Facebook Post Alchemy
“Here’s the heart of the matter: The essence of social media is knowing your audiences and engaging them in something they love.”
Facebook is a dragon and you’re knight to slay it. With a rusty sword and skinny horse you ride into the mountains, wondering how to get the upper hand.
A lot of business owners feel this way. Facebook’s algorithm, which decides if your audience sees you or not, is what makes it scary. But there are weaknesses in the scales.
In an earlier post, I unveiled the dragon and how it operates. Algorithms are just software that assign rankings based on predetermined factors. The way to beat it is to please it. Please it by publishing the posts it loves best.
What’s Your Post Mix?
You have a big sale this weekend and want your 3000 fans to know about it. You post “Big Sale this Weekend Hear ‘ye Hear ‘ye.” No one shows up.
You go into your Insights tab and see that only 4 people saw it. It was a ghost-post, invisible because no one engaged with it. The message you wanted to get out most sunk to the bottom.
You see a video of a turtle playing a piano. You share it on your page, because why not? Over 9000 people see it. It becomes your most shared post, and it said nothing about your business. Welcome to Facebook.
You’re not in business to share turtle videos. You want to make some money, but the dragon eats you every time you promote yourself.
Face-bookers don’t care about what you’re selling; they care that you can help them. Enter Content Marketing. Content, be it micro (short tips), blogs, videos, or anything else helpful, gets engagement.
Don’t Be a “Suit”
If you’re too casual, and your posts are all staff selfies and loosely related shares, you risk looking sloppy. If every post is polished and slick, you’ll come off as corporate (a big mistake in social media). It will take some time to get the balance right.
You’ll want the professionally designed, well-conceived posts, especially for list building and promotions. But the casual posts perform the vital role of shedding your business’s corporate veneer and exposing the common humanity beneath.
Social media must involve everyone. Encourage your team to take pictures, submit tips, and pass on comments or questions from customers that your wider audience would like to see answered.
Before hand, make sure you tell your team what kind of posts you’re looking for (this avoids unnecessary disappointment when you don’t post a picture of someone’s cat), and that you have final say over every outgoing message. Don’t feel guilty to fluff up text or sharpen a team-supplied image. You want everyone to participate, but make sure your page’s narrative remains consistent.
The 3-1-1 Rule
Every business needs to talk its own line between engaging and promoting. At my Garden Centre, I follow a 3-1-1 rule in my planning.
Given 5 posts per week, 3 of them are either helpful (content), entertaining (quizzes, shares, or jokes), or inspiring (quote or human-interest). Aim for engagement of over 5%.
1 post is about my business while not being a sales pitch. Team profiles or selfies, news about charity involvement, and photos of people/ products (preferrably people) all engage well. I sometimes stretch this to 2 posts because I have an enthusiastic base, but it’s a judgment call. I shoot for a 4% engagement rate, although it often spikes to 8% or more.
The last post can have a sales pitch… sort of. If you’re doing a direct sales pitch, you’re going to see a >1% engagement (and that’s just depressing). The creativity comes from finding ways to wrap a promotion into a more engaging post format. More on that in a later article.