Fall is event season and it’s fast approaching. Those weekend trips to the beach will surely be missed, but we’re looking forward to planning lots of exciting events for our clients. We’ll be doing a lot of promoting, which means plugging away on social media like crazy.
You may have noticed that in recent months events are becoming a bit difficult to promote on the number one social network, Facebook. This is due to Facebook’s organic reach decline, all Page posts are becoming less visible in your fans’ News Feeds, which means fewer clicks, comments and shares.
If you managed a Facebook Page before 2012, you’ll remember how easy we had it as marketers. Basically, anyone could create a Page for their company or organization, get Fans, and post unlimited content without worrying if your audience would see it. Then in 2012, Facebook made it so only an average of 16% of people see Page posts in their News Feeds. Unfortunately, that fraction is now even smaller.
Over the past few years, Facebook has evolved into more of a paid marketing platform than an organic one and Page managers are realizing they’re now expected to pay for ads to reach their Fans. There are approximately 1,500 stories competing against one another to appear in a person’s News Feed and Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes only about 300 of them. But when you pay to boost your posts, it will surely get to your Fan’s News Feeds. Although you can get some fantastic results with advertising on Facebook, it doesn’t come cheap. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations often have no budget beyond the cost to hire a social media manager, so it’s up to us to be creative without paid advertising in order to get you noticed and shared.
There are ways to get around Facebook’s declining organic reach and still be seen while maintaining an ad-free presence. We’ve gotten creative and found that you can do a few things in order to keep your Fans seeing your posts.
1. Engage your audience with relevant content.
Facebook knows that your Fans don’t want to be spammed, which is why the News Feed is designed to show content most relevant to users. This means higher-quality, original content from both friends and business pages, and less spam than in the past. The number one thing to do in order to reach your audience is post things that are interesting and relevant, specifically to them. There’s a reason they’ve liked your page, right? It’s because they know you and want to see information about your business and things related to your industry.
For our client Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts, we post photos of guests enjoying their visits at daycare, news about upcoming events, promotions, retail products and services, blog posts, and holidays/stories/news related to pets. These posts are relevant and interesting to the Fans, and most likely what they expected to see when they decided to like the page.
2. Post content that you know your audience will share.
Feel your audience out to see what content gets the most engagement. Check out how many shares your posts receive and then determine what kind of posts win over your Fans enough that they’ll want to share them with friends. Visual content such as photos and videos tend to get shared a lot. You can also be consistent with something that you know is interesting to your Fans.
Every day, Alex and Ani posts a graphic with an inspirational quote and uses the hashtag #motivationnation. These posts get thousands of shares! They know their strategy works, so they’re consistent with it. When your content is shared, you reach people beyond your audience, introducing new users to your page. Posting shareable content is a great way to organically broaden your audience.
3. Post when your Fans are online.
This might be a tough one to figure out off the top of your head, especially if you have a large fan base with people living in different locations. According to Social Media Today, Fannit, a Certified Inbound Marketing Agency, conducted a study to find the best times for posting on the most popular social media outlets.
Fannit found the best times to post on Facebook are weekdays at 6:00-8:00 a.m. and 2:00-5:00 p.m. The worst times to post are weekends at 10:00 p.m.-4:00 a.m. You can apply this information to your own Page and see if it works for you. It’s also helpful to use Facebook Insights to get statistics. When you go to Insights, click on “People” and you can see the location of your Fans. This will help you determine if you need to take time zones into consideration. Also, go to “Posts” and then click on “When Your Fans Are Online.” The data shows the number of your Fans on Facebook at every hour over a 1-week period.
4. Use Facebook Insights to learn what works and doesn’t work for your page.
Track the success of your content with Insights. Facebook Insights will pretty much give you all the information you can possibly want to know about your Fans, people reached, people engaged, post engagement and reach, likes, visits and more. In Insights under “Overview” click on “Your 5 Most Recent Posts.” Then you can review statistics for all posts published over the last three months to find out what’s received the most engagement and reach.
5. Reach out to businesses and organizations that may be interested in sharing your information.
Get mentioned in a post by another business or organization and your Page could show up in the News Feeds of users who don’t already like your Page. Send a friendly message to Pages you’ve established a relationship with and ask their page manager to spread the word about an event you’re having or even just promote your Page.
Keep in mind, it’s best to only contact those you already have a relationship with in order to avoid spamming. You may even want to mention the possibility of cross promotion and offer to share anything they’d like to promote.
Our client EarthShare New Jersey just held the “Best and Beautiful NJ Summer” Photo Facebook Contest where participants submitted photos of their favorite park, beach, waterway, hiking trail, garden or just about any space they felt was the best place to enjoy New Jersey this summer. In order to get the word out, we contacted EarthShare New Jersey’s members and business partners, via Facebook and Twitter, with the details and link to the contest and kindly asked them to share the information. A few places that shared the contest included AARP, Visit New Jersey and TerraCycle.
6. Share posts, photos and events from other pages.
Skim over your News Feed frequently to see if there’s anything to share from Pages you’ve liked or visit Pages you already know post content you’re interested in. Sharing content from others will help you reach new people who haven’t already liked your Page and also establish relationships with other Pages. Look for content that has a lot of shares and likes as well. If the posts are popular on another Page, it might be a home run on your account, too.
7. Create events and invite friends.
Whenever you’re holding an event, be sure to list it on Facebook under the “Events” tab on your Page. You can invite your own personal Facebook friends, keep track of guests and send updates and messages to attendees. This is a great way to promote any event and it’s easy for others to share. If a person wants to post about the event on their page, they just click “Invite” and “Share Event.” You can also share the link to the event as well.
8. Remind your Fans they can click to view their “Pages Feed.”
On the left hand side of the News Feed it says “Pages Feed” with a little orange flag next to it. When users click on that, they’ll only see content from Pages they’ve liked. This option is great because it removes all posts from friends, so content from your Page has a much better chance of being seen.
9. Encourage Fans to “Get Notifications” from your Page.
When a user likes your Page, they have the option to get notifications from you. When you hover over the “Like” button on your Page you’ll see the “Get Notifications” option. When a Fan chooses to get notifications, they’ll get notified each time you post something. Your Page notifications will show up in the notification tab, just as any other activity would.
10. Inform Fans about the “Add to Interest List” option.
Also listed when you hover over the “Like” button on your Page is the option to “Add to Interest List.” Interest lists provide ways for people to organize and view the content they’re interested in. They can create their own interest lists based on the things they care about, or follow other people’s lists.
For example, a person could create a Top Restaurants list that features restaurant Pages. These lists also appear in the Interests section of a person’s bookmarks. They can click the list’s name to see all the recent posts and activity from the Pages and people featured in the list. It’s like a personal mini News Feed targeted toward specific topics. When your page is added to an Interest List, all your updates will appear in that mini News Feed.
Though frustrating at first, once you understand and use the tips above for engaging and building your “Likes” on Facebook, your business will benefit tremendously. You’ll be working harder, but you’ll also get to know your fans better and then be able to move them down the sales funnel.
And if you’re hiring a social media manager to assist you with your marketing, you can use our tips above to ask them questions and gauge if they truly understand the efforts that go into building an audience with no advertising dollars. We also hope you will consider making social media advertising a part of your budget in 2015 because the benefits of utilizing the tips above and advertising your services and events on Facebook will translate into revenue.
If you’re interested in hiring inBLOOM for your social campaign, contact us to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.
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