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Facing up to Facebook

Getting the most out of Facebook marketing

Facebook can be a useful marketing tool for small and large businesses

Facebook. We all know of it, many of you probably use it. But how much do you really know when it comes to getting the most out of it when it comes to marketing your business? A casual glance across the web suggests that many businesses still haven’t quite got the hang of it, yet seem blissfully unaware. Much has been made of the decline in organic reach, and how paid ads are the way forward. But there are still ways you can improve your Facebook site’s reach without having to spend a cent. Let’s take a look.

 

Less is more – you’ve probably noticed it yourself – the same company (or individual!) is constantly posting updates on Facebook. Eventually you delete their post from your newsfeed and opt out of receiving future updates. This is a classic case of a company ‘overdoing it’ on Facebook. They probably thought it was a good idea to bombard their audience with product related posts etc, but by doing it too much they’ve actually ended up losing part of their audience. Of course, there’s such a thing as underdoing it as well – you need to keep yourself visible too! The key here is balance – post at a regular frequency by all means but 5 or 6 posts a day is probably too much (unless you’re updating at an event or similar).

 

It’s all about timing – following on from the above, it’s well worth setting up an Editorial Calendar; plan your posts for a week and see how you can space them out. Avoid spur of the moment posts; plan them out like you would any marketing campaign. Think about when you are going to post – obviously a post at 3am is going to get less of a reach as one at 3pm, but even within the daytime some times are better than others. Refine as you go along; use the Insights tool to monitor what times worked and what didn’t – and plough this back into your future planning. As well as times of day, consider times of the week too – Thursdays and Fridays are generally better, but again, monitor your own results via the Insights tool.

 

It’s not all 9 to 5 – don’t be afraid to post outside of office hours. Remember, your business may only operate 9-5 Monday-Friday but your audience isn’t so restricted. Chances are they may well engage most with your postsoutside of office hours. So be sure to post then, and remember that Facebook has a handy scheduling tool that allows you to prepare a post in advance and then set it on a timer to be published at a time in the future. Be sure to check it out.

 

Video is king – too many Facebook sites make the mistake of blatantly pushing their products via text and weblinks. Facebook is well aware of this, and it is reflected in the posts organic reach – posts containing plain texts and links have poor reach performance.  Who can blame them to be honest… why would they offer a free advertising service alongside their paid ad system? The trick here is to focus on images, or better still, video content, rather than pure weblinks or text. Include a video as part of your post and watch your reach soar! If you can’t find a suitable video then posting an image can help reach too, or better still, post a group of images. At the end of the day it’s all about customer engagement – but that’s not to say you can’t sneak in a product push in the midst of a video or picture post.

 

Keep it interesting and ENGAGE – as alluded to above, Facebook doesn’t like businesses trying to push products though organic posts. But it’s not as bad as it sounds – Facebook is still a great way to build audience engagement. Mix it up – a little humour is proven to help reach. Ask your audience their opinion on something topical and relevant to your business. Be helpful – invite them to ask you questions. For instance a spa might offer beauty care advice, a computer store might offer tech advice, etc. You’re not directly selling a product here, but you are boosting your reputation. Reply to their comments. The more people you have engaging with your page the better. Run competitions – these are a great way to build your audience through a ‘like and share’ type campaign.

 

Sharing is caring – they say it’s nice to be nice. That holds true in Facebook just like it does in the real world. Like pages that are complimentary to your own business; share their posts now and then. There’s much to be gained here. You’re helping your audience by highlighting topics or products that may be relevant to them, showing it’s not all about you trying to sell them something. Hopefully other businesses will return the favour and share your posts, not only does this increase brand awareness, it also increases the chance of more followers – put simply you’re expanding your pool from which to fish and that’s never a bad thing.

 

Be insightful – throughout this article I've referred to the Insights tool. Do not neglect it. It’s free and inbuilt to your Facebook page so make use of it. Check it regularly. It’s great for giving insights as to what’s working and what isn’t, when it works, etc. It allows you to constantly adapt and refine your Facebook marketing. Social media is ever changing and you can’t afford to be complacent. Take the time to keep up to date with the latest developments both on Facebook and other social media platforms. Changes to these platforms could reveal new opportunities or make current postings less effective so it pays to be informed.

 

Niall Kelly – Marketing Executive, Totterdells