A common problem people mention time and again is “I have no idea what to post about and can’t seem to gain any traction with my social media activity”.
At Lilac James we manage many client’s social media accounts and Facebook almost always features in our social media strategies.
In this blog I’m going to outline some of the things we do at Lilac James to consistently develop Facebook organic reach and engagement for our clients. I hope it helps someone out there.
What is organic reach and why is it important?
Quite simply, organic Facebook reach is how many people will see your Facebook activity without you paying a single penny.
Unfortunately, to increase relevance and get more people using their paid advertising channels, Facebook has been slowly eroding the organic reach of Facebook posts over the last few years. Some studies now suggest organic Facebook reach could now be as low at 2-3%. So for every 100 followers you have, perhaps as little as 2 or 3 could see your organic post.
Does this mean that organic is now dead? Absolutely not.
Study after study routinely suggests that one of the biggest factors in Facebook’s algorithm is engagement. Quite simply, Facebook… just like Google, wants to deliver the most relevant content to its user. So if people are engaging with your content, it is more likely to be delivered to them going forward.
You will notice this in your own Facebook timeline, with the businesses whose content you engage with coming up again and again in your timeline.
So how do you get people to engage?
The bad news is, there is no single and simple answer to this, each business is different and your customers will be unique to you.
What will make one businesses followers engage, will not necessarily work for another. So you will need to conduct a lot of trial and error to create data, which you can then measure, analyse and draw conclusions about what is working and what is not.
Many businesses will already have an active social media presence on Facebook so you will already have data to analyse, ask yourself the following questions:
What type of content is my audience already engaging with the most?
Is it video, livestreams, articles/blogs, pictures, quiz, giveaways, questions, comparisons, resharing other content, sharing links?
What days and times am I posting my content with the most engagement?
What is the length of the text or video?
What are the general themes of the content with most engagement? Is it bad news, good news, funny content, behind the scenes, educational etc…
All these details are important to fine tune your Facebook content strategy.
Identify what works… and do more of that.
Slowly but surely you will optimise your Facebook engagement and attract more followers if you continue the process of posting regular content, testing different content styles, times of day, days of the week, measuring and analysing your results… and repeating the process based on what is working best.
Remember to experiment, just because you’re doing more of what they like now that doesn’t mean it’s as good as it can get, so try new things and experiment.
And keep it fresh, never get complacent, keep monitoring your engagement levels and be prepared to react if they drop off. Audiences can get bored and cease engagement if you keep doing too much of the same thing.
Should I copy what my competitors are doing?
You should never outright copy what your competitors are doing, your business is unique and therefore your customers and followers are unique too.
But you should always look to model success.
So it’s always a worthwhile exercise to conduct competitor analysis. Seek to identify which competitors are excelling in this area and get a sense of what their social media activity looks like.
You can go through the same questions above and analyse their activity and look to model their success. This is particularly relevant if you’re just starting your Facebook strategy and don’t have your own data to analyse.
I’d suggest competitor analysis whether you have your own data to study or not. Generally speaking, the more information you have to analyse and formulate a strategy the better.
There are several software solutions online where you can review the website traffic sources your competitors are receiving. www.similarweb.com will tell you where their traffic is coming from, what their top blog and social media posts are and it has a 7 day free trial which you can use for your information gathering.
What does the evidence say about maximising Facebook engagement?
The evidence is clear, video is KING!
And it’s not even close.
A 2018 study by BuzzSumo found that on average video achieves 59% more engagement on Facebook than any other post type.
Pictures are widely accepted by marketers to achieve good engagement however BuzzSumo found video outperformed pictures by a whopping 73%.
The BuzzSumo study also found the optimal length of a Facebook video is between 3-4 minutes. But I must stress, each audience is unique so do test what works, but use this data as a guide.
We must always remember Facebook is a social network and people are on there to engage and be entertained. It’s not generally where people stop to watch long pieces of content.
If you’re struggling for content ideas then think education and entertainment.
Ask yourself what questions and problems your target customer routinely has, then answer those via a short video. I’ve asked myself the exact same question when thinking of ideas for this blog, people always ask us how to increase Facebook engagement, so here we are.
A fantastic tool for understanding what questions your target market are asking is www.answerthepublic.com
If you enter a search term, it will instantly tell you all the questions people are asking search engines about that search term. Once you have your questions, start answering them with your content.
The next best post type for engagement are Questions followed closely by Photos.
Questions are simple, by utilising questions you’re quite literally asking your followers to engage. It’s a fantastic way of making people feel involved by starting conversation and creating a sense of community. People love sharing their opinions and experiences and asking questions encourages them to do so.
A great example of this was with one of our own clients, a national waste disposal supplier. During the elections many parties were pushing green policies and one party suggested making it illegal to export waste, we shared an article from the BBC about this policy and simply asked their audience what they thought? It sparked great debate and engagement.
Pictures are a great way of maximising reach and impact of your information. I would suggest if you’re sharing information, always include an image to maximise effectiveness.
Your images have got to be high quality, when people are scrolling their Facebook timeline, they’re making thousands of micro decisions about what to read and what not, quite simply, low quality images won’t grab their attention.
There are lots of apps out there to assist with image and meme creation, Canva is a great free version.
10 other content ideas
You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to content. As a general rule you need to understand your target customer, what are their problems, concerns and what information they want from you… then seek to provide it.
Share other people’s content - A really good way of doing this is to share other content that may be relevant to them, this generally takes far less time and is best to back up with questions and perhaps your own spin on the content to increase engagement.
Post what’s trending - Naturally you only want to be doing this if it has relevance to your audience but posting about what is trending is understood to give you algorithmic advantages.
Share behind the scenes - People buy people, and Facebook’s main goal is ‘connecting people’. Before a client makes a purchasing decision they need to know, like and trust your brand. Sharing behind the scenes content is a great way of achieving this.
Get to know your followers - You can quite simply ask questions about them, their lives, their opinions, their problems etc… For example, if your business operates in the travel sector you could simply ask ‘if you could go anywhere right now, where would that be’ or ‘what are your top tips for travelling with kids’.
Get your offers out there - The purpose of good business social media is to engage your potential customers in order to build trust and confidence in your brand and a desire to purchase your products. So people have to know what you’re selling, never be afraid to get your offers, products and services out there.
Share testimonials - As part of your general marketing strategy you should be cultivating reviews, testimonials and case studies. Share these with your audience.
Make your customers a celebrity - Share stories about the successes your customers enjoy, one of our social media clients operates a range of serviced offices. This is perfect to celebrate the success their clients enjoy, the growth of their business and the positive experience and benefits they have working in shared offices.
Post blog snippets - If you’re writing blogs, they’re likely too long to hold people attention on a platform like Facebook, so take snippets, and share the content which should be of value to your audience.
Go LIVE! - Facebook live feature has as good, if not better reach than video. So if you’re feeling brave, don’t hesitate to go live and share something entertaining and of value.
Do giveaways - What would interest your audience, in exchange for a like and share, your audience can have the opportunity to win a product or service. This is a great way to increase your organic following. You can do these giveaways in line with common occasions such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Black Friday.
This is not an exhaustive list but should give anyone reading a good start and a few ideas when creating Facebook content hoping to maximise engagement.
A well developed Facebook strategy will include many different types of content and types of post with varying purpose. To maximise your chances of success you have to post regularly and analyse your results, tweaking your strategy as you go and never get complacent.
Developing a bigger and bigger audience will bring value to your business as the business with higher visibility will generally outperform those with less however to maximise your effectiveness you need to be integrating your Facebook strategy into your wider Marketing strategy and ensure that it works towards your identified marketing goals.
So be sure to include your calls to action, making it clear to your audience what next steps they can take, whether that be signing up to an email list, booking initial consultations, visiting your website or purchasing a product.
If you would like to speak to Lilac James about managing your own social media channels towards your marketing goals then please get in contact direct via firstname.lastname@example.org.