Dec 252013

clip_image002Social media is an important part of any marketing mix. Almost half of all business owners note that Facebook is an important part of their marketing strategy and with good reason: The close rate for customers found on Facebook is 100 percent higher than that from other lead generation activities. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise companies actively pursue Facebook followers. It’s disheartening, though, for a marketer to discover that even though their page has several thousand followers, their posts are only reaching a fraction of them. So, what’s the deal?

Liking Isn’t Enough

It seems simple: Someone likes your page, so they will see your stuff. Easy, no?

Not so much; Facebook touts its News Feed as a means to give users the information and updates the users are looking for, when they want it. They want to make sure people are seeing the posts most relevant and interesting to them, whether they are on a computer or a mobile device.

What this means for businesses and marketers who use Facebook to reach their customers is they have to make their posts as relevant as possible to as many of their followers as possible. When Facebook first began using algorithms to target specific posts to specific users, page owners realized they could continue to reach users by simply asking users to change their settings and with a few clicks ensure posts from that page showed up in the newsfeed.

However, the algorithm has changed again, and users now have less control over which posts show up in their news feeds. Essentially, Facebook’s algorithm is based on several factors:

  1. Whether a user interacted (meaning commented, liked or shared a post) with that page in the past
  2. How many people overall have seen, liked and shared a particular post
  3. How often a user has interacted with similar pages and posts
  4. Whether or not a particular post has been hidden or blocked and how often

In other words, if a follower regularly likes or shares your posts, clicks on your links and follows other pages similar to yours, there’s a good chance they will see all or most of your posts. If they have scrolled past every post you’ve made for the last year without engaging with you, they probably won’t see the vast majority of your posts.

Improving Your Reach

Now that you know only a small percentage of the thousands of followers you’ve worked so hard to attract aren’t actually seeing your stuff, how can you improve your rates? After all, social media is far too important a marketing tool to leave to chance.

There are a few things you can do, and they all boil down to one word: engagement. The best way to drive traffic is to be interesting to your followers. You can get an idea of what your followers are interested in by analyzing your Facebook Insights. Which posts are getting the best response rates? What are followers liking and sharing? For example, if they are sharing photos but ignoring articles, you might reach more followers by posting more image-heavy content.

While the information from Insights can help you, it’s also important to do the following to increase your reach:

Share engaging content. What are your followers interested in? They probably don’t want to see the same memes and viral content that everyone else is posting. Offer fresh content with useful information they can put into action right away.

Interact. When someone comments on your page, what do you do? To keep followers engaged, you need to create a dialogue. That means constantly monitoring your page for questions and comments and responding to most, if not all, of the posts that followers make. When people see that you’re really there and they can get the answers they want, they are more likely to engage with you.

Avoid spam. It should go without saying, but it still happens: marketers bombard news feeds with posts, sometimes several times a day. If you post too often, Facebook’s algorithm will see it as spam and stop showing it to users. One or two posts a day is enough.

Follow the rules. Facebook has established a number of rules for business pages, including what can appear in cover photos, how pages can run contests and more. Learn the rules and adhere to them. If you repeatedly break the rules, you could have your account suspended or even shut down altogether — which will significantly impact your social media reach.

Facebook will undoubtedly tweak its algorithms again and again, all in a quest to keep users happy with the site. As a marketer, your best bet is to continue to create engaging content and create a dialogue with your followers, and your message will continue to reach the masses. er and entertainment reviewer both online and for several local publications.

Erica Taylor
Erica is a contributing writer and entertainment reviewer both online and for several local publications. You can follow her on Facebook here
Erica Taylor