If you have a Facebook page and are experiencing low engagement then take comfort in knowing that you are not the only one. The change in Facebook’s algorithm recently has seen small business owners and bloggers want to throw in the towel and cry into their pillows. Myself included. Using Facebook to market your business or blog can at times feel much like a whole lot of effort for absolutely nothing, but before you quit, here are 14 very easy and effective ideas that you can test out on your own audience (likes) and fingers crossed, get some action happening.
1. Know who you are talking to
Above your page, next to the Activity tab is a tab called Insights. This tab is your new best friend. Click on People and automatically “Your Fans” is the first screen that will comes up for you. What this graph displays is an overview of everyone who likes your page (according to their own Facebook data) and their basic details. Gender, Age Group, Country, City and Language.
You can see that 96% of people who like my page are female, the vast majority of them are in the 25 – 34 age bracket, with 35 – 44 not very far behind. Australians dominate with many from Victoria and the Northern Territory.
Why is this important? Because for me, I can now tailor my posts to suit 25 – 34-year-old Australian females. The time zones between the states I can factor into…
2. What time is your audience most online?
Going hand in hand with knowing who your audience are, knowing when they are active is just as important. You can see that my audience are consistent every single day of the week, and online for most of the day, but they peak around 7am, 11am, 7pm and 8pm. I can now use this data to schedule posts so that while they are logged in and browsing their newsfeed, my content has a greater chance of being seen. If you are not online when your audience is, then…
3. Schedule your posts
Through the Facebook scheduler:
Through a social media scheduler such as Edgar:
Even if you ARE online during these times, it is a good idea to get into the habit of scheduling posts so consistency reins. You can do this through your Facebook scheduler (circled in black in the first image) or through a social media scheduler like HootSuite, Social Oomph, Buffer, or my personal favourite Edgar (pictured second). Edgar is a separate blog post on her own so for now, stick with the inbuilt scheduler. Side hint: To check what you have already scheduled, click on Activity and in the left-hand column you’ll find your Scheduled Posts tab. Click and they will all show up for you.
4. Be active, and reply to any engagement you get
While it is important to schedule your posts, you need to make time to “be live” with your audience. We are all busy, I know that. Posting an update while everyone is online, and replying with a simple like, or even better, a comment back to actually engage with your audience shows them that you are there, you care about them, and you are interested in what they have to say. Building a Soulful business is all about building a relationship with people, so don’t expect that relationship to be one-sided. Engagement is what it is, engagement, so if someone has taken time out to comment on your post or wall, take time out to show them your appreciation. (This doesn’t mean replying to every comment either, get creative!)
5. Post topics of interest to your PCC
This is all really basic stuff so far, but it can be the simple stuff that we easily forget in our pursuit to over complicate the matter. Write down a list of 5 other topics that your PCC (perfect customers and clients) are interested in that relate to your business or blog. So for example with my business Soulful Warrior which is all about kicking ass at life through heart-based online businesses, other topics of interest include personal development, spirituality, philanthropy, money and self-care. Because a lot of my PCC’s are also parents, I can talk about what it’s like to run a business with young kids and many of them are able to relate. So if you see a blog post or quote or something that relates to your PCC’s interests, don’t be afraid to share it with them just because it’s not business.
6. Don’t hide who you are
Just because you have a Facebook page for your business or blog, doesn’t mean that everything you post on it has to be all business. If there is no personality injected into your Facebook page, and it looks straighter than a sober judge, how are people going to fall in love with it? As I mentioned in this blog post, the point of difference between you and everyone else out there is you. Your innate ability to be you. No one in the world can do that, so make sure you speak on your Facebook page like you are speaking to a friend over coffee. Uncensored… with this exception…
7. Post when you’re in alignment (aka: don’t be a dick)
Decide on the role and image you want to portray out into the world and stick to it. Are you there to be a mentor? Are you there to show the real side of something? Are you there to support a cause? All of the above? If you wake up pissed off, or something in the news has got you down, if a copycat has got under your skin, or your partner, mother, or kids are being a huge buzzkill, then keep your rant to yourself. That’s what a mastermind group is for. When you have a mastermind you can air freely what’s ticking you off and get it out of your system, your Facebook page is not that space. Your Facebook page is part of your brand. That doesn’t mean don’t be human. If you have been feeling off or have been having a hard time when you feel better totally own having been there. It shows that you are human like the rest of us, and people appreciate that, because at the end of the day no one is better than anyone else, we are all just at different stages and discoveries of life. One negative post is all it can take to ruin your reputation, but when you do get back into alignment, own it and nail it.
8. Get controversial about trends
If you look at your newsfeed, in the left-hand column there will be a section for trends. That list is what is trending on Facebook at the moment. Here’s the thing. You don’t just want to pluck something out of the trends suggestions and speak your opinion on it if it has nothing to do with your business, the point of why you are in business (or why you write your blog), or anything your PCC would actually be interested in. Do you PCC’s keep up with the news? Do they even want to know? Do you want to be involved? Recently there was a topic on the news about a woman banning kids from her cafe and they had experts going on and giving their opinion. So I gave mine. The good thing about opinions is everyone has at least one and in most cases, people are dying to give them away to anyone listening, which ultimately creates engagement. #Winning
9. Use hashtags
Hashtags are still relatively new to Facebook (and I still forget to use them on a lot of my own posts!) but they are a fantastic way to search for similar content and monitor what people are saying in a much larger scale about that topic. When you click on a hashtag you get to see all public posts that have used that hashtag on their own posts. So have a think about what keywords people would use to find, or find interesting about that particular post you’re writing or image you’re about to share and add some hashtags to the end of the post. (Personally I find reading hashtags throughout the body of the text annoying – but if this is your thing, then go for it!) Whatever you do, don’t go overboard with the hashtags, if you have more hashtags than words, then you need to reconsider what you are providing for your likers.
10. Only post topics that teach something, inspire someone or entertain the majority
Don’t post useless shit. The best way to add value (because that’s the ultimate goal here!) is to post updates that are going to teach your likers something, inspire them, or entertain them. Think about what you do and how can you teach something quickly and effortlessly? What quotes are going to inspire them? What is going to entertain them? Go back to your PCC’s 5 topics of interest that are outside of what you do that you can draw from. So a good example for this is to be aware of what bits of advice you’re giving to your clients, or in your blog posts, and reuse that content on social media. Small things and basic assumptions are always good, like “if you are looking for a good email marketing system then check out Mailchimp. I use them and couldn’t be happier”, or “TIP: Goals. They are not just for millionaires; they are what created millionaires. Remind yourself of your top goal daily. Seriously.” Quotes always inspire which is why so many people use them, as do stories. Entertainment can be anything from #8 or even personal photos from your own life and behind the scenes to your business. Not all updates have to be text or photos, I have seen a lot of businesses uploading more quick videos to create another element of interaction. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot.
11. The first line of your post is everything
While the examples I have given are anything but short, studies from TrackSocial show that the shorter the update the higher the response. Why? Because when people are on Facebook they are there because they are bored and looking for something else to do. Most people on Facebook don’t actually want to be on Facebook – let’s be honest. There are hundreds of items in their newsfeeds and (I’ll admit it), I don’t really bother to slow down and read anything if the first line doesn’t grab me. Which I believe, is the catch to longer posts. The proof above is that longer posts can get solid engagement, but make your first line a standout. Something that people will want to stop and keep reading when it comes up in their newsfeed. If you can get people’s attention instantly, and then not lose them with useless information (stay relevant!), they’ll stick around and read what you have to say. Promise.
12. Avoid link updates
Facebook doesn’t like it when you try to redirect people away from Facebook. If you want to share a link on your Facebook page to your blog or to your sales page or whatever, then upload an image first and include the link in the text. This way the update will be recognised as an image update rather than a link update and will be given more power by the Facebook Gods to be seen by more people. It also helps to let people know what you are redirecting them to, and include a snippet of text or a quote from the page you want to send them to, to spark their interest. Personally, I only do this for my own stuff, and if I want to share a link to another article, then I don’t worry about it too much unless it’s a really good one!
13. Make it obvious what you do
If a new likers lands on your page are they going to be left scratching their heads trying to figure out what your page is all about? The answer is no, because it’s highly unlikely if they can’t figure it out in a matter of seconds, they’re gone. Make it bleeding obvious what it is you do and how you contribute to people’s lives by having your Facebook cover relevant, and your About section up to date. Facebook allows up to 20% text (although I like to push the boundaries a little at 24 – 28%) and you can use their grid tool to work it out for your own cover images – and ads – so you’re not finding yourself in trouble down the line unknowingly. Because now you know!
14. Last but not least… OWN IT
If your Facebook page is your business then own it. Make sure you link it up on your own personal profile in your About information so when someone lands on your profile they can easily click through to your page. The number of people who I know have businesses (and it is their bread and butter), but have not linked up their profile to their page is astounding, and quite honestly, frustrating, because then it means I have to go searching for their business through other means, and unless it is a priority to speak with them, I just don’t bother as I have way too much to do. If you have a 9 – 5 job and it might look a bit weird having a facebook page as your employment, then get creative and use the 20% text rule for your own Facebook cover. “Check out my blog at…” or “Creator of…” or “Personal Adventures on…”. Whatever it is, it’s yours, so don’t be ashamed of it, stand in your light.
15. BONUS: Do what feels right, not what someone else tells you to do
I could seriously write a list for forever and a day about using Facebook to market your business, but when you go to bed at night you need to be able to sleep soundly knowing that what you have or haven’t posted, and how, is congruent to you, your brand, your message and your mission. This is your business and you know it (and your PCC’s) better than anyone, so do what feels right and use what I have written as a guide only. The problem with lists like this is people take them very seriously, and if they do something different then all of a sudden they are doing it wrong, or have failed, or it’s not perfect. I call bullshit to that. Take these ideas and get creative with them, test them out, see what happens. There is no right way to do anything, except whatever it is that feels good to you, so figure that out, and go and do it!
The world is waiting for you, so whatever the next step is, get moving.