For small business owners, embracing social media marketing is as important as understanding the analytics behind their efforts and learning how to monitor the metrics that matter most. Last month, Ann Wendel talked about the importance of gauging the ROI of your social media marketing efforts and provided excellent tips on taking some baseline measurements and applying them to your social media marketing strategy. What I’d like to do is zero in on a few important social media metrics you can gauge quickly and address immediately. Let’s start with Facebook and two of the more tangible metrics you can measure: page likes and impressions.
Do Facebook Likes Matter?
Remember the good old days when getting a person to like your Facebook page meant that new fan had just opted in to seeing all your posts and updates? Me too, so I share your—and countless social media managers’ and small business owners’—frustration over Facebook’s major adjustments to its news feed algorithm and the way advertising and promoted posts work.
Basically, Facebook now shows your posts to a very small percentage of your page’s total audience, instead of broadcasting your updates to all of your followers. How small of a percentage? Tiny! Your business page’s organic reach is likely between 2% and 6%. It sucks, which begs the argument: If Facebook will not show my posts and status updates to the majority of my fans, but will only display them to a small segment of my audience, why bother having a lot of fans (or page likes) in the first place? That’s certainly a valid point, but trust me, this isn’t the end of the world. Sure, reaching your audience without paying for those impressions is challenging, but that doesn’t mean you should completely abandon your Facebook strategy. It still makes a lot of sense to grow your Facebook community.
Read on to learn why—and to see what you can do to increase your business page’s organic reach:
Stick With Your Plan
You embraced Facebook marketing and devised an excellent content strategy—and you should definitely stick with your plan. Even if Facebook is showing your posts to just a small percentage of your audience, it’s not the same people every time. So, if you have lots of great, engaging content to share throughout the day, different segments of your fanbase will see it at different times. That means you can still reach a significant portion of your business page’s followers without having to reach for your wallet.
Strategically Grow Your Fanbase
Don’t think of Facebook likes as a vanity metric (i.e., the more you have, the better you feel about yourself and your social media marketing efforts). Instead, think of this value strategically, and make sure you are getting the right people to like your page (read: your target demographic) and subsequently see and—hopefully—engage with your content. That way, even if Facebook is showing your posts to a small segment of your audience—and even if it’s the same exact segment each time (it isn’t)—it still makes sense to strategically grow your fanbase because 10% of 100,000 is way more than 10% of 1,000 (math, baby!)
Experiment With Posting Times
Typically, posting before and after regular business hours is more effective than posting anytime during the nine-to-five work day. When I tested this strategy on our Facebook page, I found that updates posted either in the morning (right before typical work hours) or in the evening (right after typical work hours, but before dinner) outperformed daytime posts, garnering more than three times the engagement levels. This is likely true for your audience, but I recommend you test the theory for yourself to be sure.
You may also want to play around with the number of times you post throughout the day. As I mentioned above, even if Facebook is only showing your posts to a segment of your audience, it’s not the same segment each time. That means posting several times throughout the day can help you reach more of your audience organically. But I recommend you find your sweet spot and not run the risk of annoying and potentially alienating your audience by posting incessantly.
In the end, paying to promote your content is what really works. If you have a budget and understand how to effectively target the right audience, I recommend giving promoted posts a try. You do need to spend some cash, but you can start with a modest dollar amount and scale your efforts if you find this tactic works for you. I’m guessing you’ve noticed a pretty serious dip in Facebook engagement in the past few months. What are you doing about it? I’d love to hear what’s worked and what hasn’t in the comments below.