Don’t Fear The Cat Pic: Getting And Keeping Facebook Fans

September 24, 2012 6
Don’t Fear The Cat Pic: Getting And Keeping Facebook Fans

In the world of Facebook, trying to catch someone’s attention is like putting a billboard on the Autobahn. You only have seconds to grab their attention and even less to keep it. Since we work in self-storage, we’re already fighting an uphill battle on Facebook. People engage with brands like Red Bull or Amazon for fun or for news. Few people actually seek out self-storage companies on Facebook. That’s where your social media marketing savvy comes in to play.

If you post it, they won’t like.
When it comes to grabbing attention, images often speak louder than words. Why do you think Pinterest blew up so quickly and Instagram sold for $1 billion? People love to share images. According to Mediabistro, photos earn double the likes of text posts. When someone likes a photo you post, that photo displays in the ticker on the right-hand side of Facebook for all their friends to see. Historically, people tend to trust their friends more than brands, so friends of your fans are more likely to interact with your content after it’s received that vote of confidence.

What heavy metal can teach you about tone and engagement.
When choosing images, it’s pivotal to treat your audience like equals. One of my favorite bands, 3 Inches of Blood, has an excellent visual strategy on their Facebook page. They’re a small Canadian metal band that barely packs small clubs, yet they have just under 100,000 Facebook fans and currently more than 11,000 talking about their page. Just check out this example that earned more than 1,000 likes and 241 shares. That was the tamest example I could post here, but some of their photos have more than 1,000 shares.

Why does it work? It’s fun, and they don’t insult their audience’s intelligence. How many times have you seen a brand page ask what their Facebook fans are doing this weekend? If people do respond, the brand often doesn’t. Or what about the like-baiting posts? “Like this post if you love sunshine!” That strategy can work once in awhile, but it loses its potency very quickly.

3 Inches of Blood doesn’t ask anything out of you, they just want you to enjoy yourself while you’re on their page or scrolling past their content in your newsfeed. This should be a goal for your brand. If someone comes away from your page smiling or having learned something, your brand is more likely to stay on top of their mind.

Branding on the brain.
If people consistently have a positive experience on your page, the results can work in your favor over time. Christine Born, a German neurologist, conducted a study on the brain’s response to branding using MRIs. Her findings were staggering:

“Strong brands activated a network of cortical areas, areas involved in positive emotional processing and associated with self-identification and rewards,” she said. Strong brands can actually make people feel better. Think about that every time you make a post.

OK, so what do I post?
As with any form of marketing, it’s important to have a strategy. However, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Think of social media as a real-life conversation— if someone keeps saying the same things over and over again, you’re bound to tune them out. So if you consistently post about storage unit prices and coupons, you can expect flat levels of interaction.

That’s where the visuals come in. You can keep your posts related to storage without being dry. For example, post about crazy finds in storage auctions or funny stories from around your facility. You’d be surprised what you can find in a quick Reddit or Google Image search. Lots of visually dazzling home storage solutions can be found on Pinterest.

As the title states, don’t fear the cat pic. It’s a running stereotype that the Internet is nothing but cat pics, but there’s a reason for that— they work. People love cats, or love to hate them. Don’t overdo it or be disingenuous, but feel free to embrace what people have proven they’ll respond to.

Let the photos work for you. 
So you posted a funny picture and it was a big hit. Lots of likes, some comments, a few shares— exactly what you wanted.  Don’t let that momentum get away. Facebook allows you to run statuses as ads, or just promote the post within your news feed for an affordable price. So many ads on Facebook simply say, “like our page,” or other very bland and expected requests. When you run a funny photo as an ad, you’re not being forceful with the user. You’re saying, “this was funny, thought you’d like it.”  Generally, people do. Status ads tend to have higher click-through rates than more traditional ones. People see the comments, shares and likes, so they’re more likely to respond themselves. It’s the old idea that if people see a crowded party, they want to go.

Now, don’t finish reading this and decide, “we’re only posting pictures from now on!” Videos, polls and basic text updates can also work when done right. The beauty of social media is that there are no true rules, just principles. To quote the 2002 movie Adaptation, “A rule says you *must* do it this way. A principle says, this *works*, and has through all remembered time.” Anyone who’s worked in the industry will tell you cat pics *work*. Just don’t take it too far and end up like these guys.

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  • Tommy K

    Nice article Josh, I think you are right on the money…Coca-Cola uses strong imagery that evokes very visceral reactions with the consumer…heck, I am willing to admit I have gotten goosebumps from more than one Coke ad. It works!

  • George Junnier

    thanks Josh,we have been useing our little Morkie in some of our local adds and website works great,we have customers that just stop by to see our 6lb “Bella” they love her,we even have customer that write notes to Bella when they send i n their payments Bella even gets reviews on our web site–we know that your idea work we just have to expand.

    • Josh Kruk

      That’s awesome, George. I’d like to see Bella. Thanks for checking out the article!

  • David

    One needs to be careful of pictures they use on Facebook. You cannot just take a picture from Pinterest and use it on Facebook. If someone uses it for marketing purposes, they should own the picture by taking it or buying it or it is used with permission. We have seen many lawsuits happen to companies who take pictures from others and put it on their website or Facebook posts.

    • Rachel Greenfield

      Great point, David. Thank you for mentioning this important note!

    • Josh Kruk

      Very true David. Always at least give credit with a link.