17 Facebook Experts Reveal Their Best Tips for Improved Engagement and ROI
If you do any kind of marketing on Facebook at all, here's a complaint you're sure to have heard (or even made yourself):
"Nobody's engaging with my posts anymore. It's like I'm invisible."
Indeed, sometimes it seems like it's Zuckerberg's world and we're just posting in it.
But is that simply a difficult fact that the small/medium-sized business has to deal with these days? Or is there a way around the network's sometimes crushing algorithm updates? What's a bootstrapping entrepreneur to do?
With these question in mind, I sought the advice of the best Facebook and social gurus I could find. What I wound up with is a veritable smorgasbord of actionable tips on how every person and business can bolster engagement and increase their social ROI without too much effort, time, or expense.
My sincerest thanks to each and every person who contributed their hard-won tips and advice to this article. Bon appétit! :D
My favorite tip when it comes to social media ads is BOOSTING posts on Facebook! Boosted posts have gotten a bad rap by some "experts" but I'm crushing it with them as they are simple to run and if you're a small business you don't have to pay some "guru" to run the ads for you.
Here's an example of a Boosted post I did on one of my local business pages where I rent out inflatables.
So for $20 I Reached nearly double my total page count, got close to 100 Likes on the post and gained 13 new Page Likes. I then Boosted another post about the same inflatable and spent $40:
Again my Reach was huge, I got 27 new Page Likes and nearly 100 Likes on the post itself. But did that result in money? Because that's why we run ads right? The answer is YES!! Within 5 days of running this post -- the only one on Facebook where I have ever shown anyone this brand new product -- I have 10 reservations of this unit, as seen below:
This equals $3200 in gross revenue off $65 in Facebook ads!!! If that doesn't excite you then you're brain-dead!
(bonus tip: wait at least 2 hours before you boost a post as you want it to get the natural exposure first.)
(bonus bonus tip: Boost posts by targeting an area, don't simply boost to fans and friends of fans)
Ted Rubin, TedRubin.com
Getting more "active" fans on Facebook isn't all that complicated, but it does depend upon your definition of "active." For me, "active" means people who visit and read the content there, whether that be informational, thought leadership, event-related content or conversation. What most business owners don't realize is that those who simply visit and read - aka, the lurkers - are the ones who are really important to scale. While they might not participate directly, they do so vicariously through the visitors who do participate and via the content they come to see.
To get people to visit your Facebook page more often, you have to give them a reason to be there by adding value in one form or another, by interacting and engaging with those who visit, and by building relationships.
Empower your employees to help you scale your content and conversation, and for heaven's sake, make it a requirement for, or incentivize, as many employees as possible, especially those in the marketing department, to visit the pages of your fans, get inside their heads a bit, and report back about what they're talking about and what's of interest to them. Do this with your competitors as well. Have employees link to your Facebook page in the "About" section of their own Facebook profiles. Seek out groups that fit your company niche and encourage employees to join. You're doing this not to spam others with your messaging but to find ways to contribute, answer questions, share expertise and learn.
I've been asked by a lot of people how they can be more successful in building relationships on social channels and on Facebook in particular. And the one thing that keeps coming to the surface is the importance of being "present" when you're being "social." You know how it is when you meet someone at a conference or in a networking situation and they're constantly looking around the room to see who else is there, or they're looking at their device-basically looking anywhere except at you? Those signals mean they aren't really "present" in the conversation, so there is no true connection.
The same principles apply to online social relationships, so I'm a big proponent of doing what I call "looking people in the eye digitally."
To get the most out of Facebook requires the same personal attention as the human touch and eye contact in a physical relationship. So participate by actively engaging on your followers' pages, not just on yours, and show real interest. Look your audience in the eye digitally, and let them know you're interested.
Dennis Yu, Dennis-Yu.com
Retarget your search and email traffic into Facebook. In other words, if someone has clicked on one of your emails or one of your Google ads, you can automatically follow them around with messaging in Facebook.
To do this, you'd have to have the Facebook custom audience pixel in place and set up audiences based on Google UTM parameters. Each of these UTM parameters becomes an audience you can target.
For example, if people click on your ad for "keyword 1" on Google, then you can send them messaging based on that in their Facebook newsfeed.
Dave Kerpen, Likeable Local
My first piece of feedback would be to make sure that your content is getting reach, because without reach there can be no engagement! Boosting your posts, even just for a few dollars, to a targeted audience is the first thing you should be doing to get your businesses' Facebook posts off to a strong start for increased engagement. Beyond that, there are a number or best practices for creating content that can really help your efforts be more successful. At Likeable Local we both embody for ourselves and all of our small business customers our 10 Commandments of Content Creation which are guidelines for creating engaging and ROI producing social content. Keeping these in mind can help you produce the most engaging content you can. They're summarized below, and of course to learn more grab the free eBook at SocialContenteBook.com.
Peg Fitzpatrick, PegFitzpatrick.com
Work to build a community on your Facebook Page and get to know the people that visit. Provide a great atmosphere by keeping it clean from spam comments and talk to everyone who stops by.
Building relationships is the ROI on Facebook.
Providing a foundation of interesting and entertaining content with your business-targeted content sprinkled in can create a Facebook Page that people come back to over and over. It's up to you to keep people's attention - Facebook algorithms make it hard for people to see your Page in the Newsfeed so be worthy of being remembered
This one is so hard because the algorithm now requires you pay for reach, engagement, and ROI. Doing well there certainly depends on your business, but I'll tell you what works for us.
We publish two blog posts per day on Spin Sucks so we post those on the Facebook page. Then we post two other things that have nothing to do with PR, but are just funny or smart. Since we changed our strategy six weeks ago, likes have increased by 96 (all organic), reach has increased 3,200 percent, and engagement has increased 286 percent. Those are ridiculous numbers that don't really mean anything, but they do tell us the current share strategy works.
We also boost content for our monthly webinars and it costs us about $1.50 per registration (which also gives us the very valuable email address). I will also tell you it is so frustrating that our content doesn't do as well as the other fun content. There also isn't a direct ROI yet, though we can now track whether a person took our webinar and then became a client.
Keep your page entertaining. This is something most pages miss.
They focus too much on the business side and post too many promotional posts. There's nothing wrong with that, but businesses forget that people don't go to Facebook to buy.
What I do instead is I focus on sharing entertaining content such as quotes, funny photos, memes and content that people can jump on and engage with. This type of content works! Why?
Because when people like your posts, they are more likely to see your content again... including your promotional posts which helps you to achieve your ROI.
Jason Keath, Social Fresh
If you want to start engaging customers more on Facebook, you should invest in a private Facebook group for your best customers. Make this Facebook group a place for discussion and where your customers can get help with common pain points associated with your business.
You will need to invest in moderation, and consistent/daily community building efforts. But the reward of a group like this is more valuable than a Facebook page where none of your customers are engaging in real discussions or likely even seeing your content.
CC Chapman, CC-Chapman.com
Facebook keeps changing the algorithm and rules for how to engage with the community you build there. The key is not to come to depend on it, unless you are ready to spend money to reach them.
Yes, use Facebook to share all the content you create on other channels, but be smart about when and how you spend money. Use it to promote posts that are most critical and have a clear call to action.
I'm also amazed at how few businesses use custom audiences to take their email lists and use them in FB to make sure the people you are paying to get in front of are people already familiar with your brand.
Barry Feldman, Feldman Creative
Don't expect Facebook to be your medium for reaching a sizable audience unless you're willing to spend.
For businesses, Facebook is an advertising space. So do get your credit card out and begin experimenting. It won't require big bucks to learn what does and doesn't resonate with your tribe, but if you rely on organic reach only, you're not likely to learn anything or get anywhere.
Jamie Turner, 60 Second Marketer
The #1 way increase ROI on Facebook is, of course, to track the results of your campaigns.
The problem is that many people don't know how to start that process. It all begins with understanding your customer lifetime value (CLV) which, in it's simplest form, is the average revenue you generate from a typical customer. (For example, if you're a lawn care service and you charge $100 per month and your average customer stays 2 years, your CLV is $2,400.) If you spend 10% of your CLV to acquire a customer (in the example above, that would be $240), then you're in good shape.
In other words, if you spend $240 in Facebook ads to gain a lawn care customer, as long as your CLV stays at $2,400, you're in good shape because only 10% of your CLV went into acquiring the customer.
(Side Note: CLV can get much more complicated, so this is a simplified version, but it makes the point.)
Mike Gingerich, MikeGingerich.com
Integration! Your Facebook marketing can no longer be a silo separate from the rest of your online marketing. Businesses MUST take an integrated approach.
I call it the "Digital Marketing Funnel." It starts with having quality, resource-rich content on your blog. This gives you core content to share on Facebook. Share it as a link, with text tips on photos that link to the post, and with the hottest option on Facebook today, short videos loaded to Facebook with the Call-to-Action going to the blog! Add in posts from others that inspire and offer value. This is your core "Attraction" content.
Then you need to mix into that the "lead capture" posts on Facebook (either link or video with CTA) that lead to landing pages on your site where you offer something of value in exchange for name and email. This gets them on your mailing list for email marketing automation and by setting up the Facebook Ad Pixel for Website Custom Audiences you can then retarget them with Facebook Ads! This approach integrates your content marketing with Facebook posting, email marketing, and Facebook Ads. Together, this integrated approach helps you drive engagement and ROI in a way that is ongoing and long-term!
Sue B. Zimmerman, SueBZimmerman.com
Deliver value multiple times each day and keep promotional posts to a minimum. Anything that requires your fans to do something other than read or watch information I consider promotional. When you do have something to promote, make it worthwhile and leave the salesy lingo behind.
I've started using a brand new tool, Heyo Cart, to convert Facebook fans into customers. We use it to sell low-end digital products. Basically your follower simply comments "buy" on the specific Facebook post to purchase whatever you're offering. Unlike Amazon, I'm able to collect email addresses from the purchasers which strengthens my opportunity to up-sell in the future.
Here is a link to my recent blog post about the tool.
Jon Loomer, JonLoomer.com
There are a number of factors that are critical to positive Facebook ROI, but here are a few:
- Targeting Most important. Are you reaching someone who uses your product already? Visits your website? Or are they completely unaware of you, essentially making your ad a cold call?
- Imagery How do you brand yourself? Does the image you use draw a user's attention? Is it professional?
- Copy How well do you lure the target audience? Are you trustworthy? Do you use a CTA? Do you write with proper spelling and grammar?
- Funneling Not everyone is ready to buy from you right now. It's important to understand that your target audience is on various stages of your funnel. They may not respond to your ad to buy, but that doesn't make them worthless. Consider a long game approach rather than only selling. Bring them in with helpful content with one ad (or multiple) to gain trust, offer them a free opt-in next and then finally sell.
Jim Lodico, JAL Communications
Make sure your Facebook strategy is an integrated part of your larger content marketing strategy. This means you've set clear goals for your content marketing and FB activities, your website is optimized to capture leads coming from FB and you've built well developed sales funnels to guide those leads from Facebook to the desired conversion.
And although it should go without saying, make sure you are measuring the right data. In other words, are you just counting "likes" or are you following followers from initial "like" to final sale, registration or other desired conversion.
Finally, feed your Facebook feed with content your followers need. Make it so good that they can't wait to see your next post.
My #1 tip for increasing Facebook engagement and ROI is to focus on your community.
This means going the extra mile in Facebook comments to listen and respond to your fans. By making the extra effort to answer fan queries and engage in the comments you will notice a much higher response rate which then leads onto a higher ROI.
The return on investment in this instance is "Trust". Once your fans begin to acknowledge your business as a go-to resource you will also begin to notice the sales start to pour in.
Mickie Kennedy, eReleases
Every now and again, someone's going to message you with an offer of "hundreds of new fans at $0.50 each!"
Now, this may seem obvious, but if ever you feel the tickle of temptation in the face of such a pitch (maybe you're not netting as many Likes as you expected or you're eager to get a jump on the competition), run the other way. These "fans" aren't real people, and even if they were, they're certainly not in the market (attitudinally or geographically) to buy any of your products. The only thing these Likes are going to earn you is a severely weakened reach and a heavy leak in your Boosted Post efficacy.
Purchased Likes = Negative ROI
Just wanted to clear that up right off the bat.
Also, to paraphrase Scott Ayres above, never shy away from Boosted Posts. Facebook's algorithm makes sure that people are only seeing what they interact with on a semi-regular basis, which means that people who like your page may not see some important posts of yours. In other words, unless you're paying Facebook a few bucks, you're invisible to a large portion of your organic audience. Can't afford (or simply don't want to) pay Facebook for what should rightfully be yours anyhow? Try this:
- Don't broadcast, interact. Follow up on comments, get to know your audience.
- Like other pages in your industry or field, and like, comment, and share their material when you can.
- Learn how to write a press release, and make sure to mention your page in the release.
- Post at least once a day, and make sure it all isn't flowing back to your website.
- Have fun. You may be a business, but don't be afraid to enjoy yourself every now and again.
*This article originally appeared in PR Fuel.
Follow Mickie Kennedy on Twitter