Stop bitching about Facebook – how to create content people want to see and share

I know how hard it is to build Facebook reach for a business page. It’s something I have worked very hard on in the past. Like most things worth having, it’s right that it’s difficult and it’s right that you have to do a good job to get results. If it was easy then everyone would be doing it and how would you stand out from your competition?

Understanding how media companies work

Facebook offers a huge opportunity to reach an audience with no cost to entry. For FREE you can start a business page, share content and reach people based on their age, gender, geography, and interests. Facebook, however, is a business. It has to pay salaries and create a profit for its shareholders. Just like yours. It also has a duty to its members to serve content that they find interesting. This is why they regularly change things. Facebook want to offer a better experience to its members, keep members logging in and to encourage interactions. Otherwise, they have no platform at all.

Media companies make money from consumers buying their content, like print newspapers; or from advertisers paying for a space in that media, like Yellow Pages. I have used old-school examples and most media uses a model that involves both of these now. Facebook, however, gets its income from advertisers. So advertisers are paying for the platform you use freely to organise dinner with your friends; lets you see your grandkids’ holiday pictures or gives you an opportunity to check reviews of a restaurant you fancy going to for the first time.

This is why I cringe a little when I see businesses complaining that only x% of their followers are seeing their posts and begging followers to share. A platform you are using for free to reach people who are there primarily to be social is charging you to target the maximum number of people? I am not feeling inclined to feel sorry for you. I think that you have to be a) more realistic about Facebook’s goals and b) working harder on your content.

Moaning about Facebook and asking people to share your status may get you a few shares, but it will be turning a lot of people off too. I do sympathise with the frustration but I think there are much better ways for you to improve your reach. Even without a budget.

Nine ways to create content that people will engage with

1.     Stop selling all the time

97% of people are not in buying mode right now. They have logged on to Facebook to see what their friends have been up to or to reply to a message. They are probably not there with their wallet open, waiting to be sold to. If only 3% are ready to shop right now, why are 90% of your posts pushing products? You have to demonstrate value before you can ask for anything.

2.     Answer your customers’ questions

In whatever industry you are in, your customers will have questions. Answer them! Start by answering the top ten questions your customers ask when they email or stop by. You can just use the status box, write a blog or create a video. Upload the video directly to Facebook or share the blog contents as a note for maximum effectiveness. If you have a fashion boutique you can give tips on what to wear to a wedding. A hairdresser can show how to do an up-do. Indoor football venues can share goal-keeping tips.

3.     Why so serious? Entertain your audience.

We share most posts because we have enjoyed seeing them. This is why memes and gifs work so well. Think about your audience enjoy and either create or share some. Is there are a TV show your customers have been talking about? Is there a show coming to town that there is a lot of excitement about?

4.     Serve your community – create some business karma

Show that you care about the people around you. Share what is going on in your area. Show what charities your business is supporting. Share the posts of complementary local businesses. You will find this will become reciprocal and you can foster some great relationships.

5.     Be consistent – have discipline, not regret

The most difficult thing to do well in any aspect of a business? Be consistent. Whether it’s keeping up with paperwork or updating your social, discipline can be really hard. It is important you are consistent or people might think you have stopped trading/ caring. Keeping a calendar is helpful. Add an appointment each day to do something, or if you know you won’t have time, schedule a post.

6.     Be your community’s leader

By starting your Facebook page, you have created a community that has at least one thing in common. You must respond to engagement, especially questions. Answer all your questions in a timely fashion – your customers don’t have a lot of patience. Thank customers for their comments, ask them questions, build relationships. It’s a mistake to think that social media is about one-to-many communication. It’s actually about building an audience, one connection at a time.

7.     Tell customer stories

Everyone loves a good story! Acknowledge all reviews. Share them. Everyone knows that word-of-mouth is the best marketing, but it’s also the hardest. When your customers become advocates you have tapped a great resource. Let them tell your audience how you solved a problem for them. Use Q&As, videos or even photos to share their stories.

8.     Tell your own story

Humans by nature are inquisitive. I’m just downright nosy. We like to see behind the scenes. We want to know what makes people tick. We like to understand who we are dealing with. The good news is that if you share why you run your business, why you care about the problems you are solving and what keeps you motivated you will create an emotional response in your customers. To quote Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

9.   Above all, be professional

Customers have enough worries in their own lives. Facebook, for some, is a way to escape those. Posts that are negative, blame others or are complaints can be off-putting. If you need a rant, save it for your personal page for your own friends, or even better – go for coffee with a buddy.

What’s next?

Not convinced? Let me know what your fears are, or why you think it won’t work for you. Or maybe you have your own tips to add?


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