For regional and national businesses, Social Media provides an unparalleled opportunity to target audiences, drive traffic to events, showcase newsworthy content, promote sales, generate leads and educate your community about the services and value you provide.
Capitalizing on all this opportunity, however, in the ever changing Social world has proven challenging for many businesses due to the various changes in audience behavior, ongoing platform modifications and an ever expanding community of users who are being exposed to literally millions of updates per day by various brands and messages. With so much competition online for attention, we thought it would be helpful to explore some easy to implement strategies to make sure that you are engaging your audiences as effectively as possible.
#1 Ask Questions
Facebook is all about starting conversations. Imagine yourself in a room with a group of people you want to get to know better. For example, let’s look at Hudson County as a topic and see how to start the conversation. Here are some examples.
- Specific: What’s your favorite part about living in Hudson County?
- Timely: Today is the founding of Jersey City, how are you celebrating?
- True or False: Bayonne is named after a region in France
- Events: Who is attending Legends Ball 9?
- Preference: What is your favorite place to eat in Hudson County?
- Photo: Ask for a caption!
TIP: Don’t be disappointed if you only get a couple of answers in the beginning. Keep asking the right questions and you’ll be on your way to boosting your engagement. Don’t forget to add photos if appropriate, they can really make a difference.
#2 Try boost and/or pin features
Gone are the days of “organic reach” when you posted an update or an event and your members saw your content. Facebook’s every changing content distribution algorithm has proven one of the most challenging hurtles for businesses. However, Facebook does offer a number of very effective tools such as pinning and boosting to help you promote your content to your existing page members as well as target new audiences.
- Pinning is free and will move your post to the top of your Page’s Timeline and an icon will appear on the post. Your pinned post will stay at the top of your Page’s Timeline for 7 days. After that, it’ll return to the date it was published on your Page’s Timeline.
- Boosting will require some budget allocation depending on the size of your desired target market. These strategies have proven to be extremely effective to target regional audiences and the reach can be enormous based on your budget. To learn more about the process: https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/
TIP: Be sure to track your efforts to see how many likes, shares and clicks you get. If you’re going to begin boosting it’s always a good idea to start off conservatively and then add to your budget based on performance. Maybe try boosting two posts with different content to the same audience and see which performs better.
#3 Timing is Everything
Timing matters when it comes to posting. Collectively, there are 31.25 million messages shared every minute—half a million messages each second! Knowing when to engage with your audience is critical. Taking into account work schedules and commuting times, studies have shown that posting at either 12 PM or after 7 PM is best, with Thursday considered to be the best day of the week for traffic.
TIP: As mobility continues to rise and Facebook refines its app, posting and engagement times will likely reflect a more diverse pattern of user behavior.
#4 Use (good) photography
It’s no secret that photos engage audiences, but did you know that posts with images see 2.3x more engagement than those without? Even more compelling is the gallery feature which allows users to create a portfolio of images. Uploading several photos in one post creates a gallery of thumbnails which entice users to click to enlarge.
TIP: Try testing a few different variations with albums for different events and/or products. Tracking your efforts here too can also prove helpful as you continue to engage your audiences
From the end of 2014, to the end of 2015, video on Facebook grew by a staggering 7 billion views per day. And this is only the beginning. By the end of 2015, videos uploaded directly to Facebook had received 2x the views and 7x the engagement as compared to embedded videos on YouTube. Overall, the stats regarding engagement are compelling and although video may take some time, effort and some allocation of funds, it is proven to be worth it. For marketers, not only does video provide a deeper engagement opportunity with your brand and business, but it also generates up to 135% more organic reach that just photography!
TIP: Why not try “Facebook Live” for your next speaking engagement or event? People spend 3x more time watching Live video than non on Facebook.
I hope that you’ve found these useful and that soon you’ll be on your way to growing your Facebook audience. As you do, you’ll learn meaningful insights into your community and the value they place in your brand and business. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask them to share your message to help you grow!