Facebook reach is something that concerns a lot small business owners these days. Back in 2007 when Facebook launched fan pages it was a race to get the most likes. 7 years later and its no longer a race, but a marathon to get your content seen by the people who’ve liked your page. And just to make things more challenging for the smart marketer, you can no longer use a call to action that includes the words like, share or comment.
I love a challenge and I’m working closely with several small business owners to see what we can do to reach more of our fans and engage them. And as I’m old school I’m going to use the phrase fan rather than liker.
Here are 20 ways we’ve been growing our Facebook reach.
1. Post interesting content when your fans are already online.
I know what you’re thinking… that that’s obvious, right? When did you last take a look at your insights and check when your fans were online? If you post something when most of your fans are on Facebook, you are more likely to get more people to see it.
Studies have shown that late afternoons on Thursdays and Fridays, plus weekend days are when the greatest number of people are on Facebook.
2. Post often. Post a few different status updates throughout the day.
Don’t spam and post the same image or link over and over again in the hope that your reach will increase. It won’t. Your fans will not interact with the content and guess what? Your reach will go down.
Timing is crucial: If you post only once a day, you are only going to reach those who are online within an hour or two of when you posted.
Posting three or four times a day is a good rule, but I understand that time is valuable so you may wish to post just twice a day.
What’s a good posting schedule? One that has varied content with nice gaps between each update. Content should also come from a variety of sources as well as uploading your own, share from other pages.
3. Be consistent with your posts. Make a schedule to regularly post at the time people are online. This consistency gives you more opportunities to connect with fans and build their trust. Remember you don’t have to be online all of the time, you can actually schedule Facebook updates to post at peak audience times.
4. Create a content strategy. I know I’m always banging on about having a strategy but a strategy will get you better results that a series of quick fix tactics. A content marketing strategy will give you the advantage of never having to worry about what to post and when. If you want to book a coaching session we can go through all of this for your business.
5. Share popular content. There’s no law that says you have to share new content every time you post on Facebook. start with your blog (you do have one, right?) Go through your analytics to find old posts that were popular in terms of discussion and social shares and then post it on your page. If you post evergreen content on your blogs and other social media channels, these posts won’t go out of date. Just make sure you haven’t already posted it on Facebook recently and leave a nice gap of say 6-8 weeks before you consider posting it again.
6. Respond quickly to comments. It’s not just for the commenter, but the people reading those comments later on. On one page I create content for there was comments referencing a secret stairway. I was totally clueless, but the page owner knew exactly what they meant and replied back almost immediately to the delight of her fans. They were true fans, and they were speaking in the language of the product – you couldn’t ask for better!
7. Hold a contest. I know you can’t invite fans to like / share or comment these days, but that makes it more fun, right?
Contests are a great way to bring in new fans and build rapport with the ones you already have. You can launch the contest from your blog and guide the fans on how to take action. You can share the link on your fan page and you can pay to reach all the fans that you have so everyone knows what to do and why they are visiting the blog post to get the terms and conditions. Contests can be as simple as a “caption this image” contest, to a contest where your readers get to name a new product. There can be fan of the week and fan of the month for the most engaged people and giving a small prize can be more cost effective than paying for advertising.
8. Create ads. Promote popular posts with subtle CTA’s using paid promotions. Don’t promote unpopular content. Boost what your fans are loving. When you do this, more people see the fans and interaction and that encourages more interaction.
9. Use different kinds of content. Content can include written content, images, videos, contests, charts, graphs and everything else. Images increase Facebook engagement by 100% to 120%, and video is no slouch when it comes to reaching more people. If video scares the living daylights out of you then take a look at this post here.
10. Involve your fans by asking simple questions or ask them to caption a photo or take part in a poll.
11. Fans love to be recognized. Share some of their relevant content with your own fans and make them “Fan of the week.” If you share content on your Facebook page from fans be Anne Rice and not George Takei. Anne Rice thanks her fans by name and for bringing content to her page. How thrilling for the fan to be acknowledged that way! George Takei… well he just says from a fan. How tacky. Sorry, couldn’t resist
12. Don’t shorten links. A study by BuddyMedia found that a post which includes the full URL of a link will get three times more engagement than a shortened link such as Bit.ly. Although the report came out in 2011 I’ve not seen anything to say it’s no longer the case. In one of my Facebook groups we insist on full URLS and not tracking or shortened URLs as we know that these posts get seen by more people (when will there be insights for groups???).
13. Use influencer marketing. Find a fan with a big following and engage with them. Using influencers in your network instead of paid promotions or placement means people will pay attention, since it’s shared by an actual person. Ola Agbaimoni, my co-host on the AA Social Show discovered when she share images from other social media influencers those posts had more reach.
If you watch the show, you’ll know Ola tests everything, so she also posted the same images directly on her page… and the images from influencers always got more reach. See, another good reason to share content from like-minded pages.
14. Avoid using memes. This can not only date you and the content, but Facebook has stated they are discouraging memes in the timelines. Poor George Takei.
15. Find out which your audience loves more through your Facebook Insights. Do they tend to prefer photos or would they rather receive useful links? When you know, give it to them. Feeding a hungry crowd is always a good thing.
16. Be yourself and be genuinely excited to be interacting with your fans and if you can’t be that person, get someone in who can be that person. If might be your receptionist, or your PA, but someone in your office will love talking and interacting. Instead of telling them to stop talking and do some work, put their skills to use in the right place.
17. Work smarter. Create more posts like the ones you’ve already gotten the most engagement on.
18. Share and tag other Pages. Tagging other business’s Pages lets them know you did a good deed for them. Often they’ll return the favor and tag your Page. I’m not talking about like ladders here, I’m talking about highlighting businesses that serve the same audience. If you have a garage that fixes cars, highlight the local tyre company or the MOT centre.
19. Be there. Do you remember when Social Media Examiner used to host chats on their fan page? Where they’d get an expert in and you could ask questions and get them answered? That still works… You can use a tool such as http://www.linqto.com/About.aspx to demo products and Q and A sessions, live in your stream.
And of course there’s 22 Social that let’s you show Google Hangouts on Air with their app.
20. Build a Facebook interest list.
And then add it to your Page. It can be based on things you care about or other people’s lists. Lists show the best posts from the list in your newsfeed as well in the Interests section of your bookmarks. See this post here http://www.meltwater.com/social-media-blog/facebook-interest-lists-for-business/ on how to use it for business.
Now, there are a lot of ideas to increase your Facebook reach here and you have to do some basic business calculations. Is it cheaper to pay for an ad to show your content to your fans or is it more cost effective to pay someone to try to reach the fans organically? That’s only something you can work out, but if you’re finding you’re not getting the engagement you want from your content manager, then you can pay to reach and interact with your fans.
And if that’s too much like hard work… set up a Facebook group instead
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