Reach Further, Work Smarter with Facebook

Guest blogger Helen Bowen shows how she has maximized traffic on her Facebook Business page with a few pointers and minimum outlay.

Reaching Further and Working Smarter with your Facebook Business Page

Reach Further and Work Smarter with FacebookLet’s face it; running a business on Facebook is not for the faint-hearted. If you are a creature of habit, you will probably struggle to cope with the ever changing and unpredictable world of Facebook functionality. Whilst some Facebook changes are major (like the shift to timeline made mandatory for brands in March this year), other changes are introduced without the fanfare, to be discovered only by accident or by tip-off from the Facebook rumour mill. As much as we would probably all like things to stay the same (for a while at least!) more functional updates are inevitable and so it’s down to us as page owners to work with them or work around them as best we can.

Facebook Promote. What’s it worth?

Work Smarter on Facebook - Promote buttonOne of the latest and largest of the enhancements since timeline, is the ‘Promote’ feature. This gives you the option to pay to increase the visibility of a particular post in your fans’ newsfeeds. Analysts say that the average business page reaches only 17% of their fan base. By setting a budget to promote an update, you can potentially reach a higher percentage of fans but there is still no guarantee that they will act on your promotion.

Having an average reach of a very disappointing 15%, I decided to try a couple of promotions on posts – one for a special offer on a bracelet and another link to a blog article. Setting a budget of £4 (the minimum budget permitted), I did reach more than double the number of fans but the like and comment rate on these posts was still low and the ‘click through’ on the links was less than 2%.
This experimentation led me to start researching how I could improve the reach of my page posts without paying Facebook to do it. Using what I found has enabled my page posts’ average reach to increase to around 35%, my fan count to go up more quickly (down to improved viral reach) as well as the quality of the interactions with my page to improve immeasurably. So before you pay Facebook to promote, try the tips below and I’m sure you will see results too.

Click the pictures for a closer view.

Reach Further and Work Smarter with Facebook - Tip 1

Tip 1 – Picture posts carry more weight

Did you realise that Facebook puts more weight on posts with photos attached than links or text-only updates?

The Facebook Edgerank algorithm ranks all posts based on type as well as content to determine what gets fed to fans’ newsfeeds. Simply adding a photo to a text post gives it a better chance of appearing in your fans’ newsfeeds than if you just wrote the same text on its own.

 

Reach Further and Work Smarter with Facebook - Tip 2Tip 2 – Be clever about posting links

A link is the least likely post type to appear in your fans’ newsfeeds.

Instead of posting a straightforward link to a photo, event entry or website, use the photo post type, upload a relevant photo and then post the link within the photo post text.

Your post will immediately be placed higher in the Edgerank priority list.

Reach Further and Work Smarter with Facebook - Bonus Tip 2Bonus Tip

Did you know that when you do post a straightforward link, you can edit the link title and the description that appears below your post text?
Paste your link and then click on the title and/or the description that appears in the link box below – they become editable text boxes.
This is really useful when the title and description that appear automatically are a bit non-descript.

Reach Further and Work Smarter with Facebook - Tip 3Tip 3 –Encourage your fans to do more than ‘like’

I’m sure everyone already knows this one but a post that demands more than a ‘like’ will increase its reach. Comments rank higher than likes so by asking your fans a question every now and then will encourage them to comment and help ensure your updates continue to appear in their newsfeeds. Don’t overdo it though or people will tire of the same old format and stop responding.

Tip 4 – Mix it up

Variety is the spice of life and the key to ensuring your business updates reach more fans. You can post photos, videos, polls, links as well as straightforward text updates so be creative and vary your medium.
Be aware that if you post the same link multiple times in a short timeframe (perhaps to a competition on your blog or to an item in your Etsy Shop), your later posts will be less likely to appear in your fans’ newsfeeds (even if the accompanying text is different). The same is true for photos.

Reach Further and Work Smarter with Facebook - Tip 5Tip 5 – It’s all in the timing

You can use the new Reach statistics on previous posts to help you identify when is the best time to post to your page as well as how often. The frequency and timing of posts can have a big impact on how many fans get your fascinating updates and interact with your page.
On the subject of frequency, you should distinguish between Twitter and Facebook and keep your updates to when you have something useful and engaging to say. It’s a fine line between being interesting and informative and clogging people’s newsfeeds with spam.
I’ve already worked out that early evening (6pm to 9pm BST) seems to be a great time to post. In the UK, people have finished the day job and are logging on to Facebook perhaps for the first time that day, in Australasia, my fans are finishing up breakfast and checking Facebook before work. According to my statistics, I also have another good posting window early afternoon (probably when users in the States log on) so just by timing my posts I can give them a better chance of being seen.
You can now even schedule a page update to post automatically in the future. Simply type in the text of the update and click on the little clock icon in the bottom left hand corner of the update box.

Bonus Tip

Are you forever wishing you could edit the text of an update after you’ve posted it? If you’ve spotted a typo or other mistake, you have to choose:

  • Delete the original post and rewrite it without the error and repost
  • Leave it as it is and perhaps leave a comment on it with your *corrections

Neither is a very pleasing solution. By deleting your post and rewriting it, your second, almost identical post may not appear in your fans’ newsfeeds. Leaving it with errors though, (even if you’ve annotated them), doesn’t exactly feel professional.

Did you realise that, by adding a photo to your update, you can give yourself the ability to edit the text of your update later. Unlike plain text updates, photos will appear in your Wall Photos album where you can edit the description of each photo (i.e. the post text) just as you would in any other album.

Next Steps

Now I know how to post smarter on my business page, I plan to have another go using the ‘Promote’ feature to see if it performs any better for me. I will let you know how I get on.

Over to you

These are the tips I’ve picked up from experience and from reading on the internet. I’d love to hear of any others that people have found. I hope that some of this advice will help you improve your reach (without paying for the privilege) and make your Facebook business page work smarter for you. There will be one more tip posted on my blog, A Pocketful of Posies so please come and follow to make sure you don’t miss it.

Helen Bowen - About the AuthorMore from Helen

If you found this article useful, you may like to take a look at Hobby to Business – What’s not to ‘like’? Here Helen talks about the pros and cons of running a Facebook page.

Helen Bowen is a member of the Guild of Jewellery Designers and is a Self-Representing Artist Jewellery Designer (SRAJD). She is owner/creator of Ring O’ Roses – Handmade Jewellery and writer of the ‘A Pocketful of Posies’ blog.

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Comments

  1. Hannelore says:

    Thank you for this very informative post. I struggle to understand how it all works but some things are a little clearer now. I will see how I get on with it.

  2. Thank you for this information, I will follow some of the tips and let you know how I get on.

  3. Vicky says:

    Thank you for the infomation, I found it very useful. I m just starting with my etsy page and facebook one and feel somehow overwhelmed. How to convey traffic to both of these is a work in progress, throug learning and reading. Thanks to you and others who graciously share what they know to help other less experienced fellows.Will read your other posts.

  4. Pauline says:

    Could you give me some pointers, ive been making jewellery with beads for about 9 years and would like to set up my own business, any information would be very grateful thank you

  5. Helen Bowen says:

    Pauline

    Have a read of another article I wrote for Bead Barmy a while ago.
    http://www.beadbarmy.com/2012/01/hobby-to-business-whats-not-to-like/
    Facebook has changed a bit since then but there is still a lot of useful information if you want a free way of selling your jewellery online.

    I also write for my own blog A Pocketful of Posies (www.ringorosesjewellery.co.uk) and you’ll find more useful articles including how to make your Facebook page successful and how to manage custom orders.
    http://www.ringorosesjewellery.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/all-that-glitters-is-not-gold.html
    http://ringorosesjewellery.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/making-jewellery-to-order-why-clear.html
    Helen

  6. Lots of good tips here. I’m going to give them a try to see what happens.

  7. Helen Bowen says:

    Hi Martin

    Facebook is forever changing the algorithm which decides how visible your posts are and you may have varying degrees of success with the tips in my article (it was written a while ago). Lately, I have found plain text updates reach the most fans. I have been therefore been ‘mis-using’ them by putting links to photos or other sites as the first comment on the post itself (rather than sharing a photo or putting a link in the update text). Good luck and look out for another article coming soon on improving your Facebook page.

  8. Babs says:

    A great mix of useful info here – thank you. It can be so daunting, working with Facebook, knowing just what to do and how often.

  9. Elizbieta says:

    Thanks for these useful tips. Reading this post saved me plenty of time for my own research. Now time to improve visibility of my Facebook posts.

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