The things I am learning about Facebook Pages are not easy but they are fascinating.
I opened my personal profile with Facebook during May 2007 and ignored it for quite a long time, perhaps for as long as three years. I opened my Facebook business page in September 2012 and then proceeded to ignore that too but for not quite as long. In 2014 I started to take more of an interest in it, but I only really stepped this up about six months ago, seriously.
At this point, I should say that I use Facebook 100% for marketing my business. If I didn’t have a business I would have no need or use for Facebook. However, given that, I thoroughly enjoy it and as you know I firmly believe that in this regard, what you love loves you back. So, as I have begun to lavish more love on my Page I get better results.
Doom-mongering experts and gurus would suggest that really there’s not much point in having a Facebook Page unless you pay to use FB Ads and, of course, you can’t (or there wouldn’t be much point or ease) in using Ads unless you do. But in my own case, this simply isn’t true, as borne out by some stats I will share with you in a moment.
Generally, I don’t pay for promotion, I do it myself. Because I love it. What to advise someone who doesn’t love Facebook or any other sort of marketing? A couple of hard truths. The best person to market your own business is you so you might as well knuckle down and learn to love it too. And secondly, I really believe that I can help you find a way you will love, and which will bring you results. Not necessarily via Facebook. That’s my marketplace of choice and I will tell you why too in this article.
Some facts and figures first. Remember the point about FB being 100% marketing for me.
On my Facebook personal profile, I have 1606 friends but I have persuaded only 1001 of them to Like my Page. I tend to think of both of them together as two sides of the same coin, the page and the profile because (again) all of FB is marketing for me, but I know that some friends frown on the business use of your profile and that FB wants to encourage us to use our pages instead. My profile and my page are linked so you can find your way from one to the other.
My first focus is now on my Page and the more attention I put there, the more traction I get. Currently, I try to share three unique bits of my own content creation there every day of different sorts (a meme and an excerpt from my forthcoming book, a FB Note made from an old blog post, and a little video I have made myself using Lumen5) and encourage my clients to do at least that. I also curate the content of others and share what I think fans and followers will enjoy, and I also use it as a platform to promote the output of my clients, where appropriate.
What I notice is that clients adopting a Facebook marketing strategy like this and with me expect too much too soon and assume it isn’t working if results are not fairly instantaneous. I will just reiterate the numbers of Friends (1606) and Likers (1001) and the dates of the inception of both page and profile (effectively 2010 and 2014 respectively). This is another long game.
The other extraordinary reality about Facebook is how many people observe and enjoy your output without ever commenting, liking or sharing. How do I know this? Because when I eventually get to talk to them and work with them, they tell me so. That was a real eye-opener for me and a big encourager to switch my focus from my own website to my Facebook page.
Recently I was learning from Julia Bramble a little bit about Facebook Ads, just the general principles. The core of her message is not to use FB Ads as a sales tool. Instead to use Ads just as I am currently using organic content but pay for my content to reach more people. Even Ads, it turns out, is a know, like and trust long game marketing strategy, according to Julia.
So, now to those things I said I would share later:
Your Facebook Page has an Insights tab which will show you when your audience is online, and what they like best about the content you are sharing so you can do more of the same. Those who follow my page are mostly online during UK waking hours then drop off to about half that number for the rest of the 24-hour clock which pretty much reflects what I already know about my audience, half of them are in the UK and the other half spread around the English-speaking world. Useful to know and a mirror-image of my client base.
Currently, they appreciate my content in the following order – first video (but this reflects my new found enthusiasm for Lumen 5 and Facebook’s own video bias), then links, shared video (not mine own), photos and Notes.
I know that in the last 28 days my page views are up by 138%, my page likes by 743% (a bit skewed by me proactively trying to get over the 1000 hump), my reach by 65%, my engagement by 74%, my videos by 189% and my page followers by 625%.
And you ask me why I like Facebook?? It simply would never be possible to achieve this in a lifetime on my own website and here’s why.
Facebook is my marketplace of choice because the whole world is already on it. By comparison, creating content which encourages people to visit my website is very hard work indeed, and long and time-consuming. I know that because I have done it, in an era when it was somewhat easier, but not much.
My latest story by way of explaining this to clients is that Facebook is like Bluewater or Westfield or whatever your nearest big, glam, brightly-lit busy shopping centre is called. It’s quite nice there. The parking is free. It’s clean and shiny. There are rest stops and coffee shops and lunch places. I can see a movie if I want. Everything is under one enormous roof, so I am not obliged to dodge the raindrops and I am likely to spend more simply because I am there.
Now, I know this is not universal. I know many of us either don’t go shopping at all or eschew such palaces of mammon. BUT the facts remain. If I were a shopkeeper and I could have a pop-up there, that’s where I’d be, rather than in some dodgy unloved high street which has seen better days and is now all betting shops and charity donation points and the odd branch of Iceland.
By comparison, bringing potential clients and customers to my own indie shop which is ill-lit, ill-signposted and offers no parking free or otherwise… well, it’s an uphill struggle. Yes, if people do find you, they are probably going to like you for your indie-ness. But you will have the mother and father of a job being found at all and good luck in trying to keep our interest without endless blogging and social-media-ing.
And one more thing on that point of social-media-ing. If you are using Facebook to bring people from Bluewater to your poky little backwater, then Facebook doesn’t like that and will not be helping you do it. So, posting a link to your website which takes people away from the big shiny shopping and hanging-out palace is discouraged, doesn’t achieve even organic reach and no-one who loves hanging out and is addicted to Facebook wants it anyway. We love it here. We are warm and cosy and logged in and tuned in and turned on and we don’t want to move away from the cool kids. We are a cog in the wheel of the biggest marketplace in the world and we want and expect everything to come to us right here where we are.
So bring it to us. Simples. Stop fighting a battle you cannot win, however worthy. Nice ‘n easy does it. Every time.