The Facebook Marketing MBA: 17 Tips to Boost Organic Reach and Kill it on Facebook

Seth Knapp | @iamsethknapp

Introduction to Facebook for Business

Facebook has successfully shifted from social network to the world’s largest advertiser.  For a while, Facebook struggled with Millenials and was losing market share due to its inability to transition it’s product to a more mobile friendly version in a mobile first economy.

Alas, they were able to successfully transition by improving the user experience (UX) of their product, making it more mobile friendly, and adding some incredible features that add tremendous value to the over 1billion active users on Facebook.

As a result of this successful transition, entrepreneurs, advertisers, and marketers are now left with an advertising and consumer engagement platform with an incredible amount of possibilities and seemingly endless potential.

The paradigm shift from social to search is already upon us. 

  • There are now over 40mm ACTIVE business pages on Facebook (Source: Shareaholic)
  • Facebook now accounts for 24.3% of overall search traffic
  • In 2012, the average organic reach on a business page was 16%, now in 2015 it is 2.27%

Many businesses are now deciding to forgo a website to focus their efforts primarily on their Facebook page as the demands for a highly targeted, high level strategy becomes more and more of a necessity.

This guide was created to give you an MBA in Facebook Marketing and Advertising so that you can take your Facebook efforts to an entirely new level, increase consumer loyalty, find new customers, and make more money for your business or company!

Organic Reach, Sponsored Content, and Dark Posts

To get better acquainted with the idiosyncratic nuances of Facebook, we must first separate the different kinds of posts and options for creating and posting content.

Organic Reach is the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution.

The key word here is unpaid.  On any business page, it will show you your organic reach under every post.  Organic Reach is controlled by Facebook and is determined by their own algorithm called EdgeRank that determines the relevancy of that post to your customers (those that have liked your page).

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content should not be clearly and distinctly defined as it should be categorized as such for its intended outcome and what it does, rather than what it looks like.

Sponsored content on Facebook takes the form of a “boosted post”.  This is a post you’ve already posted to your business’ Facebook wall and then decide to increase the overall reach of it, giving you a level of organic reach and paid reach.

A post that has been “boosted” will show up in newsfeeds from individuals that you’ve targeted through your audience you’ve created. (Your audience is a set of key demographics of individuals on Facebook with whom you are trying to target.) It will show up higher in their newsfeed and with greater frequency.

The end result or outcome of sponsored content on Facebook is to get social shares and increased engagement through likes and comments.  This increases your organic reach as well, and creates more engagement with your business or brand, leading to greater trust among consumers, which results in more traffic and sales.

Dark Posts

A dark post is a post you’ve created through Facebook Ads Manager that has never actually been posted to your Facebook wall.  This can be a direct advertisement or appear as sponsored content.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #1

Get Familiar with your Insights.

Facebook_Insights

Your insights are found by clicking the aptly titled tab on your Facebook business page.  Once you’ve located it, click the tab and get very familiar with all of the data.  If this is a new Facebook page, you won’t have any, or very little data to go through, but you should still familiarize yourself with it.

This is the area that will help you to better determine more effective strategies in the future, ensuring you get the most out of your ads.  Pay close attention to notable changes in the various demographics over time as it could be a sign of a changing consumer base, or something you may be doing wrong with your facebook content and ads.

Your insights are a tremendous free analytics tool that Facebook provides to you to help you create better content and ads, become very familiar with it and use it!

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #2

Consider Time of Day.

Be strategic with the time of day when you post.  This means if you find a great piece of content at 1am, no matter how badly you want to share it, it’s best to hold off and post it at a more appropriate time.

Depending on your target and typical consumer, the most optimal time of day to post for maximum organic reach will vary.

For example, if I own an artisanal bakery or coffee shop, I may not want to post about our new featured latte or scone at 7pm when coffee and bakery are often times very, very far from most of my consumer’s minds.  Not only is this kind of content not very relevant to your customers at this time of day, but Facebook’s algorithm knows this as well, and will subsequently not give the post as much organic traffic as it would during a more highly relevant time of day.

You know your customers, so you can generally factor in what time of day is best to post, but a theme that will be recurring throughout this report, is to use your insights over time to spot trends where you are getting more organic traffic during different time periods.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #3

Frequency, Frequency…er Frequency?

It’s the ultimate paradox.  You want to stay in front of your customers and show up for them with highly valuable content, however, you don’t want to annoy and inundate them with content overload.

Worse off, either does Facebook.

Back in the day when Facebook first introduced sponsored content and paid ads it was an absolute gold mine for your business.  There was no algorithm to control content and who saw it, so everyone saw it, and advertisers quickly took notice.  Soon, Facebook was creating a terrible UX for it’s users because they were overwhelmed and bombarded with too much, irrelevant paid content.

Thanks to EdgeRank, Facebook is now saving many businesses from themselves due to over posting and detracting subsequent engagement from your customers.

From my experience of analyzing over a thousand Facebook posts, I can say with a good amount of certainty that you shouldn’t post any more than 2x a day from your business’s page.  Often times, only posting one time per day will actually yield the highest overall organic reach.

If you have a personal fan page, or a page for a book or something similar and have a highly engaged audience, you may very well be able to post more than 2x per day and get a great organic reach because your content is getting shared by your fans.

Pay close attention to items in your insights like improvements or decreases in organic reach when increasing or decreasing frequency, determine if certain days of the week are more successful than others when posting more or less, and optimize your strategy from there.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #4

Share Highly Relevant Content to your Customers.

“We’ve gotta jump on that Kim Kardashian magazine cover.  Make a viral meme.”

“What did Miley Cyrus say again this week?”

“Didn’t some dog save his owner from drowning?”

“What are the YouTubers talking about?”

There’s relevant content and then there’s content relevant to your customers.

Being able to differentiate is the difference between adding tons of value to your customers on Facebook and being drowned amongst the noise of the internet.

Trying to stay relevant by keeping up with trends may help with organic reach at times, but it adds no value to your customer. If you own a smoothie/juice bar, share a blog about healthy smoothie recipes you can easily make at home, rather than trying to ride every pop culture bandwagon.

Your customer will appreciate the value you’ve brought to them, it keeps them engaged with your brand, and builds trust among them.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #5

What are Your Customers Sharing?

Facebook, like all social media platforms, revolves around the user.  Facebook, due to it’s highly complex and articulate algorithm, can ensure this is the case with the content that they allow into users newsfeeds.

EdgeRank is a very smart algorithm and it registers every action a user makes and applies it to the algorithm to determine what a user will see in the future.

Your job as a business owner, or as someone at least running a Facebook page, needs to be in tune with what your customers want to see, not what you’d love for them to see because that doesn’t always align with what adds value to them.  Study your most evangelical customers or users who may fit into the mold of one of your target consumers.  Most importantly, what kind of content do they engage with and subsequently share.

Getting a keen sense of what kind of content your target consumer is engaging with on Facebook will help you to devise your content strategy to ensure you get the most out of your organic reach.  The more highly relevant content that your customers engage with, the more EdgeRank begins to favor your page as one that shares content that adds to the overall experience of Facebook’s platform, and it then subsequently rewards you with more organic reach.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #6

Stay up to Date on EdgeRank.

In order to stay up to date and to constantly evolve with a growing and changing user base, EdgeRank is always evolving.  It’s important to stay up to speed with major algorithm changes to ensure that your Facebook strategy, and subsequent content you’re posting isn’t working against it.

I recently read an anecdote about Mark Zuckerberg that he came into the Facebook office one day and was complaining that he wasn’t seeing photos of his niece’s birthday party from that weekend; rather he was seeing far too many baby pics from his friends.  He saw this as a flaw in the algorithm as he felt of course that the algorithm should know him well enough to know that he’d want to see pics from his niece’s birthday.

Facebook_EdgeRank

 

What did they do?

They made a change to the algorithm that rewarded the word “congratulations” in the body of a post.

This is a small change and most likely wouldn’t affect your overall strategy, but knowing this and adding that one word to subsequent posts when applicable probably would’ve increased your EdgeRank and your content would’ve shown up in more of your customer’s newsfeeds.

Keeping up on more major and less subtle EdgeRank changes can make you a major winner in the Facebook marketing game.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #7

Develop a High Level Strategy.

Once you’ve applied the first 6 Pro Tips and done a proper analysis of content, what is being shared, best time(s) to post, frequency, et cetera, it’s now time to develop a high level content strategy.

This strategy is meant to act as oversight for everything you post moving forward, so it should only be developed once you’ve done a proper analysis for you brand, business, and/or product.

Every subsequent post under this strategy should always align with your high level strategy.

Who are you trying to attract?

What content will be most effective for attracting and building this audience?

What’s our ideal mix of memes, photos, blogs, videos….?

Follow your strategy and deviate from it for a bit.  It’s easy to get caught up in the analytics game and jump to conclusions too quickly with successes and failures.  Give your strategy time, and reevaluate after it’s worked its way through.

I think every 4-8 weeks is a good time to reevaluate your core strategy.  If you do it too often, you run the risk of bouncing around too much, which will confuse your audience you’re trying to build and it will not benefit you in EdgeRank.

If, after an adequate amount of time, you feel your strategy is not as successful as you had hoped, start by making subtle tweaks to your strategy.

If you need help with your current Facebook strategy, or need help developing one, feel free to email me at seth@getchitter.com

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #8

Don’t Always Try to Hit Home Runs. Be Happy With Lots of Singles.

This is the most important piece of advice to always remember before you post to Facebook and should be a major part of your overall strategy.

It’s the concept of hitting singles vs. home runs. If you’ve read Gary Vanynerchuk’s book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook, this is the same philosophy as jabbing continually and then swinging a right hook.

Single- A piece of micro content that adds value to a user.  It doesn’t explicitly try to sell anything or ask anything of the user, rather it is solely meant to be engaged with, improve your EdgeRank score, and to build an audience surrounding your brand, product, or business.

This is referred to as “Building Brand Equity”

Home Run- This is a piece of micro content where you go for broke.  You try to make a sale, promote something specifically, or has a major ask of your audience and consumer base.

This content doesn’t add tons of value, and generally will not help your EdgeRank score so it is not wise to try to hit home runs all the time.

The more singles you hit, the more of an audience you build and the more organic reach you get.  This means, when you do try to hit a home run, it will see more eyeballs organically and be consumed with more trust because you’ve built a relationship with those consumers.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS ABOUT ADDING VALUE TO THOSE WHO CONSUME IT.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #9

Blogs.

I always suggest having a blog.  It doesn’t matter if you have a brick and mortar business or if you are trying to become a social media influencer, a blog is a great way to add tons of value to your audience.

Facebook is a great platform for sharing your blog content, however, as with everything else on Facebook, ensure your content is adding value to your target consumer.  The blog is not about you…even if it is about you.

Think about your target consumer, what they want to read, and write as if you are speaking to them directly.  We are dealing with content overload, so more than ever, real content that speaks directly to them and doesn’t appear to just simply be pushed for clicks, is highly successful and can build tons of brand equity and trust among the consumer.

If you don’t want to invest your time in a blog, or don’t feel you have enough to appropriate to your target consumers, you should still leverage the content of other blogs.

Share content that adds the same kind of value that a blog piece coming directly from your or your brand would.  If you are diligent, you will develop the same kind of audience and your consumers will be able to do the math and make the same associations.

Whether it’s coming from your blog, or someone else’s blog, as long as you are diligently sharing highly relevant content with your target consumers you will build brand equity and trust with them.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #10

Facebook’s Native Video Feature is better than YouTube.

Facebook sent a crushing blow to YouTube when they launched their native video feed.  We’ve all seen it, the videos that are already playing as we scroll through our newsfeed just dying to get you to click on them.

There are already more videos watched daily on Facebook than on YouTube.  Reason being, is that they don’t have to be searched out and you end up getting far more organic clicks than a YouTube video ever would.

With more eyeballs than ever on video, if video isn’t part of your Facebook micro content strategy you are missing out on a massive opportunity.

You can use the native video feature to create all kinds of tremendously engaging content from daily, weekly vlogs (video blog) to contests, and announcements.

The audience is much more captivated, and is therefore much more receptive to your message.

With over 1B views per day, native videos are now the strongest performing kind of content.  Here are some tips to make sure your videos engage effectively and encourage sharing:

  • Keep it short. Videos under 2 minutes are most effective.
  • Make it look as professional as possible, and edit.
  • Use some kind of movement in the first few seconds to reel in viewers.
    • Remember, these videos are in your friends and fans newsfeeds so you need to grab their attention, and a still shot of your face isn’t effective.
  • If using the video as paid, sponsored content, be sure to add a call to action.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #11

Use your Personal Page to Test Content First.

I test content all the time on my personal page that I want to post to my fan page in a more in depth fashion.

If I ever have an idea for a blog, I’ll post a sentence or two as a unique post to my personal Facebook page to see if it gets the reception I’m hoping for.  If the content gets the proper response, or even better, I then use that as my social proof to create new and more engaging content about that smaller piece of content and then post it to my fan page.

This can be done for all kinds of ideas and strategies you may have.  You can test out video ideas, memes, and other micro content on your own page first to ensure you get the response you desire.

Once you have that social proof, you then know you are adding value to your audience and should move forward in posting it to your business/fan page.  If you don’t get the social proof you were seeking, try to determine why, and know that you just saved yourself from posting it to your business/fan page.

This is a highly effective strategy for fan pages as your message on your fan page should be fairly similar to that of your personal page.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #12

Respond to Criticism and Negative Feedback

Facebook is a very, very public forum, as is all social media.  People can comment on your content, complain about your business, your service, or your product if they so please.  Sometimes it is just, and other times it isn’t, as we all know someone is far more likely to complain than they are to compliment.

Either way, it is imperative that you respond to criticism and negative feedback.  Since Facebook is such an open forum, it’s not just the customer who complains that requires attention then at that point, but the other customers who can see this public comment.  A positive, timely, and constructive response to negative feedback is the best showcase of customer service you can exhibit.

How so?

|1| A customer who is unhappy and sees that you took care and concern in remedying the problem and addressing the situation will have a far more memorable, and positive experience than customers who always have satisfactory experiences.

|2| Your other customers will see this positive reaction and will trust your brand far more after seeing how well you address someone else’s complaint, and if the customer is being out of line and you handle it in a positive, proactive manner, other customers viewing this public exchange will side with your brand because the disgruntled consumer will then look bad.

facebook_positive_response

The above post from Jimmy John’s is a perfect response to a poor experience.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #13

Devise a separate, paid content strategy.

Paid and sponsored content, and dark posts (a post that is created solely as an ad and never shows up on your facebook wall) requires a different high level strategy than your strategy to boost your organic reach.

Facebook has done an absolute incredible job of building out what is probably the most eclectic, user friendly advertising platform on the planet, that when used properly, will provide the largest bang for your buck on your marketing dollars.

As you create paid content and run ads, you will want to continually optimize your strategy based on your return metrics, however, prior to ever doing this, you will want to figure out exactly what your strategy will be with paid advertising.

Determining a strategy to increase engagement, generate leads, net more “likes”, sell products, get app downloads, among other options, is necessary because you will most likely have a specific budget for facebook, and in the beginning, you will want to determine how to best appropriate funds before you start analyzing the data and optimizing your strategy.

When you determine your overall strategy, and how you will appropriate your facebook budget accordingly, be sure to stick to it for about a month before you start to tweak your strategy so as to ensure you have a large enough data pool to make accurate determinations on how to best make changes to your strategy and the subsequent appropriation of funds.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #14

Don’t Try to Cheat the Facebook Ecosystem.

Facebook’s algorithm is well equipped to pick up on things like purchased likes and will not account for this when determining your organic reach.  This means that your total number of likes will go up, however, your organic reach will not, and It’s the number of eyeballs that see your content, not the total number of likes that will benefit you the most from your Facebook strategy.

Also, avoid bombarding your page with low value posts.  A post is not a post is not a post, and this will not increase your organic reach.  If you are utilizing a strategy of low value, content overload, check your “insights” and you will surely notice that you are getting less and less organic reach over time, and the organic reach you are getting, is probably not very engaged with your brand.

Rather, opt for less frequent posts and post content that is more evergreen for your purpose so that it continually adds value to those on your page.

Here are some examples of great evergreen content.

  • FAQs.  This will provide better customer service and further context into your products and services, along with providing another pathway to the content outside of your website.
  • Tutorials.  These make for a tremendous form of content on your Facebook page. Often times, these should be done through video and infographics to best demonstrate the necessary answers to questions.
  • Testimonials.  A great testimonial may be the final piece of the pie that converts an engaged follower into a customer.  Providing testimonials on your Facebook wall, much like FAQs, provide another medium to get that content out there outside of your website.
  • Other Resources. This is probably the best form of content.  This can be links to studies, infographics, and/or blogs that all contain useful and valuable information to your target customer, but don’t directly sell anything.  They provide further context and build trust, thus increasing the likelihood that someone will become more engaged with your business or brand.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #15

Stop with the Automation Already!

Automation has no place in social media.  Social media isn’t about you, your brand, and your business; it’s about the user.

Make sure there is a human touch and element behind your content.  Posting content that shows the human side of your brand or business sends the message that the same human element is behind your products and/or services.

Some examples of great content that shows a human touch are the following:

IMG_2753

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspirational Memes. Inspirational memes and relevant images are highly effective sources of micro content because they are very shareable.  The more these images get shared from your page, the more organic reach you get and the more engagement you get with your brand or business.

chubbies_meme

Funny images and memes. These can be great sources of content when used sparingly to show a human element behind your brand or business, and when kept relevant to your business, brand, products, or services.

facebook_team_photo

Team photos. Team photos and personal images from behind the scenes always provide a more introspective look into the people behind the brand.  This can build a dramatic amount of trust and connection to the brand when users and customers can put a face to a particular product, service, or company. (Source: wired.com)

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #16

Create a Private Facebook Group to Engage your Most Loyal Fans and Customers

In 2014, Facebook stated that over 700mm people used Facebook groups.

This is a highly effective way to create further value to those who want to get more engaged with your brand.  Treat this as a value add for your best fans and customers by making it a private group.

Here are other tips to make it highly successful:

  • Ignite conversations and encourage others to join and add to it.
    • This kind of open dialogue is highly effective at creating evangelists because this is generally not something allowed on traditional, public Facebook business pages
  • Lay down ground rules for posting and sharing content
  • Create a value proposition/mission of the page as this will help guide and cultivate the conversations and type of content posted.

The Facebook Marketing MBA: Pro Tip #17

Reach out to Other Similar Niche Facebook Pages

If you have fans and customers, this means your fans and customers may also want to be fans and customers of other niche pages similar to yours, and likewise, the fans and customers of other Facebook pages may be interested in being fans and customers of you or your brand.

A great way to get the ball rolling and leverage this is to simply reach out to other similar Facebook pages/admins in your niche and offer a share for share of their page.

This will get your page directly in front of new fans and potential customers, and will offer up the same value proposition to the people/brands/businesses you are reaching out to.

When reaching out to other admins, please keep in mind that they are of similar niche to your market and that they have a similar number of fans.  If you have 2,000 fans and reach out to an admin of a page that has 100,000, your response rate will not be high nor very successful.

Conclusion

Throughout this guide, there were probably some words or phrases like “engage”, “adding value”, and “organic reach” that popped up quite a bit, and for good reason.  To be an effective social media marketer, whether it’s by trade, or if you’re an entrepreneur and handle your own Facebook strategy, a high level of accountability needs to be in place to ensure you get the most out of your Facebook strategy.

Social media is all about the user, and because Facebook has the smartest, most complex algorithm, to sort through the noise of your newsfeed in an effort to better determine what is of value to you, the user, adding value to the users of Facebook is absolutely paramount to seeing success.

Every time a user clicks on content you’ve created and/or shared, they become more engaged with your brand, and Facebook recognizes this.  This is what building “brand equity” is all about.  The more “investments” a consumer makes in your brand by clicking on content and visiting your page, the more “equity” they have which helps further them along the dynamic customer journey and brings them closer and closer to becoming an evangelist for you.

If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this, congratulations, you are now armed with all the information necessary to crush it on Facebook!

However, the necessary information is only part of the equation.  Action is still required to be successful.  Without action, the information and knowledge you’ve now gained is worthless.

If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you crush it with your Facebook marketing strategy, please email me at seth@getchitter.com to set up a consultation.

 

 

 

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