Let's start with the fact that Facebook is annoying. Every time you start to like the layout on Facebook, they change it. You start to understand competition regulations, they change the rules. As soon as something begins to work, they change their ranking algorithm and crap all over your parade.
Managing a Facebook Business Page has been particularly frustrating, it feels like if you blink you'll miss another important update, which will change the way you have to do everything.
In December, Facebook changed the way it delivered a Business Page’s updates to the Page’s community, restricting the reach of content published from Business Pages (which it started to do in 2012). This has been particularly annoying for many brands with GE canning their advertising spend and Eat24 deleting their 70,000 like-Facebook Page in protest.
What does this mean for the smaller brands and businesses on Facebook? You're buggered. Well, not quite. If you publish posts that are interesting enough to get likes, comments, shares, and clicks, your reach increases, simple. However, with growing competition and limited space you’re just going to have to work harder and it’s not going to be easy.
Believe me, I feel your pain - I manage lots of business pages on Facebook. So, what can we do to make all of our hard work pay off? All the old rules apply of being engaging, share interesting stuff and posting pictures but how do we make it better in 2014?
Get creative & mix it up
I probably sound a bit like a broken record as I've always been pictures, pictures, pictures (but it does work). When Facebook introduced the timeline for brands, visual content saw a 65% increase in engagement. That said, while it has been proven to work, you've probably found by now it’s not as easy as just sharing a picture, even if it is a cute cat meme. If everyone is sharing images on their Facebook Business Pages, yours aren't easily going to stand out from the crowd. Especially when your posts are mixed between your communities’ news feed, where friend’s pictures of holidays and babies are going to be more personally engaging than your updates about jobs, charity fun runs and the like.
What to post:
- Keep it varied. Videos, memes, Instagram pictures, links, images, don’t let everything you do start to look the same as people will just switch off
- It used to be that sharing links would pull through a tiny little box with a bit of a description, so you would have to upload an image and share a link in the status to make it a bit more engaging. But now that links are pulling in a bigger image, they’re far more engaging. So mix it up. Try sharing just links and links with images.
- When sharing an image, try to include a relevant link to your services or blog (whatever relates best to the image)
- Try adding text over your images so you don’t have to add lengthy descriptions (DON’T Add lengthy descriptions anyway, no one is going to read them, that’s what your blog is for. Keep it short and sweet and entice them to click.)
- Try being trendy and topical. What is trending, what events are happening, how does this relate to what you do?
- Add calls to action on posts and cover photos
- Also remember to vary your message and ask people to engage with you, ask questions, say like if you agree and reply to comments.
- Wash, rinse and repeat. Share your message or blog post more than once on Facebook and try to post more than once a day. There used to be the worry that if posted too much, your audience will get inundated from your posts. However, because of the decline in organic reach, it's unlikely the majority of your audience saw the original post. A study by Wisemetrics found that, posting for a second time will only overlap the reach of the first post by 30% . Meaning that 70% of fans who see the second post weren't exposed to the first.
- Ask for shares instead of likes. By getting your audience to share, Facebook recognises those shares are from an individual not a brand. This will help your posts rank higher in the news feeds of your audience's friends.
You’ve probably been in a situation where you’ve been in a conversation with someone and it’s just me, me, me and you quickly started to think about food or places you’d rather be. Your Business Page on Facebook is the same, if it’s just about you and your products people will start to get bored. Facebook is about people and their lives and guess what? They’re interested in things beyond just your brand or your product.
Think about what your audience would find interesting. Facts, infographics, articles from The Guardian, pictures from London Fashion Week? If people are engaging with your initial general interest post, then it’s more likely your next post (which could be about your blog or brand) will show up in more people’s news feeds.
If you post it, they will come (If you pay Facebook)
If you’ve just started a Facebook Business Page or have a small community, you probably feel like you’re posting and no one is listening. We’ve been there. And while we don’t advocate buying likes, if you (or your boss) don’t have the patience to grow your community organically, promoting your Business Page or posts to people who would be interested in your brand is essential. It feels a bit like selling your soul as you now have to pay for what you used to get for free but unfortunately resistance is futile.
Promoted posts help increase your chance of reaching more people, it does this by showing your post higher up in news feeds of people who like your Business Page as well as their connections. You can also tailor the promotion to target people with specific interests that relate to your brand, this will help your post reach people beyond your community.
Spy on your competitors
Facebook recently unveiled "Pages to Watch" (in the 'Overview' tab). You can add the Facebook Business Pages you want to watch (i.e. your competitors) and it will show you how their Likes and engagement have changed over the past week. This is good because you can start to see what your competitors are posting, what’s working for them and try to emulate their success on your own Business Page.
Experiment and then analyse
You’re going to have a hard job improving your Business Page if you don’t know what is working. This is why Facebook Page Insights needs to be your best Facebook friend (hopefully you've got 29 likes otherwise you won’t see this). You can start to see your reach, the type of posts that are working and what time of the day you get the most engagement. If your audience is more active and engaging with you at night then try posting more content in the evenings.
What works for a huge brand with a million likes or a small pastry shop around the corner, might not work for you. There is no one solution that fits all. Trying, testing and analysing is the only way you're really going to see what is working. You also need goals. Why are you using Facebook? To build brand awareness, likes or just because everyone else is using it? What type of content / posts will help you achieve those goals?
Do. Review & improve and occasionally get annoyed with Zuckerburg for inventing the damn thing.
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