So, you set up a Facebook Page for your business, included the link in your email newsletter, promoted the Page via other social channels as well as at your brick-and-mortar locations, and attracted a decent amount of traffic. Then, late last year, Facebook announced an update that involved reducing the amount of promotional content that appeared on people’s news feeds.
To quell the concerns of company owners – particularly people who operate small enterprises – Facebook pointed out that consumers don’t only interact with businesses on their news feeds, and many visit firms’ Pages directly. However, the social networking titan’s press release acknowledged, “Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”
Facebook began rolling out the update in January, long enough ago for some eagle-eyed business owners to have noticed a change in their Pages’ traffic and engagement. Whether you’ve picked up on a difference or simply want to head off any negative developments at the pass, keep this in mind: Facebook explained in its release that the update would target posts with particular factors that made them seem overly promotional, such as those that push people to buy products, urge users to enter sweepstakes or reuse the same content from ads. If you want your posts to be seen, reevaluate your strategy. The following tips will help you do just that.
1. Provide real value to your fans
“Value” doesn’t always have to be a monetary discount. While that’s often why people initially follow a brand on Facebook, you can nurture the ongoing relationship by giving fans a reason to check your page periodically. This might involve teaching them something, inspiring them to share your content and encouraging them to engage with your business and each other. For instance, motivate them to leave a comment to express their two cents in response to a question you posed.
2. Avoid a generic posting strategy
Any company can post on Facebook, but not every company goes the extra mile to personalize their greetings or post about things that are likely to pique their followers’ interest. Interact with your fans and highlight some of them exclusively. Congratulate a regular on a major milestone, give a shout out for staff achievements or thank customers for their kind words. Take an interest in your community and bring attention to local events or causes that might not otherwise have an audience. The more unique your posts are to your business and your fans, the less likely followers are to pass them by in their feeds.
3. Use hashtags, even on Facebook
As we noted in a recent article, hashtags can be a powerful tool to draw attention to your company’s Page. They originated on Twitter, but Facebook recognized their power and jumped on the hashtag bandwagon in June 2013. If you want to use your Page to join the conversation about trending topics such as award ceremonies or sports games, use the events’ hashtags to do so. Similarly, if your post has an overarching theme that could be of interest to people who haven’t even heard of your business, use a content hashtag. Want to show off the cool designs the employees at your coffeehouse came up with? Post photos and tag them with #latteart or something similar.
4. Monitor engagement
Managing your Facebook strategy is like making a stew – you can’t throw all the ingredients into a pot and walk away. Rather, you need to keep an eye on how things are progressing, adding starch if the broth needs to be thicker and throwing in a pinch or two of salt if your dish needs more flavor. Similarly, after you’ve deployed your strategy, it’s important to keep tabs on how different posts are performing. Which draw the highest traffic? What type of content inspires the most engagement among your followers? Use this information to tweak your approach going forward.