You may have noticed that ever since Facebook went public, you have the option to "boost" everything you post for a small fee. There have been more prompts than ever to advertise, and far less people see your posts. In fact, according to Facebook, business pages organically reach about 16% of their fans on average. So what do you do if you don't want to pay every time you want people to see your post? How do you still get the most out of Facebook? Well, you have to up your game. Your business has to be even more charming than it was before. Facebook's Edgerank algorithm makes it so that the more people like, comment and share on your posts, the more people are likely to see it.
Here is how to ensure people see and engage with your posts:
Don't be too salesy or self-promotional. People do love special offers, but are likely to be turned off if that's all you post. Plus, Facebook is about branding and building relationships, so if you only post special offers to promote your business, you're losing out on the true value of Facebook. You don't want to be constantly talking at people, you want to talk with them. Social media is about being social.
Post funny stuff, show personality. Again, if you're all about business, people will lose interest. Quickly. The reality is that part of your job as a Facebook marketer is to entertain. Get creative, try different things. Although, you do want to make sure that what you post is relevant to your industry or brand. Photos of cats in bread is amusing, but unless you're in the pet industry, it's not going to help your cause.
Use photos as much as possible. Besides the fact that people are drawn to visuals, especially compelling ones, photos take up a lot of space on a newsfeed, you can't miss them. It will help you capture the attention of those 16%. And when people click on your photos, it increases EdgeRank.
Use quotes, make them pretty. People dig photos, especially on Facebook. So if you find an inspiring quote to post, go the extra mile and put it on a pretty back drop using an app like Quozio. It can be great riding the coattails of famous people - and it tends to be foolproof - but you can also use this tactic to post the witty and inspiring things put out by your brand. Sally Hogshead of Fascinate does a great job at this. Follow her lead and put your website address and name of your business at the bottom.
Post at ideal times. Posting between 1 - 3pm is optimal. Wednesdays are a great day to post. And according to Buddy Media, engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursday and Friday than other days of the week. I don't tend to post before 8am or 8pm, but I can't claim this as a golden rule. When to post really depends on the online habits of your target audience. I had a Facebook focus group composed of 15 - 18 year olds I regularly posted on for a project. If I wanted them to see my posts, I needed to post between 8 and 11pm. Depending on the type of business you have, some of your Facebook audience may be on different time zones. It's a good rule of thumb to post at different times for a few weeks and then look at your Facebook Insights for patterns of engagement.
Hold contests. Facebook has decreed that you must use a third party app to hold contests. Use an app like Shortstack that requires people to "like" your page to enter. Make sure the prize you offer relates to your brand. You can use the same app to create a newsletter sign up or a page that promotes your blog to get the most out of your Facebook page.
Ask people to click "like" share or comment. You would be absolutely amazed how effective this is, especially if you have a cool photo to boot. All you have to do is say something like, "Click "like" if you dig it!" Or you can prompt a comment by starting the post with, "Tell us," or ask a question and end it with "Thoughts?" or "Do Share."
Post regularly. You should post 3 to 4 times a day. This may seem like a lot, but if someone has 600 friends who post regularly, their newsfeed can fill up quickly, and then there's Facebook's pesky Edgerank algorithm.
Posting regularly and frequently increases the chance of your post being seen and your brand staying in the forefront of your follower's minds. To make posting frequently easier, you can schedule posts directly through Facebook or you can use Hootsuite.
Make sure to give enough time in between posts for people to engage - at least two to three hours.
Respond and "like" all comments, and "like" any of your posts people share. Remember, anytime there's action on a post that can prolong it's lifespan and reach. And social media is about conversations. You want to make sure you're encouraging them.
Share helpful and exclusive information. You want to make sure you're being of service by providing information that's insightful and helps people solves problems. This sets up a trusting relationship and gives more people reasons to like, comment and share your posts - especially if it makes them look good by doing so. Infographics are great for this. You want to make your online entourage feel like they have VIP status. Giving them the DL on upcoming products or services or posting exclusive sales just for them will make for one engaged fan base.
Use hashtags. Yep, Facebook finally jumped on the bandwagon. You can now take advantage of hashtags. You can create clever hashtags to start conversations about your product or brand or you can use hashtags for existing topics. To find out what hashtags people are using related to your industry, go to hashtags.org. Don't get crazy with hashtags. It's spammy and in poor taste. Use one or two, preferably in the body of your post.
What do you do to increase engagement on your Facebook business page? What successes have you had? Do you boost? I'd love to hear from you. Please comment below.
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By Sabrina Gaffney
From blogging to bios, freelance website copywriter Sabrina Gaffney, a.k.a the Cagey Copywriter, offers a powerful profusion of web copywriting tips for optimum marketing results! Connect on Google + or LinkedIn.