You’re not imagining things. Facebook reach for business pages has decreased dramatically and Facebook isn’t denying it at all. In fact, they’ve been transparent about the need to deliver a profit for their shareholders and the new reality that business pages will have to bring some marketing dollars to the table to increase their post reach. Authors, small businesses and entrepreneurs do have to add some advertising dollars to their monthly budget but there are still ways to increase reach organically to supplement an ad budget.
So instead of watching your Facebook reach plummet, try these 8 strategies from my Maximum Visibility Playbook. These are just a few easy to implement ideas that you can use to help the very people who want and need what you create, find you.
How you post is as important as what you post for maximum visibility.
1. Time Your Posts for Your Fan Base: Every fan base has different requirements. Some big brands post 5 or more times per day because their audience loves a lot of content. Magazines and news organizations are good examples of the need for a multiple post per day strategy. Your audience may want less or they may want more. This is a delicate dance and requires some experimentation but you can make some educated guesses by checking your Facebook insights under “posts,” where you’ll see a graphic displaying the days of the week and the number of your fans who are on Facebook at any given hour. You can see from this graphic that fans of Queen of Your Own Life are most active on Facebook on Friday and Saturday in the early evening. If the page owner (it’s me), is smart, she’ll plan to check in and engage with fans during those peak activity times. Over time, I’ve learned that this fan base wants 1-2 posts per day from me and that is just one strategy has helped me ad 78,000 fans in the last four months.
2. Use color: Facebook has evolved into a platform on which your content must do battle with all other content for hearts and minds. The more people click on one of your posts when they see it in your news stream, the more of their friends will see that interaction. Interplay between a page and a person is visible to everyone and is a subtle endorsement of your page by the person who commented, liked or shared. Color images that are inspiring, funny, insightful, different or provocative will help your content stand out in a crowded stream. But posting just to stand out isn’t the goal. Posting to attract your ideal client, customer, reader or strategic partner, is the goal. So make sure that your visual images are a match for your content as well as being colorful. Now, if you’re using great graphics, posting valuable content and being consistent, here’s a nifty trick to help you add a bit of color to your graphics. A free web based photo editing site, PicMonkey, allows you to drag and drop any photo into the platform and add color, highlights, text and even to boost the color and add a frame. Take a peek and see if this tool will work for you. I recommend that you size your photos to 600 pixels wide to take advantage of the new, larger image sizes supported by Facebook. Use this size on your blog, too, so that when sharing a link to a blog post, your image associated with the link is bigger and more attractive in the news stream.
3. Original trumps familiar: I recommend that most pages add inspirational quotes into their content marketing strategy but how many times can Facebook users like the same Winston Churchill or Tony Robbins quotes? Instead, try creating graphic images with your own quotes. If you are using Facebook as a business, whether you are an author, artist or coach, you have something original to say or at least you have a way of phrasing something in your own words. One of the reasons businesses should be using Facebook is to attract the kind of clients or followers who will most likely be interested in what you have to say. Therefore, say it yourself. Dare to put your name on a particular quote or image.
4. Keep posts short: There is anecdotal evidence in many professional social media groups that shorter posts get higher visibility in the news stream. Some believe that fewer than 70 characters is ideal. I haven’t personally found that to be true but I do change it up and rarely post more than 90 characters in any given post. People have short attention spans. They want the headlines upfront and if you have more to say, link back to your article with the phrase, “read the whole article here.”
5. Use energetic, action oriented language: People are attracted to energy. Words like “grab, surprise, dare” and “win,” can help draw eyeballs to your post. But the headline words must deliver on the original promise and bring home the goods once you’ve attracted the attention of your readers, so use them sparingly.
6. Reward: Reward the kind of behavior you want. If you want people to like a post or share a post, then ask and reward. For example, “If enough of you are interested, I’ll create a quick video training on how to use PicMonkey to enhance photos for your posts. Like this post to let me know you’re interested.”
7. Be human: I’m dumbfounded by how many pages just don’t acknowledge or engage with their fans. If someone takes the time to comment, at the very least, like their comment. Better yet, thank them and call them by name. Add information. Act on your Facebook page in the same friendly and engaging way you would if you encountered this fan in your physical store or at a cocktail party. If someone said hi, you wouldn’t walk away after smiling to yourself in delight that they like you. You’d say hi back and ask them a little about themselves or why they decided to come to this event and you’d engage in a lovely conversation. You’d ask their name and use their name in speaking to them. The nature of digital relationships is that we need to be a little more proactive and polite in our interactions in order to turn a short encounter into a meaningful, potentially long-term relationship. It bears repeating. People do business with people. They want to be seen and heard. They’re longing for the personal attention to their issues that only you can give. Let them know you’re there. Yes, it’s more work and your brand is worth it. Every time you extend the conversation with someone who likes, comments or shares something on your business page, you are increasing your visibility with your current fans and their current friends. Their friends see the conversation and that, again, is a subtle endorsement and invitation to join the conversation.
8. Share: Creating original content for your page is easy for some and harder for others. Bookmark sites that offer tips, inspiration or articles you think your fan base would find valuable. Then share those links along with a short post about why you decided to share. In this way, you become a trusted curator of useful information for your busy fan base who will appreciate your shares and reward you with a like, share or comment; increasing your own visibility. Always attribute your shares. Your reputation is enhanced by finding and sharing quality information. It is diminished by presenting other people’s work as your own.
Bonus Tip: Look through your insights and find your most successful post and re-post it. Go to the post on your Facebook page and press the share button to repost it to the top of your page. Add a status update that says something like “this tip got more comments, likes and shares than anything else I posted this month and I’d love to hear your point of view.” You’ll bring a great post to the attention of new fans and re-purpose good content with reinvigorated conversation.
I’m not against advertising and putting some ad dollars behind a book launch, a product introduction or even getting people to sign up for your newsletter is a good use of a small budget. Facebook advertising remains a great value for the dollars spent. But reaching people through ads is only half the marketing battle. Delivering high quality content consistently will help page owners keep their fans interested and engaged.