Here it is, as requested, a follow up to the How to Support Our Indies on Facebook post.
There was A LOT of interest from people about this post that I'd presented for us, as an audience who want to support businesses on Facebook. Lots of you wanted to know more details about what your businesses could do to improve your audience reach because the reality is that the responsibility isn't with us as consumers, it's with businesses.
First, I think it's worth mentioning that a free platform offering you a global online community to advertise to is going to eventually monetise. It's inevitable. How they've gone about it is a topic for a whole other day. My biggest advice here would be to treat Facebook as you would any advert for your company. Assess it like you would a magazine advert or podcast sponsorship- is this the right tool for you right now?
It can feel like you have to do it all. You can't. Time is precious when you're running your own company, think where best to connect with your audience and start there. You particular audience might interact highly on Facebook but not Twitter for example. It needs to suit both you and your potential customers to interact on the platform you're investing time in.
That said, let's unpick that 'Overly Promotional' phrase. When Facebook surveyed users, we told them that we didn't want advertising all the time or to be constantly sifting through cluttered timelines when we come online to chat with friends and family. The Facebook algorithm changed, in part, as a response to that survey.
So here's what Facebook defines as overly promotional:
1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Remember how I kept saying interaction is key to audience reach? I wasn't kidding. In my experience the posts that reach the most audience are those that encourage a response and that's the same for even if you pay for more- if you've got something appealing to interact with that you're boosting, your reach will always be further. So pay or don't pay but always think interactive for each thing you post.
Amy Singer has kindly given me permission to use her Facebook page as an example. Let's look at that first post where we learned something was awry:
It got our attention didn't it? Those of us who saw the post in our timeline immediately interacted. What Knitty lover wouldn't? We clicked 'like', we shared with our friends and we commented. Facebook got a reaction from Amy's Knitty audience so it started opening it up to more and more people who wanted to see knitting related news. Having not seen anything from Knitty for a while, it popped up in my timeline because a while ago I had clicked 'like' on the page and so Facebook knew Knitty fans would want to see this from the quick reaction is was already getting.
In a nutshell, Amy gave us a call to arms and we got interactive.
So think about that when you next post. Did you just drop your link to your most recent blog post? Did you simply add a product description and point it at the product page? If you want people to engage with you, you're going to need to think a little smarter and identify what your target audience wants to interact with you about.
That I'm afraid is another chat for another day because boiling down the Facebook algorithm throws up not just important questions about the algorithm itself but also vital skills such as knowing your target audience and how to develop a strategy for online marketing.
However, I will leave you with some of my favourite resources for getting to grips with Facebook for business:
1. Facebook's definition of promotional material
2. Inside the Facebook News Feed via BufferSocial
4. Online Marketing for Craft Businesses by Hilary Pullen. I reviewed it, I interviewed her and she touches on how to do this for free before you start hitting those boost buttons (again, another topic I'd LOVE to chat about!)
5. 10 Successful Facebook Marketing Examples via The Social Media Examiner.
6. 4 Tips on using Social Media to grow your Business via Deborah Lee.
Is now a good time to mention I'm teaching and writing this year? ;)
Stay clicky folks!