Learning this week that only 2% of the people who like my business Facebook page will see any of my Facebook posts was discouraging, but also enlightening. It's led me to think about how best to spend my time to find and reach out to prospective new clients.
I learned that statistic while attending a helpful free 90-minute webinar called "Leverage the Power of Facebook & Instagram" by Samantha English of Marketing Academy for Small Business. Although it was a plug for a for-pay marketing package they sell, it still provided a lot of helpful information. You don't have to endure a heavy sales pitch as is typical of some free webinars, so I'd recommend it.
Here are the other points I learned that were of interest to me for my small business:
Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company, so some of the same "what works/what doesn't work" techniques for Facebook apply to Instagram also.
62% of small-business consumers use Facebook. Ads work better than boosted posts, which are active to all people on Facebook for a certain time frame, whether those people would be interested in your business or not. Facebook ads with a call-to-action targeted specifically to your segmented audience can be very effective, especially when you follow up with a giveaway that adds value, a mailing list signup, and several follow-up emails in the week that the potential customer has contacted you.
Facebook is discouraging promotional-type posts more strictly. If it detects that the purpose of a Facebook post is to push product sales, promote "calls to actions" or giveaways, or re-use content from ads, the reach of the post will be very limited.
Posts seen as highly relevant gain more visibility. Relevance is determined by Facebook scoring algorithms that we can't know, but Likes, Shares, and Comments all contribute to a post being seen as relevant. Creating content that encourages interaction raises the Relevance score.
Don't include an Outbound Link in Instagram or Facebook postings. Posts with links to other sites will be penalized because they encourage people to leave the platform. Put the link in a comment instead.
Upload videos directly to Facebook for best reach rather than linking to YouTube.
Understanding targeting for your Facebook ad's intended audience is critical. You can find people by their interests, behaviors, demographics, or connections. You can also create Lookalike Audiences, where you upload a mailing list that you already have and Facebook will match those emails to Facebook accounts as much as possible. This also works if you instruct Facebook to create a Lookalike Audience based on the people who already like your business page. Facebook keeps track of what each of those people is researching, liking, and who their connections are. You can then create a Lookalike Audience that matches those characteristics and create an ad that reaches those people. There was a lot of anecdotal evidence that the results from that kind of campaign have been very successful for small businesses.
Some of these tips will come in handy for me right now. I have been putting a link to my website on my Instagram posts, so I won't do that anymore. I also will be more careful about the kind of content I post on Facebook to make sure it is clearly helpful and relevant to people who are my intended audience without being promotional. I'd also like to understand more about the Lookalike Audience feature to find ways to let more people know about my business.
I don't have a mailing list myself, but a few of my clients do. I know they'd like to extend their reach through their social media accounts. I'll pass on the suggestion that they try creating Lookalike Audiences and a Facebook ad to see if that helps them get the word out about the great offerings they have.
The world of social media is always changing. I need to know some of these tips for my own business, but my focus is on website design and what's emerging in that arena. If you want to refresh your social media strategy, having a social media coach can really help. I'm happy to recommend my colleague, Amy Smith of The Social Media Smith, if you want help putting together a plan for using your time wisely in social media.