- Learning center
- Social Media Marketing
1.1 Facebook Marketing: An Overview
Why use Facebook for business marketing?
Some business owners have very little online experience, yet have a broad knowledge of how to market their business. It’s worth remembering that social media marketing is a long-term strategy that won’t happen overnight and it can make or break a business or brand. Social media is not just marketing or public relations – it also involves customer service, sales, operations, senior management, human resources and much more.
The way you communicate your content is just as important as what you are actually saying – if customers see bad grammar and punctuation it can reflect badly on your business. Anyone can leave a review or a comment – it’s about how you respond, and how quickly, that can enable your business to build credibility and trust with your audience.
How to understand the business opportunity
Whether you’re new to Facebook or you have been on it for years, it’s always a good idea to have an online strategy for your business that incorporates Facebook into your marketing (rather than making Facebook your entire marketing strategy).
Marketing your business on Facebook
Marketing is a part of everything you do in your business and there are a number of ways that you can support your marketing strategy with a Facebook presence. From understanding who you are as a business or a brand to knowing what you want to achieve, you’ll be able to understand what works and doesn’t work.
While some companies are considering dropping a separate website and using Facebook as their official online presence, for the majority an official site is still important in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). Remember, what’s more important is that you integrate your social media as much as you can across platforms and websites, then give people the tools to share your blogs and content across different media.
Customer services on Facebook
The way you plan to respond to customers on Facebook – potential as well as actual – should be top of your list when it comes to building trust and relationships. Whether it’s receiving praise or complaints, offering social customer service will go a long way to maintaining loyalty.
How to deal with customer feedback on Facebook:
- Respond quickly: within 24 hours is advisable. Never delete negative comments – you need to embrace the good and the ugly with Facebook, and that means responding appropriately to
- Manage your messages: there are various tools available that will help you manage private messages and posts and keep track of requests.
- Admit your mistakes: be the first to make an announcement if there is news that isn’t positive for the company or you have made a mistake. People are more forgiving than you may think.
- Keep people updated: if there is a problem with your service, for example your website is down or you’ve reached full capacity at your place of business, let people know.
- Reward your customers: don’t forget that there are many ways to reward your fans and followers – whether it’s a promotion, giveaway or discount, give them a reason to come back and to talk about you.
Sales from Facebook
You cannot underestimate the potential impact of a Facebook page on sales, whatever the size of your business. For most businesses and brands on Facebook it’s ultimately about how to increase sales by showing people what products are on offer, letting them know about any new launches, showing them things they may not have considered buying before and encouraging them to share links with potential customers.
People want to see images, descriptions of how things work, find out ways they can get discounts or be one of the first to access something new and exciting. They want to feel that they have ‘tried before they buy’ and in the world of online shopping, getting to
know a product or brand through a social networking site can be the next best thing.
Fans tend to be more ‘emotionally’ attached to a brand if they get to know its values and offerings on Facebook, according to a recent study. They’re also more likely to share positive reviews about the brand with their friends and to recommend it to others.
Some people say that social media is about engagement, and engagement forms a core part of marketing. It helps you both identify your customer’s needs as well as get your products noticed. Ultimately engagement is a key driver in any business marketing and advertising strategy.
HR and recruitment on Facebook
There’s a growing need for anyone who is recruiting to get to grips with the ever-changing world of technology and social media, while embracing its strength as a recruitment platform. Facebook pages are a great way to showcase how your company runs, why people want to work for you and the benefits of being associated with your brand.
From insights into your daily office life to simply being a place that resonates with a potential employer, it’s important that you remember that just as employers will be seeking out the reputation of a potential employee, they in turn will also want to understand the culture of your business and to get a sense for how it operates.
When it comes to the business side of recruitment, approximately 94% of recruiters use, or plan to use social media for getting people on board – and this number has been steadily rising in recent years.
While LinkedIn remains the dominant source for many businesses, Facebook is emerging as a valuable source of information and access to niche audiences. Thanks to the availability
of Facebook analytics, third-party analytics tools and search data (Graph Search included), recruiters have access to detailed information about specific groups of candidates. Facebook ads also allow businesses and agencies to reach and engage with candidates easily.
Additionally, there are a number of software, tools and apps available to help businesses manage job applications through Facebook. One example is Tribehr, where candidates apply for a job automatically from Indeed.com. Using Tribehr’s social network integration, all open positions are automatically posted on your Facebook page, applications accepted and information stored via reports.
1.2 Facebook Marketing Strategy
How to develop a Facebook marketing strategy
Facebook offers a wide range of features that enable businesses, brands and organizations to find new ways of reaching out to people. It’s important to make use of these tools as part of a wider marketing strategy that’s already been designed with your business and target audience in mind.
A marketing strategy can be broken down into various sections, including: defining goals, identifying a target audience, creating offers, planning content, developing campaigns, testing and measuring success, and developing brand awareness.
You’ll need to understand the demographics, interests and backgrounds of your target audience and have a plan in place to reach people using content that will directly appeal to them. You can start by looking at your Facebook strategy in three stages: planning, content creation and measuring results.
Planning is key!
First, you need to plan your goals before you can look at how you’re going to reach the right people, build your community and generate leads. When you think about connecting with people on Facebook you need to understand exactly who your target audience e, for example, their age, gender, interests or nationality. By doing this you can start to put together targeted content for each group of people.
Define your audience
This part of the process enables you to gain more of an insight into the type of person who may buy into your brand, as well as identifying the problems or issues your customers may have so that you can keep your audience interested with new and fresh content. They could be people who are looking at ways to budget, for example, or perhaps your audience is a group who aren’t able to leave their home that often. It may even be your potential target is someone who is always looking for the latest trends.
What fans expect in return
When someone likes your page they have certain expectations of what they’ll get from you. In order to create the most effective posts you need to decide exactly what you’re going to offer your audience and that involves gaining an insight into your fans’ expectations. Are they looking to receive regular updates, take part in contests, share their experience or interests with others, or are they simply looking to find out more about your product? Based on this feedback you can start to determine the type of content you need to offer: tips and advice, links to the latest products or information, events in your local area, or of different elements?
When it comes to building your audience it’s important that you are constantly thinking of ways to create content and boost interaction, whether it’s through competitions and advertising, general updates or posts. This way you can ensure more interaction and shares and in doing so you will attract new people to like your page, sign up, share discounts and special offers with friends, or buy products.
Content creation on Facebook
The type of content you post on Facebook is crucial when it comes to entertaining fans and capturing their attention. It’s also a good idea to plan out when you post, whether you use scheduled posts or post at a time you believe your fans are more likely to be online.
There are many online tools available to help you with your posting schedule. By mixing up the type of updates you post you can maximize your weekly reach.
Using a Facebook content calendar
This enables you to look at what’s happening on a monthly basis. It enables you to plan set themes designed to increase engagement by encouraging your audience to get involved. One way of doing this is by using a hashtag that can be added to links or images.
Use various types of content on Facebook
There are more ways to engage with fans than you may have realized including: images (behind the scenes, humorous, nostalgic and so on) quotes, text updates (questions, news, information, facts, tips, updates), links and videos.
Measure your results
Once you’ve got a strategy in place and have thought about the way you’ll publish content it’s worth monitoring your success to see what is and isn’t working. You can measure this through Facebook Insights and Google Analytics, but there are many other useful tools you can tap into too, such as Bitly, which provides shortened links that allow you to track how many times they’ve been clicked and by whom.
How to measure the success of your Facebook strategy:
- Successful posts: what posts are getting the most likes, interactions and shares?
- Whether you’re reaching the right people: is your audience relevant?
- How much interaction your brand is getting: the number of people who are talking about your page: PTAT.
- Boost website performance: how much traffic is coming to your website via Facebook.
- Lead generation: the success of leads when it comes to collecting emails, phone numbers and so on.
1.3 How to start Facebook Marketing
Getting started with Facebook
Facebook is a free-to-join service for anyone over the age of 13. Signing up for Facebook is simple – you just need to provide an email account, your birthday and a password.
Understanding Facebook’s anatomy
Your profile is organized as a timeline of your life where you can look back at key milestones to see top posts and events. It is where you let people know all about you – or as much as you want to divulge. It’s important to make sure that your profile picture is appropriate, privacy settings are configured correctly and only updates that you want to be seen by everyone are set to public view. It’s also a good idea to not publish your full birthday to avoid identity thieves stealing your information.
If you have clients who are friends with you on Facebook in addition to being a fan of your page or member of your group, then you can add additional filters to what people can view by creating lists for different types of Facebook friend (such as family, close friends, customers and colleagues), then make sure specific posts can only be seen by certain lists.
The ‘About me’ section on the left of your timeline can include information about where you live, work, studied, as well as your relationship status. Underneath this you can see ‘Recent activity’, including places you have checked in to, photos you’ve been tagged in, groups you are a member of, or pages you’ve liked.
Facebook can – with your permission – go through your email account’s contacts to find those already on Facebook. This allows you to quickly connect with those you already know. It’ll also make suggestions based on friends of friends who you may also know – the more “mutual” matches it finds, the more relevant the suggestions.
You can also search for friends by typing in their name, although some people will choose to only be seen by their friends or may have obscure names that are hard to find.
You can also look for people in the search bar by their university or employer. Choose ‘See more results’ and you can filter what is shown with the following categories: all results, people, pages, groups, apps and events. There is also the option on the right-hand side of the page to search the web for a name.
The news feed is the part of Facebook that Facebook users see – and interact with – the most often. It’s a place where you’re privy to constantly updating snippets of activity from our friends, pages you’ve liked or created, groups you’ve set up or joined, and sponsored ads.
Your news feed will automatically pull up posts you may like to read, based on your preferences and activity. There is also the opportunity to follow, hide or unfollow updates that you don’t want to see on a regular basis.
The status field is where you say what you’re feeling, doing and where you are, in up to 460 characters. One mistake people make is to assume that people are always reading their updates or to be too vague.
This can create confusion, and may even annoy your readers if it ultimately offers nothing positive to those reading it – fine perhaps in the personal sphere, but when it comes to promoting your business it’s not a good way of getting your message across.
It’s always worth bearing in mind that not everyone will be on Facebook at the time you post something – and that there’s often a short window of time for people to see it. There are ways that you can keep your updates high up on the news feed, and we talk more about this later on (see section 6.2 of this playbook).
Posting regularly as a business is also a good way of keeping things fresh and getting your message across, but remember that Facebook isn’t Twitter – you shouldn’t necessarily post the same message (or a variation on that message) more than once or twice.
By turning on your smart phone’s location services, you can check into a location using the ‘Check In’ feature from your news feed. This is essentially another kind of status update where you can search for a place you are visiting and post it along with anything else you want to say. This is a great way of letting people know about events or areas that are relevant and interesting.
Some businesses ask clients to ‘check in’ on Facebook when they arrive at a venue in return for a discount or freebie. This is a good way of advertising your business amongst a whole new audience of potential customers.
Here you will find links to access your timeline, news feed, messages, events, saved items, friend lists, groups, apps, interests, favorites, pages, ads and developer apps.
There may be other categories depending on the apps you have downloaded or are available to you (some features are only available in certain countries). You can reorder this view by moving categories up and down depending on your preferences.
Tools of the Trade for Facebook
This is the critical component of your business’s Facebook presence. Your page is where you engage with your audience through the posting of shareable content that appears on their timelines. The aim is to increase your page likes and to encourage your fans to post your updates on their own timeline to share with others.
By liking a page fans will have access to every update you make, but content is still visible to all (unless it is restricted based on age, location, or other targeting options you may set for a post). Pages can be created for businesses, organizations or for products.
As an owner of a page you can comment and interact much like an individual user of Facebook. This will enable you to keep in touch and engage with your customers.
Groups are private spaces that are shared by people who have something in common and can help you manage who sees what. Although they are often used for personal friends and family members, businesses can also use them to create a community of like-minded people or to share information with a select group of people.
There are a range of different types advertising found on Facebook, from display ads appearing in the right-hand column, to native ads and promoted posts. Facebook advertising has developed significantly over recent years.
Here you can create an event or find events that are upcoming or have passed. There is also the opportunity to tag events and locations.
There are thousands of apps on Facebook that you can install on your personal or business page. You can use the Facebook App Center to see what is available, new or trending.
How to use the Facebook Toolbar:
1. Home: click the Facebook logo (or Home button to the right) to return to the main news feed.
2. Search: click here to initiate a search for people, places and generic “things” – as you type your search terms, suggested results will be displayed below.
3. Profile view: click here to view your personal profile information, photos and videos, wall comments, recent activities and friends. You can also manage your sections and interests.
4. Friends: click here to find friends to connect with or respond to any friend requests – you can accept, ignore or block these, as well as filter them into a specific list.
5. Messages: here you’ll find a list of private message conversations you’ve had with friends. You’ll also find an ‘others’ folder when viewing messages on your desktop, which contains messages from people who you aren’t friends with.
6. Notifications: when someone comments on a post you have published you will see a red notification (numbered) appear on the globe sign.
7. Privacy shortcuts: click the padlock to review your privacy settings and understand exactly who can see your information as well as who can contact you. You’ll also find advice on blocking people here.
8. Additional Settings: click the dropdown arrow to access further settings for your Facebook account, including options to create pages, ads or report a problem.
Understanding Facebook notifications
Your notification settings
You can manage the number and type of notifications you receive by clicking the padlock and choosing ‘See more settings’. This reveals an option for notifications on the left-hand side of the page. From here you can choose how you would like to receive notifications – either on Facebook, by email or push notifications. You can also decide what you want to get notified about, such as activity that involves you, people’s birthdays or specific tags.
You can also:
- Change which email address notifications are sent to.
- Turn off or on the notification sound.
- Create an RSS feed for notifications.
- Edit notifications settings for a group.
The Nearby Friends option (which you can turn on or off at any time) helps people discover which friends are nearby or on the go and works using a smartphone’s GPS system. When activated, friends who also have the feature turned on will be notified that you’re nearby.
You can control how long you’d like to share your precise location for and you can stop sharing it at any time. It can also look for people in a certain friend list and is especially useful for people who may be travelling or at a social event nearby.
Nearby Friends only allows you to share your location with groups of people you have created, such as close friends or family. You won’t be able to see a friend’s exact location automatically until you elect to show this on a map (for a certain amount of time) – instead it will say a friend is a mile or two away.
Facebook is rolling out the feature across the US and at time of writing is not yet available in the UK. It’s also only available for users over the age of 18.
Media sharing on Facebook
Like most social media platforms, Facebook has long evolved past offering simple status updates – these days you can share all types of information, with emoticons, pictures and locations. Now users also have the option of sharing and discovering music, TV and movies with its (optional) media sharing feature.
These can be useful when it comes to influencing trends and reaching out to new and existing customers. With the aim of making conversations easier, you can even use your phone’s microphone to identify what song is playing or what show or movie is on TV.
If you’ve turned this feature on you’ll see an audio icon moving on the screen when you write your update. If a match is found then you can decide whether you want to add the song, movie or TV show to your post.
This feature can be turned on and off at any time and you can choose who can view it in the same way you can with any other status update or post.
1.4 Understanding the News Feed
What is the Facebook News Feed?
Your news feed is where you see all of the top news or recent activity from your friends, pages you like or sponsored ads.
How to control what you see in your news feed
You can ‘follow’ or ‘unfollow’ pages or posts from friends, groups or fan pages simply by clicking on the dropdown arrow next to the content.
For example, to unfollow a page click the drop-down arrow next to it where you’ll see the following options:
How to unfollow someone on Facebook
When unfollowing a friend you will see the following text in the dropdown arrow:
You can adjust your settings if you want to limit certain stories that you see in your news feed, or if you feel you’re missing out on particular types of content that you’d like to see more of.
How to hide a story or ad on Facebook
Click the dropdown arrow to the top-right of the story to select one of two options:
- I don’t want to see this: if you want to hide individual stories.
- Hide all: if you want to remove stories from your news feed that were posted by people, pages and groups you are not connected to.
This is a useful way of controlling the content that appears in your feed on an ongoing basis. Facebook also gives you the option of taking further action by reporting it or giving feedback on why you don’t want to see the story.
How to filter content using Lists:
With so many mixing work and pleasure on Facebook, people often prefer to put friends into certain categories when it comes to deciding what information they want to share with them.
You can do this by organizing people into certain lists depending on the things you are interested in, for example, or by work colleagues or family members.
Facebook gets you started by creating three list options (you can also come up with your own list titles):
- Close friends: you’ll be notified each time they post and they’ll show up regularly in your news feed.
- Acquaintances: these people will rarely show up in your news feed and you can also choose to exclude them from seeing certain posts.
- Restricted: this group of people will still be added as a friend, but they will only see posts that you either make public or specifically tag them in.
Smart lists will automatically stay up-to-date based on profile information that you and your friends have in common, for example, what schools you went to or the place you live.
These work in a similar way to lists on Twitter, allowing you to build a list of all interesting content from Facebook. You can include Facebook Pages here without having to specifically like them, but you do need to login as yourself to create them. To do this, click the cog on the right-hand side of the page next to the ‘Message’ tab and select ‘Add to interest list’. You can make lists public, for friends or private.
You’ll then see some posts from that list in your news feed, which also appear in the interests section of your bookmarks. All you need to do is click on the list’s name to see recent posts and activity from the pages and people featured in that list.
Interest lists are useful because it means you can catch up on all the news and updates far more quickly by looking at only those pages in your news feed that best fit your interests. This is important in terms of optimizing the content that you view and keeping up-to-date with the latest developments with a brand, person or business without having to manually filter the content each time.
By allowing everybody to follow you, you can be featured on an interest list. This means that your updates will be included in the list’s feed. If you don’t allow everyone to follow you then your stories won’t show up for people who aren’t friends.
How to create your own interest lists on Facebook:
1. Create list
Go to your Interests page and click the ‘Add interests’ option, then click ‘Create List’.
2. Locate content for list
Search for the people or pages you want to add to your list – use the categories on the left to browse for options. Select the things you want to include on your list and click ‘Next’.
3. Set list preferences
Type a suitably descriptive name for your list into the ‘List Name:’ box. Next, select a privacy setting – public means that other people will be able to subscribe to the list you’ve created.
4. Share with friends
You can also decide to share your list with others – click ‘More’ after you go to the main interests section followed by ‘Share’ to do so.
Understanding your profile’s privacy settings on Facebook
If you’re posting an update from your personal profile you can choose what audience you want to see it. For example, you can set it to ‘Public’, which means that anyone can view it whether they’re your friend or not.
The ‘Friends’ option means that only your friends can see it. The custom option means that you can include or exclude specific lists, allowing you to write posts aimed at specific audiences only, or filter out specific groups of people from a post.
You could, for example, have created a list called ‘work colleagues’ – by selecting ‘Custom’ you could then write a personal post you choose to share with everyone except those on the ‘work colleagues’ list.
So you may have a list called ‘work colleagues’ – if you set it to custom you can choose to show it to all of your friends, bar your work colleagues (in the image above, it’s titled ‘private settings’ – you can title it as you wish).
You can also choose to let friends of people tagged view your post, or not.
Understanding Facebook News feed privacy settings
Facebook privacy can be confusing. Depending on the privacy settings of your friends, you can often see pictures and updates from people you aren’t actually friends with. At the same time, people you aren’t actually friends with may also see your posts in their news feed.
This will happen if you set all your posts to ‘public’, or you tag a friend in it and don’t untick the ‘Note: Anyone tagged can also see this post’ box as shown above.
Similarly, if someone you’re friends with likes or comments on a friend’s profile or a page which has its visibility set to public, you may see this in your news feed, and vice versa if you comment on a page or profile that has its visibility set to public.
Groups that their own privacy settings: Public, Closed or Secret. If you are commenting on a group that is closed or secret then only people who are members of that group can see your posts in their news feed. If you comment on a group that is public, then this may be shown in your friends’ news feeds.
Pages are public and any comment you make on them will be visible to anyone in your friend list.
Understanding Facebook Ad preferences
Take a look at your ad preferences to gain some control over how Facebook takes the information about you to decide what sort of ads to show you. By adjusting these settings you’ll see ads that are more relevant to you. Facebook does this by taking information from some of the websites and apps you use.
The process is known as ‘Interest-based advertising’ and started in the US first before being rolled out globally. You can opt out of Facebook using the websites and apps you use if you prefer by using the Digital Advertising Alliance opt-out service and using controls provided by your smartphone.
To adjust your settings, click the cross or dropdown arrow icon near the top-right of any ad on Facebook, then select ‘Why am I seeing this?’ From here you can add or remove yourself from audiences who are shown this ad. Select ‘Manage your ad preferences’ to see more audiences you’re a part of that have an impact on which ads you’ll be shown, such as sport or certain types of music.
Regardless of what preferences you select, Facebook will always use your age, gender, location and the devices you use to access it when it comes to deciding which ads to show you.
The Facebook News feed algorithm
The goal of the News feed is to show the right content to the right people at the right time. Facebook’s cleverer than you think; it isn’t just listing updates in the order they come in, and it won’t go out to everyone. It’s become an incredibly sophisticated tool as it’s evolved through the years, thanks to a special algorithm also known as EdgeRank. It’s very complicated and uses hundreds of factors to decide how to rank posts.
At the end of 2013 Facebook announced an algorithm change that had a huge impact on the way content is consumed online. The update to news feed ranking meant that the average referral traffic from Facebook to media sites almost tripled in the last year. According to Facebook, the typical user would receive approximately 1,500 stories per day from friends and pages if the news feed was unfiltered. Instead around 300 stories are prioritized.
Changes to the algorithm
Facebook’s changes to the filtering algorithm came following the results of a survey that would favor ‘high quality’ page content. Facebook looks at hundreds of factors to determine what is high or low quality, including how complete a profile is or how many likes it receives.
People want to see more relevant news and find out what their friends have to say about it. No longer is Facebook just about learning the news of your friends; it’s now a source of information to links, high quality articles events and shared interests.
You may also now see up to three related articles directly below the news feed that highlight other content that you could be interested in reading.
How facebook news feed algorithm works:
The algorithm works using three basic principles: Affinity, Weight and Decay. There’s a strong importance placed over how much interaction a post is getting and the general reaction to a post, whether it’s positive or negative. If you engage regularly with a friend or a page, it’s more likely that you’re going to see their posts moving forward.
Similarly, if you comment, like or share a certain type of post, it’s also more likely to be visible in your news feed. The news feed algorithm responds to signals from you, for example:
- How often you interact with a friend, page or public figure.
- The number of likes, shares and comments a post receives in general and from your friends.
- How much you’ve interacted with this type of post in the past.
- Whether or not you and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a particular post.
In September 2014 Facebook announced further changes to how it ranks its stories. The latest update looks at two new factors – trending topics and when people like or comment on a post – to determine if that story is more important at that particular moment than other types of updates.
This basically means that Facebook will show people stories about things that are trending as soon as they happen and look more at when people are choosing to like, comment and share. As long as you are producing great content that is relevant and resonates with your audience, then these changes shouldn’t affect your page.
If a post is getting lots of comments then this post will be bumped up to highlight stories with new comments – this is because once someone has already commented on it, it’s only natural that they will want to find out what other people are saying about it.
Facebook text updates
There have been several implications to marketers following the algorithm changes. One of these is the way that text updates from brands are devalued from the news feed. This means that text updates from users and brands are now split into different categories. Text updates from friends will get much more visibility than text updates from brands.
It forces marketers to look more at the content they produce, rather than the method of distribution and how they engage with their audience.
Why the news feed algorithm is important to your brand
According to Facebook, brands are people too. This means that Facebook now treats pages even more like people by putting posts in the user’s news feed in order to create a more natural way for brands and businesses to reach out and engage with their audience.
To ensure your page increases its chances of being seen (especially when it comes to organic reach), try the following:
- Tag pages in posts where you may have similar audiences.
- Find out what pages are mentioning you and identify pages that are already mentioning and interacting with your page. This will give you the opportunity to develop content that builds on these relationships.
How to track and measure your content
It’s important to look at similar brands – successful competitors or companies – and identify any trends with how they engage with their audience.
There are several free tools you can access to help you with this that will compare and analyze pages with a certain number of likes and we talk about analytics later on in the playbook – two examples include The Facebook Competitive Analysis Report, and The Facebook Page Insights Analysis. It’s important to analyze what sort of content, how much you post, what is paid or unpaid, and how it’s affecting your reach in order to drive change and extend your reach.
Another Facebook analytics tool that focuses on finding areas of your page that you can improve is the paid-for tool, PostAcumen. This looks at the best times and days to post, how frequently you should post and the best types of pictures to share.
The founder of PostAcumen also offers a free tool called ShareGrab that will provide you with an insight into up to five of your competitors. Here you can view a list of the top 50 best-performing pictures.
How many people are you reaching?
A critical part of your analytics is measuring your brand’s reach percentage.
Facebook reach can be split into four broad categories:
- Total reach: the total number of people you’ve reached, whether they are fans or not, paid and unpaid.
- Organic reach: the total number of people you’ve reached without advertising (fans and non-fans).
- Impressions: the number of times a post from your page is displayed, whether the post is clicked or not. Reach might be less than impressions, since one person can see multiple impressions.
- Paid versus organic reach: this is the process of comparing paid reach (the total number of unique people who were shown your post as a result of ads) and organic reach (the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid ads or distribution, such as when posts go viral and are shared with friends of friends or the public).
Facebook announced recently that organic reach was going to drop further down in the news feed due to increased competition when it comes to quality content.
With pages organically reaching about 16% of their fans on average (according to Facebook), this means that users may miss content from friends or business pages if they are not logged on at the time posts are active in the news feed.
By posting engaging content using videos, photos, exclusive information and more, you’re more likely to increase the reach of your posts. You can also make sure your fans see your stories by sponsoring your posts giving you a straight choice between creating great content or paying to reach your fans.
How to improve your organic reach on Facebook
Ultimately everything on Facebook comes down to reach. Many people have already noticed the drop in organic reach following Facebook’s updates to its news feed algorithm.
It’s always a good idea to have some paid ads as part of your strategy because you will always want your reach to be higher, but there are plenty of other and strategies that you can follow to get people clicking, commenting and coming back for more.
Ideas to improve your reach on Facebook:
- Don’t always try to post content spontaneously: good planning will help you create engaging content that is fun and helpful. A good variety of different types of posts will help – using basic text status updates all the time won’t. Videos, a random question to your fans, a thought of the day or a business announcement such as a promotion or discount, will all impact on your brand awareness.
- Keep it casual and real: people want to see honest posts; an inside look at your business is always more interesting to your audience. Whether it’s a picture from a weekly competition you hold in your offices or a ‘day in the life’ of someone in a department.
- Don’t forget to get involved in a conversation: there’s no point asking something or posting a video and not responding to people’s comments. This is the simplest way to keep your post high up in the news feed.
- Understand the importance of sharing: did you know that Facebook recognizes shares as being from an individual and not a brand? Sharing is therefore the best way to get your content to rank higher in a news feed.
Remember that ‘like-baiting’, where you explicitly ask people to like, share or comment on a post, is now seen as spam by Facebook. Spam comments on your page will appear in grey.
What is Facebook news feed spam?
Facebook has been cracking down on news feed spam, but what is spam and how can you make sure that you don’t unwittingly spam people with your content? There are three forms of spam that are being monitored:
- Spammy links: this is where stories use wording that makes you think you’re clicking through to a website, but instead you’ll just see ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads.
- Like-baiting: ‘like-baiting’ occurs when a post like that shown above asks readers to ‘explicitly’ like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive. Although people often respond to posts asking them to take an action, people say that these stories tend to be less relevant than other stories from people or pages that they really care about.
- Frequently circulated content: there are times when people and pages will re-share great content time and time again. This means that this kind of repeated content is less relevant and will often lead to complaints or posts being hidden.
What is Like-gating on Facebook?
Facebook recently updated its Platform Policies to ban people from offering rewards such as apps or new content in return for liking a page – known as ‘like-gating’ or ‘fan-gating’. This occurs when someone uses landing-page tools such as Shortstack, Heyo or Tabsite to do one of the following:
- Like a page to enter a competition.
- Offer coupons or promo codes once someone has liked your page.
- Get access to a video, PDF or eBook once someone has liked a page.
The aim is to ensure the likes you get for your brand come from genuine fans – those who actually care about your product or business – as opposed to people who simply want some free coupons. This means you may need to be more creative about how you encourage likes.
You’re allowed to offer prizes where people enter their email and in doing so to encourage people to like your page, but it shouldn’t require people to like or share in order for them to actually win the prize.
The new rules are now in effect, so what are the alternatives to like-gating? Here are some of the top ones to consider:
- Facebook social plugins: use the Like Box social plugin after a blog post, which gives someone the opportunity to like your page (rather than feeling forced to).
- Increase your email list: gather demographic information about your users to offer coupons or money off by asking for people’s email address or other demographic information. You can do this via your newsletter, which can include a link to your Facebook page so that they can easily like it or share it among their friends.
- Run a Facebook Ad: this offers another way of targeting people to like your page, by setting up a Facebook Ad and selecting Facebook page likes as your objectives. You can also use Custom Audiences through your Facebook Ads Manager to grow your page likes and make your ads more efficient by finding relevant people.