5 Ways to Spark a Conversation on Facebook
My friend and a fellow dog-blogger Jana Rade recently started a Facebook group covering an issue that is very near and dear to her heart. In fact, it’s near and dear to all of us who own dogs. Dog Health Issues.
Listen while you browse
And now she is facing a problem. Here is the email she sent.
So the question is how do you engage group members to start talking?
Here are few suggestions.
1. Engagement be Damned
Hernando Cortes (1485 – 1547) was a Spanish conquistador who invaded what we now call South America, Cuba and Mexico.
He is almost single handedly responsible for the extermination of the Aztecs. And that’s an interesting set up for our main story.
Have you seen the Fifth Element with Bruce Willis? Remember the scene where he enters a room full of big, ugly aliens and shoots the leader and effectively makes the rest of the aliens surrender.
Cut off the head of the monster and you kill the monster
Cortes did the exact same thing about 500 years prior to Bruce. Except Cortes did it for real to the Aztec king effectively paving the way for the rest of the Aztecs to be exterminated and their gold “appropriated” for the Spanish crown.
But then, Cortez (and the Spanish conquistadors who followed him) encountered a different kind of monster.
This “monster” didn’t have a head to cut off. Consequently, for the next 200 years or so, the Spanish tried to chase down this monster with no success.
The “monster” was the Apaches
Apaches were a nomadic tribe. Their society didn’t have a concept of a “leader” or a “king”. They had Nantans.
Nantan was an Apache tribe member who led by example and did what he thought was best. The rest of the Apaches could choose to follow him… or not.
Without having a name for it, Apaches were engaging in a Bayesian inference. Which means that if Nantan’s choices in the past were correct then his choices in the present are likely to be correct as well, therefore we’ll engage with you (follow you).
Nantans were engaging other Apaches to fight Cortes. Jana is engaging her group to participate in a conversation; but the principal of the matter is the same.
Conversely, if you proved to be a dumb-ass in the past, well, that’s too bad. No one is crazy enough to engage you.
What a concept, huh? Wish CEOs were followed based on Bayesian inference.
Be a Nantan. Lead by example. If you are doing something that you feel is right then having somebody else “engaged” with you is just a bonus. Conversely, if you start expecting people to “engage” you and they dont (or not as expected) it will be demoralizing at the least and an imputus for something unethical at the worst.
So post daily on your Facebook wall, in discussions, photos, video, etc…Engagement be Damned.
The funny thing about that is that other kids will see you having fun dancing in the rain all by your lonesome and having a blast and will want to join-in.
2. Engage Elsewhere
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could start our own group and everyone who is interested in the topic would immediately join and engage? Alas, reality doesn’t work that way.
There are pockets of niches all over this Intertubes and we need to actively seek them out and engage others on their own turf. Become one of them. Become a member of the tribe.
Show insight and good decision making, (in other words, be a Nantan) and people will follow you back to you turf.
Once others know you as such, you can show them your playground and they will follow you because you have a good track record. (Bayesian inference).
For Jana, I think she needs to be a regular on every LinkedIn group pertaining to Dog Health. Every Facebook group pertaining to Dog Health, and relevant blog sites (like http://www.petmd.com.)
Do you guys have additional suggestions in terms of locales for Jana?
3. Integrate Your Website
Depending on a multitude of factors, you may or may not be able to deliver on this to various extents. But, if at all possible, your Facebook profile/Group/FanPage… should be integrated into your website.
Also, the opposite is true. Integrate your blog posts (even if you have to post them manually) into your Facebook profile/group/FanPage.
4. Share, Share, Share
I tweet. A LOT. I also repeat my tweets because of the way people use Twitter (as a drive-by platform).
The idea is that if you miss my tweet now, there will be another coming in a few hrs/days. You can automate this using http://Socialoomph.com or http://Twaitter.com or if you own a WordPress blog, use Tweet Old Post plugin.
I know Jana is tweeting about her Group, so this advice is more of an encouragement to do it more often and an advice for the rest of us to do it. Period.
This also brings up an issue of follower expansion
Is it better to have deeper connection with fewer followers OR is it better to have shallow connections with many followers?
The answer is YES.
The depth of the relationship is very important. But no matter the depth, all relationships start out shallow and then deepen with time, trust, reliability, intimacy and credibility.
And just in case you are not quite sold on the importance of large numbers of followers, try to convince religious organizations since the dawn of man that numbers don’t matter.
The reason Hernando Cortez invaded other countries is not only for gold, but also for religious conversion. Of course, that’s only one of many examples but I will spare you.
5. Get Creative
Others may get a different millage from the specific examples used, but everyone can stand to be more creative. For Jana, I would recommend the following.
- Interview the experts.
Dog Health is a perfect topic for a visit to a local vet, a nice sit-down in front of a video camera and a conversations regarding common issues the vet encounters on daily basis.
Can’t find a local expert? Well, that just means you’re not being creative enough
- Try a vet who is active in Social Media. What? He’s not local? Fine. Do a Skype interview (might need additional software to capture video).
Back in 2009, a buddy of mine and I did a Skype interview with the motorcycle legend David Hough. Check it out. Since then I’ve done many such interviews, links to which I will provide below.
Bonus: Get a Friend to Write a Post About You
Being part of the tribe means you have others to rely on.
Jana asked a simple question to which I decided to give not only an elaborate answer, but also share that answer with others who might find the information valuable.
This is an example of the situation in which everybody wins.
- I got much needed inspiration to write a yet another post.
- Jana gets much needed advice and little bit of publicity.
- And you my dear reader, get to be a fly on the wall during all this; and perhaps you even get to use some of this advice in your own Social Media jungle.
And we all had fun which is really the only important part.
What Facebook engagement strategy has worked for you?
Podcasts with amazing people:
- How To Get a Job by Interviewing Like a Viking With Corey Harlock
- No Bullshit Approach to Search Engine Optimization and Google Page Rank with Dan Cristo
- Interview With a Blogger Extraordinaire and Social Media Pacesetter Tristan Higbee
- Interview With a Blogger and an Online Business Expert Murray Lunn
- Interview With a Small Biz Marketing Expert Kazia Mullin