…And 5 things to do instead so you can build your social media audience
It’s OK to post things that encourage engagement, such as asking a question, but don’t specifically ask your users to like or comment.
BY ELIZABETH BREEDLOVE
Facebook is an easy-to-use, free social networking tool that can help inventors raise awareness about and market their invention. With more than 1 billion people on Facebook and more than 100 million people using the platform every month, it provides an excellent opportunity to reach people around the world.
If you’ve used Facebook for personal use, it may be tempting to think that you can use it in the same way for your product or business. However, this isn’t the case.
Facebook’s algorithm favors some activities and types of posts over others and displays those to users more frequently. In order to get the most out of your presence on Facebook, there are certain strategies you should follow.
Here are five things you shouldn’t do and the tactics to follow instead.
Don’t write clickbait-y captions or posts: If you’ve spent any time on the internet in the past few years, you’ve almost certainly seen these kinds of ads and headlines. This is text designed to entice users into clicking a link by providing something vague but exciting—and often misleading.
- Consider these headlines:
- “This simple trick will help you lose 40 pounds in 40 days.”
- “You won’t believe what this guy did at his grocery store!”
- “Here’s how to quadruple your sales in one month!”
What do these have in common? They’re all vague, likely exaggerated and written just to get a click.
Do talk about exactly what’s in whatever link you’re sharing: The engineers at Facebook have designed their algorithm to recognize headlines that are likely clickbait, based on certain words and phrases often used in these types of captions. When the algorithm comes across a post or headline such as this, it shows the content to users less frequently.
If you want Facebook users to see and engage with your posts, your captions should encourage users to click or engage by talking about exactly what’s in the accompanying link or image. Use your posts to provide value, not to be sneaky.
Don’t ask for engagement: Years ago, a popular Facebook strategy was to ask users to do exactly what you wanted them to do. If you wanted them to like your post, you could write a post that said, “Like this post if you love our products.” If you wanted them to leave a comment, you could post something like, “Leave a comment and tell us which of our products you like best.”
Now, the Facebook algorithm looks for posts like this and downplays them in favor of posts that add more value. It’s OK to post things that encourage engagement, such as asking a question, but don’t specifically ask your users to like or comment.
Do look at what types of content gets the most engagement. Analyze past posts to see what content brings engagement. Take a deep dive into your Facebook Page insights and look for patterns to see if you can determine what content resonates best with your audience.
Remember, it’s fine to recycle old content, as long as you aren’t posting the same content too often. You don’t want your followers to tire of your posts and start scrolling past them.
Don’t forget to include links in your posts: The goal of any social media activity, whether on Facebook or elsewhere, is ultimately to drive sales. Having more followers and more engagement is a great way to sell more product, but having the most followers does nothing for your bottom line.
For this reason, use most of your posts on Facebook to drive traffic to your site or another site where your audience can purchase your product, such as Amazon. Include links in your posts whenever possible so that it’s easy for anyone who sees your posts to visit your site.
Do look at what types of content send traffic to your site: If you haven’t set up Google Analytics for your website, that should be the next item on your marketing to-do list. This tool provides invaluable information about how visitors come to your site and what they do once they get there.
You can use Google Analytics to measure how much traffic visits your website from Facebook, what page users initially land on, and what other content they view. This provides valuable information about what types of content your Facebook followers are interested in, which you can then use to adjust your strategy and ensure you’re sending as much traffic to your site as possible.
Don’t copy your competitors: If you’re new to Facebook or uncertain of which strategy to employ, it may be tempting to imitate what your competitors are doing on the platform. Remember: To get the most out of your presence on Facebook, you must regularly publish unique, original, valuable content. Copying the competition is a great way to make your competitors angry and turn off future customers from your brand.
Do look at your competitors for inspiration—but do it better. If your competition seems to be doing something right on Facebook, it’s OK to use that as inspiration. For example, if you notice that this competition posts videos frequently and those posts get more engagement than other posts, try implementing your own video strategy. If most content the competition publishes is focused on providing tips and how-tos, try that tactic yourself. Just aim to do it even better and provide even more value to your followers.
Don’t make assumptions about what people want to see: Perhaps one of the most fatal mistakes a marketer can make is to build a strategy from assumptions. Decisions about marketing strategy should always be based on data. This is why it’s so important to use tools such as Facebook Insights and Google Analytics to measure your current efforts and build strategies for the future. Use this data to determine what your followers like to see on your Facebook platform and what types of content drive website traffic, and ultimately, sales.
Do ask your followers what types of content they want to see: An oft-overlooked method for determining what types of content to post is to simply ask. No one knows what your followers want better than they do.
For example, you can tell your followers you’re working on developing content for the next few months and ask them what content they want to see. You can ask how they would improve your invention, or how, where or when they use it.
There are many different ways to crowdsource content ideas, and social media users are typically happy to help you provide more value to them. That’s the great thing about platforms such as Facebook: They make it easier than ever for companies and customers to build a close relationship.