Most businesses on Facebook end up wasting time and effort, and getting zero results.
I don’t want you won’t be one of those.
That’s why this guide is here to show you the fundamentals that you need to understand to successfully use Facebook to promote your blog, service, or any type of business.
I’ve broken everything down into small, practical chunks to make this complex topic a lot easier to get started with. You don’t have to do all of these things, but the more that you do, the more likely you’ll be successful.
Gaming Facebook: Understanding Facebook’s Algorithm
Using Facebook as a business comes down to reaching as much of your target audience as possible.
You’ll notice that each post you create says how many users it “reached.” This is the number of users who saw it in their feed at some point. You can either reach people organically (free, just by making the post), or by promoting posts with paid ads.
Most of this guide will focus on increasing the organic reach of your posts. To do so, you must understand how Facebook chooses which posts to show in a user’s feed.
For a heavy Facebook user, there are dozens of new posts all competing to be shown at the top of their news feed. So, Facebook has an algorithm that assigns a score to all posts that are relevant to a user. These are posts from friends, posts on Facebook groups they’re a member of, and posts on Facebook pages they follow.
Once all the scores are tallied, the posts are shown in the user’s news feed from highest to lowest.
The algorithm takes in hundreds of data points, but these are the most important general factors:
- Engagement – Are the people who have seen the post so far engaging with it? (likes, comments, link clicks, etc.)
- Who posted it – If posts from your page typically get a lot of engagement, new posts will get a higher organic reach. On the other hand, if you consistently get low engagement, your organic reach in the future will shrink.
- Post age – As a post gets older, its score gets lower.
Facebook will show new posts to a small group of people most likely to like it. If they do engage well with the new post, Facebook will then show it to a larger group.
This is why engagement is the most important element of Facebook posts.
- Don’t buy page likes or followers – When your posts are shown to these fake users, there won’t be any engagement. This leads to low organic reach both short term and long term.
- Focus on quality over quantity – It’s better to have 1 post with high engagement (e.g. 10 comments), than 10 posts with low engagement (e.g. 1 comment each). Take time to make posts that are high quality and stand out.
Post Content That Promotes Engagement (Likes, Comments, etc.)
If engagement is so important, how do you encourage it?
It all starts with the content that you’re posting.
If you just post a link to a product page or you use bland stock photos, users will just scroll by it without engaging with it.
Here’s an example of a typical bad post:
Your attention naturally goes to the image first, and it’s a generic stock photo, so you’d likely just move on if you saw this yourself. It’s going to be hard to get more than a few likes on it.
Imagine if they took actual photos of their plumbers at work.
Ideally, don’t use stock photos. If you do, they better be interesting.
Here’s an example of a post with a good image:
It’s an interesting picture in the first place, and to make it even better, it’s a real picture.
Not every business is that exciting, of course, but do your best to use imagery that you yourself would find interesting.
What other content promotes post engagement?
There are many things you can try:
- Don’t post only links to your site or content – These typically get less engagement, and will hurt your overall page’s reputation a bit, which will lead to less organic reach in the future.
- Talk like a person, not a corporation – Facebook is a platform for friends to engage with each other. Aim to sounds like a friend, not an ad, even when posting as a business.
- Post contests, giveaways, and deals – Require that people like your page and comment on the post to be entered.
- Create posts that evoke emotion – Posts that get a lot of engagement are usually either inspirational, very helpful, or even enraging. Try to stand out from the other bland
- End posts with a question or call to action – Engagement typically increases when you ask people to take an action, like answering a question in a comment, or sharing a post with others.
Leverage Videos in Your Posts
According to a 2018 Buzzsumo analysis of over 777 million Facebook posts, video posts had the highest average engagement of any content type on Facebook.
In general, images are okay, but video posts are going to get the most engagement and the most reach.
These can be quick, 30-second videos with something interesting in them. You can take them on your phone if needed, as long as the quality is decent.
If you’re linking to a blog post about “10 tricks to teach your cat,” you could take a quick video of a cat performing one of those tricks. Not only would it improve your content, it would get good engagement on Facebook.
If you need help getting started, here’s a guide to making videos for social media.
Post Often to Maximize Your Reach
Posting more frequently means that your followers could see more of your posts.
But if you post too much, you’ll see lower engagement numbers, and you might even annoy some followers.
So what’s the perfect frequency for posting?
CoSchedule summarized over 20 research studies of this exact topic. What they found was that in general, you should post on Facebook once per day.
Whether or not to post on the weekend as well depends on your audience. It’s worth trying at first, but if your weekend posts get less reach, you can just post on weekdays.
Create a Posting Calendar and Automate Your Posting
Now we know that you need to post often (ideally once per day), you need to find a way to stick to it. Otherwise, when things get busy, social media posts are the first to get skipped over.
You can do this manually, creating a spreadsheet calendar and then logging into Facebook each day to post. But the better option is to use one of the following tools to automate the process:
All of these allow you to connect your Facebook business page and schedule posts to be automatically put up at a certain time.
They all have the same core functions if you’re only interested in posting on Facebook, so any one of them is fine.
Take a day at the start of the month to create and schedule all your posts for the month. Just don’t forget to check your page when possible to answer any questions and respond to comments.
Manually Reach Out to Friends and Employees in the Beginning
The hardest followers to get are your first ones.
If you’re making posts and have 0 followers, there’s no way for your page to grow. You need that initial audience that will engage with your posts, so their friends will see your post as well, and hopefully follow your page.
Initially, you have 2 options: Use paid ads, or find users elsewhere.
Let’s start with the simplest strategy.
If you have any friends or professional contacts that might be interested in what you post, tell them about your page, and ask them to follow you.
It’s important that you don’t just blindly invite everyone you know to like your page. If you do, you end up with people who follow your page, and then never engage with your posts, which hurts your organic reach.
- If you don’t have any friends who would appreciate your posts, that’s okay. You can use an alternative method in this guide.
- If you have really good friends who want to support you, ask them to engage with your posts. Whether it’s “liking” them, commenting, or just clicking on any links you post, it all helps.
Link a Facebook Group to Your Business Page
Some users prefer to participate in groups, rather than follow specific businesses (particularly “unsexy” ones). For example, if you run a parking garage, it might be hard to get followers. But if you start a group about “Parking in (Your City)”, it should be easier to get people to join.
Not only that, but group posts tend to have more reach than page posts, making a group an excellent way to grow your audience even more.
As the creator and owner of the group, you get to decide what types of content can be posted in the group, as well as what links go in the group description.
In one group I’m a member of, the owner links right back to his website:
Once you link a group to your business page, a link back to your page will automatically be displayed in the group. You could also link to your page from the ‘About This Group’ section, or in your posts in the group (you can do what you want since you’re the owner).
I do need to warn you that creating a thriving Facebook group takes a lot of work at first. You will need to find your initial users, just like you do for your Facebook page. You can use the same tactics.
Additionally, you need to put a lot of effort into making the group useful, especially at the start. Over time, other group members will start contributing useful content, but you’ll need to put in a lot of the work at the beginning.
Grow Your Following off of Facebook Too
While you can grow your Facebook page just by posting on Facebook, you can grow much faster if you leverage other channels as well.
Take every opportunity to invite relevant professional contacts to follow your page. The most common places to do this are:
- Email signatures
- Email newsletters
- Your website (in the sidebar and/or after posts)
- Personal social media profiles
- Other social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
You can get creative beyond that as well. I saw a great example first-hand a while ago: I applied for a job, and when the rejection email later came later (darn!), they asked me to connect with them on LinkedIn.
They did it in such a friendly way that I was happy to connect with them. Switch in Facebook instead, and it would work the same way.
Optimize Your Posting Time For Maximum Engagement
Just like you’ll find that you should post a certain amount of times per day or week, you’ll see that some times of day are better than others.
Those tools we looked at earlier for scheduling posts also come with features to optimize when you post.
But if you’re posting manually, you can start to narrow down the best time to post by split-testing different posting times, otherwise known as A/B testing.
Using a simple spreadsheet, record your organic reach and engagement of posts, as well as when you posted. Pick two times to compare with each other so that you can, hopefully, find a clear winner.
You should aim for a sample size of at least 20 posts before making a conclusion. More is better, but understandably may not be possible.
Once you have a winner, you can test it against another posting time, and so on, until you’re happy with a particular time going forward.
Use Retargeting Ads to Get CHEAP Followers
I mentioned you can use ads to get likes on your page initially, and going forward to speed up how fast your page grows.
Normal Facebook ads are expensive, and it takes a lot of time to learn how to target them correctly.
The better alternative by far is to leverage retargeting ads.
It sounds scary at first, but is a simple concept.
Essentially, you install a “pixel” on your website, which is a short snippet of code that Facebook gives you. When someone visits your website, the pixel is activated and Facebook will see if the visitor has a Facebook account (that they are signed into).
You can target this list directly with ads, and you will get a much higher conversion rate than normal ads (and cheaper) because you know they are already interested in your business.
Once you have that data, you can take it even further by creating lookalike audiences. Facebook looks at people in your pixel audience, and then finds other users who share similar characteristics.
Again, this audience will be more responsive to ads, and you’ll get the best value for the money you invest in Facebook advertising.
This tool allows you to scale your ads quickly to grow your page:
Some people have gotten over a 7,000% ROI using these tactics. So, even if you don’t do them perfectly, they’ll still be pretty effective.
Will You Reach 1 Million Followers?
Facebook pages are like snowballs.
Your first few followers are tough to get. The next few are a bit easier, and so on. Eventually, your will continue to grow your page just by creating interesting and useful posts that your audience enjoys.
Expect it to take some time to see any big results.
But if you use the principles in this guide, you’ll eventually get to the point where your Facebook page starts to drive significant traffic to your website, which will result in more users or sales. It’s definitely worth the wait.