Still ranked as the number 1 social media platform, Facebook has amassed 1.7 billion monthly users with 15 million users in Australia alone. By now, it’s more than likely you have a Facebook page for your business but you might be wondering whether it’s actually driving traffic let alone converting sales. Given that most of us (well at least 75% of us) use Facebook socially, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Facebook for business is simple. Create a page, post some content and people will flock to what you have to say just as they do when you post a photo of your holiday or last night’s dinner. Feeling frustrated by posting content every day and not feeling like they’re getting any traction. business owners might be inclined to give up or dismiss Facebook as the wrong social platform for their product. Engaging your customers and potential customers via your Facebook business page takes a little more consideration and strategy but it’s well worth the effort.
Here are our top 7 tips for improving engagement through Facebook.
- Understand what the Facebook insights are telling you
Your interpretation of engagement and reach may be different to what Facebook do to calculate these metrics. Make sure that you understand Facebook insights, where to find them and what they actually mean. One of the most important things you need to understand with engagement is that the more likes, shares and comments a post gets, the more likely it is to show up in the news feed of your page fans. So it’s in your best interest to understand what stimulates engagement so you can enjoy the compounded effect of greater visibility. Before you consider changing your strategy, review your previous posts and identify what had the greatest traction with your fans. Use that as a starting point and then build from there. Sometimes, a simple way to increase your engagement is to post more of the same type of content that you’ve had success with in the past.
- Understand your audience
The fundamental starting point for any marketing strategy is to understand your audience, really understand your audience. What are their interests? What inspires and excites them? What time of day are they likely to be perusing social media; on the train on the way to work or after 10pm once the children are asleep? It’s very easy to assume that your customers are interested in the same things you are – but your Facebook page is not about you, it’s about them. Create a profile of your customer with as much info as you possibly can. What makes them tick? How do they spend their spare time? What are their hopes and dreams? What other interests do people in that demographic have? For instance, if your target audience is males between 18 and 30 you could research that demographic through secondary data to help create your profile.
- Share what your fans want to see, not what you want them to see
Just because your business operates in a particular industry or sells a particular product, it doesn’t mean that all of your content has to be limited to those areas. If you want people to engage with your posts, you need to share content that they want to see, content that’s relevant to your audience but not necessarily product related. For instance, if you’re a fruit shop you might be inclined to only post photos of fruit and other product available in store. But your audience might also be interested in healthy recipes that use your products, healthy lifestyle activities or health and nutrition information in general. It’s unlikely that they just want to see pictures of fruit every day, there are only so many banana photos one can ‘Like’, let alone share. So it’s important to balance out your content with related but different posts. Qatar airways are a great example of this posting content about Soccer which is what their fans are interested in but not at all related to aviation.
- We all love photos!
As much as we complain about friends posting incessant pics of their breakfast or their baby, the reality is that we’re still looking. When it comes to Facebook, photos are the most engaging type of post that you can share. It’s much easier for our eyes to absorb an image than read a status update that can get lost in the clutter. It’s not just any type of photo that we like but rather real photos of real people and situations. Avoid using stock photos or images supplied by someone else and take your own. Even photos snapped on a smart phone can produce a more authentic, personal feel on your Facebook page. If you also have an Instagram account, there is the option to automatically post all Instagram photos to your Facebook page but do so with caution. Consider whether you have the same audience on both platforms and whether seeing the same image twice is a good thing or a bad thing for your audience.
- Get social
Social media is ultimately about a 2 way dialogue between you and your audience so when your fans make the effort to like, comment or share, engage with them! Reply to their comments and thank them for sharing your post. Make sure you do it promptly, it’s better to engage with them while they’re still active than to take 3 days to reply to their comment once it has long been forgotten. The faster you reply, the more likely you are to actually engage in a conversation so check your posts throughout the day or set up notifications on your smart phone to be notified in real time. By acknowledging customer comments you also ensure your fans feel appreciated which will encourage them to engage and interact again in the future.
- Less is more when it comes to frequency
While other social media platforms encourage multiple posts per day (such as Pinterest which can benefit from up to 10 pins a day) Facebook engagement tends to benefit from 1 – 2 posts per day vs 3 or more posts. You don’t want to overwhelm your fans or dominate their feed. Instead, refine what you share and limit the volume while increasing the quality of what you post. Given that you’re only going to be posting 1 to 2 times a day also consider the best times to post. While there may be more people using Facebook during the day, they may be engaging more at night when they have less distractions around them. You can look to the research here or do some split testing by posting similar content at different times of the day and measuring the results. What works for one brand may not necessarily be the best strategy for another. You could also use a tool like Buffer which will post your content for you at the best possible time.
- Ask questions and invite commentary
People love to get their voices out and feel heard. So ask your fans questions! Do keep them simple though, if the question is too difficult or feels like a test, then you’re less likely to get a response. Try to keep your questions light hearted and even give people multiple choice options to make it as easy as possible. If you happen to have some funny photos to share you might invite your audience to caption the photo. People love to add their own funny comments and will often dedicate some time to thinking of a witty or clever caption. Of course when they do share their caption, you’ll be ready to respond and acknowledge their engagement. Another option is a fill in the blank which invites fans to show off their smarts and be creative. The key is to keep it short and make it a knee jerk reaction (first thing that comes to mind). For example, ‘The hardest thing in life to give up is _______’.
So this is a good starting point for reviewing your current strategy and implementing some new ideas. As you do so, it’s important to continue measuring, tweaking and adjusting. If you end up hitting a wall and feel like you’ve run out of things to say, our talented content creators can come up with some creative new posts to really engage your customers.