Time to read this post: 5 minutes.
I love Facebook.
Of all the social platforms on the entire planet; it’s my absolute favourite. Probably because it was my first (excusing the fleeting dalliance with Bebo back in the heinous days of 2006).
I spend a lot of time on Facebook personally (*cough* stalking *cough*) and professionally. I love discovering new features and techniques and experimenting with new posting ideas. I’ve marketed to a wide variety of audiences over the years and Facebook is consistently where I get the most reach, engagement and leads. I’ve had around fifteen or more organic viral successes on Facebook, solely through getting to know what works and most importantly, what doesn’t.
I also see a lot of sales through Facebook too; as I’ve become pretty darn proficient at Facebook advertising and have created a 300% ROI model through tons of research and trial and error (I’ll detail this further in a future blog post).
Basically, Facebook is hugely important to me and I do like to think that I’m kinda good at it. Along with content marketing, it’s probably the area of digital marketing which I’m most passionate about and get questioned most about.
So for that reason, I thought I thought I’d sit down and outline my top tips for using Facebook successfully.
1. Likes Mean Absolutely Nada
Before I get properly into my top tips, you need to know what the goal is with all Facebook marketing. In my opinion, if you run a Facebook page, you should always aim for Reach and Engagement instead of Facebook Page Likes. Facebook Page Likes mean nothing these days, as only a small percentage of your followers actually see your posts, so don’t place all your efforts on increasing that pointless number.
Got it? Ok, let’s get started.
2. Off Peak Posting
If you run a Facebook business page, you should be extremely familiar with your Insights analytics tool. It gives you valuable information about your audience, in terms of who they are, which posts they engage with and much more.
One great feature is its ability to tell you when your audience are online and therefore providing you with peak times for publishing your posts.
I used to follow these peak times religiously, firmly believing that if I posted at 7pm when my audience were online, I’d get a shit ton of engagement. But after analysing the results of this strategy, I didn’t really notice any increase in activity. So, instead I decided to try a radical idea of posting at off-peak times; just to see what happened.
Incredibly, traffic reached great new highs. I found that by posting early in the morning, or very late at night, I wasn’t competing with other pages and people who were posting at that peak period of 6pm – 9pm (spoiler alert – everyone’s peak time is pretty much the same). People had less activity on their feeds at, say 8am, so they were more likely to click on my posts.
3. Create A Tagging Opportunity
If there is one thing which accelerates engagement and gives the potential for a post to go viral, it’s when people tag their friends underneath a post. This massively increases reach, so if you want your content to spread like headlice at child’s birthday party, then create the opportunity for people to tag. Either ask directly, using a caption like “Tag a friend who does this!” or create a post that’s extremely targeted to a niche demographic that compels people to share with others they know within that category.
4. Post Less Frequently
About a year ago, I ran a facebook page where I posted approximately five times in one day. It seems excessive, but I believed this was the best way to engage my audience. As only a small percentage of your audience will actually view your posts, I thought this would give different sections of my audience a chance to see different posts.
However, after taking a look the stats, I found that this strategy wasn’t all that effective. I decided to post just once per day and analyse the differences. What I found was that my single post during the day reached more people than all five combined posts during previous days. The lesson? Quality over quantity.
(And FYI, you can schedule posts on Facebook by clicking the dropdown arrow beside the word ‘Publish’ when you’re creating a post.)
5. Make Your Images Speak
I have learned that people do not engage well with stock imagery. We all automatically know when an image is not original and it makes it much less interesting.
Unfortunately though, I have to use stock images on social media and in blogs. It’s something I can’t avoid as i don’t have a photography budget or any personal photo taking skills.
So what I do instead, is modify the stock images to make them a little more interesting. I use PhotoShop or an online image editing tool like Canva to place teaser text over the image. Whilst scrolling through their feeds, people are more likely to stop on an image with text on it, just to read what it says.
(Oh and by the way, if you don’t have access to stock images, Facebook provides its own in Ad Manager and Power Editor.)
6. Mix Up Your Content
Varying your content is the best way to keep your page fresh and your audience interested. Post different kinds of media; a mix of pictures, links and videos will work well.
Also, don’t be afraid to share content from other pages. Facebook is a community and loves it when users share posts from others. Find the key influencers in your industry and share their posts with your audience.
7. Video Content
Facebook LOVES video content. It has spent the past few years trying and succeeding to compete with YouTube, so it strongly rewards users with loads of reach when they post a video.
Make sure to upload videos using Facebook’s native tool – don’t post a YouTube Link. I’ve had some amazing success with Facebook video and wrote this post for Business West website a few months ago about my top techniques.
8. Power Editor instead of Ad Manager
If you regularly run ads on your Facebook page, don’t set them up with Ad Manager. I repeat – back away from Ad Manager. Instead, switch to Power Editor. It’s a tool that gives you more control over your ads. It has advanced features, particularly with targeting that allow you to be more precise and therefore, get greater results. It can be very overwhelming at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll never look back. To get started, I’d thoroughly recommend Jon Loomer’s guide to Power Editor. He’s the godfather of Facebook marketing and taught me everything I know.
9. Facebook Graph Search
Facebook Graph Search is a new, more indepth search function that Facebook has been rolling out for what seems like decades now. It allows you to carry out insightful audience and competitor research and gives you a chance to audit your brand a little on social media.
For example, you can search things like “Pages liked by fans of (INSERT YOUR BRAND)” to find out which other pages are popular among your followers. You can also discover influencers and it can be extremely beneficial for Facebook ads. I thoroughly recommend this MOZ post about its uses.
With a wealth of data at its fingertips, mapping it in this way for social searching was the obvious next step for Facebook. However, as it is currently unavailable in the UK, I recommend changing your language on Facebook to English (US) to access the function. Here’s how to do that.
10. Bookmarking For Content Curation
If you’re a content marketer or blogger, or writer of any kind, you’re probably always on the hunt for new ideas for that next post. An excellent way of collecting ideas through Facebook is to bookmark posts. To do this, just click the little drop down arrow in the top right hand corner of the post. Then click on ‘Save Post’ and voila! To access your bookmarked posts, view the menu on the left hand side of your screen and click the option which says ‘Saved’
You’ll be presented with a nifty little feed of saved posts, which you can dig through for inspiration or share on your page.
11. Ad Relevance
I don’t want to go into Facebook Ads too deeply, as I’ll dedicate another post to this, however this is an important tip that will be helpful to anyone who does run ads.
When you create a Facebook Ad, you will be awarded with a relevance score that goes from 1 – 10, ten being the most relevant. Don’t ignore this number. It indicates how well your ad will perform and therefore inform you if you need to modify the text, the targeting or the content. If your ad is scoring low, you should modify it to avoid wasting money and get the best results. Aim for seven or higher.
12. Repurposing Content
Even if a post didn’t do well the first time you uploaded it to Facebook, you can always try again. When I blog, I try my best to create Evergreen Content – that’s content which is not time sensitive and will still be relevant in the future. That way, I can repost it again in another few months.
I’ve had very strange successes with this. I’ve had blog posts which got maybe one hundred views the first time I posted them, and then tens of thousands the next time. If you believe something has the potential for engagement, you don’t have to give up on it.
13. Keep The Conversation Going
I’m a firm believer that all good marketing begins and ends with conversation – and paying attention to it.
If you want your audience to engage with you, then engage with them. Like and reply to their comments, no matter how unimportant you think they are. Respond to their queries, take their feedback on board and above all, create your content FOR them. Always have their interests and needs in mind before you hit that big blue publish button.
I hope this post was helpful to anyone who does a bit of Facebook marketing or advertising. The network is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay ahead of the trends and on top of the new techniques.