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Increase Your Facebook Reach: Simple, Powerful Changes You Can Make to Your Business Page
Ahh, Facebook. Love it or hate it, it’s the number one social media channel. It was recently reported that twice as many 18-year-olds were registered to use Facebook than were registered to vote. Interestingly, this month Facebook announced that was going to prompt its UK users to vote in the upcoming May election (nice turnaround).
So it’s pretty big. In fact it’s the biggest social media channel by far, with a reported 900M monthly users. Second placed Twitter only manages 310M monthly tweeters. It just can’t be ignored, and although some big names like Eat24 and Copyblogger have ditched Facebook for their businesses, it’s not something we’d recommend you’d do.
Facebook is increasingly hard to get anything from and it’s becoming a bit of a marketing nightmare. Businesses everywhere are reporting that only 3 – 6% of their audience see their posts.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can still get your messages seen – but you have to think outside the box. You can’t sell (Facebook are planning to block spammy posts very soon anyway), you can’t use click-bait, you can’t be dull, and you can’t be too business-like. So what’s left?
Well you have to be social and offer value to your audience! It’s not really that much of a shock, is it?
You know people only care about what’s in it for them, right?
To truly succeed on Facebook you now need to be awesome and you also need to pay! Yes, I said pay. Money… Facebook wants your money.
But it’s not expensive and it does work when you use it properly. Let’s look at some great ways you can improve your Facebook reach and how you should be spending your money.
Share great content that people will share
Firstly, if your content isn’t worthy of sharing then stop sharing it in the first place.
You need shares (and clicks and likes and comments too) otherwise Facebook will think you’re rubbish at posting good content. Over time, if you don’t post shareable content, you will suffer with your reach. Facebook’s system will drop you down the list of Pages to show to people.
So, what do you do?
Well, what’s your Page about? What can you share that’s interesting, funny, entertaining, and useful? Above all else, what can you share that makes people think:
“Wow… I have to show this to all my friends so I look useful/cool/funny.”
That’s why they share, you know. If it makes them feel good about sharing it, or helps them to look insightful or clever about something they believe in. (Deep, I know.)
Think about the posts you share.
Think about why you share them.
Make sure your posts have that formula.
Shares are by far the best FREE way to get more reach and more likes, as you appear in more timelines and get seen by lots more people.
Sharing your Facebook on other channels
Just this week one of our clients was nominated for an award. I trawled through 110 websites belonging to other nominees to find all the social media channels to connect with them.
You’d be amazed how many hid their social media links. Some under reams of scrolling parallax website design, some had a tiny hyperlink in the footer and some didn’t seem to have any links at all.
Show people you’re social.
Add your Facebook details to everywhere that your customers, client and potential interests will see it. It’s a great way to get people to your Facebook in the first place.
Some places to add your Facebook could be:
- Your email footer
- Your newsletter
- Your website
- Your business cards (with facebook.com/YourPageName not just “we’re on Facebook” – they won’t bother searching.)
- Your blog posts
- Your guest blog posts
- Your website listings with local chambers and organisations
- Your networking listings on websites
- Your printed collateral, including letterheads, banners and leaflets
- Any PR outreach that you do
- Your Point of Sale area if you have premises.
Use neat URLs for cleaner posts
When you post on Facebook it’s important to craft a great post that looks attractive. Images are the perfect way to make a post beautiful of course, and more recently the way links are created on a Facebook posts have become cleaner and more attractive. Now you don’t need that ugly URL in the post.
If you’re thinking “Who cares?!” then I’d argue that you do.
Website addresses are ugly. Your Facebook address should be facebook.com/yourusername for example. You don’t add the http:// as you know it looks messy. TV shows do this. Adverts do this. Brand advertisements do this. It’s cleaner, it’s easier to read and it’s nicer to look at.
People in your timeline look for nice shiny places to click and having a long complicated-looking URL on a post is not as pretty as a post without one.
The good news is it’s really easy to post with a ‘pretty post’ as I call it.
- Just paste in the link.
- Wait for the information to load
- And then delete the link you pasted in
Now you’ll have an auto-generated link that looks professional and more clickable.
Add a great headline, statement, question or whatever you think will draw people to your post and send it. Here’s a post I wrote recently showing you how all that works.
Post with the “tag a friend who would like this” approach
This may sound really spammy but if it genuinely helps the person that gets tagged then it will be worth it for all of you.
- You run a Page about small business services.
- You find a great article that tells you the “10 best ways you can save tax”.
- This will really help businesses.
- You should share the post as it will help your fans but it may also help their friends too – many of whom will be small business owners as they tend to connect with each other on Facebook.
So ask your fans to tag other people they think the article would help. You’ll be increasing your reach as your page will get shown to more people in other timelines but you are genuinely helping all parties too.
This really works so try it on useful posts in the future.
Reply to comments, but engage them in conversation
If you do get interaction on a post (trust me, it can happen) then make sure you reply to them.
Firstly make sure you reply and not just comment.
To reply to a comment by someone you need to click ‘reply’ under their comment or else they won’t see it in their notifications and might not ever know you replied.
But when you do reply don’t put some generic crap like “so pleased you liked it” or simply “thanks”. Try to enter them into a conversation. Speak to them. Ask them about their thoughts on it or if they’ve tried it.
We’ve seen more interaction come to a post when we’ve been activity talking to a few commenters. Facebook notices the interaction and starts to show it to more people as it deems it more interesting.
When you finally get interaction on Facebook don’t waste it – stoke that fire!
Post later, or earlier, or whenever your fans are there
There’s no surprise that posting in the middle of the night gets no love – your fans are asleep. So, post when people are most likely to see your posts.
We like the evenings; our fans seem to be online then. That said, sometimes a good post at midday can get enough attention to become a top story later on and gets more traction with likes because of it.
How do you know what’s the best time?
Test. Test. Test again.
We have some accounts that perform really well at night but the majority of the audience are female. Maybe this audience choose to do their Facebook surfing later in the day?
Our posts seem to do well early evening but sometimes a morning post will really hit home.
When your fans are online will depend on your Page type but of course you’ll soon find out with some testing. Fine-tune it and schedule your posts with tools like Buffer or simply schedule them all through Facebook with the schedule post feature.
Hit the right times and you’ll hit more people. You need to craft a great post though; the competition will be higher because more people means more Pages online!
Use insights to work out what your fans LIKE
Insights are a great resource on Facebook. Knowing when, where and what your fans do on your Page is invaluable. If you’re not using insights then start…. right now!
To find your Page insights, go to your Page and click Insights from the top menu above your banner image.
The key areas to look at first are:
- Overview: The first place you land and a good indication of your success.
- Posts: Look at your recent posts and see what’s hitting home with your audience. You have to test, but insights on recent post reach and activity will show you what’s working and what’s not and you’ll also see when people are mostly online too.
- People: Find out who likes your Page and where they’re from. This can be really useful if you’re trying to attract a certain type of audience or a more local one. You can change your plan when you have this information.
- Likes: See when you had big spikes in likes. Learn what you did to get that and repeat it. This is all about learning and crafting your future posts from that knowledge.
Knowing what’s working in your Facebook posting is essential. Do not forget this area of your Page – it’s free and absolute gold!
Boosting popular posts
Boosting posts is very VERY tempting isn’t it? There’s a reason for that – Facebook wants your money and makes it very easy to click that ‘Boost’ button.
My advice? Resist the temptation.
In my experience, boosting posts just for the sake of it is a waste of money.
But… boosting does work.
We boost posts when they’re already doing well. We only boost a post when it’s having some interest.
We do this for two reasons:
- It’s probably popular in the first place because it’s good, so other people will like it too.
- Boosting a post with comments on it already makes it more likely that people will comment. We all do this. It’s like a crowd or an accident. We have to look and see what’s going on.
Start boosting posts that are performing well already and see how it goes. Add a few £s and then if you get lots of interaction and then add some more. Don’t waste money boosting randomly though.
You can boost to your fans (people who already like your Page) or friends of fans (Facebook will say “your friend XXX likes this” when it shows it in the friend’s timeline) or you can pick an audience based on demographics and interests. This is well worth playing with.
Find a targeted audience with ads and give them free stuff!
Yes, sometimes you need to pay. But guess what? Facebook isn’t actually that expensive. Facebook ads can cost you as little as £1 a day – £30 a month for any advertising is cheap!
Facebook is a really good place to advertise too, as we all share everything about ourselves – making it a really simple and effective place for targeted marketing.
Tailor your ads to the right audience. It’s a huge area, but the Power Editor and Adverts Manager is the place to go.
Create a custom audience that would be interested in you. Define them by age, gender, relationship status (useful for the wedding industry), where they live, and more importantly, their interests.
You can find 24 year old women interested in chocolate that live in Herefordshire and like outdoor markets if you want to. Facebook will even tell you how many there are too.
So if you have a product and you know your audience then you need to start advertising to them.
Be careful though. Your ‘ad’ shouldn’t be too advertisement-like and actually the best way to get people interested is to give them something.
Offer free chocolate to people who sign up to your list as an idea? Give them some value.
This is a “hello”, remember? This is usually the first time you’ve been seen by them. People don’t respond to being sold to immediately, so don’t. Give them something to get them onside first.
Free webinars, eBook, gifts, vouchers, codes or offers are great.
And one more tip I’ll give you is this.
Create a post with the offer or giveaway on first. Let it get some interaction with likes and comments and then create your ad using that actual post.
This will give the same effect as boosting a popular post. People will follow what others have done. It’s just human nature.
Be topical in your industry
Like any social media, you need to be topical and talk about content that everyone else is talking about. If something is happening in the media that’s related to your business or Page then talk about it and ask for opinions and comments.
You can bet if everyone is talking about it then you’ll get comments and likes on your post. We all like to express our opinions and you can really get a crowd round with a topical or slightly controversial post.
This is obviously done with caution. Prepare to reply or manage the conversation if you hit the nail on the head. But it really can help your Page reach and Edge Rank (how Facebook decides who’s hot and who’s not!).
Facebook reach – it’s all about point scoring for me
I like playing this game with Facebook. They build an algorithm and I try to get around it by scoring points to beat it. You can too.
To get seen on Facebook you must be:
- Offer value
- And have posts that make people do something!
Facebook needs to see interaction on your Page.
- You need comments
- You need likes
- You desperately need shares
- And fans tagging others really helps too.
Encourage this activity with awesome content, free stuff, competitions, and of course advertising.
Every time you get a like or comment you’re scoring points. Every time you get a share you score a goal.
Every time someone cares about something you post enough to do something on it you win points over Facebook.
Facebook has to decide each day if your Page is among the reported 1500 stories that it will show to any one timeline.
You can see why it won’t share your spammy, dull and irrelevant content now, can’t you?
What do you want on your Facebook?
Boring salesy stuff, or cool content that you can share that makes you look great?
Think about it. You’re a Facebook user too. Don’t forget that just because you’re also a Facebook Page manager!
Good luck with your testing and advertising. Facebook really can still work for your business but remember the golden rule. Social media is not about sales, it’s about relationships and building an engaged fan base that really cares about you, your brand and what you stand for. In time, yes they will buy from you, but that’s the after-effect.
A final point to consider though…
Facebook reach ain’t nothing if it’s reach for something completely irrelevant to your business. Don’t share funny cat videos or gifs of people falling over if it doesn’t relate to you or your business as that’s just a waste of your time, effort and money.
Post smart and please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and share it if you found it useful.
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