So you've made a Facebook Page for your business, you're posting regular content and you've built up a small following. There's just one problem -- it feels like none of your few thousand followers actually see the posts you make. Here's how you can improve those odds.
While it hasn't always been this way, Facebook's increasing focus on advertising makes it harder and harder for pages to get any kind of organic reach. From Facebook's side it makes sense, of course -- they'd rather you spend money with them to advertise conventionally than let you easily reach the people who've chosen to follow you.
First, it's worth knowing a little bit about how Facebook's algorithms work. Though no one really knows the specifics, the general concept behind the algorithm is to show users more 'quality' posts that they're likely to care about. This is determined on both an individual and site-wide basis -- so Facebook will show users more content that's similar to things they react or comment on, but less content like the stuff they hide or ignore.
However if you have a large number of people hiding or ignoring your page's posts, Facebook will show it to less people overall, as the algorithm will rate it as low-quality content. What you want is to engage users enough to have positive interactions with your content -- whether that's liking, sharing, commenting or clicking on a link and spending time viewing your site -- so Facebook will rate your content higher in people's feeds. Here are some ways to do that.
Social media is an amazing tool for business owners and entrepreneurs to get themselves out there without a dedicated marketing team, but it can be hard to keep up with the intricacies of Zuckerberg's social platform if social media isn't your sole focus.
Find Your Style
Having the right tone and style of post is vital to getting people to engage with it. If you're used to writing content in a more professional tone for things like press releases or business emails or advertising copy, you might fall into using the same formal or overly technical tone on Facebook.
If you're trying to appeal to the average social media user, however, it pays to pare that text back to a more casual, conversational tone. Frame any technical terminology in words that are easy to understand and connect to -- test this on your friends and family if you have to. Small businesses especially have the opportunity to be more casual and open with their customers -- why not introduce yourself, tell your story and put a human face to your page and business?
Generally this conversational tone will work best for most pages, but it's worth experimenting depending on your business. Some notable exceptions to the rule include pages like A Mighty Girl, where short, concise posts are replaced by multi-paragraph descriptions. Of course part of A Mighty Girl's appeal is that said descriptions provide a good chunk of information written in an engaging, easy-to-read way -- but it is an indicator that unorthodox post styles can still do very, very well.
In keeping with its intended mission to keep users' news feeds relatively spam free, part of Facebook's algorithm is specifically designed to detect (and punish) 'spammy' posts. One of the biggest things Facebook targets is so-called 'like-baiting', the practice of asking users to like or share your posts. While it may be tempting to use such techniques (think of "like/share if you agree" or "like/share if you support this" style posts) for the temporary boost to likes and engagement, abusing spammy wording might end in your posts or your whole page being flagged by Facebook.
That's not all -- Facebook also counts over-shared content as spam, meaning you probably shouldn't borrow that cute kitten picture or funny meme you've already seen posted on ten different pages. Instead, prioritise original content, or use Facebook's inbuilt sharing to add that content to your feed.
Facebook is also looking for spammy links -- meaning it will start penalising posts that link to what it calls "low-quality web experiences". These are pages that are littered with ads, or hosts content of little substance or value. While your own in-house links should be fine unless your website or blog uses obnoxious advertising, you should definitely consider carefully what third-party links are really worth sharing through your page.
Social media is a great tool for small businesses, often proving more accessible and more effective than traditional advertising strategies. However if you don't set a social media policy for all employees to follow when they are given access to the company's social media policy, you could risk earning a fine or even a lawsuit.
Vary Post Styles
That being said, it's time to look at the kinds of posts you do make on your page. Do you share lots of links to your blog? To your store? To third-party articles related to your business? Do you share photos? Videos? Live videos? Having a good mix of all of the above types of posts is vital to your page's health. Photos and videos, while not great at driving sales, are very good at driving engagement, which in turn will benefit the other posts you make. If everything you post looks like an ad, people will quickly disconnect. Instead, share content that your target audience would like -- or even better, create that content.
If you manage to go through the points in this article and find a magic formula that works for your business page, that's fantastic. However, you should never get complacent with social media. No sooner will you get comfortable with your new strategy or schedule than Facebook will change things up and you will have to adapt or fall behind.
The key is to always experiment. You may think your best posting time is at 5pm, but if you've never posted something at 6am, how do you know that won't go better? Maybe you haven't shared a blog post in months because the last one bombed, but you'll never know if that's changed if you don't try. The good news is that social media is so fast-paced that failed experiments are soon forgotten, and successful ones will only ever do better for your page and your business.