After the latest round of algorithm changes, it may seem like achieving organic reach for Facebook business pages is going to be an impossible dream.
In fact digital marketing guru Jay Baer has coined this the Facebook ‘reachpocolypse’.
It’s time for business pages to lift their game on Facebook
Don’t worry, Facebook is not quite dead as a space for brands, but those who wish to stay in the space are going to have to lift their game or pay to play (or maybe both).
“This is Facebook’s attempt to clean up the platform and a chance for brands, especially small businesses to go back to doing the simple things well.”
1oh1 Media Creative Director, Tom ‘Tj’ Edwards via Ad News.
If the simple things are focusing on engagement and being ‘social’, then that would be correct.
So many Facebook business pages, especially B2C (business to consumer), simply share images of their latest product in staged photo shoots. Nobody wants that stuff in their news feeds – they can go to your website to see that information.
So, what can you do to avoid becoming a casualty of reachpocolypse?
“It’s not as though it’s now IMPOSSIBLE to be good at Facebook. It’s just a lot, lot harder. If you want free reach, you need to do extraordinary, useful things.”
Jay Baer – Convince and convert
It’s not really that hard to be extraordinary. You just need to know your target market intimately and be prepared to put your brand’s personality on show. That could mean taking some risks. The following example showcases a brand that is doing Facebook engagement right.
How one Aussie sports drink brand is winning at Facebook engagement
I watched this month as a small Aussie sports drink brand’s Facebook reach and presence exploded based on one single image post that will probably surprise you.
The brand is a pretty small player in the market. It’s not Gatorade and it’s not Powerade. It’s called Maximus.
An image they posted on their Facebook brand page connected so sweetly with its audience that it has so far garnered 46,000 likes, generated over 33,000 comments and resulted in more than 10,000 additional fans for the page. All for a brand that you may not have even heard of until today.
- Was it a sexy image?
- An exclusive video featuring a sporting hero?
- A competition with a valuable prize attached?
5 things you can learn from this business Facebook post and its subsequent engagement:
1.Know your target market intimately by listening before speaking
Be a lurker.
Do your research by listening in on conversations in forums and other social pages that attract your target market.
- If they like muscle cars, join a muscle car forum and find out how they talk and what topics they like to cover.
- If they like make-up, dive into all the make-up social pages you can and pick up on what’s hot in discussions.
Tip: Did you know that you can use Facebook’s audience insights feature to find out more about what your fans are interested in and the other pages they follow? Find out how via this Facebook tutorial.
Discover what’s being discussed within your target market right now and work out how to put your spin on it.
2. Create a tone of voice and use it consistently across all digital channels
Creating a tone of voice document for your brand is imperative when you’re running social media pages – and even more important if you’re paying an agency or consultant to do the ‘talking’ for you.
Take a look at the way the ‘voice’ of Maximus chimes in on the banter under this image – it’s cheeky and jokey but it doesn’t stir the pot on the potentially controversial double meaning of the image. They have their brand’s tone of voice sorted.
When you’re building your tone of voice document, be sure to include the following areas:
- Tone (how you communicate)
- Purpose (why you’re in business)
- Values (what you stand for)
- Personality (adjectives to describe your brand)
- How you say things (include examples)
- How you would never say things (include examples)
If you’d like to get started on creating your brand’s tone of voice, you can download my template here.
You should also have a crisis plan for what to say if things start to go bad or take a negative turn after a post. Read this great article about how the Crock Pot brand in the US responded after a recent social media storm.
3. Create unique, ownable content and be ready to take some risks
Start thinking about how you can make your content unique to your brand – this may involve peeling back the corporate facade and revealing the inner workings of your business. Don’t be afraid to let it all hang out, if this suits your brand’s tone.
- Share ‘in’ jokes, memes or quotes that only your target will get.
These posts don’t have to feature your brand, they just need to hit the spot for your target audience and present a consistent tone of voice.
The below example is from a tooth whitening brand called Carbon Coco. How much can you say about a tooth whitening product? Thankfully, they’re doing Facebook right by sharing jokes that their young, female target audience really get.
- Go out on a limb and be a bit controversial from time to time.
I know that many brands have their hands tied by their legal teams, but if you’re working on a brand that’s been restrained by this issue, perhaps you need to show them the Maximus example. They made huge gains by being edgy.
You could share a cheeky video, a controversial quote or make a rebuttal to a statement made by someone who’s well known amongst your target market.
Online fashion retailer Showpo aren’t afraid to share the type of of edgy content that their young target market would probably be sending each other over messenger.
- Make sure that your photography and graphic styling is also unique.
Not every brand needs a professional, polished look for their social media. In fact, many brands would benefit from being more real.
How about including some user generated content instead of your branded photos?
Luna Park includes a number of user generated images on their page, and while they’ve picked some beautiful photos, I’d love to see some less Insta-style images and more real family fun shots.
- Start using Facebook stories
Video is what’s hot right now. Facebook stories allows you to post videos of up to 20 seconds in length and they disappear in 24 hours, so you can afford to get a little more fun or out-there with them.
Have you heard of the 4-1-1 rule for social media content? For every one brand promotion post, share four pieces of entertaining or educational content and one piece of content from a fan or other social account.
The key to creating engagement is to work out what gets your target market talking, and that’s not going to be something bland.
4. Let your Facebook page become the place people drop by for unique angles on current news
The Maximus post is an example of a brand putting their own unique spin on a current topic, which was Business Clean Up Australia Day. This is a topic that their target market would probably have found totally boring if presented in a less cheeky way. There are plenty of topics and dates on our calendar that you can put your brand’s spin on.
- What’s going on in your town or city this week?
- How can you put a spin on it that addresses the topic or issue from your brand or company’s unique point of view?
- How can you generate conversation or create some friction around the issue?
Check your national or local calendars – what’s coming up that you can piggy back on?
5. Be prepared to spend a little to boost your post once it’s gathering some momentum
Sources tell me that the Maximus team spent some money to boost this post (under $800, which is not much for a national brand, but may be significant to your small business).
If a post looks to be gaining some traction, set aside a little budget for a boosted post. You don’t have to spend a lot of money if the content really does hit the spot.
Read more about boosting posts via the Facebook for business tutorial.
Read a case study outlining the results one guy got after spending only $20 to boost a post for his party inflatables Facebook business page.
If you’re looking to grow fans and page engagement, it could be worth planing some budget for one boosted post per week, but make sure you have something extraordinary or useful to boost!
What’s your favourite business Facebook page to follow and why? I’d love to hear about some other brands that are doing engagement right.