You're using Facebook to try and grow your creative business, but you're frustrated because no one is seeing your posts--or worse, they're seeing them but they just don't care. So, why bother with a platform that's not showing you any results?
Chances are, Facebook is not the bad guy. With over two billion active monthly users, and one in five online minutes being spent on Facebook, chances are your ideal client is out there--you just haven't reached them. Here are three of the top mistakes creative entrepreneurs are making on Facebook--and how to stop making them!
1. Not using advertising effectively
Facebook may be the way you stay in touch with your high school friends, or keep Aunt Jane updated on your life, but it's also a powerful advertising tool. Not only can businesses use it for virtually free to communicate with their fans, but the targeting options offered when you invest in actual paid ads is pretty incredible.
Think of how many other services you log into using your Facebook credentials; or the kinds of searches you make on Facebook; or the posts you 'like' and interact with. That's a lot of data, and Facebook uses that and other third party information to market directly to people just like you and me to serve us exactly the kind of information we want to see. Ever make a Google search for an item, only to have it appear in your Facebook sidebar an hour later? Yup! It's crazy and a little creepy, but as a potential advertiser you should love it!
Gone are the days of creating a super vague ad and sending it to millions of people who may or may not have any interest in it. You can get deep into the weeds with Facebook ads - so do it! Here are just a few tips I've learned that I think everyone should follow:
- Use Audience Insights. I get questions all the time on what the best time to post is, or if posts should be more geared toward men or women, or people in a particular city. Don't ask your friends, look at the data! Your page insights contain a ton of valuable information that can tell you who your fans are (gender, age, where they live), what kind of content they like (what are they clicking on?), and when they're online.
- Don't boost a post for longer than a day or two. I'll admit, I get super irritated when the same blog post or image pops into my newsfeed day after day. Condense your budget into a couple of days, and go for it. You'll get more bang for your buck, and your audience won't be annoyed.
- Don't run an ad for longer than 5-7 days. For the same reason as above - ad fatigue is real! Condense your budget, and run over a shorter time period. If you have a large budget that's going to be hard to spend over that time period, awesome! You have the great opportunity to run an ad for a week, learn from that, and then tweak it (change the copy, swap out the image, etc.) for a second flight. Holler.
- Test everything. Sometimes it can be hard to track conversions (form submissions, new clients, purchases, etc.) from Facebook ads. Often times, it's one of the many touch points that a person has along the way before they convert, and the funnel gets a little hard to follow. Don't let this deter you! If you're using Facebook ads for nothing else, use them to find out more about your audience. What kind of language do they respond to? What kind of images? What do they interact with? What are their responses? By testing one element at a time, you can learn so much, and you really only have to spend a few dollars at a time.
- Communicate with your audience. All of this work isn't going to do any good if you aren't actively engaging with the folks who want to talk with you. If you can only spend an hour a week on your Facebook page, spend it talking to your peeps! Respond to their messages, answer their questions, and send virtual high fives. These small actions will work magic when it comes to growing your brand.
2. Selling not serving
Why do you like a Facebook page? Chances are, they do something for you. Whether it's make you laugh, make you think, or give you free stuff, you're interested in pages that give back to you: the audience. The best Facebook pages recognize this and serve, serve, serve their fans before they sell to them. If we follow the tried and true rule, 80% of the time you should be providing good, solid content to your fans--whatever that looks like for your page--and 20% of the time you should be selling to them. Not the other way around!
I think often times we as creatives get caught in only talking about what we want to read, instead of thinking about the audience. The reality is, as creatives who are ultimately selling a product or service, we need to serve our audiences with value before we ever think of selling to them. The more you give to them (whether it's beautiful images and stories, great articles, or hilarious GIFs), the more highly they'll think of you and be likely to work with you in the future. This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon!
It can be a really helpful exercise if you think about your ideal customer or client, and really try and get into their mind. What would they like to see? What would they find helpful? It's not about you - it's all about them.
3. Not using a schedule
If I need to practice any of these tips better, it's this one! I fully admit that there are days where I am rocking the social media game and I've got posts scheduled for weeks, and there are other times where life gets crazy and I accidentally go silent for way longer than I anticipated.
Only about 2% of your audience is actually seeing your content on any given day (yup, it's that few!), so post often and regularly. Facebook likes consistency and frequency, and people (your fans!) like predictability. Make them feel in the know! You can use Facebook's scheduling tool to schedule posts for weeks and months in advance. This also makes it so social media management isn't running your life, even though you appear to be online daily.
You can schedule posts directly through the Facebook page manager, or use a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite. It really doesn't have to be complicated, and the constant buzz of information on your page makes you seem busy - which is a good sign to potential clients!
Even though it can be frustrating that this platform is constantly changing, Facebook still deserves a spot in your marketing tool belt. When used correctly, it's a great way to serve and grow your audience!