Organic Facebook reach is dead.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. And like most marketers or small business owners, you’re probably sick to death of hearing about it.
We know that Facebook’s constantly evolving algorithm is slowing organic reach almost to a halt. We know that 0% unpaid reach probably lies just around the corner and we know that splashing out for advertising may soon be the only way to reach potential fans and customers.
The lack of organic reach has had a very noticeable impact on the way businesses market and post on Facebook these days. There’s very little room for trial and error anymore when it comes to posting. Every like, comment, share and interaction is therefore of the utmost importance. One misstep could have a detrimental effect on the power of your page.
As you absolutely can not waste your social space, businesses often enter into a frenzied panic of posting sales-driven, product-centric updates that essentially scream ‘BUY WHAT I’M SELLING’.
Unsurprisingly this fails to return any positive results. That’s because, if you want to successfully market your business on Facebook, you need to stop marketing your business on Facebook.
What Does ‘Marketing Without Marketing’ Mean?
Facebook is so many things. It provides an instant messaging service, it’s a publishing platform, an advertising tool, a video streaming service and a search engine. At its very core, however, it’s a social network.
People log onto Facebook to engage with friends and acquaintances, see the latest news, read interesting articles and comment on videos of cats. People do not log onto Facebook to purchase, sign up to a company’s service or follow a brand.
Therefore, as a business, if your content is overly promotional, it will be overlooked and ignored and your followers will scroll past it without a thought. And we all know what this lack of engagement will do to your organic reach.
People respond to people, so talking and communicating with your audience using the voice of a brand, rather than the voice of a person, will not work. On social media, marketing success is only truly achieved through building trust and developing relationships – not through persistent sales pitches or ‘advertising lingo’ that may work on other channels.
How To Market Without Marketing on Facebook
#1. Stop Talking Like A Business
The first step to successfully marketing without marketing on Facebook is to immediately stop using sales-driven, product-focused language. Avoid words like ‘sale’, ‘buy’ or ‘sign up’, as these words are an immediate turn off for users.
If you do any Facebook advertising, it’s important to separate the tone of your ads from the tone of your organic content. See them as two separate entities and use that kind of marketing/brand building lingo only within your ad copy. Keep your organic content more relatable and conversational – social media is a place where you can be transparent.
#2. Provide Value
Offering value to your audience should be the main aim of every single piece of content your upload to your Facebook page.
Value – in terms of information, knowledge, insight or even humour is what leads to high engagement levels. If your content offers something, such as making someone laugh or telling them something they didn’t know before, they will be more likely to take an action such as ‘liking’, ‘commenting’ or ‘sharing’.
Before hitting the publish, button, always ask yourself how this particular piece of content is benefiting your audience. If you can’t answer, then abandon what you’re doing and find something better to upload.
#3. Get To Know Your Fans
You can only really provide value to your audience when you truly understand what is valuable to them. For example, content that appeals to the fans of Disney’s Facebook page, will not be the same as that which appeals to Audi’s Facebook fans.
Not all audiences are created equal, so find what yours likes and serve it to them in abundance. Get to know what they want by researching other Facebook pages they follow and take note of the content which gets most interaction.
Read blogs that they read, visit websites they visit and always pay close attention to the comments sections, as this is where they will give their opinions and discuss the issues or topics that are important to them.
#4. Keep It Relevant
Offering value and giving your audience what they want should be top priority, but ensure that your content is still relevant to your brand or the overall message that you want to communicate.
You don’t see the McDonald’s facebook page posting about fashion or beauty. Even if their audience shares an interest in both, there’s not a natural crossover.
That’s not to say you must post strictly about your specific product or industry, as this can be incredibly difficult if your brand is not naturally appealing to consumers. Just find a way to creatively turn interesting content or stories back towards your message.
For example, one of the companies I market is called NI Parcels and it is a courier service for Northern Irish people and businesses. Parcel delivery is not the most fascinating topic in the world, but we’re able to get consistently high engagement levels on Facebook because we draw attention to the ‘Northern Irishness’ of the company, by using very specific language, colloquialisms and references that only Northern Irish people will relate to. One of our most successful Facebook posts was shared 50,000 times.
Not all of the content is directly related to parcel delivery, but the high engagement levels really increase our reach and our overall brand awareness and subsequently, more people are able to see the posts that are directly about courier services.
#5. Encourage Dialogue
If you want your fans to interact with you, give them the opportunity to do so. Many companies are guilty of uploading Facebook posts that read like a monologue and give the audience no chance to engage.
Conversations online are similar to real life conversations, in that, if you want someone to respond to you, you need to ask a question or speak in a way that provokes a reaction.
An excellent way of starting a conversation is to ask your audience for their advice. People love to share their opinions and thoughts, and as the number of comments underneath your post rise, your reach and overall page following will follow suit.
#6. Stop Talking About Yourself
No offense but your Facebook fans don’t care about your business. So if you’re taking to social media to share a company achievement or milestone, it means absolutely nothing to your audience.
Always turn the focus around to your customer. For example, if you have a brand new product launch, do not talk about how it’s an exciting time for your business; talk instead about how great it’s going to be for the customer and all the benefits it will bring them.
#7. Never Post For The Sake Of It
Posting for the sake of it is potentially the biggest crime committed on Facebook by business pages. Yes, it is important to show that your page is active by keeping a fairly constant flow of content. After all, the last thing you want is for a potential customer to land on your social media pages after researching your brand to see a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated since 2014.
However, posting pointless content solely for the purpose of appearing active could be more damaging. Your organic reach will decline due to the lack of engagement and this will prevent you from reaching existing customers and fans. In addition, when a new potential fan lands on your page and sees endless posts with no interaction, they will assume that your brand is not relevant and does not have good communication with its customers.
Only ever post quality updates that offer your audience some level of value. Having a regular schedule of content is not as important as engagement.
#8. Provide Customer Support
Facebook is fast becoming a powerful customer service platform and has recently introduced a range of new features to promote this shift; such as instant messaging between brand and fan, as well as showing your page’s average response time.
If you want to market effectively to your social media audience, start by offering a faultless level of customer support.
Not only will your fans will place more trust in personal communication and reviews of your brand but by providing a memorable customer service experience, you can potentially create brand ambassadors who will act as social media advocates for your company – an incredibly strong form of PR.
To market successfully on Facebook; generate sales, leads and increase brand awareness, businesses need to be creative not only with their content but also with the way in which they communicate with fans. Traditional marketing tactics might still work on other channels, but social media is a different world entirely.
Images: ”KIEV, UKRAINE – AUGUST 10, 2015: Facebook like logos for e-business, web sites, mobile applications, banners, printed on paper and placed in the sand against the sea Social network facebook sign. /Shutterstock.com“
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