Facebook can be a brilliant business tool when it comes to marketing your business. The trouble is, it only works if you get people engaging with your page. A page with unengaged fans is as bad as no page at all because it simply doesn’t get seen, so what can you do to get people talking, commenting, liking, reacting, sharing, viewing and clicking on your Facebook page and why bother? Well, engagement is a funny thing – you have to have it to get more of it. When someone engages with your post in Facebook – in other words, interacts with it in some way such as liking or using a reaction on a post, sharing it, tagging someone, commenting on it, voting on a poll, responding to an offer or event or watching a video or story – Facebook does several things.
1 – First, it shows MORE of your page content to the person who interacted with that post – they will start to see many more of your posts for a couple of days, then the effect will wear off until next time they engage with one of your posts.
2 – Second, because someone engaged with your post, it will show that post to more of your other page fans – the more engagement you get on a post, the more other people Facebook will show it to.
3 – And third, whenever someone engages with your post, their friends will see that they did so and some of them will check out that post, too. They might even get tagged in it by their friends, which means it shows up on their friend’s timeline too.
Do you see what I mean? Once you start getting engagement, it then carries on building without your help, at least for a day or two – which makes it even more important to get regular engagement so the effect doesn’t get a chance to wear off.
So how on earth do you get it in the first place? Well, I have some fab engagement ideas to get you started.
The first thing you have to remember is that every page fan is a real person and this is SOCIAL media. When you’re struggling to get seen, it’s easy to forget you’re dealing with people.
I can spot this a mile off on those Facebook pages that just have random post after random post, as though they are trying everything and nothing is working. Their page is full of shares from other pages with no explanation as to why the posts were shared. They paste random ‘inspirational’ images with no branding. They post sales message after sales message. You can’t even see what the business does or who owns it – there is nothing on the page to tell me there is a real person behind it with a business they, and other people love. Then they wonder why their page isn’t working for them.
If you remember you’re dealing with real people and potential buyers, things look a little different. Business owners who do this well have engaging pages full of news, ideas, inspirational posts that mean something, questions and polls, works in progress, stories and feedback from customers. At a glance you can see there is a lovely, real person working hard on their business, someone who wants other people to be as excited about their business as they themselves are. Someone who cares what their customers and page fans think, who uses their page as a relationship builder and shop window and who is proud to share their products and services because they know their fans will love them.
Where does your page stand compared to the two descriptions above? If you’re secretly thinking you’re more like the first, don’t worry! I have some tips and engagement ideas for you that will definitely help.
1. Understand The Potential Of Your Facebook Page.
Instead of treating it like an annoying thing you have to update when you remember, think of it as an amazing free tool to help you share your gorgeous business.
You could be using it to build relationships, turn strangers into fans, showcase your amazing products and services, build groups and communities, attract new email subscribers, build credibility and get sales.
All it takes is focus and a little bit of time – I always say ‘where you put your attention is where the magic happens’ and this is definitely true when it comes to marketing, including Facebook. Once you get the hang of what works on your page, you can use Facebook Creator Studio or another scheduler to quickly create engaging posts for the following week or beyond and pop in regularly to answer questions or respond to comments. It works!
2. Have Daily or Weekly Themes
Having a daily theme really takes the guesswork (and headaches) out of posting on social media.
I know one of the reasons many people struggle to post regular, engaging content is because they just can’t think of what to post, especially when they are busy with so much else.
Having a daily topic or theme makes it much easier to come up with ideas and means your content will be relevant, varied and interesting.
You don’t need to announce you have a daily theme (as in ‘it’s Top Tip Tuesday’) but you can if you want – or you can take a few ideas for each day and rotate them.
There are loads of ways you can use this idea and all of them will help your page become more engaging for your lovely fans.
3. Sign off your posts.
Hardly anyone does this and when you don’t, you are creating a block on your page. Why? Because people buy people, especially when it comes to small businesses and relationships matter. Many people buy from small businesses because they want to deal with a real person rather than a faceless corporate business. You and a few friends might know that you are the person behind your page but nobody else does. How can page visitors build a relationship with you and your business if they don’t know who you are? How can they turn from strangers to customers if they don’t know who they are dealing with?
You will see on almost all my posts I sign off with ‘Love, Claire xx’. That way, anyone reading that post knows who wrote it and can reply to ME (because it’s much nicer and easier to reply to a real person rather than an anonymous post from a business page, isn’t it?) I am always sad when I see a great post on someone’s page and they don’t sign off and say who has written it because I often don’t feel I can reply as I don’t know who I’m talking to. Remember what I said at the start of this article – every page visitor and fan is a real person. Oh, and don’t think you have to copy my very informal sign off – just your name would be great!
4. If you’re a local business, say where you are!
Again I can’t count how many times I’ve seen amazing posts and things I’d love to buy on a business Facebook page I follow, just to see a note saying ‘collection only’. But it doesn’t say where they are and I follow a LOT of pages for lots of reasons, so I can’t remember where they are unless their business name makes it really obvious. They might be 10 minutes or 100 miles away from me and I don’t have time to dig around and find out.
Don’t assume everyone who follows your page is local, even if you are a local business (and also don’t assume non-locals won’t travel, because they might but only if it’s really obvious for them where you are so they can make a judgement call). Don’t assume everyone who follows your page knows where you are, even if they ARE local. If you put ‘collection from Grafton Street only’ that doesn’t help me if I don’t know whether it’s Grafton Street in Darlington or Grafton Street in Luton.
There will be people who follow your page who will sit up and take notice if they see the name of their town or city mentioned in a post – it’s human nature so USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Make it really obvious how people can buy from you and where exactly you are (collection from our shop at 56 Grafton Street, Darlington – we’re open Mon to Sat from 8.30 till 6). Do you see what I mean? That’s really clear. Every time they have to stop reading to Google or dig around your website to try and find an address or contact details or opening hours, there is a big chance you will lose them because they are busy. Take away all the barriers to buying and you will sell more.
5. Tag other businesses
If you’re friends with other business owners or you’ve had great service from another business, tag them in a post. Give them a shout out and tell your page fans why you’re doing it. It’s a brilliant way to celebrate fellow small business owners, who are probably also struggling to get seen and when you tag them, they will see and usually respond – which starts engagement going on your page.
You could even make this one of your daily themes we talked about in point 2 (make sure you download that DAILY THEME PLANNER HERE). Also there is a good chance they will mention you or tag you back on their page, which is another way to boost your engagement and get you in front of new eyes.
6. Use Video – and NO it doesn’t need to be you on camera!
I know you might hate being ON video but there are loads of ways to use video without your face being on it. The thing about video is, it’s a really easy way to get engagement on your page. Why? Because every video view more of more than a view seconds counts as someone engaging with your page even if they only stopped scrolling for a little while, which then leads to Facebook showing that video and your page to more page fans, who are more likely to watch and interact with your video and your page and share it with their friends as we discussed earlier. Bingo!
Some videos are definitely better than others and surprisingly, it doesn’t depend on whether your face is in them. The things that make a big difference to how engaging and effective a video is are whether it has a great title (that ideally appears in the opening frames as well as on the post), whether it has subtitles and whether it’s easy to watch. If it’s really dark and it’s not obvious what you’re doing, do you think people will persevere and watch it? Probably not, why would they? If it’s your face talking but it’s not obvious when the video appears in your Facebook feed what you’re talking about, why would anyone bother watching? Having subtitles or captions makes is immediately obvious what you are talking about AND makes it accessible to those who are hard of hearing or people who are watching with the sound off. Think about the videos you watch when you’re scrolling through Facebook. Funny animal videos win every time (how can you use THAT in your marketing?!) but then it’s a title that sounds interesting and a video that’s easy to watch. You can do that.
7. Ask questions that resonate with your audience
Here’s the thing: people love to help and people love talking about themselves. How can you use that in your marketing? Well, you can build a great relationship with your fans and followers by asking for their help. I use this often with my audience and they love getting involved. Sometimes I get page messages from people asking for my help but often I’m not the best person to help them, so instead I check it’s ok if I share it with my page audience and if so, whether they want their name included or to remain anonymous, then I post it as a ‘Reader Question’ – people always help them.
Sometimes I’ll create a poll on my Facebook page asking people to choose between topics the want to learn about, or cover designs for my planner. Sometimes I’ll ask them what they are struggling with, or what they would change if I had a magic wand for their business, or what they don’t understand about marketing. Sometimes I just need a good cold remedy and I always get loads of suggestions.
Also, twice a week I run introduction threads on my Facebook page – every Monday I do a ‘Tag an Awesome Business Owner’ thread and every Friday I do a business showcase. Both are always very popular. I’ve also seen people asking their page fans how many pets they have and to share a photo, or what order their children arrived in (using emojis). It doesn’t matter what you ask as long as it captures the imagination of YOUR page fans.
Engagement isn’t difficult – you just need to think about what you’re doing and use my engagement ideas to create posts your readers love – those above should help!
Have you tried any of these engagement ideas before? How did they work for you? What else works for you? I’d love to know so leave a note in the comments!
Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.