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!
2. Develop desired content
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.
And then the cycle repeats!
Bonus tip: Facebook really likes when you use its live features when developing content. If that sends chills down your spine, start here.
3. Understand when to invest in ads
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.
Not sure if your business is ready for this more powerful tactic? Check out this article: Are Facebook Ads for me?
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?
Latest posts by Gillian Perkins (see all)
- 3 Ways to Make Facebook Work for Your Business in 2018 - December 5, 2017