Online Brands

5 Compelling Strategies For Greater Customer Engagement On Facebook – Part One

What do most businesses get wrong with their social media?

What is the engagement ladder and how can you use it to get people to engage on with you on Facebook?

Last week I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook – as you do!

I came across a post by TRT Australia. TRT (Tidd Ross Todd) is a privately-owned, family business based in Hamilton, New Zealand, although the post I saw was from their Cranes site in Brisbane.

For context, TRT specialise in the design, manufacturing, and engineering of large specialty trailers (for example, house removal trailers), truck and trailer parts, truck and trailer mechanical service and repair, as well as new and used cranes for sale in Australia, and so on.

What grabbed my attention was how well TRT were doing with their social media, on Facebook. They made 12 posts in May (2021),  and 9 in April.

The posts are short, with great photos, and usually celebrate something that one of their clients is doing, or something their team has done.

So I thought I would take a look at what they are doing right and what they could do better.

I’m going to base my comments on a book I purchased recently, Social Media Success for Every Brand, by Claire Diaz-Ortiz.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz was an early employee at Twitter and is an author, speaker, angel investor, and innovation advisor.

Diaz-Ortiz is a leading voice in digital media. She speaks regularly on innovation and digital media, and has shared her expertise with various organizations including The United Nations, South by Southwest, TEDx, Toyota, and Verizon.

And… get this…

She is famous as the women who got  Pope benedict on Twitter! Crazy!

Claire got involved in Twitter when there were only about 50 employees. Nothing illustrates this more than her user name, @Claire. Not @claire_243, or @claire_diaz_ortiz_12… Just @claire.

The biggest social media marketing mistakes that many companies make

According to Diaz-Ortiz, one of the most common marketing mistakes is making your marketing about the company and not the customer or client.

She likens it to going to a cocktail party that everyone is enjoying until someone comes in and begins bragging about themselves, trying to be the centre of attention, and attempting to close sales with some of the big hitters in the room. Not cool.

He wonders why everyone walks away at the earliest opportunity. Where has everyone gone? They’re all over by the bar listening to the guy telling an awesome story and engaging with people instead of talking at them.

But that’s what a lot of company’s do on their Facebook page.

And this is one of the things that TRT is doing well. Many of their posts are about their customers. Yes, their posts include references to their own products, but they frequently feature and tell the story of the customer. Ten of the most recent fifteen posts have featured a story about one of their customers. Two thirds – well done!

Telling the story of JCH Harvest and their TRT Low Loader trailer.

1. Make the Customer the HERO – You be their GUIDE

They key with marketing, including social media, is to make the customer the hero – our business/brand is the guide.

This comes from Donald Miller’s book, Building a Story Brand. According to Miller:

  • The customer is the hero of their own story, not your company/brand.
  • By default, businesses sell solutions to external problems, but customers want or need to buy solutions to internal problems.
  • Customers aren’t looking for another hero; they’re looking for a guide who can help them solve their problem.
  • The guide presents a solution to the problem but also knows that the hero needs to be challenged to take action.
  • The solution helps them to avoid failure and enjoy success.

The Story Brand for TRT

What does this look like for TRT? Or what could it look like?

Imagine Gary and Marie, a couple running a construction company way back in the middle of nowhere, Queensland. They regularly demolish and construct buildings for farmers and business owners in the towns way out there. These guys are the hero of their story, not TRT.

Sometimes there aren’t million dollar roads leading to where they need to work, and the ground isn’t always what you would call a pristine construction zone. They need to move heavy debris from the demolitions, as well as beams and semi-constructed buildings into place.

So they have a problem. On the surface it looks like the problem is the need to lift heavy things – to which the solution is a mobile crane. Well, TRT have lots of mobile cranes for sale in Australia.

But TRT may be tempted to see it as an external problem. What they might miss is that there in an underlying internal problem – a frustration. The frustration is caused by a villain… every great story must have a villain!

In this case, the villain isn’t the absence of a crane. Its the fact that whenever they need one, there is never a hire crane available. Or, it isn’t well serviced and breaks down. Or, the job it was coming from is running over time and so now Gary’s project is also delayed.

TRT solve external problems. But Gary has an internal problem, a frustration. People buy from companies that help them identify and solve their internal frustration.

If this was a movie TRT would come in as a guide and help bring the internal frustration to the surface and create a gap between their customer and what they need or want.

You hold your customers’ attention with this well-placed story gap because they wonder if and how you will close it. This magnetic force drives much of human behavior. It’s the basis of desire.

The more you talk about the problems your customers’ experience, the more they feel as if you know them and the more interest they will have in your brand.


Change your social media to focus on your customer, not your company. This should be reflected in:

  • Your Bio: how do you help the customer?
  • Your posts: why does this matter to them?

2. Use Social Media for BRAND marketing not DIRECT marketing

What’s the difference? Direct marketing is any marketing where you are trying to get a sale.

Brand marketing is all about awareness and engagement with your brand.

The important distinction to make is that brand marketing lays the foundation for direct marketing. It is important to increase awareness and engagement with your brand in order for direct marketing to be effective.

For example, if I live on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, I may be aware that Urban Homes are Whitianga builders because I see their showhome on my daily commute. Further I may have a good impression of Urban Homes because I saw that in the local news that they win more Master Builder awards than any other Hamilton / Waikato / Coromandel home builder. I have also had a previous positive experience with Urban Homes when I visited their show home with my mother-in-law, who is thinking of building.

So my brand awareness of Urban Homes has increased and it is positive. Now when I see their direct marketing adverts come up on Google or Facebook, I am more likely to choose to choose Urban to build my new home.

If I had no awareness of their brand, I am more likely to choose whichever brand I do have positive brand awareness with.

TRT Brand Marketing

Again, TRT are doing well here in their Facebook posts. The vast majority of their posts tell a short story.

This is all brand marketing which is excellent.

I did find one post that had a call to action. But, even then it was very soft – “Give us a call today to discuss your next trailer.”

The Social Media Bank Account

The key to brand marketing is to think of social media as a bank account. You need to consistently deposit more in the reader’s bank account than you are withdrawing.

Withdrawing is when you ask a customer to take action. Depositing is all the posts you make that give your followers valuable content, and encourage them to follow and engage.

Withdrawals include: Download my free PDF, Phone us now, and so on. They are important and are a big help – as long as they don’t dominate.

Remember the 80/20 rule from Pareto’s principle? Make sure you deposit 80% of the time and limit your withdrawals to 20%.

So how can you make deposits?

The main way of giving your followers valuable content is to create great content that your followers resonate with.

What do you resonate with? For me, its content that answers my greatest questions or speaks to my biggest interests.

What would that look like for TRT?

TRT Followers are interested in cranes, crane trailers, parts and servicing. They will probably have questions about those things.

But they are also interested in the heroes of the truck, trailer and crane industry. Creating content around the characters of the crane industry and their stories will resonate and catch your follower’s interest. Who doesn’t love a great story that involves a crisis and how the hero solved it. OF course, a well crafted story will quietly include TRT as the guide who helped the hero to success. Remember, TRT is not the hero – the customer is.

So create content that includes:

  • articles, blogs and podcasts
  • case studies
  • stories that make your customers the hero
  • testimonials that show how your brand helped the hero
  • motivational memes/phrases – short, sharp, sharable content
  • quotes from other articles, etc that establish your authority as a brand
  • statistics about your brand, even from another news source
  • powerful images from your own brand – not stock photos
  • compelling videos that tell the hero/guide/life-change story

This is where TRT can increase their impact.

Yes, its time consuming. Yes, no one has the time.

But yes, TRT would really benefit from adding content that adds value, and that resonates with their followers. That’s the word for today – resonate.


Shift the focus of your social media to help people engage and have a positive experience with your brand – not to make a sale. This should be reflected in:

  • Your posts: Make sure you are adding value 80 percent of the time, with only 20 percent including a call to action.
  • Engagement: Don’t post and ghost. Create posts that encourage people to comment or ask questions. Then, stick around to engage with those people.

3. Help your Customers Climb the Engagement Ladder


The key for TRT now is to increase the level of engagement that customers have with their brand.

To be continued…