You may not have noticed it, but Facebook may slowly be on a path to world domination. Imagine a world where you no longer need to “Google it” or you don’t need LinkedIn. Sound unrealistic? Perhaps not…
Here are a few ways Facebook may be encroaching on LinkedIn and Google, and you probably haven’t even noticed it:
When you search in Facebook now you are served results across the web not just what’s inside Facebook. What’s more, the results are now separated for you into categories, much like in Google, so that you can easily find exactly the thing you are looking for. Try it, search in Facebook for “next full moon” in the FB search bar and the results offered [as shown below] will include links and also Videos outside of FB, well before you are shown the posts by friends or those made public on FB.
Rumor has it that soon you will be able to connect your community pages to your company pages and interact with a community as a company. There is some information here in this Adweek piece, but only 2% of FB accounts currently have this feature and according to the Adweek piece it is not expected to reach the masses until June.
WORKPLACE BY FACEBOOK:
Still a new concept, Workplace for Facebook is meant to be a professional “group” for businesses. There is a cheesy advert here you can watch about it or you can go to this link to sign up for a limited time free trial. I am still not clear why any business would use this over a free “group” on Facebook. At least in a FB group when someone posts, shares, comments and likes then the content has a much bigger reach potential. According to the Workplace for FB page the main features will be Messaging, Groups and Calling. All of these are available right now in FB for free! I’ve just signed up so stay tuned for another blog post on how it works and whether you need it.
ADVERTISING ON FB:
Again, this is just a rumor, but from a fairly reliable source. Apparently you will soon be able to target members of a group in the advertising target settings. This will be great for some of those baby product companies who want a way to tap into the very active Mummy groups on Facebook, for example. It is not yet clear whether they will allow advertising INSIDE groups, I honestly hope not, but at the moment the targeting option does seem cool, if it ever becomes a reality.
Do you know of other features and services FB is offering that if successful could seriously impact the way we currently work, search or advertise online? Add to the comments below.
I am thoroughly enjoying teaching a private Marketing and Social Media strategy course at the moment. The best part is that while teaching I am able to verbalize all my strategies into all sorts of cool new mantras to explain basic principles of Marketing. In this post I will write about how I use Stop. Measure. Analyze. Strategize. as part of my "3 month cycle to guaranteed growth and lead generation using social media." How do you achieve this in 3 months?
Month 1 - MEASURE and ANALYZE
In order to get strategic you need to look at everything you have been doing historically, and how effective it was as a strategy. Set benchmarks for followers, engagement numbers, reach, type of content etc... Now look at what similar companies/people/brands in your space are doing. Who are their followers, how do they post, how do they engage, what seems to work? Make a note of it. During this month DO NOT STOP POSTING, what you actually need to do is post more, post often, change it up. This is the month to see what works and what doesn't. Not just for you, but for people similar to you. The insights you gain will help you with your strategy.
Month 2 - STEADY GROWTH
I call this the growth month. Focus now on applying the insights you have gained during your MEASURE month into actionable posts. By now you should be posting more often, in the right place, focusing on a particular type of follower/influencer. Your main goal this month is to get your follower and engagement numbers steadily growing. Why? because it means you are doing something right. Once you are getting it right applying it to a strategy will guarantee success.
Month 3 - STRATEGY, STRATEGY, STRATEGY
This is the month you can start to plan how to keep growing and turn your captive audience into a potential leads. By applying the lessons you learned in the first 2 months you should now know for sure:
Month 4 and Onwards - STOP. MEASURE. ANALYZE and continue STRATEGIZINGTo make sure you never lose sight of that not so elusive successful end-goal, never ever stop measuring, analyzing and strategizing. It is the only way to guarantee #MROI.
I wanted to do this as a video blog for this post, but blow me - I may know alot about social media - but I sure as hell couldn’t find an easy way to do a video blog and I couldn’t Facebook live because the video recorder microphone on my iPhone is not working. Anyway I digress.
This post is titled “Reality slap in the Face[book] Pages,” and it is dedicated to anyone thinking about creating or wondering how to grow/promote their Facebook page for their business. What I am presenting here has come about from more than 5 years of running my own Facebook pages, as well as consulting as a social media growth strategist for many small and large B2B and B2C clients.
If you are going to try and promote your business for a small and very targeted audience on FB – you may not want to bother with a page, you will see why below. If you are trying to reach a wide and large audience on FB and you have budget to back up your organic (unpaid) campaigns with regular paid content, then great, a FB Page MIGHT be for you, but maybe not...
Before I get into whether you should consider a FB page, you need to understand how FB pages work. Basically it is very hard to grow your following organically, I have several large clients with thousands of followers already and even they struggle to grow significantly without running paid advertising. But here’s the “slap in the face” I mention in the title. EVEN if you have thousands of followers, the FB algorithm is set up to only show your posts to a dozen or so people (randomly). ONLY if a user likes, comments, reads more, or shares that post will the FB algorithm start working and show that post to more people. In fact, if you look at the bottom of each post it will tell you how many people have “seen” that post. The only way to beat this algorithm is to create VERY highly engaging content, often called click baiting, or to pay to promote (boost) it to a wider audience. The problem with click baiting – you know, those posts that say “you won’t believe what this girl did that turned her hair purple” – is that it can cheapen your brand and also annoy your followers. Another way, which is very time consuming, is to identify brands and groups that are relevant to your target audience and post your content in there - however not everyone has the time for this and you run the risk of being reported for spamming and having access to your account blocked.
Businesses with niche or very targeted audiences = Don’t bother or at least face the reality of what a FB page means and what results you will get from ANY effort you put in there:
Why do I say small or niche audiences shouldn’t bother with FB pages. For one, you probably don’t have a budget to back up your organic campaigns with regular paid content – see above. If you did have a budget, getting the targeting right for your small audience is hard if not impossible, and you are more than likely going to be frustrated that it is money wasted because the wrong audience, or no audience, is clicking on your ads.
Rather: Consider if it might be right for you to set up a FB group or community, if your audience all share a common interest like weight-loss or lifestyle changes, and say you are a coach for that business, you can create a community of people interested in your content/posts and because you set the community up, you have full control over the content and tone of the group.
Businesses with broad and large audiences = Make sure you have a budget for paid, great marketing writers and time to put the effort into growing your pages.
It may surprise you to know that companies with thousands of followers and large budgets often struggle to make FB pages work for them. Often I tell my clients to think of the end-goal first. If the end-goal is to drive lead generation or make sales, then a FB page may work only if backed up by very well thought through paid campaigns and follow-through tracking and analysis for those campaigns (such as landing pages and gated content). Some of my biggest clients are successfully growing 300+ new followers a month on their FB pages and yet their organic posts STILL only get 100-200 reach, (ie: the amount of people Facebook say have “seen” the post), or less. Whereas the paid posts (or boosted if you want to relate it to FB language) get 1000+ reach each time, this may only mean about 20-30 likes or shares on the post. But it doesn’t necessarily mean more leads or sales, it may further down the pipeline mean more people engaging with the brand, subscribing to a blog or newsletter etc... but the immediate ROI is not always measurable and therefore my advice is only bother if your main “end-goal” is growth in terms of month-on-month number of followers and engagements, and brand presence, or if you can back it up with regular paid campaigns so at least you know you are targeting your chosen audience. Then make sure you have brilliant content marketing writers to write really engaging content for you, time to post, monitor and engage with people following and engaging with your posts and the ability to analyze what you do and be strategic about the campaigns you run on FB.
The Bottom Line
Facebook pages are not for everyone. They are OK to have, if you put minimum effort into setting one up so that you have one, as long as you remember everything I have said above and don’t put too much stock into ROI results. Also OK if you are setting it up just so you can run paid/targeted adverts. Don’t forget to put your thinking cap on and see if creating a community or group page might not serve your purposes better.
Good luck and be in touch if you want me to come in and give you a tutorial on FB pages, advertising or strategy for successful social media marketing.