With Facebook organic reach dropping, it’s requiring more and more effort to engage your fans, even those who already enjoy your site. You can pay to increase your reach, and you can take steps to broaden your audience, but those only have limited effect. What you really need to do is make your page worth following, and to do that, you need to put some serious effort into your page.
Create Apps that Require Being a Follower to Use
Apps can be greatly customized to provide value to your audience. How you do it is a deeply individual decision, depending on your audience, their interests, your business and how you interact with your fans. Create value with your apps and bring in users to use them. When they do, it will increase their engagement with your page, giving them more exposure to your content. As long as the app is interesting and valuable to a sizable portion of your audience, they’ll put it to use.
Use Facebook Comments for Your Blog
While it doesn’t technically require users to engage with your page, using Facebook comments on your blog allows you to put your conversation on your Facebook page. Users will be able to engage with your page both on and off the site, giving them more reason to visit and keep talking. It’s always possible that they’ll further like and explore your page when the conversation is detailed.
Feature Fan Content
Fans like to see their creations featured in a public place. It allows them to share in your fame, even if your fame is comparatively small. Featuring fan content on a regular basis – and encouraging fans to submit more – will keep fans coming back to see if their content made the cut that week. This can tie in with other forms of promotion, including contests.
Run Contests for Followers
Speaking of contests, they’re a great way to keep your visitors coming back. The kicker is that you need to run contests with prizes that related to your business in some way. If you’re giving away an iPad, you’re going to fill up your follower list with people who want an iPad, not with people who care about your business or your product. Giving away your product, or something only your business can give, more easily ensures focused engagement.
Avoid Promotional Language
You’ve probably heard this bit of advice a million times on a hundred different blogs, but it can’t be overstated. Promotional language is not the purpose of social media. You’re not advertising your business; you’re building trust and reputation. Think of it like sitting around a table with your friends; do you talk to them, or do you shout about the product you’re selling? Hopefully not the latter.
Give Facebook Coupons to Shoppers
This one is particularly valuable if you happen to have a physical location, but it can work with any business. Simply provide regular coupons to your Facebook followers. If they can access the coupon from the store via a mobile device, it will keep them coming back to your page to check if such a coupon exists. Of course, you can do the same thing with your website, but that doesn’t bring users to your Facebook page.
What are you sharing through Facebook? A good portion of the posts you make should be shared blog posts you’ve made on your site or another blog. Users follow you to see your insight into various events and happenings in your industry or around the world. This means the content that’s useful to your readers because it provides your insight combined with something they can take away from reading, whether it’s actionable tips or just a deeper understanding of the situation.
Your users are interested in more than just your content, and if you’re posting nothing but your own blog posts, you’re wasting an opportunity. Don’t worry about the traffic loss of sending your audience to a post you didn’t make; it will all even out when the owner of that blog makes note of you and sends traffic your way later. If that doesn’t happen, you’re still sharing content your users are interested in with them, establishing your page as a place they can go for news beyond your own blog.
When you’re sharing content, make sure some of it can only be found on your Facebook page. If nothing you share is unique or original, users will begin to wonder if they can just find what you’d be posting elsewhere and clean the clutter from their Facebook feeds. Or, more likely, Facebook will notice that they aren’t interacting as much with your page and will demote your engagement, lowering your reach.
Show Users You Care
When they comment, respond. When they post a question, do your best to answer it. When they offer feedback, make note of it and consider it later, if it’s worth considering. If they post a negative criticism or review, do your best to make the situation right. The goal here is to teach your users that they can come to your page for anything, from praise to criticism, and they will be heard.
Keep Your Account Active
Nothing kills reach and engagement more than an inactive or sporadically active page. A huge part of EdgeRank is time decay, with fresh content leading the way. If users check your page and see nothing new, they aren’t going to keep checking your page. If your engagement is low, they’ll never see your posts in their feed either. Activity is essential if you’re using Facebook for any serious purpose.
Users love and engage with images and video far more than the pay attention to text posts. For images, use something compelling that can be seen in a thumbnail clearly, but doesn’t give the whole thing away. In other words, something that entices users to click through. For videos, use custom thumbnails for the same purpose; select a compelling scene that draws user attention.
One of the most popular celebrity accounts on Facebook is George Takei’s, and he reached his height by posting a constant stream of cultural humor. He has his personal agendas to push, of course, but he does so sparingly. The humor and the unexpected are calculated for maximum visibility. Users love humor.
Conversely, users hate the negative. They come to Facebook to relax, play games and interact with their friends. The last thing they need is to fall victim to Facebook’s nefarious social experiments in negative emotions. Don’t provide Facebook any ammo; keep away from negative opinions or replies to comments.