Thank you for joining us again, for FYI FRIDAY. We’re currently chatting all about using Facebook for your equine business in this short series. If you missed the first instalment, you can catch that right here. Last week we talked about setting up your profile and page, and now we’re ready to dive into algorithms, engagement and content marketing.
All the fun stuff! No, really!!
So, if you followed last week’s article, we’ve now set your page up so that if somebody finds it, they’ll be impressed enough to look into you further. So, let’s talk about HOW we get them to find you.
Do you know what an algorithm is?
In very basic terms, an algorithm is the secret code that Facebook uses to determine whether or not your Facebook post lands on somebodies news feed. It’s the thing people curse about most when using Facebook and it’s what everyone blames their lack of social media success on. Have you ever felt like you’re posting tonnes of great content, but nobody is seeing it. That’s because you haven’t worked out how to beat the algorithms.
But here’s the exciting bit, because you can! And here’s how you do it…
It’s all about engagement! That word right there is the be all and end all of using Facebook for free. So listen carefully, because this is the most important part.
If you post a photo to your page and Joe Bloggs clicks on it, likes it, comments on it, or shares it, Facebook will assume that he is interested in what your page has to say. So, next time you post, it will appear in his timeline.
If Joe Bloggs likes your page but never bothers to interact with your posts, the first few times they appear on his news-feed, Facebook algorithms will assume that he isn’t really all that interested in your content and won’t bother him with it in the future.
It’s almost that simple!
It does go into slightly more detail. For example, if Joe Bloggs regularly likes statuses about ‘dinosaurs’, Facebook will endeavour to always share posts about dinosaurs with him, from his friends and the pages he likes. Also, if a lot of Joe’s friends are engaging with a particular post, Facebook might decide that there’s a possibility Joe would also enjoy it, too. So it is a little more complicated than simple engagement. But if you just remember the engagement rule, you can work out how to win the war against algorithms.
If you think of it in terms of an engagement contest, then you’re a long way towards getting your content in front of more of your target audience.
So, with all that said, how do you increase engagement?
“Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.”
Facebook ads allow you to circulate a post to a wider audience, for a certain fee. You can choose the demographic that the post is put in front of and pay for it to be promoted. However, personally, I’ve found that once you start paying for posts, Facebook then lowers the reach of your next few unpaid posts, to encourage you to pay again. So, I try to avoid doing this.
I might sometimes boost a post if I have a particular advert that I want to reach an extended audience of people, such as a Christmas campaign, for example.
But I promised to show you how to grow your Facebook page for free, so here’s how I do it.
Content Marketing & Types of Content
The best way to improve the engagement on your page is by improving your content.
So, I want you to STOP selling your audience! I know it sounds scary but just trust me. It’s all about content marketing, right now.
The last thing your audience want, when they’re hanging out on social media in their free time, is to be sold to. We, as a generation, HATE being sold to. We fast forward the adverts on TV and I know I will high-tale out of a shop as soon as the staff try actively selling to me.
So, we have to get consumers to buy our products and services without selling to them. Enter content marketing.
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and
distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined
audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
– Content Marketing Institute
Here are some great types of content marketing…
- Motivational or humorous graphics/memes
- Links to audience appropriate articles
- Phone pictures – Personal pictures or pictures of you at work
- Interactive statuses
- Client case studies/stories
- Personal stories
There are so many more and at the end of this series you will find a list of ideas for you to work through over and over, so that you always have something to post.
What happens with this style of content marketing is that people actually ENJOY what you are posting. They feel like you’re passionate about what you do and you become an authoritative figure in your chosen field. And when they enjoy what you’re posting, they will return to your page time and again, and they will interact with your content.
Let’s use the ‘interactive status’ as an example. I use these a lot and they are really great for engaging your online audience.
Post a simple text status (or accompany it with an image, if you can) that will encourage quick, easy answers from your followers.
It can be something as simple as ‘Tea or coffee?’ first thing in the morning. Or you can get a little more creative and post something like ‘The summer is officially over. Show me your favourite photo your horse/family/dog/holiday from the summer,’ depending on your audience.
I very often just post a ‘I seem to have an influx of new likes recently. I think it’s time for a roll call. Post a photo of your horse and introduce us to them.’ Or sometimes I play games with my followers. Here’s a couple I posted recently that did pretty well…
These posts usually get tonnes of responses. They’re easy to reply to, because they require little to no brain power. Asking your audience questions is one of the best ways to increase engagement. Because when they comment, Facebook assumes they like what you’re posting and your posts will continue to appear on their news feeds.
Don’t forget to interact with your audience, too. They want to be acknowledged. When they take the time to reply to you, reward them by liking their comment or by replying back to them. Put time aside to do this. With social media, the clue is in the title. It’s all about being social! It’s NOT about sales pitches.
Another fantastic way to get your audience to interact with you is by posting ‘shareables’. By that I mean quotes, memes, funny graphics… If you post the right ones, these are fantastic for people to share. Things that your audience will be able to relate to, will connect with or will find funny are the best kind. Here is one of my most popular shareables.
And remember what we discussed last week? Image is everything.
There are very, very few occasions where it is ok to just share a block of text on it’s own. If you have something to say, find a picture to go with it, keep it short and sweet, use paragraphs and breaks in the text and your engagement will be so much better. People simply don’t bother to read big blocks of text!
Whatever you post, make sure it’s authentic. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not. A great tip is to read your content out loud before you post it, to make sure it really does sound like you. If it sounds unnatural when you read it, change it.
People can spot a fraud a mile away, so if you’re authentic and real, you will be so much more likely to connect with your audience. Be positive, persistent, creative and be YOU!
In next week’s Facebook for Business FYI FRIDAY we’ll be talking more about what to post, I’ll share with you how I create a never ending content list and we’ll discuss how personal you should get on your social media accounts.
Don’t forget, as always, if you have any questions, thoughts to add, or anything you’d like me to cover in future posts (or if you simply want to say hi) I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!