Why Engagement Is Important
Engagement is important as an indicator of how interesting your content is to those who see what you share in their newsfeed.
While having a large percentage of those who view your content and engage with it would be nice, on average, only a small percentage of those who see your posts - less than 1% according to SocialBakers - will take some sort of direct action by liking, sharing or commenting.
Of course, some Facebook pages achieve higher engagement rates than others and some of your Facebook posts achiever higher levels of engagement than others.
If Engagement Is Low For Most Facebook Pages, Why Bother?
While engagement, in terms of 'liking', 'sharing' or 'commenting', is statistically low, it doesn't mean people aren't seeing and reading your content in their Facebook newsfeed, or even clicking on links that lead back to your website. It may mean this but it doesn't necessarily. Many of us browse through our Facebook newsfeed never taking direct action. Others frequently do so.
Facebook offers huge opportunities for you to build brand name recognition in your local area, and beyond, if you're willing to invest the time, energy and capital in doing so. And brand name recognition is a big deal when people are looking to make a decision on where they will go for a particular product or service.
The Challenge of Engagement
The percentage of fans who engage with your content, on average, will be low. But as already mentioned, engagement is an indicator of interest and the value of what you share. Some content will produce higher engagement than others.
But here's the challenge: if Facebook is a place where your fans and target audience are on social media, to have a hope of improving your engagement numbers you need to get into their newsfeed. To get into the newsfeed, chances are high you'll have to pay!
Should You Pay To Promote Every Post On Facebook?
That doesn't mean you should pay to promote every post you share on Facebook.
But should you pay to promote some of your posts? Absolutely!
Pay to promote your best content, and target it to reach Facebook users in your geographic area, by gender, by age group and by interests, as appropriate.
Many small business owners are still in the "I'm ticked off that Facebook suckered me into growing my fan base and now I can't reach them unless I pay" mode. This mindset is equivalent to "cutting off your nose to spite your face." You're not hurting Facebook, but chances are you are hurting your business!
Are You An Early Adopter, Majority Adopter, Late Adopter or Laggard?
Early adopters recognized Facebook Promoted Posts as an opportunity early on, likely not long after Facebook introduced them in early 2012.
The early adopters set aside their frustration with Facebook and took advantage of a playing field - the newsfeed - that was almost devoid of competition (of those paying to get into the newsfeed). They benefitted from lower costs to reach larger groups of people and they tested and learned what worked best, while the rest of us stewed in frustration.
As time goes by the next wave of adopters, majority adopters, are getting over their frustration and recognizing, or at least beginning to wonder, whether they're missing out on something (and they are!) by ignoring Facebook promoted posts. Some of these (I'm hopeful) are beginning to see the opportunity and take advantage of it.
Majority adopters have missed out on a few years of getting their business in front of their fans and target audience on Facebook.You'll pay more now than you would have a year ago for the privilege. But, for many - if not most, it's still worth it! And a year from now the playing field will be more crowded and the prices will be higher. Don't wait for everyone else to get on the bandwagon before you do!!
Remember This When You Promote Your Posts!
If/when you decide to invest some cash in promoting posts to your fans and beyond on Facebook, keep these factors in mind:
- Focus on what those you hope to reach will find interesting, valuable, inspirational, helpful. While there is a place for advertising on Facebook, if you're wanting to build a base of fans who will see you as a resource, as interesting, worth paying attention to, helpful and/or valuable; then focus your efforts on creating content that will produce this result. It's not all about you, it's all about them ... your customers!
- Make sure your profile is branded, complete and represents your business professionally. This means high quality images, a customized URL and be sure to include your contact information and details about your business and what you do. When people visit your Page you want it to make a favourable first impression, one that makes them want to follow you.
- Make sure your website represents your business as well as your Facebook Page, if not better. Responsive design or mobile friendly, up-to-date not dated, content that gives people a reason to check back periodically, branding consistent with all your marketing materials and social networks, for starters.
- Make sure your business lives up to what you're promoting. If you're sharing great stuff online but the experience of customers is poor, it will hurt your business. You know this already but it is an important reminder that in today's online world saying one thing and doing something else creates an advertising buzz that can destroy your business. Keep your promises and when you don't own up to it and address the problem. Customer service has never played a more important role in a successful business than it does today!
- Pay to promote your best content to your fans and beyond! A great Facebook page with great content that no one sees is pointless. If you're not prepared to pay to promote at least some of your content on Facebook, you should reconsider whether it is the place for your business to be. A day is coming where, in order to have any reach on Facebook, you'll have to pay.
Chances are, even if you make it into the newsfeed of fans and potential fans, your engagement percentage will still be low. But high engagement numbers while nice to have, aren't everything. Promoting content that works for your fans won't always generate rave reviews in the form of high engagement numbers. It might but often it won't.
But what it will do, assuming you are paying to promote content that appeals to your audience, is build name recognition for your brand and a reputation for being customer focused. And, in our online world, that's a big deal!
* Information on how to calculate your engagement rate is available on the SocialBakers website.