Social media secrets: Top Australian Facebook pages share their strategies

feature-zuckmaster-200bSocial media agency Socialbakers recently conducted some research into some of the most successful Facebook pages in Australia – and the results are surprising.

Among the larger companies, including Telstra and Jetstar, a range of SMEs have made their stamp on the social space. And they’re not necessarily the companies you’d expect.

The most interesting part? Their strategies are completely different. We’ve profiled two separate SMEs that appeared at the top of the research for engagement and user devotion, and have come up with a variety of tips.

One company vows never to delete negative comments, while the other goes out of its way to make sure they never appear on the site. One advocates outsourcing parts of Facebook management, while the other is dedicated to running things in-house, to the point of hiring two full-time workers.

The two approaches are proof that no one size fits all when it comes to social media. So we’ve spoken to both companies to find out more about their individual strategies, and to help you figure out which will be best for your business.

Black Milk Clothing

Black Milk Clothing is an Australian fashion success story. Founded in 2009, the company is a multi-million dollar business employing more than 100 people – and it has a whopping 364,000 fans on Facebook.

The company has created a snappy brand for itself by selling clothes with unusual prints – its leggings are the most popular. So popular that not only has Black Milk been able to foster a huge community on its Facebook page, but it has done so with a budget of exactly zero dollars.

The community is evident once you visit the page. The company shares pictures of clothes, rarely their own products, and the fans talk about them en masse.

Marketing manager Cameron Parker tells SmartCompany the company’s social media policy is to enhance the existing community, not necessarily create one out of nothing. They already like the brand for a reason; Facebook just brings them all together.

“If you look at what we post, I’d say about 2% of our content is something we’ve created, and anything else is user generated.”

Parker points to Instagram, where if you search the words “black milk” you’ll find tens of thousands of results. It’s a benefit of being in an industry made up of people keen to take photos of themselves, but Parker says that trend allows for a huge amount of community involvement.

“They get to have their little moment in the spotlight,” he says.

Black Milk was cited by Socialbakers for its devotion. With a response rate of 68%, and an average response time of 51 minutes, it’s one of the most active pages in Australia.

Parker says the response rate is hugely important. The customers, mainly female, are focusing on conversation. The company has to be part of the conversation.

“Up until about two months ago, it was just someone else and me working Facebook. But we’ve got two girls now handling it all, and they’re great.”

“It’s just so important to us that we do this all in-house, and don’t send it out to an external company.”

The two women work in separate shifts, so Black Milk is always talking and answering questions. Black Milk has fostered a sense of community involvement not only in conversation but the company as well. The staff shoot videos of themselves around the office to post online, so when they sign off their name on Facebook messages the readers have a sense of who they’re talking to.

“They know who we are. We’ll always sign off, so there’s a human element to it all. This isn’t a marketing copy and paste tactic.”

It can’t be underestimated how much of Black Milk’s content is generated by the fans. They post pictures, and the company itself puts up unrelated photos and just simply asks questions about them. It creates an opportunity for people to talk.

With this type of company, Parker says, that’s extremely important.

It’s also why Black Milk doesn’t tolerate harmful comments. When it invites fans to post pictures, they’re adamant about the rules.

“If you say to someone that they need to gain some weight, or wash their hair, or whatever, then we take it down. We find that inappropriate and it’s immediately banned.”

“If you actually have a look at our Facebook tabs, there’s one called ‘obey’. We list our commandments there, and it’s basically along the principles of being excellent to each other.”

“We want to create a safe environment.”

This is what has made Black Milk so successful. Not only a solid understanding of the importance of user-generated content, built around a strong brand proposition, but the idea that it can control exactly what its Facebook site will be.

It knows exactly what it is – and how it works.

Black Milk’s three tips:

  • Tell a story: “You need to have a story about your brand. Everything from our order confirmation emails to our Facebook page has a story that people can relate to.”
  • Accessibility: “We’re on Facebook giving real-time feedback, and we’ve got the head designer talking to our fans. We’re always there.”
  • Authenticity: “We don’t pretend to be anything we’re not. We’re all about showing the human element and authenticity of the brand.”

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