Over the last few years the reach of our Facebook page posts has eroded. Gone are the days when you could post an update on your small business page and be safe in the knowledge that most followers would see it. Now fewer than 6% of your followers will see your posts organically and this is expected the decline even further if you look at reach patterns over the last few years and take into account Facebook’s need to please shareholders:
What Can Small Businesses Do to Extend Their Organic Reach on Facebook?
If Facebook is key for your audience, don’t despair! Here are 5 simple tips that have worked for us to help us extend our reach and those of our clients on Facebook for free – hope they work for you too!
Free Tactics to Extend the Reach of Your Facebook Posts
1.Use hashtags – I know that there is a big debate about hashtags on Facebook but if you use them sparingly and in a highly targeted way, they will extend the reach of your posts organically.
2. Post photographs of you, your team, your partners and your clients and tag them personally. Doing so will help your posts reach and be seen by their networks.
3. Content is still key – the better your content, the more likely people will find it and share it, so create content that really educates, builds knowledge and helps others.
4. Engage others – know your community and make sure you are following the pages and profiles of prominent people in your industry. Share their content where appropriate. What goes around comes around – the more you share, the more others will do the same with your posts. You can also get creative and invite them to participate (check out our latest podcast for example).
5. Post at the right time – the optimum time to post will depend on your audience and take some experimentation to determine. Many people don’t have access to Facebook during the day so evenings can be a great time to post. We have used this to post page reach for many of our clients by as much as 300%.
Paid Solutions to Extend Facebook Reach
The last option, one I hear a lot, is to use Facebook promoted posts and pay to have them appear to your audience and whilst it is true that you can reach 500 or so followers for a small amount ($1 or so), it all adds up. I recently saw a statement from Moz’s Brian Carter, “If you can’t spend $30 per month ($1 per day on Facebook Ads), you shouldn’t be in business.” That is all very well (and condescending) for Mr. Carter to say but for many small businesses, particularly start ups, their money might be better spent elsewhere and they might get more value for their time on other networks like LinkedIn or Google+ for example (just because there are over 1 billion Facebook users doesn’t mean that it is the best tool for you to engage your target audience).
What works for you on Facebook? What innovative approaches have you taken to extend your reach? Please share your tips here as well!
Here’s a wee tip for you: Don’t connect with people on LinkedIn for the sole purpose of harvesting email addresses. It does nothing for your personal brand. Who wants to do business with a spammer? Not only that but Canada’s anti spam legislation is about to make this practice illegal (Bill C28) so it’s not only your reputation at stake – you could also face fines of $1m+.
Bonnie Sainsbury joined me for the Out-Smarts podcast today and I am so excited to share this with you. Here’s why:
Bonnie was named to CEOWorld Magazine’s 2014 Top 25 Women in Social Media, Forbes 2013 20 Top Women Social Media Power Influencers and 50 Top Social Media Power Influencers. She is the co-host of Women Talking Tech, a weekly webcast where she discusses what’s happening in social media.
I’ve been inspired by Bonnie online for years now but it was only recently we met face to face. During our podcast Bonnie shares her story, her secrets to using social media to build business and her top 3 tips that entrepreneurs everywhere can use today to grow their business. This is a must listen!
Here’s a wee tip for you: You wouldn’t go to a networking event and shout at people about what you do, so why do you think it’s okay to do this on Twitter?
Join Mhairi at Small Business BC to learn about the basics of social media for Small Business.
Monday, March 24, 2014 – 1:00pm to 3:30pm
Social Media and On-line Marketing Tactics
Just because you know what social media is, does not mean that you necessarily understand how to use it to grow and develop your business. This workshop focuses on understanding social media, what is it and how it’s connecting people.
- Learn how/if social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
- Understand what opportunities are available for you to leverage social media for business growth and prospecting.
This seminar is hosted at Small Business BC in Vancouver and delivered to other locations via live video conference and webinar. All webinar participants will also receive access to a recording for seven days after the live session.
Buy Now, choose your preferred location:
Small Business BC – Vancouver
Webinar – Your home or office
Community Futures Fraser Fort George – Prince George
Each month for the Out-Smarts podcast I talk with local small business people and ask them to share with us how they’ve used social media and the Internet to grow their business and to tell us their top 3 tips for business growth.
This month I had the pleasure of sitting down with business partner and colleague Michela Quilici of Q Consulting. Listen up!
The Art of Marketing is coming to Vancouver on March 19th. See industry thought leaders Seth Godin, John Jantsch, Mitch Joel.
Click on the image below and use the promo code SMARTS19 to save on your tickets.
If you write a regular blog then you’ve no doubt suffered from blog writers fatigue. It gets us all from time to time: you wake up one morning and you have no inspiration and can’t for the life of you think of what to write about. Here are a few ideas that you can use to get over this and get back at it:
1. Read, read, read – open the newspaper, read articles in magazines and on-line publications and books: you’re sure to find inspiration for a post. Try using Zyte or FlipBoard apps to source inspiring content.
2. Share the responsibility – get other members of staff, partners and even customers to contribute to your blog thus providing a fresh viewpoint for readers. But be careful with this, Google doesn’t like it when articles are reposted so fresh, new content is best.
3. Think outside the box – cover a topic that is peripheral to your business – one that you wouldn’t normally cover in a typical blog post but that is still relevant to your central subject. It might be a charity you are involved with, a cause that is close to your heart or local related news. Or instead of posting a written blog why not post a video or photo blog to shake things up.
4. Just do it – stop making excuses: you’ve started a blog and you see the benefit in terms of increased traffic – it takes discipline and commitment to have a successful blog so just quit the complaining and get it done – it’s worth it. Remember that quality is better than quantity so give yourself a break – one great post a month is better than 4 mediocre ones.
5. Take inspiration from every day experiences – Have you had an experience in your every day existence that strikes a cord? Share these experiences in your blog. It could be as simple as a positive customer service experience or a negative one that made your blood boil. Doing so lends a human aspect to you writing.
6. Ask your clients – this is my favorite one and one I use it often. If I am stuck for an idea for a blog post subject, I’ll ask clients and colleagues for suggestions. You will be amazed by the ideas a fresh mind can come up with. Conversely, use your blog as a forum to answer common questions your clients ask you.
7. Attended and event, trade-show, presentation or movie? – review it in your blog.
8. Been on vacation or on a business trip? – Use travel as an inspiration as it gives you the chance to review how things are done differently in other places and to share these new innovations with your community.
9. Learned something new? – if there have been new developments pertinent to an old blog post there’s no reason why you can’t write an new post based on a previous one giving your audience an update on developments.
10. Reward yourself! – if you’re having a day when you’d rather have teeth pulled than write a post, then give yourself and incentive and reward yourself when its done.
Social media is so mainstream, you would think by now that we would have grasped how to use it properly. Instead businesses fall back on bad habits and focus on the old push model – pushing out content (the more the better) and hoping that some of it sticks (or that somebody (anybody?) notices). If you log into your Twitter dashboard right now, the chances are that the majority of the Tweets you see are links to articles written by someone else and in many cases the original article titles are still intact with no value add and there’s no mention of the originator. Little wonder then that 75% of our time spent on social media is wasted, all we are doing is rehashing other people’s content and poorly at that.
In 2014 if your small business isn’t having conversations in these networks then why bother?
Let me ask you this. Would you go to a networking event and stand in the corner of the room and shout ‘I’ve a great deal for you’ or ‘Have you read this bla bla bla?’ at the other attendees? Of course you wouldn’t so why is it that you think it is okay to do this on social media?
Successful social media participation is a lot like attending a networking event, you have to start conversations and interact in order to make the most of your time there.
Don’t be shy. Here are five quick tips to help you kickstart social media conversations.
1. Who is it you want to have conversations with? – Most likely your partners, clients, business contacts, people of influence in your community, other businesses you would like to have as clients, media types and service providers who can bring you business. Make sure you are following them on Twitter and have liked their business pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest (this will depend on which networks you use). Make a list on Twitter if you like (to help you track them more easily).
2. Listen well – You’ve followed the right people, now what? Get into the habit of listening (watching) out for their updates and replying, responding and sharing when you have something positive of valuable to add. Do this daily and remember that this is about them not you. Be authentic.
3. Get social in real time – Rather than simply scheduling posts, get into the habit of using these tools in real time. When you post, take a few minutes to hang out and wait for responses so that you can have real time interactions with your connections. If you don’t have time to do this then monitor your feeds (most social apps facilitate this). Thank people who share your posts (if you do they will be more likely to do so again). Remember your manners.
4. Find ways to start and stimulate conversations – If you are linking to articles remember to include the @twitterfeed of the original source – that helps you build new relationships. Tell people what it is about the post that is interesting / adds value or you disagree with. Include a call to action. Share pertinent articles that you think will be of specific interest to your network and, even better, share directly with individuals in your network.
5. Integrate online and off – use social media as a tool to augment your in person business development. If you are attending conferences or events, look for your fellow attendees in advance and connect with them online so you can meet break the ice before meeting them in person. Get into the habit of connecting on social media with people you meet at networking events then go back to steps 2 and 3 in order to enhance your relationship with them.
How do you start and maintain your online conversations? What works for you? Let us know.
Other Out-Smarts Blog articles you might like:
The top 10 social media mistakes businesses make
Using social media to maintain and grow your network
10 Ways to Kickstart your Tweets
Listen to my latest podcast and learn about the 3 things I consider to be most important when building your online presence.