“I figure I just need a massive amount of Likes,” a client recently told us over a cup of coffee.
“Wouldn’t you rather have the attention of people who want your services?”
“That’s why I need a massive number of Likes,” the client explained. He figured that getting a huge number of Likes would guarantee that a good proportion of the people who Liked the page would actually come into his place of business. He planned to create a weekly visual puzzle with a prize for people who would Like his page and Share the post five times.
I was sorry to tell him that Facebook doesn’t currently allow contests that required a Share to enter, though the rules change often.
“There’s no reason to Share it five times, though,” Rosie pointed out. “When you Share something, it goes on your timeline and is available to all your friends. Having it appear in your timeline five times would probably irritate people.”
We talked a bit about Facebook contests, and returned to the question of Likes.
“Most people who Like a page never go back,” Rosie said. “Likes are fairly meaningless. People often Like pages because a friend asks them to — you can even buy Likes.”
A lot of businesses do just that. It makes the page look popular. It’s easy to manipulate Likes, but people who actually Like your page because they want to see your posts in their timeline are the minority. That may be a good thing, too, since Facebook actually shows your posts to just a fraction of your fans (how big a fraction? Estimates range from 3 to 16%).
Having people Like, comment on, or share your posts is a different kettle of fish. Not only does that put your posts in front of a new audience, but it also increases the value of your page in Facebook’s electronic eyes, so that your posts are more likely to be shown on your fans’ timelines.
“So how do I make my Facebook page work for my business?” the client asked.
“You have to make it worth visiting,” said Rosie.
“Some people who reach your page need what you’re offering right away,” I added. “They’ll click through to your website and you’re set. But others might not need you right now. If you have interesting, useful content to offer them, they’ll come back to your page or your website. Then, when they do need what you have to offer, they’ll think of you.”
We explained further that a page might have just a few hundred Likes but a Reach of thousands, because readers share what the page has to offer. Engaging content can travel fast.
Here are some ways to increase engagement at Facebook:
- Remember that people on Facebook are playing, not working. Share interesting, useful things, and mix it up with playful stuff. If your company offers recreational stuff, like games, food, shoes, or concerts, Facebook is your perfect playground. If not, recognize that few people go to Facebook for industrial valves and just make friends. Light content often does well at Facebook, but typically doesn’t lead directly to conversions.
- Boost your posts. “Boosting” is paying Facebook to offer your posts to people. Facebook is being increasingly open about their desire to get paid for their super popular free service, and one way they get paid is by showing your post to more people. Boosting a post can be quite effective. Here, for example, is the report on a recent boosted post:
We paid $18.74 for this client’s boost and 123 people clicked through to the website, so the cost per click was about 15 cents. There were 68 post Likes, 9 comments including some sprightly discussion, and 20 page Likes. There was about ten times as much paid reach as organic reach, but when we count organic results on other people’s timelines as well, the post had a total reach of 12.2k, 75 likes, 13 comments, 21 shares, and 90 people talking about it. Chances are, some of the new people reached by the boost will remain engaged with the client.
- Get personal. Remember, Facebook visitors are hanging out with their friends, killing time. We regularly see that — while news consistently gets the highest levels of engagement and conversion for nearly all of our clients — people are most inclined to Like and comment on personal things. Personal opinions, pictures of dogs and babies, questions and conversations that sound human, all of these are the things people jump on at Facebook. Will someone buy your industrial valves because you wished them a happy birthday? Not if they’re not in the market for industrial valves.
- Join the conversation. Sometimes there are actual conversations going on about your field. Facebook is definitely used to crowdsource information. I went to my Facebook page and immediately saw requests for a good dentist, for a good place to buy glasses, for a good dog groomer, and this request for used tire guidance which had an answer that included a link to the business’s website. Note that no businesses were involved in the conversation, but that shows a missed opportunity.