Facebook shows no signs of letting other platforms usurp its social media crown, despite predictions to the contrary. While its audience growth has slowed, it hasn’t stopped by any means, and with over 71% of internet users on Facebook (a staggering 1.3 billion people) it remains the king of social media. What could be even more surprising to some is the increased engagement level of its users this past year. 70% of Facebook users engage on the network daily, with over half of those users actually using Facebook multiple times per day. (Pew Research Center)
While the newest changes released by Facebook have been aimed at reducing the number of unpaid promotional posts user see in their newsfeed, thus effectively throttling previously free advertising, the social media platform continues to release new updates for businesses to use, including a donate application that allows non-profit companies to receive donations directly through the organizations Facebook page. Facebook has also added a new feature for its ads, a clickable call to action button. Depending on your intent, you can choose from five CTA’s–shop now, learn more, sign up, book now, or download.
Facebook has recently moved towards being a place where you have to pay to reach your fans, same as other more traditional marketing methods. However, there are still ways businesses can thrive on Facebook without paying for ad space, for now. Facebook wants to ensure that the organic (unpaid) content people see from their connected pages is relevant and appropriate for them. Posts that receive a high number of likes, comments, or shares get more exposure. The more engagement you can inspire on Facebook, the better search rankings and publicity you’ll earn for your brand.
Are you doing all you should to reach your customers on Facebook? Keep these seven things in mind.
Utilize your resources. Through the search bar on the top of Facebook pages, you can scout for users based on their likes, geographic area, and other filters. You can also look at users’ personal information to gain insights on their needs, challenges, and attitudes. Facebook has its own page for businesses, aptly named “Facebook for Business,” which offers up the latest news and tips on how to fully utilize the platform to your benefit.
Keep your SEO information complete and accurate. Facebook uses natural language processing rather than conventional keywords (meaning users can type search terms the way they would normally speak them). Since the results for these searches are generated from the information you provide, it’s important to choose your language carefully. Facebook search results also give higher relevance to pages with higher engagement and/or exact name search, so make sure to name your business page exactly what your business is called, and try your best to boost engagement of your fans to ensure higher visibility.
Start a Facebook Ad campaign. There’s no way getting around it now, paying for an ad campaign allows businesses on Facebook to reach larger, more specific audiences targeted by demographics or interest. To get people in your store, “Facebook Offers” allows businesses to offer a special discount or promotion that users can claim and then bring in to use. To promote special events, “Boosted Posts” supply a significantly expanded reach to users who would not have otherwise seen your post. Bottom line is Facebook Ads are a powerful option to increase your brand’s visibility, boost wider engagement, or even generate local traffic to your store.
Step up your in-store promotions. Nearly 75% of US consumers use their smartphones for shopping (HubSpot), making Facebook Offers like coupons, discounts, or check-in bonuses a great way to engage your fans and generate sales.
Create polls, games, or contests. Give your followers a chance to speak up! Ask them to submit photos, captions, or other ideas, and vote for their favorites, or compete against other network users in friendly games. You can even create boards so that participants can track their progress. Remember to reward the winners, too, along with any exceptionally supportive followers.
Ask questions. Listen to your followers’ direct input, both positive and negative, and start conversations on how to improve your offerings or design new ones.
Be vigilant. Answer questions promptly, respond to complaints, and give feedback on comments. Make sure you set up email notifications for new messages if you’re not able to visit the page as often as you’d like.
Utilizing Facebook’s newest features to your advantage will show users just how popular your business really is. 38% of Facebook users purchased an item after sharing or favoriting it on their network in 2014. (Social Times) The more your fans are talking about you — and the more actively you are interacting with them — the more Facebook users (and potential customers) will see you, so make the most of your engagement opportunities!