Facebook engagement – what’s it all about? Well, if you’ve got a Facebook page for your business, you’ll know what a challenge it can be to get fans, and even more of a challenge to get them talking! It’s often so bad, you wonder why you bother at all – you find yourself posting random things just to see if you can spark a reaction, but nothing. Zilch. It’s like talking to an empty room.
And yet other people do it brilliantly, so what’s their secret? What do they have that you don’t?
The answer, apparently, is ENGAGEMENT. And that leads to REACH. Which is what you want lots of. So, what the heck is it and how can I get some?
What IS Facebook Engagement?
Well, in a nutshell, engagement is when people like, comment upon, tag people in or share your posts OR watch your videos and stories.
What is Facebook Reach?
Reach is the number of people who see your posts.
Except it isn’t really.
You’ll see under each of your Facebook posts there’s a little area where it says ______ people reached. While this is an indicator of the number of people who have seen your post, it’s actually a wild guess with a bit of optimism thrown in by Facebook (yes, I’m sure there’s more to their Algorithm but this is how it feels).
In theory, every time your post appears in someone’s timeline, that adds to the reach. Their friends might see it too, especially if that person ‘likes’ it or comments on it, which adds more reach. If they share it, even more people will see it, so the reach gets higher still.
Sometimes Facebook goes a bit wonky and will tell you that your reach is 3 people when 5 people have liked that post, which clearly isn’t right. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t get too hung up on reach.
But DO try to improve your engagement.
So how does Facebook decide what you see?
Well, the first thing you need to know is that Facebook is all about giving a great experience to individual users – that’s you and me without our business hat on. They want to show us updates from our friends AND they want to show us more of what we love.
There are billions of Facebook users now. There are millions of businesses trying to get seen by those users, and paying lots of money to do so. And in amongst all of that Facebook wants to show YOU, the individual user, things you find interesting and enjoyable.
Some of what you see is down to paid advertising based on interests you have, pages you’ve liked, on how you describe yourself in your profile and on other pages, TV programmes, books, events etc you have ‘liked’.
Some of it is your actual friends – and the more you interact with them, the more of their posts you will see.
And the rest is down to things Facebook thinks you will enjoy based on pages you have liked. The same goes for your customers and potential customers.
And that’s where engagement comes in. Facebook has to have a way of deciding WHAT to show people like you – think about it. If you’ve liked 5000 pages, you can’t see every post from all of them every day because you want to see posts by your friends
So, Facebook looks which posts are getting lots of comments, likes and shares out of the pages you like, and they think ‘ooh that looks like a GOOD post, I bet you would like that too’ and up it pops in your timeline.
Which is why you see funny cat videos, cute Halloween pigs and other ‘viral’ content that gets lots of likes and shares because it makes people laugh and is cute.
Clearly there’s still work to be done, but you can see the HUGE challenge Facebook has. (Clearly this is the simplified Claire version, so apologies to the coding geniuses at Facebook who make this happen).
How Can I Get Better Facebook Engagement?
Create Your Facebook Posts For the Right People
Well the first thing you need to do is remember that certain types of people are more likely to like, share and comment on your stuff. They are the people who are a great fit for your business – I call them your Super Customers.
Think about what THEY would like to see. On my own Facebook page I share occasional ‘general’ posts and videos that ‘speak’ to me but for the most part every post is aimed at women business owners.
I share marketing tips, inspirational business posts, introduction threads and marketing blogs. There might be a few non-business owners on my page and they are very welcome, but I don’t cater for them. I cater for business owners. And because of that, I attract lots of them.
Lots of the things I post get likes, shares and comments from business owners. Any of their friends who are business owners will see the posts their friend has liked, and will like it too. And so it begins.
Who do YOU need to get on your page? What are they interested in? What would they love to see? What would they love to know? What do they like talking about?
Try The 3 Qs For Facebook Engagement
Remember, you’re trying to get people to like, comment and share. Here are some types of post that give you a better chance of achieving this – BUT if you’ve got random people on your page rather than Super Customers, these won’t work as well.
Asking Questions to Get More Engagement on Facebook
Asking questions can work to get people talking. Sometimes really simple questions like ‘where in the world are you?’ can get people to come out of their shell and reply. The bonus for you is, you can see where your fans are.
The questions you ask need to be simple and with no risk of making the person feel like they are getting it ‘wrong’. The more relevant you can make your question to your Super Customer, the more likely you are to get replies. So, if you target crochet lovers you might ask them ‘what are you working on right now? Post a photo’. If you do children’s classes you might ask ‘how did you choose your children’s names?’ or ‘how old are your littlies?’. If you are a florist you might ask ‘who did you last send flowers to and why?’. If you’re an accountant you might ask ‘are you scared of TAX – yes or no?’
If one doesn’t work, don’t give up. Try the same question at other times of day. Leave it for a few weeks and try again. Try different questions.
Posting Quandaries to Get More Engagement on Facebook
People LOVE to help. On my page I often get people messaging me for advice and I sometimes ask if them if they would like me to ask the Page.
I call them Reader Questions and I leave it up to the ladies on my page to answer, even if I might know the answer myself. It’s not about making me look clever. It’s about the person who asked the question benefiting from many people’s opinions and experiences AND the benefit to me is it creates engagement on my page.
Using Quotes to Get More Engagement on Facebook
Facebook fans love a good quote or saying. I often just use my own words but it works just as well if you share something amazing somebody else has said. You can either post it as text but it’s better to make it SHAREABLE and the best way to do that is to turn it into an image, also known as a MEME (rhymes with theme).
If you’re quoting someone else, make sure you CREDIT them, in other words say who said it. So if you were using the words I said in this meme, you might say ‘Every successful business started out as a daydream’ – Claire Mitchell, The Girls Mean Business®. It’s essential you do this, otherwise you’re passing off someone else’s work as your own and you’ll have some upset people on your hands.
Some More Great Facebook Engagement Tips
Introduction threads can work very well for some businesses. I run one every Friday on my Facebook page where people can say who they are, where they are, tell us what their business does and tag their Facebook page.
Stories are big on Facebook and Instagram
They are little collections of snippets – photos, video clips, words, polls, questions, shares from pages and accounts and more – that last 24 hours, then disappear. Facebook and Instagram want us to use them. They are putting them at the top of our feed and encouraging us to click on them by making the circle around the profile picture glimmer to grab our attention!
Why use stories? And how?
Well, some people use them like a daily diary where they record or snap photos of what they are up to throughout the day – like a stream of consciousness with works in progress thrown in. Others use them strategically, sharing tips or offers, asking questions and running polls. Because Facebook and Instagram want us to use them, they naturally favour them over other content so if you create stories, you will *probably* get more engagement. It sometimes takes a little while to happen but if you are consistent and create content your audience enjoys, you will start to build more engagement and reach which means the rest of your feed will show up more often for your fans and followers, too!
Shares from other BIG pages can also work well.
It’s a strange Facebook phenomenon but sometimes when you share a post from a ‘big’ page you sort of borrow some of their reach – your reach goes up even though your page fans stay the same. It’s odd but good, it doesn’t always work and you have to choose things to share that will resonate with your Super Customers.
Videos are great for engagement.
Facebook live videos seem to do the best at the moment but other types of video also do really well.
The key factor is that they are uploaded direct to Facebook. If you simply share a link to YouTube or to a video on your website, it doesn’t work anywhere near as well. Facebook makes it super-easy to create videos using your photos in a slideshow – it’s the fourth option down on this dropdown that appears when you choose ‘image’ as you create a new Facebook post.
Your fans love to see YOU.
Any time you share photos of you at work, your workspace, stuff you’re working on, things going on in your business, you usually get a much bigger and better reach with more engagement. I am careful about what I share – I very occasionally post images of my little girl if it’s relevant to something I’m talking about but I’m always aware that there are some strange people out there in social media land and I have no idea where my photos might end up. I’m not so fussy when it comes to me, I’ll happily post photos of myself and my work and I LOVE doing short teaching videos that help people get to know me.
Phew, so hopefully now you know what engagement is on Facebook, why you need it and how to get more of it. I’d love to get your thoughts and any experiences you’ve had trying these – pop them in the comments below. Have I missed any? Wishing you LOADS of success in your Facebook marketing!
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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.