If you’ve used Facebook to promote your business, you’ve noticed that it’s become increasingly more difficult to get your followers to engage with your posts.
As you’re probably aware, as soon as Facebook began offering paid advertising options like promoted posts, they also announced that “Pages organically reach about 16% of their fans on average.”
Many small business owners report an even lower percentage reach on posts that they haven’t paid to sponsor. Recent case studies have shown that the organic reach for posts ranges between 3% and 9%.
Is this move towards Facebook as a paid advertising platform frustrating? Yes. Is this a reason to abandon your Facebook page? Absolutely not. Facebook is still a great way to connect with potential customers in your market and build your brand.
Even though you may have to pay to make sure your Facebook posts reach your audience, the necessary budget isn’t going to break the bank. If you’re using an approach that would have gotten you a high rate of organic engagement in the “pre-paid” days of Facebook advertising, you can get great results with boosts as low as $5.
Have an Engaging Facebook Marketing Strategy
The first step in developing the most cost-effective and engaging Facebook marketing strategy is to think about the kind of content that you’re going to post. You should ask yourself questions like:
“What kinds of things do people respond to on Facebook?”
“What kind of things do people prefer not to see in their Facebook newsfeed?”
“How can I incorporate this into my Facebook marketing plan?”
Facebook has been asking themselves those questions as well, and has concluded that what people don’t want to see are overly “promotional” content.
In an announcement on their blog in January of 2015, Facebook announced that “As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about and less promotional content.”
What Makes a Facebook Post “Too Promotional”?
Facebook identified several traits that made posts feel too promotional to the people they surveyed, including:
1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Many business owners will look at these three criteria and say, “If we’re not supposed to promote our products and services, and aren’t supposed to post about offers, what are we supposed to post about? Isn’t that the purpose behind posting to a company Facebook page – to promote the business?”
Yes, the purpose behind posting to a company Facebook page is to promote the business, and some of your Facebook posts should promote your products and services or drive people to sign up for things like coupons or special offers. You can still get engagement and a return from these kinds of posts. There are, however, two factors to consider:
1. With Facebook’s January 2015 algorithm change, limiting the organic distribution of promotional posts, those posts will reach significantly less than 16% of your followers.
2. In order to get those promotional posts to reach a significant audience of potential customers, a budget must be set aside to sponsor those posts.
What Kinds of Facebook Posts Are Most Engaging?
While there is still an important role for promotional posts on Facebook as paid ads, you’re probably also asking yourself, “What other kinds of content is there for my business to post, if we’re not being promotional?” And if you’ve put some time into answering the question, “What kinds of things do people respond to on Facebook?” you’ve probably already got some ideas.
Customize Your Facebook Marketing Plan to Your Audience
Your Facebook marketing objective should be to understand the audience that has liked your page so that you can give them the kind of content that they’ll respond to. Know that many of the people who have liked your page have done it because they are a past customer who appreciates the products or services that you provide.
For example, the Facebook page for an online jewelry store could set shopping, fashion, and clothes as other interests of their customers. You can use this knowledge of your audience to identify the content that you can create that will be especially engaging to them.
A great organic way to showcase your business is to share pictures and videos of your products and services to your Facebook. Pictures and videos have always been among the most popular and naturally engaging types of posts that you can create on social media. Furthermore, when you consider your audience and their interests, they are more likely to like or share content they find the most interesting.
So if your business specializes in making boats and you post a picture or video to Facebook of one of your boats out in the Florida Keys where everyone is smiling and having fun, it has a much higher chance of being liked and shared than just a picture of your boat sitting in a marina.
Whenever possible, give your audience the kind of content they would respond to if their friends posted it. It just takes a little creativity to come up with something that feels more like an interesting interaction than a hard sell. Remember, Facebook is a social network. Keep it fun!
Pictures vs. Video
Conventional wisdom has always supported the idea that photographs are the most engaging form of content. As recently as last April, studies showed that photo posts accounted for 87% of engagement on the top 10% of brand posts. In the past year, however, studies have shown that there has been a major change in the organic reach for photographs on Facebook.
Since at least October 2014, video has become the most engaging form of post on Facebook, with 8.71% of video posts organically reaching a page’s followers versus an abysmal 3.73% for photo posts (granted, you may feel that an 8.71% organic reach is abysmal, but we’ll get to the solution for that below).
CEO Mark Zuckerberg signaled this huge push towards video content, saying in March 25, 2015: “Five years ago, most content on Facebook was text. Now it’s photos. Fast forward five years and it will be video.”