Over the past 2 years (ish) I’ve seen engagement on my Facebook go down, down, down (as Candace of Phineas & Ferb fame might say). For quite awhile now, my Facebook page has been fairly useless as a means of communicating to the people who have joined it.
The Grim Statistics
See the handy screenshot of my FB page on the right (taken a minute ago)? I currently have almost 8000 likes. Which would be great news if it weren’t for that fact that hardly any of those people ever see anything I post. Why? Because Facebook rarely shows my posts to people. You can see how many people saw my last 6 posts by the ‘Total Reach’ numbers circled on the right.
Looking at my most recent 6 posts on my page, Facebook has shown my post to 30-150 people signed up to my page. That’s 0.35 – 1.9%** of people signed up. So it kind of makes sense now that only ‘8 people are talking about this’. That represents 5-26% of people who saw my posts (because most of the 30 people who saw my 6th-most recent post also saw all of the others).
Looking at it that way, I’m actually doing AWESOME. 5-26% engagement is STELLAR. That’s GREAT engagement from people who saw my posts. If only it were more than 30-150 people out of 8000 seeing my posts.
Perhaps you’ve spent time and effort building your business’s Facebook page, only to find that nobody is seeing your posts either. What’s the answer? Give up?
Well, I like to think that no matter WHAT is going on, the answer is not to sit and gripe about it, but rather to DO something about it. The question I ask myself is, “What can I do with what I’ve got? My FB page behaviour has changed. How can I make use of that? How can I work with that?”
The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Facebook Pages
I’ve noticed that even in the current harsh climate in Facebook-Page-Land, there are pages that are flourishing in terms of engagement. What do they have in common? And looking at what they have in common, what are my 7 top tips for making your Facebook Page useful for you?
1) REGULARLY post updates. The thriving Facebook Pages all post SUPER REGULARLY (often multiple times per day). Post an update on your page EVERY DAY, a MINIMUM of once a day, but aim for 2-3 posts on most days.
2) Always post a photo. ALWAYS. They always post a photo NO MATTER WHAT the update is. So suppose I wanted to post on my page, “Hey everyone, I’m playing a gig tomorrow at O2 Arena in Leeds … looking forward to seeing you there … get your tickets!!!!” … If I want to emulate a page with more engagement, I would need to post a photo with that update. What should the photo be of? Now THAT’S a good question.
There are more content tips below, but let’s look at this example. I could post a photo of a handwritten note instead of typing the message. Or I could do one of those super cheesy ‘text on top of a photo’ thingies in Photoshop … like a photo of an inspiring place of outstanding natural beauty with something written over it like, “It’s amazing, I’m playing at the O2 Arena tomorrow!! Come see me! Tickets from: …” Or I could combine that with an offer like, “First 5 people to book tickets through the link below get VIP backstage passes!”
There is no limit to how imaginative you can be with what you write, and what photo you post. For example, your photo could be part of a series that you’re posting. You could decide to take a photo each day of a grumpy person. Or a doorway. Or something messy. Or people working at your company. Let your imagine go! It will bring you back ideas. Imagination is a muscle and it gets stronger as you exercise it.
3) Be funny, inspiring, or informative. Unless you are a superstar with FB fans who are infatuated with you, it’s probably not going to cut it to just post normal stuff about you or your business. Hey, it TAKES TIME for people to engage with your posts. And they’re only going to engage if they CARE enough. If (like in my case) many of your fans are total strangers who heard a 30 second snippet of your music and thought, “hey that’s pretty nice, I like that”, or worse, if they’re not even real individuals, THEY DON’T CARE if you had pizza for lunch, or if you’ve got new stuff arriving in your shop, or WHATEVER.
Like I said, this doesn’t apply to you if you’ve achieved superstar status and have stalkers regardless of what you do. If that’s the case, more power to you. But if, like me, you are NOT a celebrity (yet), then you’ve got to add value to your posts. Ask yourself, “How can I contribute to people’s lives with this post? How can I make this super funny, or entertaining, or inspiring, or incredibly useful?” If you can get one (or more) of those elements into your PHOTO (see point #2) then you’re onto a winner.
4) Recycle! This is a basic strategy of anyone who is seeking more engagement on t’internet, and Facebook pages are no exception. If you see something going viral, or something that you think OUGHT to go viral (because it fits the criteria in #3 above), share it on your page with a little comment (preferably a funny, inspiring or informative comment). You don’t have to generate all your content yourself. Phew.
5) Never, EVER pay FB for ANY of its services. Some people have experienced an actual DECLINE in their FB engagement since paying for promoted posts etc. I’m too lazy to look up references now. But you can look them up yourself, or take my word for it. To pay Facebook in order to get them to show your posts to people, when really you built your page in good faith thinking that people who ‘liked’ your page would receive updates (at least SOME of the time) seems wrong to me. Like rewarding naughty behaviour with sweets and treats. Just say ‘no’.
6) Be innovative. Believe in yourself and what you’re promoting on your page. And enthusiastically share it whenever you can. This point is about more than just increasing engagement on your page for the sake of increased engagement. This is about creatively communicating who you are and what you offer in a way that is enjoyable to people. This is about having fun. This is about refining what your business is about and letting others knows. I’m not going to get specific here. Just ask yourself, “What am I passionate about, or what CAN I be passionate about, in my business?” and go from there … not to more answers … but hopefully that will lead to more questions. The more questions you can uncover, the more exciting this journey will be.
7) The final goal: Build your business. Add value to your business. And this is where it’s truly at. Whether you are an artist, a painter, a writer, a shop owner, a baker, a plumber, or WHATEVER, it’s about adding value to your business. What do you have to offer? How can you offer MORE? How can you add value to what you’re offering? Once you’ve got loads of people engaging with your page, it needs to go beyond them clicking ‘like’ and commenting on loads of posts about kittens and babies or chuckling at your wit and charm. You want more engagement NOT FOR ENGAGEMENT’S SAKE, but as a part of building your business. This may sound selfish to you if you interpret it the wrong way. I’m not talking about persuading people to buy your products. I’m talking about OFFERING VALUE to the people who engage with your page. What special bonuses or deals can you offer to your customers that will make them glad that they’ve engaged with your business? How can you REALLY serve your customers, going above and beyond anything they expect? These questions will serve you if you ask them REGULARLY. Don’t look for an answer or a few answers, then take that as a cue to grow complacent. Answers are NOT the answer. Whatever answers you come up with now, KEEP ASKING YOURSELF THE QUESTIONS. Keep innovating. Keep creating. Keep growing. Keep building.
Challenge: The 30 Day Experiment
So here’s a challenge that I’m going to try myself. Now that I’ve had a look at my Facebook Page and realised that it’s currently USELESS, and now that I’ve put my finger on what would make it a USEFUL Facebook Page, I’m going to commit to the 30 Day Experiment: applying the above 7 principles for 30 days to see what effect it has on my page. So starting today, I’m going to aim to post 2-3 times per day, with a photo EVERY TIME, and I’m going to keep asking myself the following questions:
What funny thing can I share today?
What inspiring thing can I share today?
What incredibly useful information can I share today?
What can I do DIFFERENTLY?
How can I be creative with photos and images that I post?
How can I serve my ‘fans’?
What MORE can I offer my ‘fans’?
How can I add value to my business?
I’m going to write those questions down on a slip of paper and read them just before bed and after I wake up each day. For 30 days.
I can handle Facebook bullying, sabotage, extortion. They cannot control me or sabotage my business. My business is bigger than that. *I* am bigger than that!
BRING. IT. ON.
And if you have a floundering Facebook Page, then I challenge you to also try the 30 Day Experiment. Track your ‘Talking About This’ and ‘Total Reach’ numbers daily. And let me know how it goes! 🙂
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Best of luck to you! I will post an update in the comments section of this post in 30 days!! Ooh, how exciting!
It seems that even with a photo, Facebook will not show your post to people if you have certain external links in it. For example, they’ve given 26 impressions of this post so far. And posts that have been placed via Twitter are even worse. This post has been given a grand total of 10 impressions. I clearly need to be more creative. Tomorrow, I’ll try again.