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Facebook has a promise that it has made to businesses. It’s not an official promise in writing anywhere on the site. It’s an implied promise. “We have the attention of the masses. If you want to get in front of them, we’re the biggest game in town.”
The unfortunate reality is that the majority of businesses, particular small and medium localized ones, are completely missing out on the potential benefits of their Facebook page. It’s not all about the page, but that’s a good place to start and the best venue through which to have control over your own destiny.
Here are some signs that your social media strategy has your page operating at a low level. Don’t be discouraged – the vast majority of pages out there are feeling the same types of pains you are. The good news is that with a little help, businesses can make a swift turnaround and find success. It just takes understanding the realities of Facebook marketing.
As we’ve said in the past, the total number of fans is such an unimportant number that it’s not even funny. It’s all about reach, but that’s another story altogether. You can tell a lot about the effectiveness of any page by looking at two numbers up at the top.
The number of people “talking about this” compared to the number of total likes is your engagement ratio. This is the most important of the two parts when it comes to reaching more people through Facebook. In the instance above, there are 84 out of 5,737 people actively engaged with the posts coming out of this Facebook page, yielding a 1.5% engagement ratio. This is bad, but in many ways it’s because the engagement ratio in the automotive industry in general is bad, average around 1.75%.
The second part of the equation is the total number of people talking about the page. If 10 people are talking about a page that has a mere 50 fans, then the 20% engagement ratio isn’t going to help very much.
It’s important to understand the dynamic here, though. Some would think that having a ton of fans and a lot of people talking about it at a low ratio is fine, but it’s not. It hurts the page’s overall ability to allow the posts to be seen by locals. In other words, if a page has 100,000 fans and 2,000 people talking about it, then it has a low 2% ratio but a good total number. However, and this is often the hardest aspect of all this to understand, that low engagement ratio is still hurting the page and minimizing the potential. It’s possible to reach more local people on a page like this:
This page has fewer than the 2,000 people talking about the hypothetical 100,000 fan Facebook page, but it has a much higher potential to reach people, particularly the locals, because of the 15.1% engagement ratio. Facebook can see statistically that people are much more likely to like and engage with the content when it’s presented to them and it makes advertising and promoting the page much easier as a result.
More importantly, it allows for localization of the promotions at a massive scale. 157 people have engaged with this page recently, but a ton more locals were able to see the posts and be exposed to the messages as a result. Take a look:
As a result of getting the right type of local fans and operating a properly-structured advertising and promotions campaign, we are able to target a lot more than just those 1,040 fans who have liked the page.
Anyone can see what the engagement ratio is on a page simply by looking at the public numbers. In the automotive industry, the average is 1.75%. Anything over 4% is considered adequate. We strive to hit and stay above 10%, though we’ve seen some that sustain 30%+. It won’t last forever, but keeping it that high for a month or two means epic levels of exposure for the business messages.
You shouldn’t have pictures of cats on your wall unless you’re a veterinarian. You shouldn’t have pictures of childhood memories on your wall unless you’re an individual.
That’s the point, right? Businesses post irrelevant things to their walls because they were likely told by some social media guru to try to fit in, to post viral images and ask questions that have nothing to do with business in order to get people to engage with your business page.
Here’s a quick tip: people don’t want to engage with you over irrelevant posts. They already have plenty of friends and family filling their news feeds with such things.
Here’s a more important tip: you can get much more engagement by actually being transparent, relevant, and posting the type of content that has to do with your business. It’s a hard concept to understand for some reason, but when a car dealer posts images of cool cars, they’re staying relevant. When they post images from the local area, they’re staying relevant. When they post Facebook-only oil change specials or intriguing trade ins that just hit the floor, they’re staying relevant.
When they stay relevant, they have an opportunity to fulfill the purpose of the page’s existence. When they stay relevant, they’re able to fulfill the promise that was implied when people liked the page in the first place.
People like business pages for one of two reasons:
Not a single person woke up and said, “I want to see funny cat pictures and reminisce about my childhood today. I think I’ll find a local business on Facebook and follow them to satisfy this need.”
Stop trying to fit in. Your Facebook page should be designed to stand out. Don’t chum up to your fans. Inform them. Educate them. Amaze them. Give them information about things that relate to your business.
I just posted about this yesterday so I’m not going to rehash it now.
Sorry for all the purple – trying to block out identifying content to focus on the point of this. It’s a stereotypical business Facebook page – 1300 likes but very few people liking, commenting, or sharing the posts themselves. In this example, there was a post that had 13 likes and another with 11 in the last month, but he majority had 0, 1, or 2.
There are going to be duds. It’s not possible for every post to be successful, but most of them should be. You should be averaging around 1% engagement on each post. In the example below, the page has around 900 likes, which means that on average 9 interactions should be happening with each post (likes, comments, and shares).
It got 37 likes. This is good because some posts on the page are under the 1% mark with only a handful of likes. Some will do well, particularly those that resonate with the local community the way this one did. Some will not do as well. Keeping as consistent as possible is the key. Unfortunately, most pages are performing consistently poorly.
This is the only component of Facebook marketing that takes real skill and analysis. Everything else takes a little, but playing with the algorithm, monitoring the results, and tweaking the strategy are all part of finding the right mix between conversation and conversion.
Conversation is the fun stuff. Again, no cat pictures, but for a car dealer to get conversations going, they’ll want to post content that isn’t directly businesses related but that is still relevant to the industry. A Chevy dealer might post pictures of the new Corvette, for example. A Seattle dealer might post images (or better yet, ask their fans to post images) of the Space Needle. These fun posts get the community involved and allow your overall Facebook footprint to be as big as possible.
The conversion posts are all business. They’re talking about the big sale this weekend. They’re talking about the brake special from the website. They’re highlighting and individual used car that is just too amazing to miss. These get less engagement (normally but not always) but are the real reason you’re on Facebook in the first place. It’s not all about branding. You can increase business as a result of using social media and these are the posts that do it for you.
The two types of posts go hand in hand and finding the right mix is the tough part. You need to “earn” the right to post conversion content by posting enough high quality conversational content. It’s an algorithm play as well as an audience play, which means that you have to play with it. Too much conversation and you’re not getting a relevant message out to increase business. Too much conversion and people will shut you out, making your posts virtually invisible.
The example above was all about sales. Everything they were posting was about conversion which meant that very few people were actually seeing the posts. The opposite is no more useful; getting all kinds of conversations going without affecting business does nothing to help grow.
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There are other bad things as well as good things that are going on with pages, but these are the easiest way to tell in a glance whether or not you’re being effective. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or to find out what we can do to help you.