My disdain for Facebook grows almost weekly. I know you're saying, “But why? Facebook is the largest social network with over 1.23 BILLION daily active users!? It's like, the ruler of all social media. Everyone is there!” Yes, I know all of that. But how much of that billion are you reaching with your messaging? Is everyone following you avidly? How many are responding to your calls to action? If you're like most businesses, you're only getting a miniscule fraction of those who have liked your page to see and respond to your posts.
Because of the ever-changing algorithm and the slant toward being less business friendly, I advise business owners on how to use Facebook while not letting it use them. How? By building and maintaining a presence but not fully relying on it or pumping money into advertising without a strategy of how to get a return on investment. Here are 3 ways to use Facebook but not let it use you:
1) Learn the algorithm: I know that sounds simple and obvious, but you’d be surprised how many marketers on Facebook don’t understand how to better position their content to be seen by the fan base they’ve worked so hard to grow. If you know nothing else, remember that Facebook allows people to see more of your content when they see that more people are interacting with it. So do what you have to must to make your content stand out. Photos and videos rank higher, links to other sites will help you rank higher too. Posting at the right times of day can help you grab more audience share as well.
2) Share your content: I’m not just saying post content to your fan page, I mean share it on your own personal page from your fan page. The more people who see it the better. Post content to your fan page then click the share button to share it in the groups you’re in and on your own timeline. Don’t be prideful either. Ask friends and family to like and share content when they see it come across their timelines too. This helps get more eyes on it. When those people respond it boosts your ranking even more without paying for it. Posting straight to Facebook and not through an aggregator like HootSuite or Tweet Deck will help too.
3) Only pay for ads when you have a specific, measurable action attached to them: Don’t pay to boost posts whenever Facebook asks you to or just to win some popularity contest for likes you’ve made up in your head. As we’ve stated above, more likes doesn’t always mean more engagement or views. But if you have a specific promotion and would like a niche group of people to respond to it within a specific amount of time, go for it. Facebook ads can eat up your marketing budget, so use them wisely. Map out how much you have to spend, how long you have to promote and what it would cost you to make those Facebook ad dollars turn a profit. Otherwise you’re not using Facebook, Facebook is using you.
Most of what I've written here is what some would call common sense. But its not uncommon for me to find business owners who are less savvy about Facebook marketing who say they've spent hundreds of dollars and haven't gotten a dime in return from it. Honestly, its not hard to do! I've spent money on Facebook ads and have had to tweak and refine my strategy time and again to realize a benefit from it. That's why I don't want novices to spend their money and feel burned. It makes my job harder when people come to me with social media war wounds. If you have any questions about your current Facebook strategy, let me know. Have tips? Share them in the comments!
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