Local, city-living deal service Gilt City is cultivating an air of coolness and exclusivity, and its Facebook strategy for connecting with its customers furthers that members-only atmosphere. The tenets of its strategy can inspire social media managers and marketers who are looking for best practices to study and learn from.

Gilt City is a service for getting deals on unique lifestyle events in major cities, encouraging people to check out the best experiences that their neighborhoods have to offer. It operates in just seven cities, so the company can really focus on finding the cream of the crop in cultural offerings. The company also emphasizes lifestyle as much as its deals. As it says in its Facebook description, “It’s about inspiring members to live well, every day.”

The company’s Facebook strategy centers on strong follower engagement and smart use of images. Those are areas of focus used by many other companies, from Skittles to Chanel, but Gilt City is a great example of how to achieve equally positive results for a smaller brand that doesn’t yet have a well-established reputation. Here are four steps that Gilt City has taken to generate its Facebook success.

Getting Engagement with Questions

We’ve covered the use of Facebook’s internal questions app before, but sometimes the best way to get your fans talking is with an open-ended query. Gilt City has taken a very smart approach to these posts by keeping the questions tailored to the lifestyle topics related to its deals, but always with a focus on its followers.

Most questions fall into one of three categories: fantasy experiences, city pride, or personal favorites. The first set includes queries about dream vacations, celebrities, or luxury events. This gets conversation started about the types of experiences that Gilt City offers its members. The second set of questions asks people to share great things about their hometowns, from the best place to have brunch to the most beautiful time of year.

The final type of question simply asks people to share something personal that they like, ranging from favorite books to describing their wardrobe. These questions are involved in the second part of Gilt City’s strategy.

Soliciting Fan Input

The questions Gilt City asks about restaurants, fashion, travel, and beauty are often direct requests for feedback. This is a smart move for the deal-offering service it provides. The company says it considers the feedback received in comments when deciding on new promotions to offer. One recent post read, “Name the best burger in your Gilt City. We’re looking for new restaurants to feature on our site.” The status generated 167 comments.

This strategy serves two purposes. First, it gets your followers involved and talking on your Page. It also fosters the feeling of community and exclusivity. Second, it’s an easy way to get informal market research no matter what industry your company is in. Asking people what they want to see from your company can yield some great suggestions and can help jump start your team’s creativity. Knowing what your fans want to buy will most likely increase your company’s sales, too.

Striking a Balance with Sweepstakes

Contests are a great way to get your fans involved on Facebook, but many brands over-saturate their pages with promotions. That strategy ensures that your followers know about the contest, but it’s easy to wind up annoying your followers with a barrage of repetitive posts. It also can come across as desperate for participation, which may actually discourage people from joining the contest.

Gilt City shares updates about its ongoing contests about once a week. For example, with its recent Virgin America Sweepstakes, the company posts the same photo every five to seven days with a different caption.

The posts all include text asking where the fans would go on a free domestic flight. The brand also developed an app to highlight the contest at the top of its profile. By not overdoing the push for its sweepstakes, followers still get the usual day-to-day information and interactions they expect from the Page and the contest appears as something special.

Smart Image Sourcing

Some of Gilt City’s pictures are crowd-sourced, which is a great approach both to solidifying fan engagement and to obtaining unique images for your Page. The company’s cover photo is comprised of photos from fans that are shared on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #LoveYourCityMore.

It’s updated regularly with new sets of snaps, which means people who submit photos may be more likely to visit the Page to check whether their images have been highlighted. Having people browsing your Page is great since they may see the posts that they missed in scanning their News Feeds, and they may spend more time looking at your other apps and photos.

The brand also decided to integrate and share its Instagram content on Facebook. Cross-posting images like that is a great way to get a wider audience for your visuals and to potentially attract more followers to your different profiles. The Gilt City strategy combines methods for creating a visually-striking Facebook presence with subtle encouragements for more people to visit and browse its Page.

Do you know a company that’s a rock star on Facebook Timeline? Let us know in the comments!