Have you heard about Facebook’s plans to reduce the visibility of overly promotional posts in news feeds? In November, Facebook announced that its users see too many promotional posts, rather than ads, in their news feeds. So, if you post about your upcoming webinar or new product on your Facebook page, the likelihood that it will be seen (organically) by your fans is low.
As a small business owner and entrepreneur, this news may be disheartening because you rely on Facebook to help promote your business. How can you leverage Facebook now to market your business?
Here are some suggestions on how you can use Facebook in 2015 to grow your business:
The 80-20 Rule
Your first task is to consider the ratio of your promotional posts versus non-promotional posts. The common ratio that many marketers consider is 80-20 with 80 percent of your posts being non-promotional. If you focus 80 percent of your Facebook posts on non-promotional content, you will find that you are better serving the needs of your customers.
Engaging Through Non-Promotional Content
Remember, people buy from those they trust, so consider Facebook as a way to get people to “know, like and trust” you. Take a look at these ideas:
|Ask questions||What is the best present you ever received? What was the name of your first pet? Brrr! It’s cold here today. What’s the weather like where you live?|
|Tell a story||Today marks the one-year anniversary of getting our cat! I remember bringing him home from the rescue organization. He looked so tiny! Now, look at this beast.|
|Offer tips||Do you have a hard time getting your kids to clean up? Here’s what I do: I use a kitchen timer, turn on some music and make a race out of it. It works every time!|
|Make people laugh or cry||I tear up every time I see this commercial. Check it out and see if you can hold back the tears:|
|Share others’ content||Do you need help staying more productive during the work day? Check out these tips from Entrepreneur (I especially like the 3rd tip):|
Many of these post types can accompany pictures, graphics, videos and links to other users’ content. Photos and graphics work best on Facebook so use them often.
Promoting Through Facebook
Facebook’s new rule does not mean you should not promote your business. In fact, you should! However, your approach needs to be different than what you’ve done in the past.
Get ready to “pay to play”
Like it or not, the best way to get your promoted content to your fans (as well as people who aren’t fans of your page) is to use Facebook advertising. Remember, you only need to spend a minimum of $5 per day. The good news is that Facebook’s targeting features are very effective, so you will be reaching your ideal audience with your promoted posts. From now on, plan a monthly Facebook ad spending budget for your promotional content.
Boosting Your Post vs. Ads Manager
Facebook gives you multiple ways to advertise your content. One is to use the “boost” button at the bottom of each post. Another option is to go into your Facebook Ads Manager and set up ads there. Which one should you use? The rule I follow is that if I want a call to action (e.g. to get people to sign up for a webinar), I use the Facebook Ads Manager. If I want to people to read an announcement or see a graphic, I boost the post. Experiment to see what works best for you.
Get creative with your posts
In addition to experimenting with Facebook ads, also experiment on how you can share your promotional content without advertising. One idea would be to post a photo of a new product and ask people to name it. Or, post several versions of a logo and ask people to vote for their favorite. Make sure to watch people’s comments because that’s where you can tell them about a new product or offering. For example, if you sell soaps and you ask people what their favorite scent is, you can respond in the comments that a specific scent is on sale (with a link to your sale). Get creative but remember that it must serve your audience, or you will come off like a used car salesman.
Don’t forget about your personal profile
You can also use your personal profile to help you share promotional content, though I would caution you to be very strategic about how you do so. Your Facebook friends don’t want to be inundated with promotional information so be picky about what you share. When you do promote through your personal profile, consider sharing the content from your Facebook page. This will help extend the reach of your post and drive people to your Facebook page for more information.
What to do next
This blog post has a lot of tips to help you with your 2015 Facebook strategy. What should you do with this information? I recommend finding a blank January calendar and start planning your posts. For each day, write down what you’ll post about and plot out the days where you will need to promote something. This will help ensure you are sticking close to the 80-20 rule, plus you can plan your advertising budget. Sure, you can still post things spontaneously (and you should!) but planning how you will implement your Facebook strategy will help take the frustration out of Facebook marketing. Finally, remember that Facebook is a way to converse with your ideal clients. Make sure all of your Facebook posts are meeting your objective of getting people to know, like and trust you. Otherwise, you won’t have the Facebook success you need to grow your business.
Photo courtesy of Jay Cameron