Consider this: Facebook is the largest interconnected group of people that has ever existed in all of history. Without leaving your living room (a solopreneur’s dream come true), you’re able to reach a couple billion consumers. What an amazing opportunity for your business!
After all, your business runs on connections, right? Regardless of what type of business you run or what your primary form of advertising is, ultimately your sales are dependent on how many people you can effectively reach with your marketing messages. If you’re looking to make connections, then Facebook might just be the place to be!
Facebook’s algorithm and business
Now you might be thinking, “That’s great, except I can’t reach any of those people because of Facebook’s darn algorithm!”
If you’ve spent any time on Facebook in the past couple of years, you’re probably aware that their constant algorithm adjustments have consistently given business Pages less and less reach. In fact, at this point, posts from most business Pages reach only about 5% of that Page’s audience.
Understandably, this is extremely frustrating to many businesses who spent a lot of time attracting those Page fans. Many people feel that their effort to grow an audience on Facebook was wasted.
Also, many who haven’t already put in the work to grow their Facebook Page are now wondering if there’s even any point to doing so. If that’s the camp you’re in, then you’ll find the three ways to use Facebook for business below to be very interesting. (They show that Page likes aren’t necessarily required for you to get tangible results from FB…really!)
What Facebook really wants
Why is Facebook constantly changing? Why didn’t they just leave good enough alone and preserve the old, chronological feed that gave every post equal treatment?
Well, that’s effectively what Myspace did, and look where they are now. :/
In short, Facebook’s primary focus is to keep their customers happy and interested. The more time that people spend on Facebook (and the more they enjoy their time there), the more money Facebook makes.
It’s in Facebook’s best interest to keep their customers happy and interested, and they will always make the choices that support that.
The whole point of Facebook’s algorithm is to figure out what each user is most interested in seeing and serve them that content. This is determined through a variety of methods, primarily:
Keywords: Has the user responded well to posts with similar keywords in the past?
Broad categories: In general, FB users are most interested in the recent life events of their friends. Everything else (including promotional business posts) takes the back burner.
Engagement: Facebook serves each post to small segments of users at a time to be able to gauge their reaction and decide how many more people to show it to. Facebook knows that the more likes, comments and shares a post gets, the more interested people are in the content — and the more time they’re spending on FB as a result.
While the FB algorithm is incredibly advanced, it still takes shortcuts whenever it can — after all, there are billions and billions of posts for it to sort through, so it (they) want to give preference to posts that are more likely to do well.
At the end of the day, that means your business posts get mostly booted off the feed. Facebook knows that their users are generally more interested in the lives of their friends than they are in promotional posts, so they’ve made it a default for business posts to get very little reach.
How to make Facebook WORK for your business
All this makes it sound rather discouraging, doesn’t it? Facebook doesn’t want your posts and Facebook is in charge! Should we just abandon the platform altogether?
Fortunately, that is not called for. There are actually several ways that we can harness the power of Facebook and use it to drive sales in our businesses. Keep reading to find out how.
1. Start or participate in Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups are the equivalent of networking events, but so much more specific — plus, you can participate from the comfort of your own living room! (Again, living the solopreneur dream.)
There is power in being able to connect with your target audience and actually talk to them. Companies have spent millions and millions of dollars on A/B testing advertising campaigns because they don’t know exactly what resonates with their audience. The fact that you can just chat with your target customers is an amazing innovation of Facebook.
Facebook Groups are also the only way to connect with people on Facebook who aren’t already your friends. If you look at your News Feed, you only see the posts of those who you’re already connected to, but when you join a Group, you instantly get access to hundreds, even thousands, of new people who are all interested in the same, relevant topic.
Another advantage that FB groups have over traditional networking is the ease with which you can further connect with people on a more personal level. If you want to follow up with someone you met at a traditional networking event then you’d better bet that you managed to get one of their business cards. Totally not necessary on Facebook!
Really, you and Facebook kind of want the same thing — you both want to promote content that generates interest. You can work with Facebook (it helps to have the big guys on your team) by intentionally creating and promoting content that is more likely to spread virally.
Many marketing studies have been done to determine exactly what causes some content to perform so much better than other content. In short, people are more interested (and more likely to share) content that they emotionally respond to. There are actually 10 different characteristics that viral content tends to have.
When you share content that has these characteristics, several key things happen. First of all, your posts will get more engagement. People will like, comment and share things that they feel passionate or intrigued by.
Second, every time your post is shared it will get exposed to that user’s friends — giving it even more opportunities to be shared further.
Third, when Facebook sees all that engagement, they will identify your post as one that their users (at least certain sectors of them) are finding interesting and give it additional reach.
Finally, all those likes, comments and shares will give your post a lot more social credibility. When additional users see your post and see that other people reacted to it, they will be influenced to believe that your post is, in fact, interesting. That makes it significantly more likely that they will also engage with your content.
Many people seem to have the idea that Facebook Ads are expensive or that they’re not sure if they can afford them. Really though, Facebook Ads are an investment, not an expense, and when done right, they will earn you far more money than they will cost.
What’s not to love about FB Ads? If you strategically use them to enter customers into your business’s sales funnel then you’ll be making money while you grow your brand. So long as they are earning you more than you’re spending, you have a perpetual machine to drive list growth, brand exposure, and future sales.
Don’t feel like FB Ads aren’t for you just because you have a small budget. Really. Even with just $5 a day you can start to scale. As sales come in, you can reinvest your profits into progressively larger campaigns.
Facebook Ads are the silver bullet of advertising, allowing you to drive traffic and close sales for pennies. You can get started by talking to an FB ads expert who can help you figure out the best strategy for your campaign.
The right Facebook strategy for your business in 2018
Any of these strategies has the potential to uplevel your social media marketing strategy, but probably one or two of them will give you the very best results.
If you’re still in the research phase or you sell big-ticket services (such as advanced consulting, web design, or large branding packages) then FB Groups are an excellent place for you to start. Connecting with customers one-on-one can allow you to develop mutually beneficial relationships that result in qualified referrals.
Viral content can be a powerful tool for any business, but generally works the best for content or service-based businesses that can teach something impactful to generate leads.
Facebook Ads can be effectively used for many different types of businesses, but create particularly amazing returns for product-based businesses. Whether you sell physical products (clothes, decor, etc) or digital products (especially courses), FB ads can double your sales overnight, exponentially growing your brand.
Considering these three powerful ways you can use Facebook to promote your business, I think you’ll agree that Facebook marketing is alive and well. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!
Over to you: What’s your Facebook marketing strategy? Which of these three ideas would have the greatest impact on your business?
You’ve likely heard this shouted from fellow business owners everywhere: Pinterest drives more traffic to my website than any other social media platform!
Well, it happens to be true for me. I see growth in my email list daily, and I get consistent sales for my ebook, pretty much all thanks to Pinterest. But, of course, it wasn’t always that way. It wasn’t until I studied the ins and outs of Pinterest strategy — and made some strategic moves — that my website traffic, email list, and sales increased.
Today, I’m going to share one (very important) secret to getting loads of traffic to your site from Pinterest: How to create the perfect Pin.
It probably goes without saying, but Pinterest relies on visuals, so it’s extremely important that the Pins you upload look attractive and, well…pinnable.
Here are a few tips on creating beautiful, attention-grabbing Pins for your blog:
Example: If your brand is punk rock, then something light and airy with pastel colors wouldn’t be on-brand, but something edgy and bold with bright colors would be. Colors and fonts are a great way to express your brand so be sure to choose wisely!
Below are two Pins that are different, yet similar. The trick is to use the same colors and fonts, and use photos that have a similar mood.
2. Create a template (or two)
The easiest way to maintain consistency (see above) is by creating templates for your Pins. That way, you can simply plug in different titles and images while keeping the overall look the same. (Bonus: This also saves you time!)
I shudder thinking about the awful blog graphics I had on my first website. They were all over the place, with no consistency in font, color, or size. Now I create all my Pins using Canva, a free online graphic design tool. You can create your own templates in Canva or use the templates that Canva provides that already have the ideal size and proportions for an attractive pin.
3. Stick to vertical pins only (No landscape, please!)
Vertical images (tall, not horizontal or square — see One Woman Shop’s example below!) tend to get more clicks and repins. One main reason is because they’re easier to see. Most Pinterest users are on their mobile devices, so it’s important to make your Pins easy on the eyes.
Images that use the ratio of 2:3 or 4:5 are best. I make my Pins 600px by 900px and it works perfectly. When I upload the Pin to my blog it doesn’t look overly huge, yet it looks clear when viewed on Pinterest.
This tip is short, but not always easy: Make sure you use an easy-to-read text overlay. Remember, most people are on their tiny phones looking at these pins. If pins are difficult to read, it’s unlikely they’ll inspire people to click or repin.
Beautiful images are key. If you’re using your own images, make sure they look professional (even if they’re shot from your iPhone). You want to avoid anything dark, out of focus, or messy-looking.
If you’re using stock photos, be sure to steer clear of anything cheesy. (You know what I mean. We’ve all seen those goofy photos with fake smiles and garish colors. Leave the cheesiness for the infomercials!) You want something on-brand and inspiring that your ideal client will love.
Some of my favorite stock photo sites are Haute Chocolate, SC Stockshop, and Bloguettes. They’re not free, but their photos are worth it. Instead of wading through pages and pages of questionable stock photography to find one beautiful, on-brand photo, you’ll have lots of gorgeous photos to choose from.
Remember to always keep your target audience in mind and choose photos that both showcase your brand and appeal to your peeps.
6. Get strategic with your blog titles
Creating a snappy title is just as important as creating consistent-looking Pins.
Your title needs to be specific and communicate exactly what your audience is going to get out of the article. You want to stir up an emotion in them and make them curious enough to click through to read your article or repin it to their board to read later.
For example, if you’re a health coach creating a Pin about what you eat in a day, the title “What I Ate Today” isn’t going to get many click throughs or repins. It’s too general.
Instead, try a title like “What a Health Coach Eats.” That’s much more intriguing, because your reader probably assumes that a health coach is more knowledgeable on healthy eats than the general public.
For extra credit, include a tantalizing subtitle. For our health coach example, you can try “What a Health Coach Eats (It Might Not Be What You Think!)” That title suggests that perhaps the health coach doesn’t eat healthy all the time, piquing your curiosity even more as to what exactly they eat. Makes you want to click through and see for yourself, doesn’t it?
The Pin description is the text that shows up under the Pin.
Your description should include keywords and phrases relevant to your blog post and brand to help people find your Pin when searching Pinterest. Explain the purpose of the article without giving too much away and perhaps even invite the pinner to click through to read more.
For instance, if someone was looking for a yellow chair on Pinterest, they would search “yellow chair.” If your pin is a picture of a yellow chair but doesn’t have the words “yellow chair” in the description, it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to find.
How exactly do you add descriptions to your Pins? When you upload your Pin to your blog post you’ll want to add the description to the Alt Text of the image. And if you’re using an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO you’ll want to write a description for the meta description, because sometimes this shows up on Pinterest too.
Once the Pin is uploaded to your site you can use your Pin It button to save to your Pinterest boards.
Make the most of your Pinterest presence
In addition to creating pinnable Pins, you’ll want to repin fresh content to your boards daily or almost daily (a mixture of your content and others’). Consistency is key! Pinterest rewards those who pin great content and often.
Pinterest is an amazing platform with tons of potential for driving high-quality traffic to your site. (And it’s so much fun!) Use these tips on how to create the perfect Pin and you’ll be on your way to growing your business using Pinterest!
Remember when Facebook decided to update its newsfeed algorithm so you pretty much had to pay any time you wanted to show up in your fans’ newsfeeds?
Sucked, didn’t it?
So now you’re faced with keeping a social media advertising budget, but making sure you get the absolute most out of the money you spend can be hard.
A major way to stand out, though, is to tweak the copywriting you’re using in your posts to say something different than what every other one of your competitors is saying.
It’s a lot easier than it sounds, and no intensive copywriting tutorials will be involved, I promise. In fact, I’ve got three copywriting hacks for your social media posts that you can test today. Let me show you how.
1. Say what your competitors aren’t (and maybe even what they’re afraid to)
It might sound a bit mystical at first, to figure out the things your competitors aren’t saying… but it’s actually pretty easy to figure this one out.
The thing is, as business owners (and especially as women, if I can say that), we tend to under-value what we do and the products and services we have for sale.
Denise Duffield-Thomas illustrates it perfectly in this video:
But the thing is, men and women both have the tendency to do this from time to time, which likely means that your competition probably isn’t tooting their own horn as loudly as they (or you) should be.
Because within every single industry, the vast majority of business owners and marketers unknowingly fall into saying exactly what everyone else is saying. They sell the same products, offer the same services, and say the same things about them.
This might make it “easy” when deciding what to write in your social media posts, because you can just check out what everyone else is writing. But when you sound no different from your competition, your prospective fans and customers aren’t going to notice or appreciate your differences, and it’s those differences that make you and your business worth their time and attention.
“Forge your own path and leave your own mark,” said Drew Eric Whitman in Cashvertising. “You don’t need permission from anybody to do things your way. You be the leader. You be the one people copy because what you’re doing is so unique. Shake people up in your industry. Why be just another person in your industry who does nothing new, nothing worth noting, nothing that gets people talking and buying?” (emphasis mine)
This guy, for example. Not to hate on him, but he’s trying to use every emotional-ridden jargon word for his industry, and it’s killing him. Not to mention that pose. So cliche. And the screaming caps. Just no.
Or this post. It’s way less painful to read and doesn’t make you cringe, but he could definitely be getting more (& better) attention, increasing his click throughs and leads.
But by breaking out of the industry norms and saying things in a way that shamelessly help the people behind these ads toot their own horns (in a non-douchey way, of course), we can really help these ads stand out.
I can’t edit the bottom half, but look at the new top half I’ve written. I’ve taken out most of the jargon, spoken to pain points without using all caps, and make a promise I can deliver on if you click through.
I open this ad with a hook that’s focused on a pain point so many aspiring travel writers feel threatened by. Then I “buddy up” to the reader to show that I share in their annoyance. Finally, I make a promise to let them see how people who have their dream job did it, so they can do it to. And suddenly, you’re clicking on it, aren’t you?
2. Ask only for the next step – not the main goal
Social media is social media.
It’s not a product shopping cart.
It can be tempting, though, to use the time and effort you spend on social media to go ahead and ask for the sale. After all, you don’t want to waste your time pansy-footing around when you’ve got a business to run and money to make, do you?
But that’s not what social media is for.
Getting people to click through to your site from social media is much less about getting the sale right away and much more about building up their momentum to keep clicking and subconsciously saying “Yes!” to you.
“You’re helping them focus on the benefit they want from the product rather than their hesitation to make the investment to own it,” said Tom Hopkins on Entrepreneur.
So by only asking for the next step (which might be to read a blog post or get a free ebook), you’ll generate more clicks and get more traffic to the pages you want people on.
Become an owner of an Allstate agency before I’m ever even a customer or in their professional HR pipeline in any way? Don’t think this ad is going to work on me, sorry.
On the flip side, though, even though I am in this guy’s ad network because I’ve visited his site, he isn’t asking me for much—just for an email subscription in exchange for his advice (which he knows I’ve already seen). It’s a much more likely step, isn’t it?
What’s more, when you do get people to your site, you’ll be able to pixel more visitors for your custom advertising audience even if you don’t ask for any kind of conversion or sale the first time they’re on your site, so you can continue to reach out to them via retargeting. (More on that from Facebook, here.)
This is particularly helpful for those of us who sell higher-priced items that usually aren’t purchased in a split decision after clicking through on an ad.
By exposing people to who you are, your expertise, and your offering over time, you build their trust instead of putting them off by asking for hundreds (or thousands) of dollars right away.
Max Chierruzi, CEO of AdEspresso, a Facebook advertising agency, said that when they started focusing on the next step instead of the major goal, their cost per click went down from $0.10 to $0.03 or $0.05.
They did this by targeting ads towards people who hadn’t visited their site to simply visit and receive value. Then, after they visited and were pixeled, they ran ads to get them to sign up for a lead magnet.
3. Use testimonials & customer photos as your ad content
Now this is something which is very much worth testing.
Social media is one of the best ways to advertise to your target demographics, especially when Facebook has so many pieces of demographic information you can sort through and target based on.
By using a testimonial from a person that most closely matches the target demographic you’re going after for a particular campaign, you immediately increase your relevance and credibility with those who see the ad.
“We’re comfortable with what we know, and what we know best is our own face,” said Kate Hakala.
Extending beyond just our face though, we also know our life situation, job, industry, and region better than others, so we tend to have higher trust towards things that seem to be affiliated with those things.
If you’re showing an ad on LinkedIn, for example, you can focus the testimonial text you use around the numbers you know your target audience there would be most concerned about during the workday, when they’re most likely to be on the site.
In an article about how to hire more women, LinkedIn suggests placing images of women in the recruitment ads.
It’s time to start hacking your social media posts
So now you’ve got three things to try to get more attention to your brand’s social media posts:
Use different language than your competitors.
Ask for only the next step, not the sale.
Use testimonials and ideal customer’s faces in your ads.
All three of these copywriting hacks for social media posts are fairly easy updates, and worth testing to improve your attention and ROI. Then, you can sit back and let those social media platforms work their magic.
Welcome to Tools We Love, where we highlight some of the tools that make us more efficient, productive, and effective in our businesses. Have a tool that you want to share with the community? Email us!
Meet Edgar. He’s an octopus who just so happens to be a social media wizard. (Really, it’s a social media curation + scheduling app that allows you to automate your social updates like no other third party app out there.) It currently supports Twitter, Facebook personal profiles, Groups, and Page, and LinkedIn. And it just so happens it’s branded with an octopus full of personality.
Edgar seems to come up in any and every conversation I have about digital marketing — because he’s just that good.
What Edgar is
Created by the LKR team, Edgar is, in their words, “the only app that stops social media updates from going to waste.” Tall task, wouldn’t you say? Well, he lives up to it.
Here’s how it (he) works: you create content and add it into your back end library in Edgar, organizing it by category. Once you’ve built a library of updates, you create posting schedules on a nifty calendar for each account you’ve set up. At the times you’ve specified, Edgar will choose an update from the designated category and post it to your account(s).
Here’s how that looks:
1. I have several categories set up in my library.
2. I create a schedule for each account I’ve linked up with Edgar.
3. Edgar pulls the needed updates from your library and creates a queue.
It’s genius, yeah? Edgar effectively automates your social media — but leaves you in control. You create the categories, determine the schedule, and have the ability to view the queue days in advance and swap updates as needed.
That’s the basic gist of Edgar’s functionality. Here are some nitty gritty details that make him even more awesome:
Take advantage of the ‘Use Once’ category. Sure, most of the content you’ll load into Edgar will be evergreen content or content that has a decent lifespan (since that is the point of revolving it, after all). But not everything you want to post should be repeated. No worries — just choose the default “Use Once” category, and Edgar will know not to go back to that particular update once it’s been used.
Batch upload with import functionality. If you’re a Google Doc addict like some of us (ahem, Cristina and I here at OWS), you like to collaborate via shared documents before finalizing anything. Fret not: you can draft those social media updates in a spreadsheet and use the Import button to bring them all in at once.
Take a break. Let’s say you’re going on vacation or just want to go dark for a while. Or perhaps you want all of your social content to point to something like a launch (like we did for Building Your Online Community!). There’s a handy “Pause Queue” button that freezes Edgar and his revolving content and makes it ridiculously easy to pick up right where you left off when you’re ready.
Add photos. Edgar doesn’t just support plain text updates. With a handy “Add Image” button for each new update you add, you have the ability to easily enhance your post.
See how you’re doing. Edgar’s got a built-in statistics dashboard that’ll give you a quick glimpse at how each of your posts are performing. After all, social media requires strategy — and strategy requires metrics to benchmark yourself on.
Those are just some of the features — the fun doesn’t stop there.
The most grateful octopus you ever did meet
There are different perceptions on what good customer service is, but I think every user of Edgar can agree: Team Edgar nails it. Beyond easy email access to the Edgar pros, the team also runs an “Edgar HQ” Facebook Group where there’s a fair share of learning and celebrating going on. The best part of all this access? The team is incredibly receptive to requests for upgrades to their own application. In less than a year since launch (I’ve been a user since day 1!), I’ve seen countless changes made based directly on user requests — a true testament to caring about your customers.
Okay, okay. I’ve got one last thing to gush about. You see, Edgar is just downright grateful to have you as a user — and it shows. I was glowing a bit the day this came in the mail: his response to my Facebook post about him. What a guy! (The back had my post printed out with hearts surrounding it, and a note that “Edgar loves you, too!”)
Things to keep in mind
Naturally, nobody’s perfect — even this little guy. A few things to keep in mind as you consider the use of Edgar:
1. He’s not exactly a cheap date. It’s up to you to weigh both the time he’ll save you in streamlining your social media as well as the benefit of having a consistent presence with the price tag. There are two account levels: $49/month for up to 10 accounts and 1,000 stored updates, and $99 for up to 25 accounts and 5,000 stored updates. On the fence? Request an invitation (average wait time is 24 hours or less!) and give a 30-day trial period a go.
2. He’s not the be-all, end-all. Like most things, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. When it comes to social media monitoring and engagement, automation is fantastic to keep things consistent, but checking in live on a regular basis to respond to and interact with others is paramount to an honest, successful social strategy. For that, we layer on Hootsuite and the native Twitter app, as needed. (And TweetChat for our monthly #OWSchat, of course!)
What Edgar means for social media
For a solopreneur running the rat race of serving clients, creating new revenue streams, and handling all the day-to-day happenings of running a One Woman Shop, Edgar means a stress-free approach to social media management and consistency in your social media marketing.
Oh — and it means for the first time ever, you can call an octopus your friend.