How to Make the Most of Facebook Even on a Limited Budget
Oh, those clever executives at Facebook! They reeled us in and then changed the game.
We all (and by “all” I mean 1.86 billion monthly active users as of April 2017) joined Facebook to get updates from the people and brands we chose to ‘friend’ and follow. Then somehow over time, we began to see less and less of certain family, friends, and businesses in our feeds—even those we really wanted to get updates from. For those of us using Facebook for business, we saw engagement evaporate. In the course of a few years, we went from getting around 16% of our followers to like or comment down to just 2%…on a good day.
Good show, Facebook! You created a virtual ocean of opportunity by luring nearly 2 billion humans to log on daily and scroll. You turned us business owners and managers into fishermen casting lines to catch the attention of the select humans in the Facebook ocean who might want to buy what we’re selling. Then you changed the game, so that we have to pay to have our posts placed where our potential purchasers might actually see them.
It seems pretty harsh—and maybe it is. But it’s our reality, and we shouldn’t just pack up our fishing lures and go home. Fact is, your customers—current and potential—are on Facebook (probably at this very moment!), and if you learn to work within the system to reach them, the rewards can be measurable.
Here are suggestions on winning your face-off with Facebook!
Maximize the Free Stuff
Before you spend a dime on Facebook, be sure you’ve maximized the no-cost aspects of the platform for your business.
First things first—be sure you’re using a business page to promote your brand, not a personal profile. This point is very basic, but I mention it as I still find business owners who have not yet taken this most fundamental step in using Facebook to reach their customers. Only through business pages can you access helpful reporting and make use of the many tools you’ll need to make the most of Facebook.
Completely fill out your page profile. Every element in the About section can aid in making your page easier to find by your target audiences. Fill in everything, and keep it updated as needed.
Ask for followers to engage and comment! As the saying goes, we’ll only get in life what we’re willing to ask for. Encourage customers to review your business on Facebook. Regularly invite your followers to look for your content, comment, and like it. The more action any post gets, the better it may perform in the newsfeed.
Commit to posting good content on a regular basis. We’ve stated the obvious: only a small percentage of what you post will be seen organically within your followers’ newsfeed. Nonetheless, you have to be there to be seen at all! Forego the filler. Focus on sharing quality content full of ideas, inspiration, and information that’s relevant to your followers.
Go with video! Facebook is on the video train these days, so your use of direct-to-Facebook video uploads and Facebook Live may serve you and your business page well. Digital marketing as a whole is shifting to more video content, so efforts for Facebook can be repurposed across other platforms to make your message go further across the board.
Try out the many posting options on your page. I encourage you to check out Notes and Offers as unique ways to share messages. Make use of Facebook Events to build buzz around time-specific happenings.
Go for the Smart Spend
Facebook is a pay-to-place environment; you’ve got to spend some money to get any meaningful results. In this regard, don’t dumb down how you allocate dollars because of your preconceptions of Facebook as a social platform. Treat it like the true paid marketing ecosystem that it is—and get smart about spending to make the most of what Facebook does best.
Be assured you don’t have to spend a ton of money to gauge the potential and to get reasonable returns. Even just a $5 per day budget can bear good results—if you spend that money strategically and in line with your defined business goals.
Don’t just “boost posts” willy-nilly. Boosting posts (paying to make sure more members of the audience you choose or define see your content) can be like throwing money into the wind. Unless you have a post that is nearly unicorn-like in its awesomeness, boosting may not be the best way to spend on Facebook (even though it is the easiest).
Make the most of Facebook’s abundant capabilities to target audiences with laser-like focus. Ever heard of “custom audiences” or “lookalike audiences”? If not, you and I need to talk…or you should at least hop over to facebook.com/blueprint and do a little reading. Custom and lookalike audiences help you pinpoint Facebook advertising to reach your existing and potential customers based on highly defined criteria.
Coordinate your spending between Facebook and Instagram for cross-pollination. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can create synergies between your ad spend on the two social platforms. With smart targeting and coordinated messaging, you can catch your customers even as they switch across these beloved social platforms, heightening the chance to inspire response.
Spin Your Own Web
Facebook is like a party at somebody else’s house, and we’re all just crashing it. Despite our belief that the customer, or in this case, the user, is always right, the minds behind Facebook have created a platform in which they have every right to change how things work anytime, for whatever reason. Ultimately, we can’t control an iota of it.
That’s why it’s vital that you continue to maintain and nurture the digital properties that you do own and control—your website and blog. Regardless of the whims of Facebook executives, you can still spin your web(site) to catch customers. It’s wise to remain vigilant about the quality of your site’s content, its ability to capture leads and invite action/response from visitors, as well as how it appears within search results.
In the meanwhile, you can also integrate synergies between your website and Facebook to make both platforms perform more effectively for your business. Using Facebook pixels (if this term is new to you, reach out to me for more information or google the term), you can establish tracking that allows you to target people who’ve visited your site with advertisements over on Facebook. Yes, this is why you see items you’ve found online show up in ads on Facebook, and like it or not, the tactic is quite effective.
Get Ready to Face What’s Next
Be prepared for change! There’s always something new and next with Facebook, and the earlier you come to know of and adopt the updates, the better for your businesses. Right now, I’m seeing lots of buzz about the increasing role of direct messaging and “chatbots” within Facebook. Such tools may be helpful for you in taking your customer service and personalized selling efforts further.
If you’d like an audit of your Facebook use for business, contact me through my website at msg2mkt.com! I’d love to take a look and share recommendations.