The days of free social media are numbered. With so many players posting more content than ever, sponsored content is becoming even more necessary to be seen. The growing theme over the course of 2013 is that organic reach for businesses (both large and small) will continually decrease.
This is bad news for the thousands of small businesses who rely mostly on facebook to get their messages out. While it’s been relatively easy to grow your presence in the past, it will only get harder and harder.
Content is Key!
Though you might think about your business at all hours of the day and night, the dirty little secret I’ve come to learn is that no one else cares. If all you do is shout about your new sale or post new products, you’ll suffer the most with the new changes. The ones who will survive and thrive are those who post original content and give the people something they can use. Usually that comes in the form of education. Take a cue from the highly successful lifestyle brands out there, and tell them how to make their lives easier, happier and more stylish. That’s all they really care about anyway.
Keep it Short!
People on Facebook are bombarded with a flood of chatter from friends, frenemies and brands. They won’t waste more than a few seconds glancing at your message and then move on. Studies show an indirect correlation between the number of characters in a post and the amount of engagement. More characters = Less engagement. Try to keep it under 140!
One of my new pet peeves is pages who use every tag and hashtag under the sun in a misguided attempt to reach more people. Not only does it not help, it makes people skip over your content and there goes any chance of engagement (and thus decreases your reach.)
Also, shorten your links. Use a tool like bit.ly to make your links shorter. It also has handy tracking information that you can refer back to.
Promoted posts and ads are just like regular posts, the ones that expect to give rather than receive will win out. If your promoted content is engaging, you’ll get more for your money in terms of reach, likes, comments and clicks.
Also keep in mind timing, and targeting for maximum impact. Don’t waste your money targeting people who can never or will never use your products or services. (Personally I hate that promoted posts default to reach your fans and their friends. I can promise you that my 61 year old father and I do not have the same interests or buy the same products. Yet, if I’m your fan you’ll be targeting us both. Need another hint: ads on weekends are usually cheaper. Take advantage of them!
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
Facebook is a public company at the mercy of its shareholders. Lots of businesses rely solely on the platform to get messages across. Unfortunately, you never know when the next change is coming. Facebook is easy to use because it’s what we know, but it’s lazy to rely on it totally. Don’t neglect your email marketing, instagram, twitter or blog just to focus on facebook. It should only be a part of your overall strategy.
But there is strength in numbers and in strong, engaging content. By combining the two, small business can compete for a share of voice in the social sphere.