive graphics with the NJVVMF logo and then we post it with a statement about the holiday, tagging other Pages and using hashtags. These posts receive a lot of engagement and are often shared by other notable businesses and organizations with large networks.
Without any paid advertisement, these posts reach a significant amount of people because of their relevance so they increase their chances of showing up on News Feeds, and are shared numerous times. This is how we can organically reach people beyond the NJVVMF’s audience, introducing new users to the Facebook Page.
National POW/MIA Day was recognized September 19 and we designed and shared this post:
Make an emotional connection.
It’s clear when we read the comments on the articles, photos and biographies we post that people feel an emotional connection. We have much greater engagement when we share content that speaks directly to people’s lives. It’s key to read their comments and gauge what’s most successful and sharable.
On one of the daily biography posts someone left a comment saying “Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to see he is still remembered. I wish I could have met him. (He’s my dad, and uncle’s brother).” We also recently posted a photo album for the NJVVMF Gold Star Mothers POW/MIA Ceremony, which received several emotional comments such as “My grandmother was a Gold Star Mother when my uncle was killed. What a great tribute.” and “My brother, a helicopter pilot has remained MIA since April 3, 1972. His remains and 3 other brave men have never been found. All these Heroes that have never been found or returned home, will never be forgotten!”
You may not feel that you have content to share that is as emotionally charged as the NJVVMF, but it’s important to discover ways people can emotionally connect with your Facebook Page. This connection is a powerful way to link the heart of your audience with the soul of your organization or business.
Share stories and news.
We skim over the Page’s News Feed frequently to see if there’s anything to share from Pages that post content, which would interest our Fans. For the most part, we share content from other Vietnam veteran organizations, U.S. military branches, newspapers, television and radio. Google alerts have also proven an excellent source for stories around the world relevant to follower interests.
We often share posts like this one from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s Page:
Sharing and liking content on other Pages also helps us to reach new people who haven’t already liked the NJVMMF Page and also establishes relationships. The Pages we share from often return the favor and share and like our content as well.
Cupcake Magician, located on 54 Monmouth Street in Red Bank, NJ, is a family owned and operated bakery serving a large variety of cupcakes and custom baked goods. With flavors like Pancakes and Bacon, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Cookies and Cream and Chocolate Covered Cannoli, it’s always a dilemma trying to figure out which cupcake flavor to choose to satisfy our sweet tooth. That’s why we always end up leaving with a whole box of them!
Since September of last year, Cupcake Magician’s Facebook Page’s likes have increased by 31% thanks to our formula. It also exciting to note that Cupcake Magician ranked number 10 nationwide by the influential Daily Meal’s 101 Best Cupcakes in America in April 2014. No doubt their social fans helped them to be seen and taste tested in the media.
Here are some of the ways we’re able to organically reach their audience.
Engage your audience with interactive content.
Every Friday is “Flavor Friday” on Cupcake Magician’s Facebook Page. We randomly choose a photo of a cupcake and ask people to guess the flavor by leaving a comment in the post. The first one to guess the flavor receives a complimentary cupcake of any flavor. From the moment we post in the morning until the time we announce the winner in the afternoon, these posts receive a ton of engagement. Because we’re consistent, people know that every Friday they have to visit the Page so they can take a guess.
Here’s an example of a winner’s announcement:
We also have “Cupcake Wars,” which are always fun. We create a graphic with two different flavors and ask people “which one” they prefer. Then we’ll tally up the votes from the comments and announce the winning flavor.
Interactive posts are excellent ways to spark engagement and have fun with your Fans.
Post photos of your products.
Visual content such as photos and graphics tend to get shared the most. Brand content, which are images of cupcakes and cakes and how people have experienced these products receive the most engagement. Cupcake Magician provides us with attractive photos of their most popular flavors and custom orders and we post them each day. I must admit, it’s not easy for this sweet tooth to avoid temptation while posting these photos!
Check out this GIANT Pancakes and Bacon cupcake cake! Many people enjoyed this one.
It’s not uncommon to have new and existing customers decide to place an order just from seeing a photo we’ve posted. Many times they’ll try to place the order right in the post comments or send us as message.
In addition to posting images of Cupcake Magician’s products, we also share photos from other Pages as a way to give customers some inspiration. If they like what they see, they can call the bakery with their idea and create their dream cake with their decorator.
Make an emotional connection.
Baked goods really don’t have too much of an emotional story to tell, so that is why we’ve come up with creative ways to emotionally connect with the audience.
There’s always a reason to celebrate, especially when you’ve overcome a great obstacle. On Cupcake Magican’s Facebook Page, we acknowledge those who have overcome an illness such as cancer or have a positive outlook on a personal struggle. We share posts from other Pages, such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and congratulate these incredible fighters on their success.
Graysen’s post was news to celebrate and share:
Cupcake Magician also likes to give back, so they hold “Sweet Charity” in-store fundraisers where they select a non-profit organization to receive 25% of the sales from one of the many varieties of cupcakes. We post about this on their Page and link to the charity. Letting people know about the fundraiser is a great way to emotionally connect with them. They’ll see the post with the information, as well as the photo of the delicious cupcake and hopefully decide to come in and purchase that flavor, raising funds for their cause.
Every business and organization should allot money to advertising on Facebook. Before you advertise, however, I recommend you invest the time into sincerely stirring the emotions of your audience. By organically reaching your audience, you’ll better understand their needs and desires, and then you’ll be able to advertise your posts in ways that matter most to your audience and bottom line.
Oh and before you stop reading….Which cupcake would you choose? I’m a big fan of the Red Velvet on the back left.