Gangar’s Guide To Social Media Success – Part II
This is the second in a 5-part series of weekly articles that will tell you everything you need to know about how to run a successful social media campaign.
If you missed out on part one last week, then have a look at it here for a more broad overview of what to consider when starting out on social media.
Part Two: Facebook
This week’s guide will focus specifically on techniques that will help you increase the effectiveness of you social media efforts on Facebook.
Facebook is still by far the most widely used social network site, with over 1 billion active users worldwide. It has provided a forum for interaction amongst individuals – to connect with friends and share experiences, it has also created an entirely new medium through which brands can connect with their audience. As a result of this, Facebook represents a real opportunity for businesses to increase their exposure and credibility online. Unsurprisingly many brands have flocked to the social media site in order to capitalise on this opportunity.
This guide’s aim is to show you a few techniques that will maximise the effectiveness of your online Facebook campaigns. Whenever you embark on a new marketing campaign it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the medium through which you are marketing. Strategy is the key to creating a fluent and effective message on social media, by considering a few simple things you will be able to establish your brand’s image in a manner that you want to.
When is the best time to post to Facebook?
The question of when to time your Facebook posts is one that many have tried to answer. Neil Patel from Quick Sprout claims that the days to post on Facebook are Thursdays and Fridays whilst Corey Eridon states that Wednesdays are the way forwards. The times at which people should post is also disputed, some claim that lunch breaks on weekdays are the best whilst others claim it is most effective to post first thing in the morning. With so many conflicting claims about how people should be using social media it can be difficult to work out a strategy for your own Facebook posts.
The truth is nobody really knows exactly when your followers or your target audience will be online. This is because every business has a slightly different demographic in its sites when they create a new Facebook page. Sure there may be a slight peak in the amount of people using Facebook at 3 o’clock on Wednesdays but this is by no means a guarantee that that peak will be mirrored by those who like or follow your page. The best way to find out when your audience is online is by looking at your Facebook “insights” page and going to the “posts” tab – here you will find a section called “When Your Fans Are Online”. Unsurprisingly this is probably your best bet when it comes to determining when to schedule your Facebook posts for. This page not only shows which days your fans are most active but also what times of day; allowing you to time your posts accordingly.
Another factor that you should consider is the type of posts that you save for specific times. For example if your insights tell you that you have a number of followers online during their lunch breaks at work, then you may want to consider posting a video or a shorter article. Your users will probably not want to scroll through an entire 5000 word article when they are taking a break from their work. Conversely, if your audience are coming online in the evening after dinner, this may be a more appropriate time to post more in-depth pieces as your users will have more time on their hands. If you are aiming at professionals who will be commuting to work every day, you may want to time your posts to coincide with this.
Tip: None of these are set in stone, there is no exact answer to when you should post. The best thing to do is use the information available to you to try and understand your audience.
Tip: By posting regularly you will spread your bets and increase the likelihood of your posts being seen in people’s news feeds.
How to get a higher organic reach on your posts
Organic reach is the term given to the number of people that have seen your post appear on their newsfeed. This is different to paid reach which refers to the number of people that have seen your post appear as a promoted suggestion. Organic reach obviously has the advantage of being free but it is also harder to achieve because you can’t just pay to make it happen.
As a general rule, organic reach has been falling for most Facebook pages in the last few years. This main reason for this is that there are simply much more Facebook posts now than there ever have been before. This means that space on somebody’s news feed has never been more hotly contested – gone are the days when your newsfeed could display every post that you are signed up to view. The average person’s newsfeed could show 1,500 different posts every time you load it, however in reality your newsfeed will only display about 300 of these.
One of the best ways to achieve a higher organic reach on your posts is to encourage a higher rate of engagement with your posts. Engagements are user based interactions such as likes, shares or comments. Similarly to the way that Google uses links as a factor that determines the quality and reliability of a web page, Facebook uses engagements as signals for quality posts. The more people interact with or share your content the more likely it is to appear in a number of people’s newsfeeds. When it works, this can be a very effective way of marketing because it shows new users that your brand has been endorsed by somebody they know.
To improve the amount of engagements that your posts receive you should consider posting things that actively seek out interactions with your audience. Try posting links with that ask your followers for their opinions on things or their personal experiences. When you’re doing this be aware that people on social media are more likely to respond to questions that can be answered quickly or even with just one word.
Tip: Facebook has recently introduced a “question” feature which allows you to post a question with multiple choice answers, these can be a great way to generate user based interactions as they do not require much effort to get involved with.
Tip: Organic reach is great but well targeted paid reach can also be a huge help to your exposure and doesn’t have to cost much, consider boosting your best posts to maximise on their effectiveness.
Reply to comments from your audience
One of the best things about Facebook, from a business perspective, is that it allows consumers to communicate directly and publicly with the brands that they are interested in. Whether your followers want to lodge a complaint or praise you for a quality service, Facebook allows them to do that instantly. This means that is important that you are seen to be responding to those that are taking the time out of their day to interact with you. If you don’t do this, you may see your level of engagement begin to fall – after all what’s the point in your audience talking to you if you never talk back?
A common mistake that many big brands make is that they only respond to positive or creative comments. This can be a very tempting route to go down, after all you can simply hide or delete all the negative comments so nobody will ever know – right? Wrong. It is perfectly acceptable to hide or delete comments that are abusive or inflammatory, this is what the hide feature is therefore after all. However if somebody is making a complaint about poor customer service and you go and delete their comment, this is only going to serve to disillusion this customer even more. By addressing their complaint publicly, you also have the chance to show your other followers that you take their concerns seriously and will do what you can to rectify any mistakes that you make.
Tip: If you receive a complaint via social media, don’t just apologise – try to offer a real solution to your problem by posting a helpful link or article. This means others will see that your company cares about its customers.
Post a variety of content
This is potentially one of the best ways to keep your Facebook page looking fresh and updated. Many sites limit themselves to a set form of posts such as links or photos, while these types of links may do well on your site, there is no reason to confine yourself to these. There’s nothing wrong with trying something new, especially if the post is still linked to your audience’s key interests. People love seeing something new and they’re much less likely to grow bored of your page if they don’t think that you’re always posting the same type of thing.
Another good technique that you should consider is posting things that are not directly part of your brand or business. Try sharing things from other pages and websites that are related to the area that you are aiming at. By sharing things from other places, you’re audience are less likely to get fed up with your marketing and promotional links because you don’t limit your posts to these.
Tip: Posting a variety of content is one of the most simple ways to keep your page interesting and relevant to your followers, if you share somebody else’s link, both them and you get a boost in publicity.
Coming Up Next Tuesday…
Next week we will be looking at a case study on one of the most successful social media campaigns. Here are some of the topics we will examine:
- What did this case study do right?
- What were the driving features behind this success?
- How did this business adapts to the strengths and weaknesses of various platforms?
What are your thoughts on what we’ve discussed today? Have you discovered any other techniques that have helped with your social media campaign? If you have any questions or comments please let us know below.