Most small businesses have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Businesses need to be have a profile, because their consumers now expect to be able to find brands on Facebook, and for the powerful purpose of social proof (the number of likes or fans). Yet Facebook seems to be constantly changing their algorithms to make it nearly impossible for one’s post to be seen (organic reach limitations)! Many small business owners are increasingly wondering what is the point of posting on Facebook at all?
First of all, the value of being active on Facebook is constantly increasing.
- With over 500 million users, Facebook is basically its own internet.
- The top 8 social networks drove 31.24% of overall traffic to sites in December 2014, with Facebook driving the lion’s share of that traffic.
- Close to 90% of users on Facebook say that they “Like” at least one brand on Facebook, according to a survey from Lab42
- 69% of those “likers” liked the brand because they saw their Facebook friend did. Additionally, 50% say that they find the brand’s Facebook page more useful than the company’s website
For more people to see your posts, your B2b Facebook posts need “likes” shares and comments, collectively known as “engagement”. This concept should drive every single post you make for your business’ page. Facebook marketing can be particularly tricky for B2Bs, who do not have the traditional consumer customer base. Luckily, B2B marketing is my expertise. Here are my top tips for B2B small businesses to beat the organic reach problem on Facebook.
I. Formatted For Success
Photos. Even if your B2B posts are business oriented or data-rich, include photos! Posts with photos catch the eye, and get much higher impression numbers and engagement rates. When you post a link (whether to your content or another brand’s), make sure the default image associated with that link is an optimized one (visually interesting). If it isn’t, use the “upload a photo” button on the image to replace it with something more compelling.
According to Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts.
The types of photos that perform best are large, colorful, high resolution and of good quality, depict images that grab one’s attention (jail cell, shocked faces, funeral), and images from pop culture (tv, movies, celebrities).
Other types of photo-focused content that perform well for B2B customer audiences include images of motivational quotes or funny relate-able jokes like the Some-E Cards.
The Language Of Savings. According to Facebook surveys, the number one way consumers interact with brands on Facebook was liking their page in order to print off coupons (77% of all Facebook users said they saved money as a result of “Liking” a brand).
It’s important to note that savings-oriented B2B posts that phrases the promotion as “$ off” outperformed B2B posts that phrased their promotion as a “% off” by 55%,according to research by Jeff Bullas. Even if the dollar amount was small, the posts still outperformed “% off” discount posts. Facebook users clearly prefer straight-cut dollars off promotions.
In a similar vein, Buffer found that 35% of Facebook fans liked Facebook pages specifically to compete in contests.
Question Everything. B2B Facebook posts featuring questions obtain the second highest organic reach and engagement levels (after photo-centric posts). B2B brands experiences particular success when they asked their Facebook fans to weigh in on a company decision (should we expand service to Texas or Arkansas?) or when fans were asked to provide insight (What is most important to you?). Survey-like questions particularly resonate with decision makers. While the engagement of these question/survey posts was focused on comments, as opposed to likes or shares, the posts still achieved impressive levels of organic reach.
Similar to question posts, Facebook users also respond quite positively to “fill in the blanks” posts.
Answer Everything. B2B customers on Facebook are much more impressed with brands who actively respond to customer questions on their Facebook page. Seeing such interaction will also make them 35% more likely to interact with your posts and page as well. As a general rule of thumb, the more activity on a post, including your own answers, the more organic reach it will achieve.
Be a Local. If you’re a B2B in a small town (or a large town with a strong sense of community, like Ashville or Knoxville), share “local content”. Root for the local team, support local schools, share info for upcoming street fairs downtown, anything to utilize the tried and true “Local Marketing” tactic. Such posts get higher shares and interactions, and Facebook’s algorithm will let the post attain high organic reach because it provides helpful information to your community.
Keep Things Fresh. B2B Facebook pages that share a mixed variety of content perform best. Look to evenly distribute your posts between your blogs, industry news, photos, motivational/fun stuff, and surveys and questions. Jeff Bullas found that posting one to four times a week produced 71% higher user engagement levels than five or more posts in a given week for retail brands. B2B Facebook posts also tend to do best during times when business owners are taking a break from their busy days, 9:30am-10:30am, 12pm-1:30pm, and after 6pm. Lunch time B2B Facebook posts received the most interactions, and posts after 6pm had the longest “lifespan” (seen by more people, over a longer period of time).
II. Know the Rules
First of all, understand that organic reach is hard to achieve these days. A study by [email protected] found that organic reach has now declined to just 6% of a business’ followers.
Facebook will punish you (limit your organic reach) if you actually tell people to like, comment, or share your posts. Instead, ask open-ended questions that lend themselves to interactions like “do you know somebody this applies to” or “who else agrees?”. Calls to action are still excellent ways for B2Bs to increase the organic reach of their Facebook posts.
Facebook’s algorithm favors photos and videos to text only. Facebook now favors rectangular photos as opposed to vertical or square ones. For the News Feed, Facebook recommends thumbnail images of 400×209 pixels. Images that are smaller than these dimensions will be resized to either 154×154 or 90×90 pixels.
For posts overall, research is beginning to indicate that “self-contained” posts will receive more organic reach. This relates to posts where all the info (or ample info) is included within the single post, as opposed to posts that merely feature a headline and a call to action to read the full info outside of Facebook. It seems Facebook now want people to stay on the site longer, not to navigate away for reading purposes.
Not surprisingly, Facebook’s algorithm will favor your post less the older is it. Your organic reach potential is highest during the first 1-2 hours of publishing a post.
If a fan regularly interacts with your posts, likes/shares/comments, Facebook’s algorithm will allow them to organically see your posts in their newsfeed. This is why targeting engagements can directly lead to increased organic reach, overall.
When someone likes your Facebook page, they can now select if they prefer to see “some updates”, “most updates”, or “all updates”.
III. Post the Right Kind of Content
Post what your followers want! Do some social media testing (here’s how!) to figure out what your fanbase’s preferences are. If you’re not sure where to start, check out the Insights section of your business’ Facebook page to learn a little bit more about your followers. This will give you demographics info, data for your most popular posts, and useful insight into when your fans are online!
In general the best performing B2B Facebook pages share not only their own content, but also industry news updates and helpful content from a variety of sources. They also add personal touches, like wishing their Facebook fans happy holidays or even just Happy Friday.