The way it’s talked about for Internet marketing, you would think that registering a Facebook profile for your business is an instant ticket to ecommerce superstardom. In reality, it’s just one of many tools on a long journey to reach a level where you can compete with existing brands. A Facebook profile is essential in modern online commerce, but it can be disheartening to start up and watch how few people actually engage with your brand. Why aren’t people reading your posts?
1. You’re Too New
If you’ve just started out with Facebook, chances are you only have a small handful of followers. Each post only receives one or two likes and a share if you’re lucky or have a particularly dedicated fan. This is the most disheartening phase of the entire social media growth process.
In the early days of your social media profile, it will be hard to gain traction. To solve this problem, you’re going to have to invest the time and effort necessary to grow your social media presence. This means promoting your Facebook page on the other social media accounts you use, if any. It also means linking to it on your website, blog, newsletter and business cards. Anywhere you can promote the page, you should.
On the page itself, you need to make sure it’s attractive to new users. Fill out the informational sections of your profile completely. Use an attractive profile picture and cover photo, preferably something that goes along with your business and is more interesting than a copy of your logo.
Each time you post content, encourage users to share it on Facebook. A good way to increase sharing is to promote your profile with contests. A giveaway for users who share a particular post or who follow your profile in general is a perfect way to build more followers. As an added bonus, these tactics scale over time; the same style of contest can be run when you have 10 followers or 10,000.
2. You’re Too Promotional
You’ve built up some followers, but you still can’t manage to attract new users to your content. The click-through rates for your Facebook posts are dismal. You share new content and barely see a blip on the traffic records without a single new sale. No one seems to share your content or comment on your posts. What’s happening?
Chances are you’re being too self-promotional. Take a look back at all of the content you’ve posted in the last month. How much of it is advertising a product, blog post, service or contest on your website? Now compare that number to the number of posts that comment on current events, promote interesting content you didn’t create or provide outside value to users.
When the majority of your content is little more than an advertisement for your services, users are turned off. You gain no benefit from using Facebook the same way you would use a TV commercial or a billboard by the highway.
Instead, you need to include content that you didn’t make. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it will bring in more users. Post content they may find interesting, and comment on it with your own spin. Post blogs from your partners to share their audience. Post viral content and ask users what they think about it. Post industry news and your own commentary. The goal is to disperse your content with content other people want to see, gradually integrating your content into their consciousness as valuable.
3. Your Writing is Boring, Bland or Bad
Sometimes it’s not the content of the posts that turns users away, it’s the way they are written. Are you guilty of one of the three cardinal sins of content?
- Boring content is content that may be interesting to you, but has no relevance to your customers or your users. It may be dry, full of statistics with no analysis. It may be exceedingly long with few line breaks, full of words that the average user can’t pronounce. Boring content takes many forms, and with Facebook, users are looking for a quick hit of something interesting. You need to capture their attention in the first sentence and hold it throughout your content.
- Bland content is content that is technically proficient but uninteresting to your niche. It can also be called mistargeted content. Most users won’t be interested in the intricacies of your supply chain, for example. Even if the content is interesting to a certain audience, you need to determine if that audience is an audience you want to appeal to.
- Bad content is content that is poorly written. It’s full of grammatical errors or typos. It’s riddled with clichés and metaphors that don’t quite work. In some cases, it looks like a teenager wrote it, or it was outsourced to a writer without native fluency. Content that doesn’t look professional pushes users away.
You may be doing everything else right, and just can’t get ahead; that’s a sign there’s something wrong with your content itself.
4. You Post Too Rarely
How often do you post on Facebook? While the exact frequency depends on a number of factors, you should probably post more often. The exception is if you’re posting several times each day already; in this case, you may be flooding your audience with posts to such an extent that they block you from their consciousness, even if they don’t block you from their feeds.
If you are a large company with a large content creation department, you can get away with posting several times every day. The Economist, for example, posts as often as sixteen or more times each day. This is because it has a very large audience and can cover exceedingly variable topics each day. Smaller companies often post once or twice each day at most. Small businesses may find once daily posting to be the most beneficial.
Don’t treat posting frequency as a hard and fast rule. If you have something interesting and valuable to your readers, feel free to post it. If you don’t have anything on your plate, but you have posted daily for the last few days, skip the day. There’s no magic number as to how often you need to post to be recognized. Just know that you need to be active and posting regularly to make the most out of your following. Keep them aware of your presence without flooding them with content they don’t care about.
5. You’re Not Engaging
The number one rule of using social media is to keep it social. What are you doing to engage your customers? If your posts are simply thrown out into the social void and left to founder, they won’t succeed. You need to find a way to ask for customer engagement.
Try asking users to like and share your content. When you post, ask them what they think of the post. When you share a video, ask them what they liked about it. When you share pictures, ask them if they would like to be in the location photographed, or some other engaging aspect of the image.
Post items that aren’t directly promotional, but are beneficial to the user. Post contests that can get them active and engaged. One particular contest is to ask users to share and comment on a post; this gets more exposure and ongoing discussion.
Don’t forget that you have to do more than simply initiate the conversation. You need to keep active and commenting in the threads you begin. When a user asks a question, be there to respond if necessary. If a fight breaks out, be willing to step in to stop it. Your presence is important; otherwise, users lose the social aspect of social media.