Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world with an audience of 1.44 billion active monthly users. 936 million people log in to Facebook daily across the world, and Kenya is listed among the top 5 most active FB countries in Africa.
But while these big numbers might seem like a potentially huge market for you as a businessman, the fact remains that getting your message across requires an extra dose of creativity. This is particularly challenging because Facebook has introduced an algorithm known as “Edgerank” which is quite brutal on marketers.
Edgerank is most probably the reason why your page that has over 1,000 likes always attracts 0 comments, 0 likes and 0 shares on most updates.
So has your Facebook engagement levels been plummeting lately? Breathe new life into your campaign by implementing the following no-nonsense tips going forward.
Tip 1: Video Sharing Tips (Diamond's Strategy)
Facebook developers have been burning the mid-night oil looking for ways to replace YouTube as the world’s largest video content platform. As such if you copy-paste a Youtube video URL to your status update box, Facebook automatically reduces the dimensions of your updates making them less attractive to the eyes of your audience.
Facebook videos on the other hand (i.e. videos that are uploaded directly onto the platform); are given slightly bigger dimensions and are more attractive to the audience. Moreover, these videos receive a bigger reach – meaning they also get more engagement.
So if you mainly market your products through videos, it is high time you upload some videos (mp4, .mov formats) via Facebook to boost engagement. All you need to do is:
1.Go to your page
2.Click on “Upload Video” on your status update bar
3.Upload the video
If you still have the need to share Youtube videos, then you can use this little trick to improve on performance.
1.Visit Youtube.com, search for your video and play it
2.Pause the video and take a good screen-shot of it
3.Upload the screen-shot as an image status update on your Facebook page
4.Write a lead sentence or two to direct your fans to watch the video
5.Provide a shortened link leading to your YouTube Video
In this case, you status update will look something like what Tanzanian singer Diamond Platinumz recently did to promote his latest video.
Tip 2: Mix The Order of Updates (Text, Image, Video, Link)
An interesting observation we’ve made on Facebook is that if you keep sharing updates that are similarly structured, then your reach levels will keep reducing. For instance, if you keep uploading photos the whole day, then naturally your engagement levels will plummet. The same happens if you keep sharing links, texts or videos back-to-back.
The best way around this problem is to ensure that you mix up your updates to add a touch of diversity. For instance, you can start off in the morning by sharing an all text update e.g a quote.
Then at 1.00pm you can share that catchy image and then in the evening you can dish out a video. The next day in the morning you can start the day by sharing a relevant blog link and then follow that up with an open ended question update.
Note, if you ask an open-ended question and your fans comment, be diligent enough to respond to some of their replies. (Read: 5 Tips of FB Marketing)
Tip 3: Request For Engagement (Bahati's Strategy)
Sometimes you might be doing everything right and still the engagement levels remain rock-bottom low. Well, perhaps this is when you need to throw a spanner into the works by simply asking your fans to click LIKE. You should however be keen to make this request on a gentle tone rather than a harsh salesy one.
For instance you could say “How many likes will you give to our new product ABC”. Or you could request them to give you some comments albeit indirectly e.g. by saying “Did our new product meet your expectations? YES/NO”. You can borrow a leaf from Bahati, the gospel musician as shown in the image below.
Tip 4: Don’t Request People To LIKE, COMMENT & SHARE At The Same Time
The reason why this tip had to come right after tip 3 above is because we thought you might be tempted to overdo it if you see it is working. Facebook algorithm is super-brilliant and it can easily tell when you’re trying to push your audience to hard for engagement.
So even if you’re going to request them for engagement – this should only be done once in a while and it should be done with the diligence it deserves.
Never request your fans to like, comment and share one update. For instance, you will find some people updating like… “To win a ticket to ABCD, like, comment and share this post”. That in itself is a big red-flag and Facebook could penalize you with awfully low reach and engagement levels.
Tip 5: Avoid These Words in Your Updates
Some words in your status updates might cause the system to automatically limit the progression of your updates. For instance while an update that reads “We are here to offer free the best quality” might seem harmless, Facebook might interpret it as a purely sales message simply because you have used the word “OFFER”.
In that case, they will tend to reduce your reach and even send you a notification reading “You have just mentioned the word “offer” in your update, you pay to boost it to reach more people.”
This happens because, Facebook was not ideally meant to be a marketing site but rather a social one. So they are very skeptical on any salesy posts. Other words that you might want to avoid using include:
“Buy”, “Click Here”, “Comment To Win”, “Win Win” or too many exclamation marks.
Tip 6: Make the First Few Minutes of Posting Count
The first few minutes of posting are really crucial. So tell your friends, colleagues and staff to give you some decent engagement within the first 30 minutes of updating. This will send a signal to the Facebook algorithm that your update is socially valuable and hence the reach will increase – leading to more engagement.
You may also want to send out a link to your Facebook post to your email subscribers so that they give you the much needed engagement within the first 30 seconds.
Tip 7: Use the “See More” Option to Power up Engagement (Mutoko's strategy)
Gone are the days when posting short sentences was the in thing in social media. Nowadays, you can get more engagement buy writing longer-than-normal updates to take advantage of the “See More” option.
Naturally, some curious followers will want to click on the “See More” section and not the “Like” or “Share” – luckily each click on “See More” counts as a form of engagement. The more people click to “See More”, the bigger your post reach gets and the more engagement you will receive in the long-run.
For this, you can borrow a leaf from renowned Media personality Ms. Caroline Mutoko as shown in the image below.
As organic reach continues to fall and ads gaining more importance, it is important that the small business owner who wants to market his or her business on a budget is armed with the right survival skills.
Remember, even as you apply some creativity to your campaigns, it is always diligent to play by the rules of the game. Don’t try to take short-cuts. Invest in building an honest and credible audience. Don’t be pushy. And most importantly, share relevant content.