Facebook is the leader in social media right now and it shows no signs in slowing down. With over 2 billion users worldwide, the opportunity for growth is massive. Especially considering how targeted you can get when building your audience.
Before we go into the nitty gritty of Facebook, we need to make our goals clear.
What should you expect from Facebook?
- Get more people to follow your account. Bigger audience equals more opportunity to spread your word.
- Increase engagement: more likes, views, comments, and shares.
- Ensure a steady stream of user-generated content.
Each platform has its unique strengths. While there are a few core strategies you can apply to all platforms, there are specific strategies you can apply to Facebook. But first we must understand how Facebook works.
What makes Facebook different from other platforms?
Social media platforms skew either more as:
- Entertainment — such as YouTube or Vimeo where people visit in order to consume content and be entertained.
- Social — such as Facebook or Twitter where people visit in order to share content and chat with their friends.
Why is this an important distinction? Because it influences what thrives on Facebook and how it spreads.
How do you think an artsy music video would do on Facebook? Not so well, because its simply not the place for it. You have a better chance posting it on Vimeo. On Facebook people want to socialize via sharing news, food videos, and photos of their cat. They don’t want to sit down for an hour watching content or reading long articles.
Best Practices for Facebook
Now let’s get to the actionable things you need to do in order grow your Facebook presence. No talk of growth hacks or shortcuts here, we’ll get into that in future posts. These are the fundamentals that you can apply to any business, organization, or individual on Facebook.
Facebook is a river of content. Only a fraction of your followers will see each piece of content. It’s important to note that most users consume Facebook through their feed, and not by going directly to a page.
The Facebook algorithm strongly favors the following:
- High activity. more content, the higher the reach. IMPORTANT: the algorithm can hurt your reach if you post too much! Keep links, instant articles, and photos, with minimum time frame of 20 minutes between each other. Keep videos with a minimum time frame of 2 hours between each other.
- High engagement: more likes, shares, and comments, the higher the reach.
Hence, the more content you push, the more the Facebook algorithm will favor your content towards the top of your follower’s feeds.
Post More Images
The Facebook algorithm also favors content within its platform more than contents that leads outside of it. That means that images and videos do much better on Facebook. Consider posting memes, photographs of your products, quote images, and other images that provide value to your followers.
When writing your copy, tag relevant pages. This will increase the chances of an organization or influencer sharing that post. However, as with all things in life, don’t go overboard or you’ll annoy everyone.
When posting videos, consider adding tags that are more specific. For example if it’s a video about NYC’s Times Square, consider tagging the Times Square page itself, travel blogs, and other NYC landmarks. The more specific you get with tags, the more likely the video is to appear to the people who would care most about it.
You can repost older videos as if they were a new post.
To do so go to your Facebook page > Publishing Tools > Video Library > click on a video you’d like to repost > click Create Post with Video.
Try experimenting with different copy and tags to see if this video can reach an entirely new audience. Also, in order to not clutter your videos page, you can put an expiration on the reposted videos. 1–2 weeks should suffice to have a reposted video out. The views that repost accumulated will add up to the total views of the original video post.
Pin Important Posts to the Top
The Facebook algorithm tends to give pinned posts a small push in reach. Also, if you’re experiencing an influx of new followers then pin a post that functions as a good introduction to your brand.
Hyper Targeted Ads
Disclaimer: ads are 100% optional, contrary to popular belief. It is possible to organically grow your page and fast, I’ve done it with Urbanist. But if you do have the budget then ads can be a potent tool in growing your audience.
It’s easy to throw a bunch of money on Facebook ads, get barely any engagement in return, and curse Facebook for being money-grubbing a-holes. Remember, every single platform known to humankind from print to TV to radio to billboards to real estate to social media has a price to pay for increase reach. Just like paying a premium ad spot on the Superbowl will get you more views, the same goes for Facebook ads. The thing is that you can get the same amount of reach, you just need to be more savvy.
Facebook ads should be the cherry on top. No the entire ice cream. The first 5 tips are what you need to do first and foremost before considering ads.
The biggest strength of Facebook Ads is that you can get really specific with whom you target an ad. Consider using specific targets that hone down who you’d like to reach.
Here are some specific targets you can use:
- People who like a similar product to yours.
- The age group you most appeal to.
- People who work in companies you’d like attention from.
- People who read blogs similar to the subject matter you cover.
Now that you know the fundamentals of building your Facebook presence, here’s what I encourage you to consider moving forward:
- Experiment and test. Running small experiments with timing, content types, copy, and tags is great way to see what can work and what isn’t working.
- That said, some things don’t initially seem to work in the beginning but end up gaining traction with persistence. Sometimes a type of content may not catch on at first, but if you try it a few more times you might see it reaching a whole new section of your following that was previously dormant.
- A strong community will automate the process of increasing engagement in the long-term. By interacting with each and every person who comments for the first few months will create a community that increases engagement on its own.
- Always bring value to our followers. Always, always, always.
- Give, give, give and then ask. Start with smaller asks and then build your way. This is also known as the Benjamin Franklin effect. Just like building any relationship, start with a small ask like asking for opinions on a topic and then work your way up.
Now, go forth and grow your Facebook presence!
In upcoming posts I’ll be covering how to utilize Twitter and Instagram, and how to make videos optimized for social media. Stay tuned!
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