Facebook marketing continues to be more and more challenging. Not challenging in the sense that it is difficult to do, but challenging in that reaching your customers, fans, and prospects on Facebook is more difficult than ever before
Over the last two years we’ve seen a steady decrease in a Facebook business page’s visibility. Back in 2011 you could expect that 25% – 30% of your fanbase would see a post. By the end of 2012 that number dropped to 15% and then 7% by late 2013. Now, in spring of 2014, the latest changes to the Facebook newsfeed has dropped reach down to 3-4% and there is talk that the Facebook platform could cut reach to as low as 1%.
Is there a conspiracy by Facebook to limit reach? Are they throttling pages in an effort to increase advertising revenues? Possibly, but actually there are several factors on why post aren’t being seen by your fans. Most notably, not everyone is online at the same time you make a post, nor is everyone engaged with your content. Facebook realizes that not everyone can see every piece of content that they subscribed to; reading the newsfeed would be like sipping from a firehouse. So the platform has instituted some limits on how content is presented to the reader. This has caused some page posts to never see the light of day.
But I don’t want to completely paint a doom and gloom picture here. There still is plenty of opportunity to market on Facebook, and you can stand a better than average chance of your content being seen by following these five tips.
1. Post relevant and engaging content
I’m not sure how many times this has to be stressed, if you want your content to be seen and acted upon, you need to post something relevant to the reader. Fans have liked your page because they enjoy your products, services, or previous content. Reward them by providing more content that is genuinely interesting and meets their expectations. Great content creates engagement, and engagement drives your post up higher and higher in the newsfeed.
2. Don’t beg for Likes and Shares.
Called Like-Baiting, using the phrase “please LIKE and SHARE” can actually have a detrimental effect on your post. Although it seems to be a good call to action for fans to spread the word, Facebook does analyze content and will penalize posts that that try to game the newsfeed by consistently begging for likes. Refrain from using them, if the content is relevant and engaging, the Likes and Shares will flow naturally.
3. Use your Insights
Facebook Insights gives you a wealth of information on how your fans are consuming and interacting with your content. The Insights feature on your page can tell you a wealth of information about your fans demographics, their engagement level, post effectiveness, and reach. Spending a bit of time browsing through your page insights will tell you which type of content receives the greatest level of viewership and engagement. My favorite feature, located under Posts, is When Your Fans Are Online. This graph will tell you the best time of day to reach your friends and fans. Timing your posts to hit at peak intervals will increase your chances of reach and engagement.
4. Put a little money behind it
The days of Facebook marketing being free marketing are long gone. There is too much noise in the newsfeed and sometimes the only way to break through is to spend a little money. Paying for posts can be an extremely effective way of increasing your reach, but it also can become quite costly if you don’t set goals and budget accordingly. Despite what Facebook would have you believe, you can promote an individual post for as little as $5. Working with the Ad Manager and Power Editor, you can segment your audience for maximum effectiveness, increasing your reach and saving money.
5. Ask for help
This can be the most difficult thing to do. Marketing consultants that specialize in social media can be quite effective in helping you reach more fans. They’ll look at past performance, discuss your goals, and create a plan or strategy that works for your particular needs. Michael Martens of RelyLocal Wausau is one such consultant that can help you increase your social reach in an ever more cluttered environment.
BONUS: Start exploring other channels
Since this tip isn’t actually Facebook related, I’m throwing it in as a Bonus. If it is harder and harder for you to reach and engage with your fans, maybe you should start to investigate some of the other social media channels available. Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram are up and coming in the social sphere. Maybe reconsider blogging, Tumblr, or Twitter to get your message out. Each channel has their own unique characteristics, but exploring and building your base now on an alternate channel will make the transition easier when you feel totally shut out by Facebook.
Do you have a favorite tip on increasing your reach and engagement in Facebook? Feel free to share it in the comments below.