Facebook Pages Should Engage Fans 6

If you’ve had a chance to read my bio or follow me on Twitter, you’re well aware that I’m a running nerd. Therefore, it would be no surprise that I “like” a bunch of marathons on Facebook – some of which I’ve run, and some of which I want to run.

Many of these marathons use Facebook really well, engaging with their fans and providing them with valuable information. Others do not. I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time and have decided that it’s time to share my feelings:

While I absolutely love the Boston Marathon, they do a pathetic job with social media. Here is my case:

Runners plan marathons many months – and often years – in advance. They become connected to the marathons they run, due to months of training and dedication, and a memorable race day experience. Runners want to interact with their marathons on Facebook – it’s why these pages have so many fans. They also have many questions, which will continue to pop up through the morning of the race. Finally, they want to feel connected to the experience, it helps make training exciting and motivational – and in today’s world there is no better place for connection then Facebook.

This morning I went to the Facebook pages of the four largest Marathons in the United States, and the London Marathon. On the ING New York City Marathon page, the community manager was interacting with runners and answering their questions:

On the Chicago Marathon page, the community manager is asking runners questions, getting them excited about the race and learning a little bit about their field:

On the Marine Corps Marathon page, the community manager is interacting with fans by posting images of holiday decorations in the office and asking for fans to vote on their favorite:

And on the Virgin London Marathon page, the community manager is regularly featuring people that are blogging about their marathon training experiences – it doesn’t get much more interactive then that!

In fact, even the Mount Desert Island Marathon, a small marathon in Maine is asking their fans questions:

And then we have the Boston Marathon Facebook page, where they don’t engage with their users at all: they have never asked or answered a question. Most of their posts are announcements, and others are in the form of a reminder. It’s all very factual, and the community manager never engages with  other users – it could easily be information from a website or newsletter.

Since the Boston Marathon has so many fans, they continue to receive hundreds of comments on each post, but without any engagement, the page will never be as popular as it could be.

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