A Facebook Strategy for People Who Don't Like Facebook
I discovered a startling statistic about a week ago regarding my blog traffic. Facebook generates more than 60% of the traffic for Sweet Tea, LLC, and that was before I had even created a Facebook page for my business.
Yes, I was a hold-out, and for good reason! I've been in this blogging game long enough to know that when it comes to engagement, Facebook sucks. So why did I cave and finally create a Facebook page for my business? I wanted Instagram for Business, and you must link your Facebook Page to Instagram to use it.
But I'm not one to create a new social channel for myself then let it sit idle. Oh no! I want to rock it, so I'm determined to create a Facebook strategy for people who don't like Facebook (like me!).
As much as we all whine and complain about the constant changing algorithms that make it virtually impossible for blogger's to get their content in front of their Facebook fans, that social platform is only getting bigger & stronger, so we have to learn to roll with the punches.
In order to create a Facebook strategy, we have to look at the facts...or at least the facts as they stand today. Here are a few hard truths about our frenemy in the social world, Facebook:
- Facebook continues to average a growth rate of 15% per year, currently sitting at over 1.71 Billion (with a B!) users. (source)
- Almost half of all Facebook users (47% actually) ONLY use mobile to access Facebook. (source)
- There are 50 million Facebook small business pages (which is the category bloggers fall into, for the most part). (source)
- The reach of an organic (non-promoted/paid) Facebook post is only 2%. womp womp (source)
- Posts with 40 characters or less receive an 86% higher engagement rate than other, more lengthy posts. Too short for you? Posts with 80 characters receive a 66% higher engagement rate. (source)
- An organic Facebook post with video fosters a 12.17% reach. (source)
- People spend 3x longer watching Facebook Live videos than pre-recorded videos. (source)
- Most pre-recorded video on Facebook (85% in fact) is watched without sound. (source)
You might not nerd out on statistics like I do, but those numbers tell us a lot about how to create a Facebook strategy. Let's break it down.
[bctt tweet="I'm not a fan of Facebook, but this take on Facebook strategy is a game-changer." username="sweettea_llc"]
FACEBOOK STRATEGY: WHAT TO POST
I'll be the first to admit that I really want to flop onto my belly, kick my feet and stomp my fists, and go full toddler about spending time posting to my Facebook page. However, I know that good things can come from it, and I don't want my business to be left in the dust as Facebook continues to grow and evolve, taking the world with it.
So what's a girl to do?
Adapting does NOT mean spending ridiculous amounts of time on a platform I detest, however. It means paying attention to statistics and spending as little time as possible sharing the types of content that will get me the most engagement and reach.
KEEP MOBILE IN MIND
Facebook has almost 2 billion users, and almost half of them access Facebook exclusively on mobile devices. So what does that mean for bloggers & creatives trying to share their content?
Make it mobile-friendly! Make sure your images stand out and include relevant keywords that will tell the mobile viewer at a glance what they're looking at, and draw them in for more. Make your posts easily digestible, since mobile viewers tend to scroll rather quickly.
The same goes for your blog. If a Facebook mobile user likes your post and decides to click the link, be sure your blog is optimized for mobile devices, as well. That means you shouldn't have crazy pop-ups interfering with their reading experience, or ads that take up half the page.
BE UNIQUE & LOUD
Facebook Pages are all competing for the user's attention, so in order to stand out above the noise and chaos of 50 million business pages, you have to be unique and have a loud social media voice.
Figure out what makes you unique and do it, with no fear or hesitation. There are a bajillion and a half blog pages sharing the exact same content in the exact same manner, so do something different.
Don't be afraid to voice your opinion, either. When you get up on your soapbox, or share your true feelings about today's issues, it generates engagement, and makes you seem like a real person, rather than a blog-post-sharing machine, so be loud!
DON'T BE AFRAID TO PAY TO PLAY
Let's get really honest for a minute, ok? It's just me & you here. I know it's pissy that Facebook now ranks paid posts higher than organic, but they are a BUSINESS. Businesses are in business to MAKE MONEY.
And for you, as a BUSINESS OWNER, you have to INVEST MONEY to grow sometimes. That doesn't mean you have to invest a fortune, though.
Does it hurt my feelings that I have to give ol' Zuck more money if I want to get something awesome in front of more eyeballs? A little, but I get it. So don't be afraid to put your money where your mouth is, but do it strategically.
- Don't pay to promote every single blog post. That's wasteful.
- Set a strict budget and don't go over it. You'd be surprised what a difference $20 can do.
- Only pay to promote after seeing some good engagement organically, then boost that bad boy.
- Combine a few of these other factoids to make your paid post all the more epic (like by including video, for example).
No, not the band. Keep It Simple, Stupid. According to those stats up there, when it comes to popular posts, the shorter the better on Facebook, so get right to the point and be done with it.
I'm a talker by nature, but knowing that 40-80 characters is the sweet spot for higher engaging Facebook posts makes me drastically rethink how I share my content. This might mean letting the graphic do the talking, with bold and descriptive text...or more literally, in video!
GET IN THE VIDEO GAME
Yes, the dreaded "v" word! I can't tell you how many people claim to hate video and flat out refuse to do it. You're getting in your own way, my friend!
Facebook posts with video have a higher reach than posts with photos or just text posts. People spend a ton of time watching video on Facebook, too, and if it's pre-recorded, they prefer to watch it without sound. (Probably because they're at work and shouldn't be on Facebook to begin with, am I right? You know you do it.)
How does that affect your Facebook strategy? Um, hello? Make VIDEO. Seriously. And you don't even have to be in it! Just be sure to include text overlays so people can watch them without sound and still know what's going on.
Attention all you camera-shy folks! It's time to get over yourself. Video is going CRAZY on Facebook, particularly live video, so it's time to get over your fears and just dive in.
Most people prefer to watch live video on Facebook instead of the pre-recorded stuff, so you will have to step out from behind that big ol' comfort zone you got there and get on it. I promise, it's not nearly as scary as you think.
Creatively brainstorm what you can talk about and how often. (Yes, you have to do it regularly to be effective.) The cool part, in my opinion, is that it's not a one-sided video in which you talk AT your viewers. With Facebook Live, you engage with them, meaning they can talk back in the comments.
*TIP: Start talking as soon as you go live, rather than waiting for that first viewer to show up. You can even start by saying something like, "Hello to all you replay viewers!" It'll take a few seconds or up to a minute for people to realize you're live and tune in, anyway.
FACEBOOK STRATEGY: HOW OFTEN TO POST
Before Facebook's most recent algorithm change, believe it or not, less was more. Business pages who posted more than twice per day saw a decline in engagement with each consecutive post, albeit not a steep decline. (source)
Since Facebook's algorithm change, however, it seems that Facebook really likes fresh content, so sharing more often may actually help your engagement, as long as you don't cross the line into annoying. According to a study shared on the Moz blog, Facebook pages that shared more frequently and with few to no calls-to action (i.e. "click here to read this post", "what do you think? comment below!") saw better engagement AFTER the algorithm change.
So the answer is a muddy "it's up to you", as far as how often you post on your Facebook page, but we're definitely seeing that more is better right now, so experiment and find the happy place for your own audience.
As far as WHEN TO POST, that will be dependent on your own page's insights, so be sure to check them often and adjust your posting schedule accordingly.
CREATING A WINNING FACEBOOK STRATEGY
At this point you should be able to create a Facebook strategy to improve engagement on your Facebook page. Remember to include a healthy mix of your own content and other people's content.
This is what mine will look like for at least 30 days as I test out my own strategy:
I'll do my best to create at least one short video each week to post to my Facebook page, and combine that with a couple other videos that are related to my niche from other people's pages. I also plan to do a Facebook Live broadcast twice each week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
I'll be keeping the actual post short & sweet, and will most likely incorporate more graphics and photos that have text on them. Also, fun fact, photos of myself seem to do well, so I guess I'll bust out the selfie stick from time to time, too.
What's your Facebook strategy look like? Do these statistics affect your strategy at all?