With the recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm, many businesses are (rightfully) worried about engagement – worry not! In our FREE webinar, Vivial’s expert panel reveal how several businesses (including our own) increased engagement on Facebook – and how yours can too.
Engaging content, relevant content – useful, informative, meaningful, compelling, authentic content. All of these words are used by marketers regularly, but what do they really mean? What – exactly – should businesses be posting on social media to hit all of these marks?
The answer is really very simple: It isn’t about sharing what you want your audience to know, but what they want to know.
It seems like the list of algorithm updates, new tools and secrets for success is constantly growing and changing. Many marketers seem to treat Facebook like a video game; if they can figure out the right tactic and unearth some key secrets they can ultimately beat the game. But they’re more akin to a hamster on a wheel – they’re missing the point.
It has always been (and will continue to be) about the user. That’s why it’s so important to know your audience – to share with them what they want to know. Even the big guys are starting to get it. Salesforce’s Brandon Ortiz was quoted in Forbes saying that the company plans to “focus less on ever-changing formulas and more on creating compelling, authentic, useful content.”
To help get you into that mindset, we’ve laid out a few simple ways to start creating content that is truly engaging, relevant and authentic.
It’s time to make business personal
It isn’t uncommon for businesses on social media to think “if people are following my business, then it must mean they are interested in what we’re doing.” But that isn’t necessarily true. People don’t generally feel the same way about companies as they do about their friends and family.
Individuals see high engagement when they share personal details on Facebook – even when they’re touting their own achievements. We love getting that peek into the personal lives of people we know – even those Facebook friends who are barely acquaintances. But when a business shares similar content, it can very quickly start to sound like annoying horn-tooting. If a business announces a new location, a recent award they won or the record number of sales they saw over the holidays you might find yourself thinking “whoop de doo.” It’s all in the delivery.
Businesses often do (and should!) share their achievements – its good business to be great at what you do! But, businesses need to be more thoughtful about the way they post than individuals do – they need to tie the message back to their audience and something they care about. A business can announce a new location, but if they do so while saying how excited they are to be a part of the new community and let people know what great product or service they’re looking forward to sharing (and how they can get it!), the tone of the message then feels personal, friendly and even helpful.
There are many ways that businesses can get more personal with their audience. While announcing that record sales season, maybe do so while giving credit to the team. Highlighting individuals and their achievements can show how the company takes pride in people and in the way it does business.
A bonus to highlighting employees is that they likely have a personal profile that you can tag (with their permission, of course!). This one can be a great win-win that let’s their network see the post.
All of these approaches help to give your audience a sense that there are real people running your business. While many posts remind them how great your company is at what it does, they also get a peek into your company’s values. That kind of content is what develops a relationship between you and your audience.
Useful and informative content creates the greatest value
Getting personal is key to building an online relationship with your audience, but you’re still a business, and you need to have a more dynamic presence than that. The reason you even have a Facebook business page is that you sell a product or service that you want people to buy.
Forbes also quoted LoyaltyPlant’s Galina Grigoreva who said not to “forget about your corporate pages. If you manage to make valuable sources out of them, subscribers will visit them intentionally.” Smaller businesses may just have the edge over big corporations in this area – they are local experts who the community feels they have real access to.
Facebook is an excellent place to curate your “best of,” “how to” and “did you know?” ideas. Every company has them, it’s just a matter of getting them into written or recorded form and sharing them with your audience.
Video is huge on Facebook. For starters, the platform reports an average of about 8 billion video views per day. We’ve said it before and it’s worth mentioning again – video doesn’t have to be a professional production anymore. Shooting in good lighting on a smartphone is really all you need. This is possibly the best way to share useful and informative content with your audience.
Since you’re already shooting on your mobile device, don’t forget to get into the habit of posting live video too. Once you get comfortable with the recording process, live video is a big time and money saver too. With pre-recorded video, the temptation for re-takes can be strong – but more doing takes means more time shooting and even more time editing.
Posing questions can be a powerful way to deliver useful information to your audience – especially when you’re the expert on the subject. Get your pet business discussing the best way to get out stains, your home improvement company posting a debate about bizarre yet brilliant color pairings or have your lead dermatologist compare skin care approaches. All of these kinds of posts foster great engagement. Just make sure they ultimately offer some kind of useful solution.
Don’t discount the tried and true informational content approaches either. Even if you only write a short post every month, have some great content to share from your company blog. Re-posting great industry news can be a quick win if it will bring real value or interest to your audience. Whatever type of content (video, blog, photos, news) you choose to use, make sure to ask yourself first – “will my audience find this useful?”
You have to play to win
Now that you know how to create engaging, relevant and authentic content – keep at it! Like building any relationship, the process takes time and commitment. You wouldn’t really trust an acquaintance who showed up after a few years asking you for something, and it isn’t much different for businesses. You want to build and then maintain a relationship with your audience on social media.
Showing up is one of the most important parts of seeing success on Facebook. Make sure your business is posting content regularly and that the content is personal or useful. Great organic content is key, but we also recommend giving your content a little push with paid promotions.
For more about how to get the most from your ads on Facebook, check out our recent blog post, 5 reasons why your small business needs Facebook advertising.
Being engaging, relevant and authentic is a lot easier than most people think – it’s all about just being you! Your local business is already an expert in what you do, a key member of the community, an employer of great people and a producer of excellent products or services. Get on Facebook and other social networks, start sharing your story and watch the engagement grow.
Want to know more about how to craft a successful Facebook marketing strategy? Contact one of our consultants today!