Facebook has changed radically over the past few years – and your Facebook page must adapt or be left behind by your competition. Tactics that worked find back in 2012 over even 2014 are no longer applicable, as Facebook’s algorithm for showing your content has changed.
In order to get the most reach out of your Facebook posts as possible, here’s what you need to know about how to use Facebook for business.
If you don’t already have one, you’re going to need to create a Business Page for your business on Facebook.
Choose the category that best represents your business. This helps your customers find your business. When creating a Facebook Business Page, use the same business name that you’ve used in other locations and create a vanity URL so that your page is easy to find and is consistent with other marketing materials. Use your business logo, if you have one, so that your page is easily recognizable and your marketing is consistent.
Facebook sometimes assigns a string of numbers and letters which can negatively impact your Business Page SEO – to get your Facebook page found on search engines, your Facebook page should have your business name in it like www.facebook.com/ThriveHive.
What’s happening is that Facebook is encouraging businesses to pay for exposure. To do this, Facebook is holding down the unpaid “organic” reach of your posts. As far as business are concerned, Facebook is becoming less of a pure social network and more of an advertising platform.
This doesn’t meant that you should give up Facebook! While it may be tough to get as much exposure as you used to, Facebook business pages are great for SEO and will help get your business found online. If you know how to combat the decreasing organic reach of Facebook business posts, you can still use Facebook as an opportunity for growth.
Take a look at what is getting the most engagement from your followers – what kinds of posts are people liking and sharing? To do this, go to the Facebook page you manage and look at your posts. Under each one, you will see “X people reached.”
That number could be as little as 2% of your fans. Your business could have 400 fans but only 20 of them might see each post! That’s not a lot of reach, but once you know how many people are reaching, you can improve those numbers.
Focus more on your post engagement than the overall number of followers your page, known as vanity metrics. The number of followers on your Facebook Business Page only matters if those followers are becoming paying customers. Having 30k followers may seem like a business is successful, but vanity metrics are not indicators of success. Don’t be fooled by vanity metrics – they’re useless for small businesses!
The solution to low organic reach on Facebook is to create shareable and engaging content for your Facebook business page. The better quality content you post, the more your fans interact with your posts and the greater organic reach your posts and Facebook business page will get.
How do you create content that is shareable and engaging? First, you need to learn how to market yourself to your customers. Know who your customers or Facebook fans are and take note of what they liking and share. Facebook Insights can show you this information. Once you know who you’re marking yourself to, you can decide what to post in the future.
To get more likes on your Facebook posts, tag users and businesses, use hashtags, and share the content of other users! When posting pictures from an event, tag those in the photo or the event location. This will alert the tagged users and give them the option of sharing the photo on their Timeline, which increase the reach of your post.
Once tagged, your post will show up in the News Feeds of the tagged users and businesses. This means that all of their friends and followers may see this activity. Additionally, the more people interact with a post, the greater Facebook’s algorithm will reward you by showing your content to more people.
Use hashtags for specific events or if you’re posting and sharing articles or blog posts related to a timely issue. Users who are looking for information search for content that uses specific hashtags. The “Trending” sidebar on Facebook aggregates popular content based on hashtags as well. If you’re posting about something that’s “Trending” make sure to use a hashtag to get your content included in the stream.
Quality over quantity is the manta for using Facebook for business. It matters how frequently you share content and how much of it is successful.
Resist the urge to share whatever crosses your mind – instead, focus on the best stuff. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, don’t post a dozen times with all your photos from a recent wedding – instead, post your best photos once in an album specifically designated for Weddings and tag the bride and groom and any businesses who are in the photo, like the reception venue.
Facebook takes note of what proportion of your posts get interaction and will lower your priority if you’re “spamming” your followers with stuff they don’t Like or Share. Similarly, don’t repost the same link over and over – Facebook will give it lower priority and you’ll get diminishing returns on subsequent posts. However, if you do have a winner of a post that has grabbed your audience’s attention, you may want to Boost that post or Advertise it, which will be discussed in the sections below.
Facebook presents information in a News Feed format but it’s still possible to visit a page and look through the photos. Organize the photos on your page into Albums to make it easy for customers to access your pictures based on their specific needs.
Bakeries should create albums for weddings, birthdays, and specialty orders. Photographers should group photos into albums for weddings, newborn photo shoots, corporate events, or sports depending on what is in their portfolio. The easier it is for someone to find something on your Facebook page, or website for that matter, the longer they will stay on the page and the greater the likelihood that they will become a customer.
Don’t despair that Facebook is limiting your organic reach—improve your organic reach with a Facebook contest or advertising.
Running a contest on Facebook is an easy and free way to increase engagement. Decide on a prize, set up the post, and start your contest. Here’s a step by step guide on how to run a Facebook contest.
Facebook advertising can allow you to reach a larger audience. There are different types of Facebook ads so read up on it before you run any ads.
Not only will your brand get in front of more people, Facebook’s sophisticated targeting tools mean you can be seen by exactly the customer base you want! You can target prospects based on their online behavior, education level, connections, age, location, and other demographic data. A properly run campaign can do much more than supercharge your Facebook page – it can bring you qualified leads.
You can advertise on Facebook for a lot less than you thought. A business can run a successful campaign for as little as $50 per month! You can reach an audience as global or as local as you want for much less than you thought possible. It’s easy to create and run Facebook ads, but if you need help, ThriveHive works with small businesses to manage AdWordsd and Facebook Ads as part of our Marketing Platform. Facebook ads provide a lot of feedback. We’ll show you how you can monitor your ads’ effectiveness in real time and adjust your campaign to maximize its effectiveness.
There are two basic ways to advertise on Facebook – “Boosting” posts and display ads – and they work in tandem. Display advertising works like any other banner ad – your ad will appear on the side of people’s Facebook news feed. These display ads are a great way to grow your page’s following or to bring people to a landing page on your site. Use your best landing pages, catchiest taglines, and most visually arresting photos for these – you only get a couple square inches and a few words, so make them good!
The other way to grow your audience is by “Boosting” selected posts. Boosted posts appear higher in your fans’ News Feeds. They will also appear in a higher percentage of your Fans’ feeds. This means that, unlike your standard posts, these will reliably get seen. You don’t want to Boost willy nilly – reserve these for your best, most important posts. If you’re a restaurant, it’s inefficient to Boost your everyday announcements – save these for when you’re participating in your city’s restaurant week or to announce the opening of a new location.
Also, occasionally Facebook will take note of a particularly successful post – one that got a lot of Likes, Comments, Shares, etc – and prompt you to Boost it. Don’t take their advice no questions asked! Sure, a picture of your puppy will get a lot of Likes, but is it the best use of your money? When deciding if you should Boost a post, ask yourself “If all of my fans see this, will they feel compelled to act on it? Will I get an immediate Return on Investment (ROI) if they do?” If the answer to both of these questions is “Yes,” boost it! If not, then save the money for the next big announcement.
Facebook may have changed, but it is still the largest and most dynamic social network on the planet. Your page’s organic reach might be a bit smaller, but Facebook has more tools than ever to run a game changing ad campaign to bring you Likes and leads. Want to know more and break out of your Facebook slump?