Why Businesses Should ‘Act Human’ on Facebook

No matter how much thought you put into your social media strategy, the real world can always interfere.

Robert Reimann spent more than a week hashing out a plan to boost sales and engagement on the Facebook page for his bike tour business, after being matched with Shane Johnston, a social media marketing consultant from Mashable‘s Small Business Panel. With Johnston’s help, Reimann would launch a contest — along with Facebook ads to promote it — in order to attract more fans and build up an email list of customers, which he would then work to convert into sales.

Then the flood started.

Germany, where Reimann and his business BikeSherpa are based, was hit with severe flooding earlier this month that forced tens of thousands of residents to evacuate. While Reimann’s home in Dresden wasn’t damaged, he had to help his sister move all her furniture and evacuate from her house along the Elbe river. Reimann also had to scramble to come up with new bike routes and re-book hotels for customers who had booked bike trips around the city.

Faced with all of that, Reimann and Johnston were forced to put most of their social media plans on hold. However, Johnston pushed Reimann to make one subtle change to his Facebook strategy based on the natural disaster: Try connecting with fans by being more open about the experience. Based on the advice, Reimann shared an image of the flooding on the Facebook page with a note: “Time for a quick change of itinerary.” The post received several comments and re-shares — more than most others he had shared in recent months.

“I think that the honesty part is really important,” Reimann says now, reflecting on his decision to post about what he was going through during the flood. “I wanted to make clear that there is a flood going on here, and we are in a special situation. You’re building trust by being honest.”


When we first profiled Reimann’s business a month ago, it had roughly 1,000 Facebook fans, very low engagement (with a PTAT of 4) and no established email list of customers. Given the extenuating circumstances of the flood, he and Johnston weren’t really able to move the dial too much on these metrics, but they did lay some groundwork for what’s to come.

Reimann started to craft a bike tour recommendation guide, which will be offered free as an incentive to anyone who signs up for the contest. Once that’s done, they will throw up a landing page for the contest — Johnston has already created it, as you can see below — and run Facebook ads to advertise that landing page in order to attract potential customers and their email addresses. Importantly, the landing page is hosted on Facebook rather than offsite.

“It is best to keep people inside Facebook within your tabs whenever possible,” Johnston says. “Whenever you send people to a link outside Facebook, many people will not click there, and therefore you lose conversions to leads.”


As of right now, the plan is to start putting up ads for the landing page in the next week or so — after Reimann is done dealing with the aftermath of the flood — and continue advertising it for 2-3 weeks. The hope, Johnston says, is to bring in about 500 new leads, which drive “a couple” sales for the business — each bike tour can cost as much as several thousand dollars. Of course, all of that assumes Mother Nature doesn’t get in the way again.

For now, Reimann says the most valuable thing he’s gained from the program is the push from Johnston be be more personal on his Facebook. “Being more personal, being not afraid or not shy about being personal, that’s what people want,” he says. “Sometimes it really helps to have someone else whose opinion you respect tell you that.”

Source: mashable.com