At 2 Moms Media, we always look at each individual client to customize an integrated outreach plan across several different platforms. Social media is always part of that plan. But we like to keep it interesting — and innovative. We know that moms want to engage in real time with brands. We also know that moms are on Facebook — all day long. This is where the Facebook Chat comes into the picture.
May is Water Safety Awareness Month. This is an important time for media outreach for our client Goldfish Swim School. Water safety is an important topic — but it is also content-driven and can be very serious stuff. We decided that the best way to spread the word about water safety is to simply talk about it and address parents’ concerns
We put together a plan to partner with the best parenting media resource in each major market to help us share important information that families want to know about summer safety — including water safety, sun safety, bike safety, playground safety and more. We reached out to the best experts on each topic and put together hyper local, content driven Facebook Chats on summer safety. And this strategy is working very well in several different markets.
Thinking about how a Facebook Chat might work for your client? Here are five things to keep in mind as you put together your chat:
- Content drives the chat. No one wants to listen to your client talk about themselves for an hour. A successful Facebook Chat will have helpful content at the heart of it. Pick a topic that parents care about. Tell them something useful. The marketing is secondary. Show participants how your client’s product or service fits into their busy lives. Parents will get the marketing message if you lead with authentic information.
- Pick the right platform. The Facebook chat should be hosted on a Facebook Page with a significant, engaged, active following.We have found that major parenting media partners have worked well in this role. We’ve partnered with Chicago Parent, The Boston Moms Blog, Northeast Ohio Parent, Dayton Parent, Philadelphia Parent/Mainline Parent and Little Lake County for our chats. These partners provide promotional power, plus they are a neutral forum for all of the partners to gather. Katy Mark of Dayton Parent shared, “We had a great time running our first Summer Safety Facebook Chat with Goldfish Swim School and it seems that the other partners and all participants did as well! We feel that this new opportunity helped solidify relationships with our fans as well as our business partners.”
- Speaking of Partners. Partners are the key to any successful Facebook Chat. No one wants to listen to any one business talk about their own product or service for an hour. You won’t be able to create real engagement. Choose at least 4-5 complimentary partners. Criteria for partners include: (1) expertise on the general topic (2) large FB reach (3) social media savvy and (4) willingness to help promote the chat.
- Plan and Promote. So how do you let people know about the chat? This tactic only works if you have many participants at the actual chat. Create a Facebook Event page on your host’s main Facebook Page. Invest resources to create high quality graphics that include basic information about the chat as well as the partners logos. Facebook Events allow you to invite friends and RSVP. Post the link in various Facebook groups. Be sure that all partners share with their networks. The chat itself should be hosted on the main Facebook Page of the media partner. This allows for the greatest reach potential. In addition, take the time to prepare the partners by sharing a list of “tips” for participation in the chat and create a script outlining questions and a timeline. Solicit questions and information from your partners and create a script for the chat to share with all partners so they can prepare their answers. Schedule the questions into Facebook in advance. These chats are fast and furious and participants will jump in with questions in real time. You will be glad to have the general plan for the chat set in advance so you can respond on the fly to the real time interactions.
- Make Prizes a Part of the Picture. Moms love to win stuff (we all do, right?). Ask partners to contribute a prize to be awarded randomly to participants. It adds another incentive to drive participants to the chat.
What makes a chat successful? Word of mouth plays a huge role. But there are ways to measure the actual reach of your efforts. Make sure to use Facebook’s built in tracking tools to get metrics for your chat so you know the extent of your reach. Ask partners for testimonials about their experience and what benefits they saw from the chat. Track conversions, sign ups and inquiries. Post chat, follow up with all partners to see what other cross-promotional marketing opportunities exist. The Facebook Chat can be the beginning of larger marketing partnerships. Keep an eye out for enthusiastic participants. Maybe they are future brand ambassadors. The reach extends far beyond the actual chat itself.