Facebook is the second most popular website in the world (behind Google) with 153.3 million users. So it makes sense that, as a business, you would want to be there. But Facebook has made it a little more difficult for businesses to get free marketing, encouraging them to pay instead. When I post on my Facebook page, I know that only 15-25% of my fans will see it because of the way Facebook’s algorithm is set up. But it’s still possible to get some free engagement with a few tricks.
1. First, define your goals
I always recommend to start with the end in mind. It’s easy to focus on “likes” and “shares” and lose the big picture: what is your business goal and what are your marketing goals? What do you want your Facebook fans to do? How will “Likes” convert to sales? What can I do for my prospective customers so we will appeal to their needs?
As a B2B company, I go by the saying “the money is in the list”. When people give me their information and receive my giveaway or promotion, they likely have an interest in what I am selling and they are a warm lead. So for me, the goal of social media is to get them to subscribe to my mailing list.
But your goals may be different. Perhaps it’s to get people to try out your restaurant or sample your product or service. Knowing your Facebook goal is important so you don’t lose focus of why you are there..
2. Provide other ways to Like your page
Other social media sites or blogs can also pull in fans. Include a link to your Facebook page on your Twitter or LinkedIn pages. And include a Facebook “Like” button on your blog and your website to make it easy for them to like your page without ever leaving your website. And since a Like box will show photos of people who currently like your page (with their friends’ photos on top), it provides a little social proof for them as well. You can get the Like box here for wordpress and here for an html/ css site.
3. Delete the bottom window when you share a link and upload your own photo
Here’s a little tip I found just by looking at my post analytics. It seems that Facebook now may be ranking organic content higher in the newsfeed than links. So when I post a link, I delete the little thumbnail that loads when you copy the url to a post it and include my own photo instead. Then check out your stats and see if you notice a difference in your page views for those posts.
4. Include a strong call to action in your cover photo
It’s easy to change our your cover photo. Just design a custom graphic that promotes your latest giveaway or promotion (make it 851px wide x 315 px high). Put the url for your landing page, along with your value proposition, and people can just click to download it.
Also, when that promotion is over and a new cover photo is needed, the photo, along with your link, goes into the newsfeed for all to see.
5. Promote an offer, gift or contest
Look at your target customers and ask yourself “what can I give them that would help them solve a problem?” Then choose the best medium to convey that. It could be an ebook or download, a webinar, a coupon or deal or another promotion. And now that Facebook has loosened the rules about contests, you can run them on your own, instead of with a third party app. Although Facebook will “down-rank” you if you ask for a like or share, if you’re offering something amazing, people will share it on their own.
6. Show them how to solve a problem
Using a photo or video to show them how to solve a problem will encourage engagement and sharing. You can also include a call to action in the post.
7. Use Hashtags
Using hashtags in a post is a newer feature on Facebook, and a way for people to find you via searches. I have found adding hashtags increased my Twitter follows quickly, and I am hoping Facebook fans will embrace hashtags too.
8. Promote your existing customers
Giving a shout-out to your existing customers is a nice way to thank them for their loyalty as well as a way to build engagement. One thing I really like about Twitter is their Friday Follow (#ff). It’s a way to share other businesses and build up engagement for them as well as you.
9. Include a custom app tab
Tabs are the boxes right below your cover photo, to the right of your profile picture. The links and the thumbnail images are editable. Just click the down arrow on the right, and hover your mouse over the box, and the edit tool will show up.Tabfoundry and Thunderpenny allow you to make custom tabs which will allow your fans to view your offers right on your Facebook fan page. Both offer free plans and both are easy to use.
10. Connect with your fans’ other interests
It’s important to connect with fans as people, not just as potential customers. An easy way to find out what else your fans like is to use the graph search bar on top and type “Pages liked by people who like MyFanPageName” and you can see what what other pages your fans like. Hint: you can also use this tool to see what the fans of your competitors like, for a little informal market research.
11. Watch your analytics
If you’ve never taken the time, click on your analytics ( click “show”/ “page insights”) and you can see what your highest viewed posts were, as well as when your fans are typically online and your fan demographics. This way, you can monitor which posts had the best engagement, clicks and shares.
12. Engagement triggers
You can still ask a question, have an informal poll, ask for a photo caption and fill in the blank. These types of posts encourage interaction. They work best if they’re related to the interests of your audience or have relevance to a current event.
13. Interact with others and post daily
Consistency seems to matter to Facebook, so I try to make sure I have something to post each day. Most days, I find an article to share through my email that someone that will appeal to my audience. And it’s easy to go onto Facebook, post something and then leave. But interaction is key and followup is important too.
What to post?
As usual, start with strategy. Facebook pro Amy Porterfield suggests these tips to know what to post. Write these down this list near your computer so you can refer to it when you update your Facebook page:
1. List 5 attributes of your ideal audience (such as what they do, their age, etc)
2. List 5 insights into your audience (what they struggle with, what they like to do)
3. List 5 topics related to your business you can share with them
4. List 5 topics not directly related to your business that may interest them. (See #9, such as what they enjoy doing, hobbies, families, etc.)
Next Week I will talk about promoted posts and share some lessons I have learned. But I would love to hear about what works (or doesn’t work) for your business page. Are you frustrated at your engagement? Share below—I would love to know!
Facebook stats: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/facebook.com
- 6 innovative and inexpensive Twitter campaigns to emulate (prdaily.com)
- Facebook hashtags are actually hurting your brand (dailydot.com)
- #How To? Create a Business page for your Facebook… (nxtlevelmedia.wordpress.com)