Today, about 1% of users who like your Facebook Page will revisit it. Now, combine that with the fact that less than 2% percent of your followers will see any of your content at all, and it all seems rather depressing, right?
When it comes to Facebook marketing, posting content is the core function of the job. But if so few people are going to see your content, is there still a need to grow your reach, and can you do so without breaking the bank on paid advertising?
Yes, and yes.
Although it's become tricky, all is not lost — you can still reach your audience. The key is engaging content. But, you'll need to be savvy and agile and think a little differently about your strategy than before.
So what does a savvy marketer do to not only to make sure your content gets seen but engages your audience as well? We caught up with Senior Content Designer Dayne Topkin from the HubSpot Academy team to find out.
The Tools You Need for a Successful Organic Strategy on Facebook
When it comes to encouraging people to engage with your business on Facebook, there are three primary tools you can use your:
- Business Page
Your Business Page is the central point for all information about your business.
Your group, if you have one, is an excellent place for two-way communication between your customers and prospects, and your business.
And finally, Facebook Ads are great for reaching new audiences and generating leads.
We're going to put ads aside for the time being and talk about the backbone of your organic strategy: Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups.
Let's start with Pages.
Facebook Pages and Your Organic Strategy
For a long time, Pages were the reason businesses joined Facebook. Even though Facebook's algorithm changes have made the reach potential of your Business Page less powerful than it was five or so years ago, it's still a core component of your organic strategy. And there are a number of reasons why.
Your Page is often the central place where you run campaigns for your business. It's also the place where your target audience can learn about your products or services and potentially even make a purchase or get a quote. Your Page is similar to a personal profile for your business, and if users search for you, it's what they will see first.
When users ask if they can find you on Facebook, they're looking for your Page. It's where they can find information and send you a message. Your Page is a place where users go to leave reviews about your services and find your contact information like address and telephone number so they can reach you or visit you if you have a brick-and-mortar location. It's also where some people go to learn more about your brand.
When you're making significant announcements about your products and services, your Page is the perfect place. It's where you will post your Facebook Ads and boost your content to reach your followers and new audiences.
Your Page is a representation not only of your products and services, but also what your business stands for — making it an important part of your organic strategy.
Facebook Groups and Your Organic Strategy
The other key component of your organic strategy is groups. Groups are different from Pages in that they have built-in analytics called Group Insights, the ability to set your Facebook Group as private (Closed or Secret), the ability to post documents, create polls, and even buy and sell within the group, group chat with your group members, and the ability for members to receive notifications about new posts to the group.
Facebook says there are more than 400 million people in groups that they find meaningful as of April 2019, up from 100 million in February 2017.
With that statistic alone, it's vital that you consider how to incorporate groups as a part of your organic strategy. They are highly interactive and collaborative. They give brands like yours the chance to engage with your audience in a more meaningful and authentic way.
So how can a group serve your business in a way that your Page can't?
They help you build community. When you build your brand and business around a group, it helps foster community and engagement.
Your Facebook group provides a place for customers and prospects to connect with other like-minded individuals, share information, or answer questions.
Groups are also a key component for delighting your customers. A group provides a safe environment where your customers and prospects can go to seek advice and ask questions. These questions are also visible to other group members. In answering these questions, you can establish a visible commitment and trust with your customers and prospects that will keep them coming back.
And lastly, the algorithm favors content from groups. Since Facebook’s major algorithm changes in 2018, the visibility of group content in the News Feed and on the mobile app has increased drastically.
So while you may have seen a decline in the reach of your business Page, if you have a group, you very well could see your group content rise to the top of your members’ News Feeds.
Even though they play into the platform’s algorithm, groups are not for everyone. You want to make sure that it aligns with your business objectives and provides additional value to your audience. Creating a group that promotes your products in a similar way to your Page, for example, is not adding additional value. But creating a community that fosters engagement and showcases how different people use your products in their day-to-day lives could add additional value.
Using both your Business Page and Group in your organic efforts can significantly increase your reach potential and give your Facebook audience a wide variety of diverse and valuable content.
Using your Business Page to Improve Your Organic Reach on Facebook
1. Post Frequently
You can start by publishing content more frequently. One of the reasons you might be seeing a decline in your organic reach is because you're not posting enough content. When your audience logs in to Facebook, they're getting hit with a ton of content. 1,500+ possible stories from friends and Pages alike are filtered per day on an average Facebook user's News Feed, according to a Facebook Engineering Manager named Lars Backstrom. And most people don't spend enough time scrolling through to see them all.
But it isn’t just about posting a lot - you also want to be selective about what you’re publishing. Whether people engage with your posts is what will help it get seen, and that comes down to post quality. Spend more time crafting better Facebook posts, and less time crafting a lot of Facebook posts.
Pro tip: Test different types of content to see what resonates with your Facebook audience.
2. Create Content on Relevant Topics
You also want to make sure your content is relevant. Creating content on trending topics or hashtags is a great way to do this. Think about holidays like the International Day of Peace or Arbor Day, where people are encouraged to plant a tree. Just make sure that if you're engaging in conversation around specific copyrighted brands that you're cognizant of copyright laws and FCC guidelines or the equivalent in your country.
3. Use Facebook Live
One of the best reach and engagement tactics businesses overlook quite frequently is using Facebook Live. Incorporate this into your organic strategy, as it can be a significant source of traffic to your Page. Live videos drive more engagement, and if you promote your content well, it can keep users coming back.
Facebook says that live videos can drive 10 times more comments because of real-time user engagement.
Take a look at this example from Starbucks:
Back in September of 2016, Starbucks took to the road to embark on its first live event at Rufus King Park in New York for National Voter Registration Day. This was Starbucks’ first live broadcast. The event not only showcased Starbucks’ involvement in the community, but it also allowed viewers who wouldn't otherwise be able to make the event to learn about the cause.
To promote engagement, Starbucks asked users to send in questions before the event started. Use this as inspiration to think about how your business can leverage Facebook Live for real-time engagement.
And when you see your audience engaging with your content, don't leave questions or comments unanswered. There's nothing worse than one of your customers asking a question and… silence! When your audience engages with your content, acknowledge it. A simple Facebook Like or thanks goes a long way. Better yet, if someone provides excellent feedback, you can ask a simple question like, "What was your favorite part about X?" and use it as an opportunity to encourage further engagement. Answering questions and providing support is a great way to establish trust with your followers and fans. Get people talking!
4. Boost Posts That are Performing Well
If you see a post performing well and it has a call-to-action to a piece of content, product, or service on your website, boost it immediately.
Be wary of what Facebook tells you, as they tend to report that nearly everything you post is 85–95% above average and suggest you boost it. But that is usually not entirely accurate.
Remember: Facebook is looking to make themselves money, not you. Instead, look at your content and develop your own guidelines as to what makes a successful post and what above average is for you.
Be wary of what Facebook tells you, as it tends to report that nearly everything you post is 85–95% above average and suggest you boost it.
Using your Facebook Group to Improve Your Organic Reach on Facebook
Now, you might be asking yourself how groups can fit into your strategy. Keep in mind that groups are not for everyone, they don't suit every business model, and many businesses use the feature for different purposes. That said, if you want to incorporate groups as a part of your strategy and reap the rewards from Facebook let's take a look at how you can get started.
How you approach groups will depend on the type of community you create. Is it product-specific? Industry-specific? A customer user group? A networking group? Think about what kind of community would be most helpful for your audience.
Take a look at Peloton, an American company that makes high-end exercise equipment and hosts virtual fitness classes. They created the Official Peloton Member private group where anyone who owns one of their products can connect and network with others who have Peloton’s products too. When it comes to exercise, this type of network or group provides value to its members as they’re able to share exercise plans, techniques, schedules, and training methods with one another. Peloton has created a community for its customers who share a common interest—exercise with Peloton products.
Think about how you can use these communities to create value for your audience. Remember, it doesn't have to be product-specific.
Like any group, whether on Facebook or not, members likely share a common interest or a reason to be a part of that group. And where there is shared interest, you have community. In a group, members can help one another navigate pain points or issues they face.
Take a look at how MobileMonkey does this. Their group called MobileMonkey Island provides a space for its members and anyone who joins to ask questions and share knowledge about Facebook Messenger, chatbot marketing, and advanced Facebook ads with MobileMonkey. Members can share struggles and help guide each other.
Think about how valuable this is when your customers can't get through to your support team or prefer to figure things out themselves? You can create a space filled with people helping each other navigate similar issues.
For example, you might create a group for people who purchased your product to network or exchange ideas about upcoming features for your product, or new services you're thinking of offering. When you do this, you're inviting your customers to be a part of the process and showing them that you value their feedback and input. This type of group works especially well for B2B businesses.
The HubSpot Academy Content Marketing Pros community is a great example. The group is a space for anyone interested in content marketing, and it’s promoted to people who have taken HubSpot Academy courses related to content marketing, like the Content Marketing Certification Course. It is a closed group, so members need to request to be a part of it. Once in the group, members can share ideas about content challenges, projects they're working on, and even share ideas for courses they would like to see HubSpot Academy produce in the future.
It's clear that there are a number of ways you can consider your approach to groups.
Most importantly, you have to decide what creates the most value for your customers and prospects. It's crucial that you define the scope, values, culture, and purpose from the very beginning. Make sure your community knows why they're there and that they understand how it's facilitated and how their needs will be met.
Facebook Prioritizes Group Content Over Page content
One of the best benefits of having a Facebook group is its engagement levels. And when it comes to engagement, not only do groups beat out Pages, but Facebook prioritizes Group content over Pages.
But deciding on a group and setting it up is only half the job. You need to pour effort into cultivating engagement.
How do you increase Facebook group engagement?
1. Ask Questions
Post questions in your group to get your members talking. This is a great way to encourage engagement from your members. You can ask closed or open-ended questions. Closed questions yield a simple "yes" or "no" answer. Open-ended questions will have varying responses from different members. Both are great for kick starting the conversation.
2. Engage Directly With Your Members
This is one of the easiest ways to get people commenting. Plus, you're building loyalty and affinity. For example, when someone joins your group for the first time, welcome them! Let other group members know and give them an opportunity to introduce themselves to other members. After all, groups are about establishing relationships and community. A hearty welcome goes a long way for setting the tone.
3. Use Group Polls
Group polls are another great way to boost member participation. Not only are they great for encouraging engagement, but they're a great source of information about what your members really want too. Setting up a poll requires minimal effort, and if used correctly, they have the potential to be a wealth of information. For example, you could ask your members what topics you should cover in your content. You could also ask them what goals they’re trying to achieve that year — personal or professional. The options are endless, get creative with it.
These tactics and methods will set you up for a great start when incorporating Facebook Groups into your organic growth strategy.
Organic Reach is a Fundamental Piece of Your Facebook Marketing Strategy
Yes, it’s true that ads are taking up a lot of space on Facebook. Businesses are investing more and more money into Facebook Ads daily. And while it’s an important part of any business’ social media strategy on the platform, it has to be supported by a rock-solid organic reach strategy. Take the time to understand what tools are best suited to help you grow your reach, whether it’s a Facebook Page, a Group, or both, familiarise yourself with them, build them into your strategy, and start engaging your audience in a way that adds value to their experience on Facebook.
Want to learn more about Content and Social Media Marketing? Check out our Content and Social Marketing short course we created in partnership with HubSpot and equip yourself with the knowledge and tools needed to become a social marketing gun.
About the Author:
Dayne is a versatile content professional born and raised in South Africa who focuses on solving challenging user problems through content and education. By day, he sits on the HubSpot Academy team, creating educational content on topics related to marketing, sales, and service. And by night, he’s a blend of storyteller, UX writer, and content designer who geeks out identifying user needs and finding the right content to meet those needs.