Facebook has become the enemy for most businesses over the last few years. Organic reach has crashed for pages, publishers are loosing advertising revenue and people feel their privacy is being abused.
You’ve heard people say “Organic Facebook Reach is dead” and “It’s pay-to-play, now”. Those people are wrong.
I’d like to point towards my own Facebook Business page – I grew it from nothing to over 1500 followers in under four months – which is huge for a tiny stationery store in New Zealand – and I didn’t pay a cent for advertising.
Yeah, but how?
Jump to Level 1 – Earning Clicks & Clickthroughs on Facebook Posts
Jump to Level 2 – Earning Reactions & Comments On Facebook Posts
Jump to Level 3 – Earning Tags & Shares on Facebook Posts
Jump to Final Thoughts section
While smaller pages might not have as many followers (and note, the goal isn’t always more followers), following my strategies gets a consistent 40 per cent reach on posts, which means more potential followers. And for those of you who are still cynical…
It doesn’t matter how big or small your account is, you can still achieve insane reach for your Facebook posts WITHOUT paying for advertisements.
So why am I not even reaching a quarter of my followers?
Are you ready for some #toughlove? Your posts aren’t reaching anyone because your content isn’t resonating with them.
You’re not giving your followers a reason to click, comment or share it, which means low reach.
It’s not enough to just post something and walk away…
In this internet age, we’re fighting for attention. And not just any attention, but the attention of our ideal audience – the kind that are going to buy what we’ve got to sell. You need to create a connection with them.
But while you’re building those relationships, you also need to play the Facebook Game – otherwise known as implementing what you learned in Psychology 101.
Facebook rewards posts and pages which, I’m sure you know by now, gain lots of engagement.
But what does that mean, exactly?
Engagement is referring to the amount of people who click on your post, spend time reading or watching it, react, comment and share it.
In this post, I’m going to break down what you need to achieve to #win and how to get there. Don’t aim for all of them at once, but pick one level at a time and focus on that. If you implement these ideas with consistency and faith, you’ll start to see your Facebook page blossom.
Note: Facebook’s algorithm works like a snowball. The better your past posts have performed, the more your posts will be shown in the future. It takes time and patience to slowly build that trust with Facebook and your audience, but it is possible and you can do it! Just take it one step at a time.
If you’re reading this still thinking that Facebook is just trying to screw you for your cash, I urge you to scroll straight to the bottom of this post and read my #toughlove section before getting into the article.
While we’re here – there’s no point attracting followers to your page if you haven’t set it up for maximum impact. Download my Facebook Business Page Upgrade Checklist and set yourself up for success so when those followers start rolling in, you’re ready for them!
Earning Clicks & Clickthroughs on Facebook Posts
We all run businesses, right? Our ultimate goal is to get people on our website, buying our stuff!
If people click to “read more” of your post, and actually stick around to read it (and hopefully some comments, too) Facebook likes that and will reward your post by showing it to more potential readers.
The great thing is, if people click on your links to get through to your website and take the time to check it out, Facebook thinks* it must be an okay post and will boost its reach. It’s a win-win!
*I use the word “think” loosely – I don’t believe computers or technology “think”, they just process information and respond accordingly. But let’s not dive into a Philosophical argument right now…
On the other hand, if people click through to your website and immediately click back into Facebook, that’s going to earn your page a big black mark from Facebook. Not just for this post either, but for future links you share.
Facebook wants people to enjoy using it, which means it needs to avoid filling your feed with crappy, spammy posts. And we’ve all seen them – the articles which promise one thing and deliver another once they finally open. Or they force you to click through a million pages to read all the content.
If all you ever came across on your feed were these kinds of low-quality posts, you wouldn’t hang around on Facebook too long.
So Facebook decides what are good quality links verses bad quality links by the level of engagement (there’s that pesky word again), including how many people click and stay on your post for a decent amount of time.
So what does this mean?
It means you have to a) give them a reason to click on your link and b) give them a reason to stay.
Note: the link doesn’t have to be yours, but it has to be good. Whether you’re creating or curating content, the rules remain the same.
a) Give them a reason to click.
The first thing to think about is what makes you click on a post?
To start with, the subject has to be something your audience are interested in – don’t go sharing posts about cars when your community is focused around flowers…
Now here’s the tricky part. Make sure the headline and status piques your interest and leaves you wanting more.
For example, let’s say you have a blog post with 13 travel tips. What makes your travel tips stand out from everyone else’s?
Here’s where science and data meets art…
Which are you more likely to click on? “Read Our Top 13 Travel Tips” or “13 Travel Tips That Will Make You Feel Smart”?
If you picked the second, you’re in the majority.
But why does it work?
I’m not a psychologist – in fact, I studied philosophy at University – but I’m willing to bet that people want to feel smarter from reading your post and learning something, or want to feel smart by finding something on your list they they already knew, or want to feel smart by proving you wrong. Whatever the reason, they’re going to click and read it.
Just to give you a hand, Buzzsumo analysed over 100 million headlines and here’s what they found:
The exception to this rule is, of course, newsworthy stories. So local or big events, emergency callouts and stories about notable people within your audience’s community don’t tend to need any extra tease to get people to click. And that’s what you’re doing, you’re teasing your audience enough for them to click.
Pair it with a great quote from the article in your status, or a question about the article that makes people feel like they need to know what’s in it.
But isn’t that just clickbait?
Clickbait has been given a bad name by low-quality sites who exploited the same behavioural psychology to get people to click on spammy articles. But it’s the same thing – you’re baiting your hook to catch a fish. But here’s where part b) becomes important.
b) Give them a reason to stay.
Always give value. Is your content helpful, entertaining or newsworthy? If you answered no to that question, start again.
One of the worst things you can do for your social game is post content for the sake of it. There are so many companies out there who just regurgitate blog post after blog post and wonder why it’s not giving them any return.
So let’s break this down for both your own content, and content you’re curating from other sites.
Be helpful – This can be a how-to, or an infographic, or any piece of content which assists the reader with something and adds to their knowledge base.
This post, for example, is helpful.
If you’re genuinely trying to teach your readers something, you’re probably being helpful.
Be entertaining – Are you making your audience laugh or captivating them through pretty pictures or art? Some people are naturally good at this and some audiences love this type of content (it’s what Instagram is built on).
The success of Facebook pages such as “Men’s Humor” is not a fluke… People like to be entertained and, if you can create or curate content that specifically entertains your audience, make sure to include it in your social strategy – just make sure it’s specific to your audience.
Be newsworthy – People like to be informed. They are keen to know about what their president does or a crash blocking the main road. If you’re stuck for content, scan the news sites of your audience to find a recent development they will care about.
This is easy if you’re a hyper-local or specific business, but don’t share posts you think are interesting if your audience isn’t into it. For example, I won’t be sharing a story about a firefighter in Oregon on a page full of knitters from New Zealand.
Word of warning – avoid being controversial unless that’s your business’ voice. Just ask yourself if your average reader cares. Not if they should care. If the answer is yes, go ahead and post!!
Earn Clicks & Clickthroughs To Boost Your Organic Reach:
- Choose a great quality articles or blog posts – is it helpful, entertaining or newsworthy?
- Take the time to plan your headline and status to tease your audience – is there a reason to click?
- Analyse what worked well and figure out why.
Want some support, feedback and your own business-squad to bounce ideas off? Join our Women’s Business Accelerator ???? For Female Entrepreneurs Who Hustle.
Earning Reactions & Comments On Facebook Posts
Ever find yourself scrolling through your newsfeed, when you come across a post you just have to take the time to comment on? If you answered no, that’s okay, so some people are just not engagers (hello, fellow lurker).
But you’ll have definitely seen them, the unicorn-like posts that have millions of comments and even more reactions. What makes a post so irresistible that someone has to interact with it?
I’ll the the experts at Buzzfeed help out with this one. If you have the time, I highly recommend you watch this 11-minute Ted Talk about what makes something go viral by one of the company’s publishers, Dao Nguyen.
Go on – I’ll still be here when you finish.
For those of you who don’t like digesting information from a video, here are some of the bits worth talking about.
When talking about a live video of goats in the boss’ office, where everyone was just waiting for him to walk in and react:
“Our team wasn’t really thinking about what the video was about. We were thinking about what the people watching the video were thinking and feeling.… they were excited because they were participating in the shared anticipation of something that was about to happen. They were part of a community, just for an instant, and it made them happy.”
On going viral:
“The question I get most frequently is: How do you make something go viral? The question itself is misplaced; it’s not about the something. It’s about what the people doing the something, reading or watching — what are they thinking?”
“Don’t just think about the subject matter; think also about, and in fact, primarily about, the job that your content is doing for the reader or the viewer.”
Like our headline section above and getting people to stay on your content, the similar rules apply for any kind of content – videos, pictures, statuses…
Are you prompting a response with your content? There are a few ways to do this…
1 – Straight-up ask.
Like giveaways and polls, it doesn’t hurt to throw in the odd post that plainly asks for engagement – but it needs to be genuine. Your audience still needs a reason to interact.
So how can you get them involved?
Get them to connect with you and your business by asking for feedback on something. I did this with my own company, asking people to help me name my washi tape collection with the promise to gift them a voucher if we used their idea.
Please note, this is not a competition – Facebook isn’t a super fan of those. I avoid using words such as “win” or “comment” in the description and I don’t force people to like or share anything to take part. I don’t even link to the product I’m trying to rename!
I simply ask for my audience’s help and include a picture of what they’re naming. It’s by far the easiest and most fulfilling way to build an engaged following (they come up with some seriously punny names, which I love) by getting your customers to feel like they’re part of your business somehow, that they’re on the inside.
2 – Be so awesome and helpful, they want you to notice them
There’s something really powerful about being a brand people want to be a part of. If your content is consistently helpful and engaging, and you interact with everyone on your page, people will start to crave that attention.
They’ll start saying things like “This is so awesome, thanks for this,” or “I’ll have to try this next time!”. If they start doing that, it’s because they’ve connected with you.
So, how do you get them to do that? Make it personal. Make them like you by being awesome and helpful.
Make them feel special, use their names when you respond to their comments. Remember when they last commented. Show them the behind the scenes stuff, the real-life stuff. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. What TV shows are you watching and how can you make it relevant to your audience who are also watching?
How can you expect your audience to be real with you if you’re not real with them?
Can you take it one step further and, when sharing a personal story with a photo, gif or video, can you relate it back to your ideal follower somehow? Can you make the content that is about you, about them?
If you crack that code, you’ll be onto a winner. Like I say in my Facebook groups, to win at social, you need to BE social.
3 – Be controversial
This tip is definitely not for everyone, but for news sites, personalities or some brands, being controversial can be the biggest engagement weapon.
Just look at Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
People can’t help but tell people when they’re wrong. They also can’t help but tell someone they already know something, or know something better.
If this is one of your strategies, don’t be frightened of controversy. It’s healthy to debate – just don’t troll for the sake of it. And remember to make it relevant to your audience.
Maybe it’s about a new painting technique everyone loves that you think is overrated, or something you believe is incorrect said by a person who is big in your industry – whatever it is, just make sure your audience cares.
Earn Comments & Reactions To Boost Your Organic Reach:
- When curating or creating content, ask yourself what YOU can do for the reader.
- Are you being awesome, or just average?
- Before you hit publish, ask yourself why would someone engage. If you can’t think of a solid reason, start again.
If this is all a bit too overwhelming, join one of my online courses and I’ll personally guide you through it all, step-by-step!
Earning Tags & Shares on Facebook Posts
One of the most interesting things that encourages interaction with a post is if it boosts or supports that person’s identity.
I’m going to continue to use Dao’s Ted Talk because it’s just so full of fascinating talking points.
“People are increasingly using media to explain, ‘This is who I am. This is my upbringing, this is my culture,this is my fandom, this is my guilty pleasure, and this is how I laugh about myself.’ ”
It’s why posts such as “32 Memes You Should Send Your Sister Immediately” do well. Everyone who has a sister, or a BFF they’re close enough to, can relate to the content inside it. They want to be part of the community who “gets it”, and they share it with their sister, too, because – well, of course they do.
This is why it’s so important to know who your audience is. And you’ve heard this a million times – what do they like? Where do they hang out? Who do they follow? – but go even deeper and ask yourself, what sort of things can they identify with? How do they laugh at themselves? How do they connect with the people around them?
“This list got three million views,” says Dao. “Why is that? Because it did, very well, several jobs: ‘This is us.’ ‘Connect with family.’ ‘Makes me laugh.'”
A Buzzfeed quiz titled “Pick an Outfit and We’ll Guess Your Exact Age and Height”, gained 10-million views. Why?
“Turns out that this quiz went extremely viral among a group of 55-and-up women… who were surprised and delighted that BuzzFeed determined that they were 28 and 5’9.
“‘They put me at 34 years younger and seven inches taller. I dress for comfort and do not give a damn what anyone says. Age is a state of mind.’ This quiz was successful not because it was accurate, but because it allowed these ladies to do a very important job — the humblebrag.”
There is so much juice in that video it’s so hard to keep it short, but you get the idea.
The more you can get your content to connect with people, and connect people, the more engagement you’re going to experience.
Okay, so how do you do that?
Find or make posts that shows you “get” them, that you’re all part of a special club.
Allow your audience to connect and subtly humblebrag:
Bonus, if something is cute and funny, people like to be the entertaining one in their group…
Earn Tags & Shares To Boost Organic Reach:
- How does your post play into your audience’s identity?
- Does your post connect your page with your audience, or your audience with their family and friends?
- Can you list at least one reason why people would share and tag others into the post? If not, start again.
As a social media marketer, I have heard numerous companies complain about how Facebook is screwing them and forcing them to pay to reach their audience.
I have one thing to say to those people – what entitles you to people’s attention?
The answer, my friends, is nothing.
The problem isn’t Facebook. The problem is people’s ego making them think they deserve to have everyone rushing to their websites, when they don’t even take the time to give their audience something awesome and valuable.
Growing a solid social presence takes time, effort and commitment. The best social influencers connect, engage and nurture their audience every.single.day…
Are you prepared to do the same?
If so, sign up to one of my online courses where I share even more techniques for a successful business page.