I've been working as a Social Media Manager on various levels and for different businesses for almost three years' now. And in this short space of time, so much has changed on Facebook. As a Social Media Specialist, managing several business Facebook Pages at this present time, I've come to realise a drop in how many fans engage or interact with the organic posts I upload on to the business Facebook page.
I remember the good old days when Facebook was simple, and your posts were seen by all your fans who clicked "like" on your business page.
Back then I worked on a travel agency's Facebook page, and when I uploaded a holiday deal or travel blog, it would have hundreds of comments, click-through and likes. Unfortunately this just doesn't happen anymore. I still think that Facebook offers tremendous opportunities for businesses, but it is no a simple or FREE process. Read about how you can increase your Facebook engagement here:
The algorithms have something to do with Facebook's organic reach decline...
I find it annoying because you are always learning about different methods for digital marketing to ensure that your clients are getting the best return for their marketing investment. But the truth be told, the decline of organic reach on your Facebook is due to the Algorithm.
Algorithms are a way digital software such as Facebook, Google, Bing, prescribe rules or techniques that will get a job done - i.e. help the users get the best from them.
We can't pinpoint Google's algorithm or Facebook's but generally speaking, there are thousands of factors that inform Facebook's algorithm, which range from using trending words that indicate important events (e.g., "love" or "congratulations") to whether or not you've actually clicked a link in a post before liking it. Some typical examples of trigger words that are disliked by Facebook are words like "Free", "Like", "Share", "Buy", "Sale" - these are obvious reach killers according to many social media strategists.
This means that Facebook wants businesses to not be too "salesey" - and they don't want them to talk about their products and services so much. Facebook's end goal here is to have its algorithm match News Feed content to the individual needs and interests of each and every user.
Facebook's decline in lead generation and traffic to your website
We now know that fewer people are looking at your content about your latest product, your promotional sale or even your business USP. The fewer people seeing your Page's organic posts on Facebook means fewer clicks, comments, and shares. And having a smaller number of those interactions means a decrease in conversions, leads, and customers. Understandably, this is really confusing Facebook Page managers across the globe - or it did when we first noticed how Facebook is evolving. But why do you think Facebook suddenly decided to lower organic visibility to begin with? I think it's because Facebook was to make more money - after all, doesn't every business? Their editorial is free - but this is for their reader's pleasure and interests, where as "ads" are paid for. In a nutshell, it basically shows more money for Facebook ads, means a bigger reach.
Even your Facebook page's fans don't see all of your posts!
As Facebook has grown and they've innovated their software for the user experience, it has become a paid marketing tool, rather than a free one. Social media managers realised that now, it's a whole new playing field, where we are expected to pay for ads to reach fans - even if those fans have seemingly likes your brand by liking their Page on Facebook.
So at this present time, Facebook is encouraging business owners to look at their fan bases on their Facebook Page as a way to make paid advertising more effective rather than using it as a free broadcast channel. So, if you really want to reach your target audience on Facebook, you’ll need to boost your organic efforts with some paid advertising.
Some organic ways to increase your engagement on Facebook:
I've been analysing accounts over the past few weeks to see why some Facebook pages like Boohoo have a huge engagement rate, as opposed to Letting Agencies, that post their vacant properties only, or a garage which promotes MOT every month.
Having looked at several trends on various accounts, and read around this topic in a lot more depth, I have come to find:
Live Streaming – the most popular way to increase your engagement in 2017, has to be live streaming. It can be daunting if you are not a fan of appearing on video, or speaking to your fans in this fashion - but it has outnumbered all other ways of getting engagement on Facebook for FREE. I can't say I have done it myself, because I am such an introvert the thought of doing this make me feel nervous, but others have said: " Be yourself, offer value, communicate with your audience." This is not everyone's cup of tea, but it will certainly increase your reach on your Facebook page.
Quotes / Memes / Funnies – I know that you see your business as Mr. Serious, but you sometimes forget that social media is called SOCIAL media for a reason... people want to have fun and socialise. If you have a brand where you can offer inspiration or entertainment using jokes, quotes, and memes, then definitely include a strategy for adding this type of content to your page. The internet seems to love cats as well. Just an FYI...
Contests – This is my ultimate fave - a good old contest that asks the audience to engage and recall your brand - which gives them something back. I'm telling you, the Facebook audience loves a good contest! You can use a contest to encourage your loyal customers to engage with your brand or to gain new likes and followers. My only tips would be to avoid click-baiting techniques and when you set up adverts on Business Manager, you notice that "Competitions/Contents" is a category for boosting in a paid fashion - so, Facebook essentially want you to pay for your contests. I think the days of just posting a competition on your page and hoping for the best will soon be over... If you have a tight budget and you do not want to pay for Facebook adverts then the best advice I can give you is to avoid words such as “click here” “like this” “share this post” – also avoid sending your Facebook fans to a website landing page. It should be obvious by now... Facebook like people to stay on Facebook and interact on there, not go to other people's websites.
Trivia or Puzzle Posts – When I was looking at trivia and puzzle posts over the last week, it was so interesting, because people get really worked up over a math problem, or a dress that could be two different colours to two separate people. All in all, people love to solve puzzles. Perhaps try a close up of one of your products and ask people to guess what it is. Ask people to guess the price of your sale item and the closest number wins a freebie? Find things that are sort-of related to your brand and get your audience involved with your posts. This all counts for brand awareness and recognition and can pay off eventually - if not instantly.
Video posts – As a business owner, you know who your competitors are in business your industry don't you? Same goes for Facebook. And Facebook's biggest competitor is YouTube when it comes to videos... This is why video always gets more reach than Facebook's regular posts. Ensure you fill in all the captions and fields can be your chance to promote your brand message.
Photos – From all of the Facebook pages I've managed, the ones with personal photos of the office team, the new hires and retires were the ones that always earned the highest engagement. Facebook loves a celebration - be that birthday, wedding, retirement or anniversary and they have even started highlighting how long people have been friends on Facebook for. I also noticed that photos of food works really well – maybe because we all love food so much.
Polls – asking for people's opinions is an easy way to get reach from a post. The simpler you make the question, then the more engagement you can expect from Facebook fans.
If the above are too time consuming, or even after an organic strategy, your Facebook Page isn't producing the hits you would like, then mix paid and organic for the best results
There is no other way to get better exposure on Facebook than paying for adverts and targeting your audience down to a T. Really, it's time to free up some marketing budget for Facebook adverts, because they really do work, if done correctly. You need to ensure you optimise the adverts, create split A/B tests and monitor the campaigns to juggle your budgets.
You can also now re-target people on Facebook (they are those weird adverts that follow you around the internet for that thing that you really, really want to buy but had no idea how Facebook knew about your ASOS obsession... ).
Facebook adverts are affordable compared to other platforms.
If you are paying for a like campaign or boosting posts, which you can target to your audience type, then they start from £1 per day. That's great.
If you want to increase traffic or asking the viewer to complete an action, the minimum campaign cost is £5 per day.
Basically, the more specific you choose your campaign to appear, or if you want to run a campaign on KPI metrics, rather than impressions, you're looking at a £5 minimum spend. This is affordable marketing in my opinion. I recommend having a wide-reaching “like campaign” running at £1 a day and then target people more closely off the back of that advert at the minimum charge of £5 a day campaign.
More Money means More Awareness
This all tells us, the more money you put into the pot, then the more reach you will have – but at least it is guaranteed eyeballs and engagement.
The key to generating leads on Facebook is to post a variety of content that aligns with goals
other than generating leads or driving sales. Your goals need to change from sales to 'brand awareness' or 'customer satisfaction' or 'engagement' instead. This all feeds the customer journey, so eventually it will lead to a sale.
There is no quick-fix as to how to get more reach for your posts. You need to apply trial and error and find out what your audience likes. Keep an eye on your Facebook analytics and do more of what works, and less of what doesn't!
On top of all this, Facebook tells marketers to expect the Facebook algorithm to continue to evolve, as the users will evolve. Facebook has never been stationary in its algorithm and the way it looks has also changed numerous times, and this has also been met with disappointment over the past years. Especially, when users couldn't get the hang of the different messenger boxes, the stylised formats and such, but when you look at Facebook from 2004 to Facebook, I think we will all agree that we are pleased it kept up with the times!