Whether you’re struggling with your approach or feeling confident about your strategy, here are the five things all small business marketers need to know about Facebook this year:
#1: Maintaining your presence is vital
Research shows that your Facebook presence isn’t just significant for your fans—it’s important to potential customers who want to learn more about you. Social networks have become a form of proof that a company is legitimate, smart and on top of their game.
While it’s not expected that every company have an active Instagram account, for example, if your company isn’t among the billion users on Facebook, it can count against you. This is especially true for small businesses, who need to work harder to prove their validity than large corporations.
Simply having a page isn’t enough; it needs to be updated on a regular basis. If maintaining an active presence is a challenge, focus on simple ways to generate ideas, and start by developing a strategy that will guide your every move.
#2: The number of fans you have doesn’t matter
It’s natural to get excited when you see the number of Facebook fans grow, and an influx of fans might mean some of your other marketing efforts are paying off. Just don’t let it go to your head, because the quantity doesn’t really matter.
What matters is the engagement you see with your posts. Do people like, comment and share them? Do you see a lot of referral traffic from Facebook to your blog or website? You can have 500 passionate fans who hang on to your every word, and that’s infinitely more significant than having 50,000 fans who don’t engage with you. Those 500 people are the most likely to visit your website, share your content and buy your products, whereas the 50,000 might never click on a single link you share.
If you want to grow the number of super fans your company has:
- Look at your most popular Facebook posts, paying attention to the topic, format and tone of the content. Use that to inform not just what and how you share content in the future, but the type of content you produce in the first place.
- Make sure you’re promoting your Facebook presence in all the places where your audience comes in contact with you: your website, blog and emails, for example.
- Don’t be afraid to poll your audience and ask them what they want to see from you.
It takes time to build the right audience, but it’s worth the effort—besides gaining a following of committed fans, Facebook will see that fans love your content and show it in News Feeds more often.
#3: Advertising done right pays off
You might remember that much of the marketing world was temporarily devastated at last year’s changes in organic reach. While we’ve all recovered from that feeling, organic reach will never be what it once was.
A smart advertising strategy can help overcome the loss of organic reach, and by targeting Facebook ads you can make the most of your marketing dollars. It can be a complex undertaking, and deserves a lot of analysis to ensure you’re getting the most from your investment.
If you’re ready to move forward with Facebook advertising in 2015, start by spending the time getting into the nitty-gritty by reading content from Facebook experts like Jon Lommer and Amy Porterfield.
#4: It’s still not your audience. It’s Facebook’s audience.
Here at Cursive, we advocate for blogs quite often, in large part because they are yours to publish, promote and change as you see fit. When you post on any social network, that content isn’t really yours. It’s theirs.
When Facebook’s algorithm changes meant organic reach dwindled to nearly nothing, businesses whose connection with their audience centered around Facebook were scared (and for good reason). That’s a position you don’t want to be in, but it doesn’t render Facebook unimportant. There are more than a billion people on Facebook, and that still makes it a great place to try to reach the right ones.
There’s a middle ground between focusing on Facebook entirely and disregarding it completely. As you focus on improving your Facebook presence in 2015, try to think of it as a single color in your palette. Without it, you should still be able to paint a pretty picture.
#5: Both Facebook and your fans want you to tone down the self-promotion.
We know that people find ads disruptive, but guess what? They find your self-promotional content annoying, too.
Facebook did the business world a huge favor by polling members to get insight into the content they see in their news feeds. The result, according to Facebook: “People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”
In other words, they want to hear from you if you’ve posted an amazing photo or have an intriguing story to share. What they don’t want to hear is a reinterpretation of your latest ad, or a push for your newest product. The people are smart, and they recognize that content for what it is: advertising.
As a result of the survey, starting this month Facebook is filtering this solely self-promotional content out of people’s News Feeds. And they’ve issued a crystal-clear warning to brands: “Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”
If your posts are typically focused around trying to convince people to buy your product or service, it’s more important than ever that you take a different approach.
Instead, focus on sharing content that’s helpful, interesting and fun. Make it about the audience, not you, and you’ll find a rightful place in the Feed of dedicated fans.
Like all social media efforts, it’s not just about sharing, it’s about what you share. Great content creates connections, connected audiences engage and engaged audiences have the potential to be your biggest fans and best customers.
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