My husband owns a wood refinishing business, and he has a Facebook business page. Every time he gets his Facebook page activity report, he says, “Why do I even have this? I don’t ever have any traffic.” I then ask, “When is the last time you posted on it?”
He always answers with, “I only post when I have a project to share.”
Seems reasonable enough, but his jobs often take months. In fact, one hotel project took nearly a year to complete.
I tell him, “You should be doing more. That’s why no one is looking at your page. Why would they?”
Given that he’s a busy guy operating a thriving business, and I’m a loving wife with expertise in this area, I’ve taken on this task for 2019. Payment is still being determined, I haven’t decided which I want more: Built-in bookshelves in the master bedroom or a pallet wall or custom bar in the basement remodel.
But I digress. Posting more frequently can certainly help boost social media likes and give your business needed attention, but there is more to this story.
Content is King
Many companies use social media platforms incorrectly. They employ these platforms to promote themselves and their products. While there is a place for this, it cannot comprise all you do online.
“Too often businesses use social media to get people to do something for them. They ask them to sign up for this, buy this, attend this, and after a while people stop looking at their posts,” states Spencer X. Smith, founder of AmpliPhi, a firm that helps others up their social media game through proven strategies.
Social media expert Alice Martin, founder of Shroom Social, also warns, “You don’t want to constantly be selling them. You want to be providing them with information that enriches their lives. If you do this, you’re going to get engagement [with your posts]. People don’t want to be sold.”
The key word here is engagement. You can post frequently and gather the most likes in the world but in the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Everything is meaningless.” Though Solomon was referring to the much bigger and more important issue of human life lived without any consideration of God, your social media efforts are meaningless to your business if visitors are not engaged.
The content you post needs to engage followers in meaningful conversations. “You need to know whom you’re serving, and then from there ask yourself how you can start conversations with them in the public sphere,” Smith says.
I love this Social Media Today article, especially the part about Charmin’s way of engaging its customers online via its #TweetFromtheSeat campaign. As an editor who once led with the headline, “You’re out of toilet paper in Terminal A,” I appreciate their sense of humor and the fact that they understand the value of social media that grabs attention and gets people talking. This article contains a variety of worthwhile posting suggestions to emulate.
If after reading the above post you still need ideas, try posing a question. Asking a question is the quickest way to get me to respond. I think there are a lot of people out there like that. People love to talk about themselves. A gym might ask, “What is the hardest part of sticking to an exercise program?” A car dealership might ask, “What is the worst part about buying a car?” A campground might ask, “What is on your Wi-Fi wish list when camping?”
Or you can do a short piece on someone at your company performing charitable work for the community or to better the industry you serve. The post gets people talking about that individual and sharing about others who are doing the same. It’s positive press. And in a world where many posts are negative, who can complain about that?
As you do these things, stick to what you know. When companies post information unrelated to their business, it turns people off. I don’t need to see a meme about Christmas. I have plenty of those in my feed already. But a funny meme about being a writer? That might stop me mid-scroll.
As you build engagement, don’t be afraid of the complainers. People can and will complain on social media. Just make sure to put someone in charge of monitoring your social media platforms so you can respond to questions or complaints quickly. I once tweeted that I was going to miss my flight because airline personnel at the ticketing counter seemed unable to fix a computer glitch. Within minutes, I received a response to my tweet, and a minute or so after that, a manager showed up to fix the problem. Coincidence? I think not. And, best of all? I made my flight with seconds to spare.
Know Thy Platforms, and Use Them Right
A big mistake companies make when posting online is using a tool, such as Hootsuite or Buffer, to disseminate the same message across all platforms. Though the goal is to dispatch information, the platforms differ, the reasons people visit them differ, and thus the messages posted on them should differ.
“You have to speak to each room, each space, each audience in a different way,” says Martin.
According to Martin, Twitter is for “hear me” type messages; Facebook is for friends and family outreach; Instagram is for “see me” messages; and LinkedIn is for business-related content.
Let’s say you are hosting an event and trying to promote the keynote speaker. Tailor the message for each platform. For example: Tweet to broadcast that this is happening and include a brief chat with the speaker. Buy a Facebook ad to promote the event and the keynote speaker. Post a picture of the speaker and a link to his or her Instagram account on your Instagram account. Use LinkedIn to announce the speaker, provide his bio, the time of the keynote, and include an offer for tickets. Later, employ Facebook Live to share information as the event unfolds.
Boosting and Advertising
Smith and Martin both agree, “This is a pay-to-play space.” Don’t expect free posts to accomplish all your goals.
They also stress that boosting a post is not the same as advertising a post. Yet, many companies mistakenly believe they are one in the same.
If a Facebook page has 500 likes, or followers, a single post might reach 40 of them. Boosting a post sends that same post out to followers of your page and their friends. Smith warns this is “probably the least effective, but easiest means, of getting the post out there. Advertising to those who already like your page is a way to do a very inexpensive ad spec.”
Before boosting, however, consider your recent posts and pick the best performing one to boost. Says Smith, “If a company is posting three to four times a week, it should look at which post has gotten the most engagement, i.e. comments or likes or other metric, and put ad dollars behind that one.”
A boost can target a specific audience and get pretty granular. But an ad offers these benefits and more.
Martin explains, “A boosted post will get you more likes. But a boost is not going to have the reach of an ad unless you already have a large audience. An ad is a call to action. You’re going to get less likes but you’re going to have a larger reach. However, that ad is going to cost a bit more.”
Smith encourages companies to utilize Facebook Pixels to get the biggest bang for their social media advertising buck.
A Facebook Pixel, found in Facebook Ad Manager, is code companies can place on their websites to track conversions from Facebook ads. They can employ this data to optimize future ads, build targeted audiences, and remarket to qualified leads. The code works by placing and triggering cookies that track users as they interact with your website and your Facebook ads.
Retargeting or remarketing puts your information in front of people who have visited your site before. Let’s say they clicked on an ad encouraging them to sign up for a webinar you’re offering, but that’s as far as they went. Pixel puts that ad in front of them again to remind them of your offering and encourage them to sign up.
Facebook Pixel also gives companies insight into how an ad is performing. Through the data it collects, they can see which ads are performing well, and which ones are not.
Get Some Help
Failing to put a dedicated employee in place to handle social media hampers many companies’ social media efforts. Typically, this translates into inconsistent or nonexistent messaging, which in time leads to an audience that is no longer engaged.
Put some money behind your social media effort, whether you designate an internal employee to do it or you hire a company to do it for you. But do not sit back and let your social media pages languish and the content become stale.
“The time is now to build your audience,” states Martin. “The cost is low now, but I believe it’s going to increase with the next presidential election. There is a golden opportunity right now to inexpensively build your base and increase your audience.”