Looking for more exposure on the world’s most popular social media network? Let us introduce you to the Facebook factor.
BY JULIE A. PALM
If you’re frustrated by Facebook, you’re not alone. You’d like to reach just a tiny fraction of its 1.86 billion monthly active users, but the social media site’s algorithms practically push businesses out of followers’ news feeds. From Facebook’s point of view, it makes sense. It’s a business, after all, and it wants to generate revenue. If it buries your posts, you’re more likely to buy an ad.
Still, there are no-cost and low-cost ways to make Facebook an effective marketing tool:
1. Blur the lines between personal and professional.
Matt Sweetwood, U.S. president and chief executive officer of personal branding website beBee, argues in a 2016 Entrepreneur article that one way to circumvent Facebook’s algorithms is to retool your personal Facebook page as an extension of your store. Choose a professional-looking profile photo. Stop posting about politics and sharing questionable jokes. Stay positive. Allow all your posts to be publicly visible, but to retain control of your image, don’t let others add items to your timeline, Sweetwood suggests.
2. Hold contests and giveaways.
It’s a great way to create a little excitement and Facebook has an app that helps you do so.
3. Offer discounts.
Use Facebook-only codes to reward followers with deals and coupons—a big reason many people follow businesses in the first place. (Social media experts recommend limiting mentions of promotions to only about 20% of your posts.)
4. Promote your page everywhere.
“(Point) your Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections to discussions happening on your page” and include a “Like us on Facebook” link on the “thank you” page that your e-commerce customers see after making a purchase, writes Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of content marketing firm AudienceBloom, in a 2015 Forbes article. “Customers are more apt to like you when they’ve just made a purchase they’re excited about,” he says.
5. Embrace—and embed—video.
When talking about social media, we always tell you to post more videos. But when posting to Facebook, don’t link from YouTube, says CIO.com contributing writer Jennifer Lonoff Schiff in a 2016 article. Facebook favors “native” videos, so embed them directly in the site.
6. Boost selected posts.
Kind of like an ad but cheaper, Facebook’s “boost” option pushes a specific post into news feeds more frequently and gives them more prominence. You pick the audience—people who like your page, their friends, a whole new group—and select your time frame and budget. Such posts carry a relatively unobtrusive “Sponsored” label and are part of users’ regular news feeds, not jettisoned to the right with other ads. Facebook has a good tutorial and calculator that will help you figure out the cost of boosting a post at Facebook.com/Business.