Chapter 2: Promoting Yourself on Facebook
Using Facebook to promote your goods and services is easy, but there is a culture to the internet that makes it different from anything that has existed before.
The goal of business is customer engagement. That might sound like some New Age way of saying, “I want them to buy things,” but it’s really not.
Customer engagement is getting people to interact with your brand, even if they aren’t buying it. This can mean that you want them to visit your website, to play brand-related games, or that you want them to use cool computer wallpaper that features your brand.
One place that this type of engagement is obvious is with movies. The latest Guardians of the Galaxy movie or Tolkien-inspired fantasy film will get people engaged by doing all sorts of things. Posting the trailer when it comes out, using the images on their Facebook profiles, and even dressing up like the characters as part of a Facebook contest. We don’t often think of movies as a commodity, but in reality, it is a good that we buy and they want us to engage with it.
A recent and important change:
On Thursday, January 11, Facebook announced a major change to the way that people’s newsfeed will display information. These paragraphs from the Verge sum it up well:
“Facebook plans major changes to the News Feed in 2018 designed to promote more “meaningful” interactions, the company said Thursday. Facebook plans to promote posts that generate discussions over those that are passively consumed, it said. Company executives say they hope the changes will make people feel better about using Facebook, following a year in which critics have warned of its negative effects on society and high-profile former employees have distanced themselves from their creation.
“We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post. Zuckerberg said that the vast increase in posts from publishers, both article links and video, had tilted the News Feed experience to something more passive and less satisfying. The changes announced Thursday are designed to favor posts that spur conversations.”
What all of this means is that posts that simply sit there to be read or that overtly advertise a product will likely get left behind in the mix of stories. They won’t even show in people’s newsfeeds.
What does this mean for organic Facebook marketing? In truth, not a lot. It appears that the algorithm change is only having a moderate effect on most business. Primarily because the smaller businesses tend to post things that people want to interact with. Larger businesses that simply post advertisement-type posts might have a greater struggle, but the rules haven’t changed so significantly that you can’t still make it work well.
Here are a few simple ideas that might pass the test:
- Surveys – Ask people’s opinions that causes them to interact with the post will be helpful.
- Contests – Giveaways that let customers like and share for a chance to win something will be a huge win for organic marketing.
- Controversial content – The most interacted-with content is often the stuff that offers an opinion. This tends to get people to comment or converse.
While this change hasn’t settled down enough for us to know for sure what it’s going to do to organic Facebook marketing, the fundamentals are unlikely to change. As I write this, I will give you the best advice that I can base on the available information.
As the information is settling in and people are beginning to see the change, there has been a bit of a rebellion. For example, Seth Godin’s readers, who are all subscribed to this business page, wrote a collective letter to Facebook asking that users simply have more control, not have Facebook decide what is good and bad for them.
If you want me to help keep you updated, please just email me at <email> and I will try to keep everyone up-to-date via my blog and newsletters.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming!
The key to Facebook success is interaction. You want people to want to play your video, make comments, and share with their friends and more.
Here is a short list of some of the types of posts that tend to get a lot of interaction:
- Practical advice – This is especially true if it’s something that most people haven’t heard before.
- Surveys – People love to give opinions and this can be a great way to get people to interact and click on your posts.
- Funny things – Everyone loves to laugh. Funny gifs and videos always get shared around.
If you ask someone what they want from a post, they will tell you, “I want it to go viral.” What they really mean is that they want it to be popular. Popular is a realistic goal that you can plan for. Viral is, like Psy’s Gangnam Style video, something that takes off and gets a life of its own. You can’t plan for something to be viral, but you can make posts that will be popular.
There was no way for anyone to know that a Korean DJ would put out a silly song, “Gangnam Style”, and it would be the most viewed video on YouTube.
If you want your posts to move make them 1) unique, 2) interesting, and 3) sincere. Then learn what your readers like and give them more of that.
When to post
The eternal question is when to post? What time of day? How many times a day?
Posting every day, or every business day, is a great way to stay in touch, but it can get tedious.
The more balanced response is to temper how often you post with what you’re promoting. If you’re a law office, a couple of good, informative posts a week is probably good. Most people won’t subscribe to a lot of law offices, so you probably won’t lose them.
If you’re promoting an online store, you might want to post several times a day. You might post each day with promotions, care guides, and any other information that your readers might like. There is a lot more competition and noise out there, so you want to stay in front of your readers.
Remember, the key is unique, interesting, and sincere content.
A few other important notes:
- In general, keep it light. No depressing posts. No one wants to associate a brand with being down.
- No politics. In the politically-charged atmosphere, lots of folks try to escape that reality with their Facebook feed. Even people who agree with you might get annoyed.
The Three Tools on Facebook for Your Business
There are essentially three ways to promote your business on Facebook:
- Facebook Messenger
Pages – This is the tool that took a hit recently. Pages are specifically designed to promote a business. They are like your personal page, but they are set aside for non-living entities. It remains to be seen how much Facebook will change the pages to suit their new vision, but your page can be a great place to let people know that you know your business and to share interesting information.
Ads – This is where Facebook makes billions every week. Between Facebook and Google, they capture over 80% of all online advertising dollars. Facebook ads show up in the news feed, along with the side, on mobile devices, and even on Instagram. The most amazing part of Facebook ads is that you can target your customers down to a single zip code, education level, income level, and more. The amount of data is insane. The biggest problem is that knowing how to use those demographics takes time. If you don’t use them well, you can waste a lot of money very quickly.
Groups – This is the direction that Facebook and many outsiders are pushing business. More like a discussion forum than a page, the entire premise of a group is that it’s a conversation. Facebook wants to see people interact with other people and brands on the platform. A group for a business is an outstanding way to build loyalty. This is especially true if you have the opportunity for a lot of discussions. A law office or a massage therapist would do well in groups, giving advice and sharing the idea. Even a large beverage company can have an active group with people talking about cooking and drink recipes.
Facebook Messenger – One of the least utilized tools for marketing is Facebook Messenger. This is Facebook’s instant message system. If you get permission, this can be a great way to stay in touch with your followers. There are several applications that can help you send bulk messages on Messenger. You can also send bulk messages to anyone who is in a conversation your page. It can be a great way to get an easy response.