Jul 27, 2015

Seen by 120 - The Facebook Business Dilemma

I remember a time where Facebook was focused exclusively on people connecting with other people. A time before businesses were welcomed by the Social Media giant.

Times certainly have changed, and Facebook is generally viewed as integral to a marketer’s strategy as their website is. It’s not uncommon for marketers to cite Facebook as the centre of their digital universe, even going as far as to make their traditional website redundant.

As the channel matures however, just how egalitarian a digital channel Facebook remains for marketers is becoming more opaque. From the amount of your Facebook followers who will see your post, to whether you need to boost every post to get eyeballs onto your carefully crafted content - it would be irresponsible to discount the algorithmic regulations that Facebook apply to your posts. Collin Cottrell of Whitetail Overload will tell you that inviting people to Join your page will get your post greater visibility than what can be viewed as a plea to like it. So it’s always wise to consider the intricacies of the Facebook machine.

Before we get derailed here, let’s remain focused on the following key points.

  1. Seen by 120, or 43 people reached are becoming the reality for business pages who aren’t electing to boost their posts.
  2. What happens to a Facebook page when the posts aren’t engaged with?
  3. Are there solutions that don’t require a payment to Facebook?

Take a look at any popular Facebook page, and check out the likes per post. Do they vacillate wildly? It’s not uncommon to see posts that have hundreds of likes and others that have a handful. While some content resonates more than other posts do, if you consider your own successes and failures - are you getting any traction with Facebook that wasn’t supported with a boosted post?

The image above is a grab from a recent blog post we marketed via Facebook.

What happens to a Facebook page when the posts aren’t engaged with?

The prevailing belief is that the probability of one of your Facebook fans seeing your post has much to do with the levels of engagement applied to your page. One basic formula is the people talking about value, divided by the total page likes number. The lower that score, the less likely your organic posts are going to show in the feed of users, even though they have liked your page.

A comparison could be made to a poorly indexed, low engagement, non mobile supported, high bounce website - it’s going to have a difficult time dominating organic search results.

Are there solutions that don’t require a payment to Facebook?

The key to all digital communications is to inspire engagement. Whether a sign up, download, comment or share. Getting to the heart of why people perform these tasks is integral to tailoring content with these expected outcomes in mind.

  1. Do people genuinely care about your content?
  2. Does it resonate with them?
  3. Do these people feel part of a community?
  4. Is your passion for your page and the posts clear and evident?
  5. Are you providing a suitable value exchange for these users?

One of the smartest methodologies applied to organic Facebook growth was recently explored by Social Media Examiner program guest Collin Cottrell who has created a number of Facebook pages that promote his passion for hunting. One of the keys to Cottrell’s success is his ability to cross promote on those pages. 

For example, Cottrell has over 800,000 likes on his Whitetail Overload Facebook page. His passion for hunting is spread across peripheral pursuits and more discrete currents of this commitment. Bowhunting, searching for antlers, turkey hunting and even a Morel mushrooms hunting community. Each of these themes enjoys significant overlap among established communities and Cottrell is adept at spreading the word of his broader interests with people already aligned to his core pursuits. An example of leveraging Whitetail Overload fans to engage with existing audiences to engage with the Turkey Hunting Champion page.

What do these Facebook pages resonate?

  1. Content authors who are both knowledgeable and passionate about what they do.
  2. Content that resonates with fans of the page, inspiring sharing and conversation.
  3. Content that is relevant, seasonal, topical and emotive.

Questions to ask yourself.

  1. Is my content interesting? Am I giving those who like my page a reason to engage?
  2. Is it clear how much I care about what I am posting and are there people in my community that care as much as I do?
  3. If I imagine someone thumbing through Facebook on their phone, is my post rich enough to stop users and inspire closer examination?
  4. If the only way to get people to experience your content is to boost it with a payment, consider whether what you intend to say and whether it could be better articulated.

It’s not likely that the paid model of post boosting will change anytime soon, but there are approaches to advance interaction with your content and increase your benefit from what is arguably the most potent social media channel today.

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