We’ve all heard about declining Facebook organic reach, advertising on Facebook is getting more expensive, and some are even deleting their Facebook Page. Do you ever feel like just giving up on Facebook?
I did, but I didn’t, and Maximize Social Business is now thriving on Facebook as a result of the advice I am going to give you.
You obviously shouldn’t give up either. Here’s a step-by-step guide as to how you can use a great Facebook app called Post Planner to bring you new Facebook Business Page engagement like it did for me.
Before I start with the step-by-step guide, let’s first clear the air about Facebook in 2015:
Facebook is Still King of Social Media
The first step is a mental one: Is your target audience on Facebook? If you’re targeting teenagers, you might want to focus more on other platform, but if you are targeting individuals in their 20s and above, Facebook still has got you covered: At last count Facebook users in the United States alone were at 191 million users, comprising 60% of the American population. For those of you who remember what they were, Facebook has become the White Pages of social media. If there’s any one network any given individual are on, chances are its Facebook. For this reason alone, Facebook simply cannot be ignored as part of a social media strategy.
Facebook Has Matured – for the Better
Half of American Facebook users are now 35 or older. With this maturity of Facebook has come a Facebook audience that is also more mature in how they use the platform, making it an easier platform for businesses to engage with their audience. Case in point: More companies are now successfully launching social media customer support on Facebook, something that you didn’t see happen a few years ago when many feared that it might become a PR disaster. KLM is a great example of a company that just launched 24/7 customer support on their US Facebook Page.
This maturity also means that the convergence of information and communication that I often talk about has found its way to Facebook. 30% of Americans are consuming news on Facebook, and based on anecdotal evidence from moderating a few panels at the recent Corporate Social Media Summit, I met a few brands that continue to have Facebook as their number one traffic source in social media, some even counting it as their number one traffic source period. Remember: Pinterest is on the uptake in social media referral traffic, but Facebook continues to be number one.
Hopefully you have a new energy and commitment to tackle your declining Facebook Business Page engagement! Now it’s time to get started with Post Planner!
1. Get Post Planner!
I have no relationship with Post Planner (although when you click on that link above, it is an affiliate link in full disclosure – helps to pay for web hosting), but I enjoy working with tools that are focused on one platform, and Post Planner is clearly focused on making its customers successful on Facebook. From compelling blog posts with excellent advice to fanatic customer service to a great Facebook Group with realtime updates, Post Planner is a great partner to have in your Facebook marketing.
You don’t have to have Post Planner to do the 9-step process that I am going to describe, but it will undoubtedly save you time and make you more efficient in your Facebook marketing. Remember, people don’t scale, so use the right tools efficiently!
2. Understanding the Different Post Types
I assume you already understand the existence of the Facebook New Feed algorithm that we refer to as Edgerank. I want you to now consider that each one of your fans has a relationship with each different type of post that you publish on Facebook:
- Status Updates
- Native Videos
For the purpose of this post we’ll ignore offers and events as these will be more campaign related. We will also ignore native videos, but if video is part of your social media strategy, you already know that at the present native videos reach more fans on Facebook than any other post type – and it is the number one thing recommend to do in our Jim Belosic’s 5 Things Pro Facebook Marketers Do That Most Page Admins Don’t post.
For most businesses not posting video, your posting strategy will be – and should be – divided into status updates, photos, and links.
3. What Makes Sense for Your Page?
We all know that photos, which used to be the King of Facebook Engagement, have seen their reach wain. That doesn’t mean that you should give up on posting photos, but if there is one type of post that successful brands on Facebook have been reducing, it is the status update. This excerpt from one of Simply Measured’s definitive reports on Facebook shows the breakdown of posting types by the Interbrand 100 in Q1 of 2015:
What is most surprising is the emergence of links as the 2nd most popular type of content to share on Facebook. As Simply Measured say in the same blog post,
Links account for a 35% share of all posts, but in the media segment, they make up 76%.
The media brands from the Interbrand 100 (Disney, MTV, Discovery, and Thomson Reuters) each post an average more than 50 links per week.
When I visited Facebook headquarters in late of 2013, there was still some debate as to whether you should post a link as a photo or as a link. They made it very clear to me that if you wanted actual clicks on your link, it should be posted as a link, and that the algorithm will optimize it accordingly.
If every company has become the media and is using Twitter to post news, the time may have come for you to consider a similar strategy on Facebook. That was the initial approach that I took. But you don’t know until you start to post different types of content, which is exactly what I recommend you do, as ever Page will have a different relationship with your fans based on each type of different post type and nature of your content itself.
Based on organic reach, it was clear that my fans clearly didn’t like my status updates, and thus I stopped posting them all together. Furthermore, although some of my photos have been well-received, more and more of them have not, to where I have recently changed the mix of my page to be 75% links and 25% photos – and based on recent activity I expect that the ratio of photos posted will continue to drop as I further optimize my Facebook content strategy.
4. Curate Strategically
I first introduced Post Planner as a killer content curation tool sometime ago. Since then, Post Planner has added another killer functionality to their killer content curation tool: A data-driven approach to help you curate posts that have already been successful on other Facebook pages. Of course, there is no guarantee that these same posts will do well on your own page, but it is a good way of using content that is already performing well inside the Facebook community.
Before I show you a screenshot of what this functionality looks like, I will preface by saying that companies should start to take a similar content curation process like they use for Twitter. While I don’t recommend my 9-1-1 approach for Twitter, which would have you publishing 3rd party content 9 out of 11 posts, I do recommend that you revamp engagement by giving Facebook users what they want, and that is not always your content.
I currently publish curated content 50% to 75% of the time, or 2 to 3 posts daily are curated. This might seem a lot to you, but similar to Twitter, the more engagement your curated content gets the more engagement your content will get.
Here is an example of how Post Planner helps you find the best quotes to publish that have received the most engagement on Facebook over the last week:
Quotes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and fortunately Post Planner has you covered with its preset folders of content as well as the ability for you to curate and find popular content from any Twitter user, Instagrammer, Facebook Page or RSS Feed! Here’s an example of the social media folder which allows me to easily curate content that is proven popular on Facebook:
The Instagram feature is pretty cool in that it allows you to find deeply targeted posts on Instagram because of how people use hashtags there. For instance here’s what a search for Instagram posts using #disnelyand turned up:
All it takes is one click and a comment to then add this photo, with a link leading back to the original Instagram post, into your Facebook queue.
5. Repost Your Successes
This is a relatively new feature that Post Planner has added which I am absolutely in love with: The ability to publish content in your Post Planner “buffer” and then have it republished back into the queue (more on that below).
For those of you not familiar with how Post Planner’s queue works, it allows you to go beyond what Buffer has by allowing you to also determine which type of content to publish at what time (as determined by the photo, link and status update icons):
Let’s get back to the subject of reposting. Did I just recommend you repost your content on Facebook? Absolutely! If you read our Jim Belosic’s post on How to Beat the Newest Facebook Algorithm Change late last month, you would have already been following this advice.
Think about it: Very rarely if ever will you have a post that will be seen by more than half or even a quarter of your fans. So if it makes sense to repost content on Twitter, why not on Facebook? What I have learned from my own experiments is the key to doing this successfully is a combination of the following:
- It goes without saying, but only repost successful content regardless of source, not merely self-promotional content.
- While on Twitter you can get away with posting twice even the same day, I try to wait a month before reposting on Facebook so that even if my fans happened to have seen the content they might have forgotten they saw it on my page.
- For this reason, every piece of content you repost must be evergreen in nature (see our recent post from Leah Mazur on reposting evergreen content on Twitter for more information about this concept).
How to determine what content is successful? One easy way is to get into a weekly social media routine like I have where I look at the organic reach of all of my posts from the previous week and take the average. Any post that got more than average reach and is evergreen gets reposted. Any reposted post that gets less than average reach, on the other hand, gets deleted from the queue as now the content has become “stale.” Over time you will begin to build a pipeline of reposted posts in your queue, and can achieve a month-long pipeline of content like I have been able to maintain for a few months now spending a small amount of time on Post Planner and Facebook Insights on a weekly basis.
Of course, looking at those that rise above – and fall below – this average reach is the secret to optimizing your entire Facebook content strategy, not just the content you decide to repost. Celebrate your victories and learn from your mistakes and never stop optimizing in PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Action) style. Over the past five weeks I have seen my average organic reach per post more than double. Yours can too.
6. Stop Automating
For awhile I was only using Post Planner because it supported the automatic publishing of blog posts from this blog using RSS. While reposting as a type of automation seems to work because the content itself is not automated, automated content simply doesn’t work on Facebook. For my own page, it raised two issues:
- The message above the link was merely the title of the post. I wasn’t having a conversation with my community.
- The timing was synchronized with the publication of my posts, which at 5:45 A.M. Pacific Time might not have been the most appropriate for my audience.
It takes an extra minute of time, but now I simply add the published blog post to my Post Planner queue to publish next and add a comment introducing it to the Facebook community. The results? A not-surprising huge improvement in clicks and engagement.
It’s not rocket science, but it bears reminding for some that are still automating their Facebook publishing in a similar way. And with the way Edgerank works, badly performing posts will make it harder for your other posts to perform well.
7. Don’t be Afraid to Post More
I reflect back on that Simply Measured post which talked about media brands publishing more than 50 links a week. I was publishing, including photos, about 25 times a week and thought that that was a lot. Then I went back and looked at the competitive Facebook Pages I logged into my Facebook Insights and realized that those that were getting the largest engagement per fan were also ones that were publishing a lot.
In fact, of the 30+ pages that I compare my performance to, I found that the top pages in terms of engagement per fan, with an exception here and there, were publishing anywhere from between 55 and 75 times per week – and were still getting engagement from 5+% of their fans! Clearly some of this engagement might be of the paid type, but once you have content that is engaging your audience, don’t be afraid to post more!
I just started publishing 30 times a week, up from 25, last week, and while average engagement per post dropped nearly 10%, I’m still getting more engagement than I had two weeks ago.
8. Boost to Maintain Engagement for YOUR Content
Is your Facebook Fanbase worth $20 a week to you? If so, spend that amount of money on a weekly basis and boost your content that you find is successful during your weekly audit as indicated by reach, shares, or clicks and amplify it to ensure that it gets exposed to your fans, fans and friends of fans, or target audience. Whether you create a dark post, an ad through Power Editor, an ad through a 3rd party tool, or simply utilize Facebook’s standard boost tool, try to invest a little money to ensure that your weekly post reach is greater than your number of fans. This will maximize your chance for engagement and ensure that your content is being exposed to your fans or whatever target audience you decide on.
Once your organic engagement picks up you might not need to do this on a weekly basis, or you might need to play “catch up” during the first few weeks. But it doesn’t cost a lot of money to ensure that your content gets seen, and assuming you’ve followed the steps until now, you should be getting additional engagement at an appropriate level for your boosted content, which will help improve the future organic reach of your posts.
9. Breath New Life Into Your Engagement
While some of your fans might enjoy your new publishing, there will be those “older” fans who simply have lost touch with your brand in the newsfeed algorithm. That’s why, when revamping your Facebook business page for engagement, it makes sense to advertise to acquire new and relevant fans that will engage with your content. I find that the best way to do this is to target competitive Facebook pages in your industry not by number of fans, but by those that have engaging fan bases as defined by number of engaged fans divided by total number of fans. Taking it one step further, find those engaging pages where a lot of the fans are sharing a lot of the Page’s content. These sharers are the best fans to have to ensure your content reaches more Facebook users. This targeted strategy has helped me improve Lifetime Post Consumptions per link post by more than 3X since the beginning of the year.
What about the other results? My main objective for Facebook is website traffic generation back to this website. The results have been staggering, comparing the results of the most recent 3 months with the same 3 months from last year:
- Facebook overcoming Twitter as the number one source of social referral traffic
- Facebook now counts for 1/3 of social referral traffic
- Most importantly, I saw a 173% increase of website traffic from Facebook
All for spending maybe 30 minutes to an hour a week on Post Planner and Facebook Insights.
This blog is very much a source of B2B content, so if Maximize Social Business can see these results, your company can to.
Won’t you give this 9-step process a try and breath some new life into your Facebook Business Page engagement?