As we’ve discussed over the past few weeks, marketing a business isn’t just about putting a few posts up and sitting back as the money rolls in – it’s far more scientific than that.
It really is critically important to directly engage your audience on Facebook – how would you feel if you were talking to somebody in their shop and they just walked off? I don’t imagine you’d buy whatever they were selling. Ignoring comments, and much more importantly, messages are doing just that.
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of the science behind it, look at it from a personable level. In the current climate, more and more people are becoming increasingly isolated and often the internet is the only means of communication, it doesn’t hurt to let somebody know that there’s a real person on the other side of your Facebook page. Reach out.
The dreaded 10%
Speaking of reach, we all want to expand our brand reach and grow our presence in the digital market. User engagement is key to better reach. Roughly 10% of your audience will see your post when it first goes up, it’s a common misconception that once you share it, it finds its way into everybody’s news feed. Think about it logically though, if this were the case we’d just be constantly inundated with updates on our newsfeed.
Amongst other things, Facebook likes what people like – how does it gauge that? Yep! Engagement rates. Facebook wants to show people what they want to see; people engaging with your posts acts a vote of confidence, the more engagement, the more the algorithm is going to show it to other people.
So why do we need to bother engaging comments?
Well, it’s good practice – it’s all about building brand loyalty. Think back to the Grateful Dead in the 60’s, their fanbase, the Deadheads, effectively marketed all of their concerts for them through word of mouth. They had such a loyal fanbase. This is what we are aiming for, we want a loyal fan base who is going to share and engage with everything we post. So, get building that brand loyalty.
Facebook loves patterns, if it sees lots of your posts are getting good traction and gaining good engagement rates it notes that. The next time you post something, it will take much less engagement before Facebook starts to spread your post around. As a double whammy, the more reach you get, the more followers you’ll gain. More followers…more engagement.
Don’t shoot the messenger
Leaving messages to your page sitting there, unanswered, collecting dust is a sure-fire way to lose reach and customers. Recent research shows that a third of customers will take their business to a competitor if they feel ignored on social media.
Don’t forget that people can see your response times on your page, having a good response time shows that you’re a caring, customer centred business. This is even more important when you consider that two-thirds of customers will use Facebook messenger as their primary form of contact when talking to a business.
Don’t open each message straight away though, people can see when you’ve opened a message and may feel a bit put out if you’ve read something and left them hanging. Make sure you’re ready to speak to them first.
Using Facebook’s automated messages is a great way to boost those response times. It’s easy and simple to set up on the Creator Studio and there’s lots of scope to engage your customers here, from FAQs to automated responses and timed ‘away’ messages – think out of office but you can use it when you go home at night so you’re not replying to messages all evening.
Facebook likes rich media, that is to say, images and definitely videos, it is much more likely to disseminate this content around than just a wordy post. However, remember that you are creating content for your audience, not for Facebook, don’t put videos and images up just for the sake of it. Make sure the content you’re putting out there will resonate well with your audience. As an aside, Facebook has moved away from short snappy videos and much prefers them to be a few minutes long.
Look to your analytics, they will show you how important engagement is. This is something any budding Facebook marketer should know, but that being said, you won’t get anywhere with knee-jerk reactions. Stick with your strategy for a bit, they will be some ebb and flow so don’t jump ship after a week if your engagement or reach is down a little bit. Trust in your research and trust in your knowledge of your audience.
Using money to leverage your Facebook marketing is a useful tool but fraught with danger. Many unsuspecting wallets have been pinched by Facebook with people throwing their hard-earned cash here and there without any real strategy or knowledge of best practice.
Using ads and boosting posts do work, but you must make sure it’s targeted at the right demographic and that the message you’re sharing will resonate with that audience. People often see their posts doing poorly and throw money behind them in the hope that it will be a catchall saviour. This isn’t really the case. If you’re going to boost a post, boost a successful post! I like to use this analogy; you’ve cooked two meals, one is great and one is decidedly average. In your hand you have some special flavour enhancer, are you going to put it in the average meal to make it good or put it in the great meal to make it spectacular?
So, create engaging posts and be an engaging business, build brand loyalty and the reach should follow. Oh, and don’t just throw money at Facebook and hope it makes you millions!