Ah, the weekend. A time to kick back, spend time with family, travel--and a time to plan your social media strategy so that it works for you when you're not even online.
Studies show that the best times for businesses to post on Facebook are toward the end of the week and over the weekend. Of course your mileage may vary, but if you want to get a jump on the week itself, spend a little time on Saturday or Sunday mapping out how and what your brand's Facebook page should include.
You probably know that Facebook changed its algorithm earlier this year. Increasing my engagement there has been a priority for me lately, so I sought out some of the smartest advice I could find. (I'm constantly learning, so please contact me after reading this if you have smart ideas I've missed. Also, please check me out on Facebook--you can find me at Facebook.com/ThatBillMurphyJr.)
With another week just around the corner, here are 10 things you should keep in mind to increase your brand's reach and engagement on Facebook.
1. Post great content.
People sometimes like to think there's a shortcut here, but all the marketing acumen and money in the world won't get you good engagement if your content isn't good to begin with. Otherwise it's like expecting your brand new $250 pair of running shoes to do the training and get through a marathon for you.
Great content comes in many shapes and forms. Facebook favors certain types (videos and visuals) over others. But bottom line, if your content isn't good, nothing else will really matter.
2. Post native content.
This means basically posting things that don't require users to take actions that would take them off Facebook.
Of course, as a marketer that's often ultimately what you want people to do--visit your site, sign up for your email list, buy your product. However, all other things being equal, Facebook wants people to stay on Facebook. So think strategically, and post at least some content that will keep users engaged on Facebook itself.
3. Engage with other pages.
Many marketers go to Facebook seeking to draw people to their message. However, remember is that Facebook isn't a billboard. It's a community. That means you have the chance to engage as a member of the community, as opposed to simply sitting back and hoping others will find you.
You can follow other pages as your professional, as well as like and share their content, and even leave comments--all under your brand's identity, not your personal one. It's not a silver bullet, but over time it can lead people back to check out your page.
4. Engage with other people.
Answer comments. Like other people's actions. Share their posts and photos. Basically, act like a human being.
"It's amazing how few businesses actually do this," writes Michael Peggs. "Part of engaging your audience is, well, actually talking to them. No one is saying you need to address every comment on every post, but you do want to develop a rapport."
5. Encourage tagging.
You'll have to strategize the right sort of content, but if you can get users to tag themselves or others on your posts, you'll vastly increase the potential reach. Imagine a group photo taken at an event, for example, in which you ask subjects to identify and tag themselves.
"The more people tagged in a photo, the more opportunities for sharing, and the longer the photo's lifespan. Under Facebook's new algorithms, more tags also mean more impressions. When tagged, a single photo will get pushed to the top of a greater number of news feeds. Again, reach is increased," writes Joe Matthews on iMedia Connection.
6. Target headlines, decks and other data
You're likely aware that you can change the headlines, deck, and other information when you're posting linked content. You can go further with this by writing different copy for different subsets of your audience.
As a rather crude example, you could share this article on Facebook, targeting fans in Los Angeles with the headline: "What Californians Need to Do On Facebook Today," and separately targeting fans in Houston and Dallas with the headline, "What Texans Need to Do On Facebook Today."
7. Post things that are meant to be shared, not just consumed.
Along with simply posting things that can be consumed on Facebook itself, you want to post things that people will be encouraged to "share" (as opposed to things they will be inclined to "like" or even "comment.") Keep in mind this content often will be shared far beyond your brand's community--with your community members' friends, who may later become fans themselves.
So, writes Nikhil Sharma, "focus on your visual content. Humorous posts, quotables, and other forms of branded content created with an intent to get shared is key."
8. Analyze everything.
You should make sure you use your Facebook Insights tab compulsively. Otherwise, you probably don't have enough data to understand what's actually working.
"If you trust Facebook and believe their goal is to 'show people the things they want to see' in their News Feed, then the challenge is to seriously analyze what's working and strategically focus on providing more of that contextual content," writes Jeff Korhan on BuzzSumo. "Presumably, this will include relevant stories, images, videos, and graphics. The truth is this will only make us all better social media marketers."
9. Run ads.
Ultimately of course Facebook wants its marketing partners to pay. So, this may be the time when you finally have to give in. Try boosting your posts, using unpublished posts, or even running ads to generate more likes for your page.
"According to Facebook ... surveyed users generally didn't mind promotional content that's identified as advertising," the folks at HootSuite wrote. "They just don't like promotional organic content clogging up their News Feeds."
10. Repurpose your content.
"Unless you have a massive team of content creators, it's difficult to produce tons of material on a daily basis. In order to maximize the value of the content you do publish, find ways to repurpose it for continued use," writes Drew Hendricks. "For example, you can pull key points from an article and tweet them throughout the week; or you could use a long blog post as a launching point for an entire blog series."