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Facebook Post
An effective post that reached lots of people.
There are several important steps to developing an effective campaign. While we covered how to put together a social media campaign in an earlier post, the most important step is the posting of interesting and engaging material.  
For starters, it is important to remember that you do not need to create all of your own content. Sharing interesting posts from other pages or sources can be effective and time efficient. Start by finding people, organizations and businesses that are good sources of information. Then simply signup for their emails or like their Facebook page or follow them on social media. That way the interesting posts come right to you and you do not have to search them out.  For example if you have a real estate firm, you should consider following the National Association of Realtors and local online news sources such as Curbed Chicago.   These two examples are great sources of news on the local real estate and building world.  If you own a restaurant you might consider adding your local restaurant association, tourism websites and food and nutrition pages to your connections. Another easy way to find important news is to let Google do it. Their Google Alerts feature allows you to save a search and they will email news that fits your search.

Creating your own content is more time consuming but it does have the added benefit that it lets people know that you are knowledgeable and a reliable source of information.  Ideally you begin this strategy by adding a blog to your website.   It is important to share your blog posts to all of your social media pages. This will bring readers to your website. Make sure your posts are original, interesting or informative.  It is important that your blog post topics relate to your business. Whether it is about the industry you are in, a related field or the city in which you do business, make sure it is somewhat relevant.

Tips for getting the most out of your social media posts:

  • Post a variety of topics. A range of subjects will bring in a large number of readers. 
  • Include a photo. Posts with photos have a much higher engagement rate than ones that do not. If you do not have the necessary photos, there are lots of online sources of free stock photos 
  • Include a video. Videos are by far the fastest growing aspect of social media and with good reason.  They have a high engagement rate and are more likely to go viral.
  • Analyze your numbers. If you spend the time to look at what kinds of posts are bringing in the most likes, shares and views you can better understand what is working for you and concentrate your efforts on those posts.
  • Tag other people and pages in your posts. The hope is that they will share your posts so that their followers will see your content. Only do this when it is appropriate. It is best to say something complimentary about them so they will want their followers to see it. Put @ before typing their name and Facebook and Twitter will pull up a list of options.  Simply click on your name of choice. A restaurant for example could say “we have a great vegetable entrée using the tasty organic vegetables from @nicholsfarm.” Nichols Farm will get a notification that you mentioned them and they will have an incentive to share.
  • Use hashtags.   Putting “#” in front of a word will group your post with other similar posts and make it easier to find when someone searches that topic. Use it sparingly, 1 or 2 per post, otherwise your content will look spammy. 
  • Avoid making mistakes. We covered social media mistakes in a LinkedIn post. 


Please feel free to contact me with any questions at dougb@chicagosocialmediamarketers.com


 
 
Social media is huge and getting bigger and more important every day. As a business you may have finally recognized that you need a social media campaign or realized that your existing social media strategy has been a failure. There is no easy fix or simple solution. Well there is one… be famous. If you are a Grammy nominated artist you will have no trouble attracting thousands of followers. If that is not an option then you can follow these steps you to increase your number of followers and generate new business.

1.       Set Goals. What is it you hope to achieve with social media? Name recognition? Customer engagement? Lead generation? You cannot achieve your goals without knowing what they are.

2.       Commit to Your Campaign. A successful social media campaign is not complicated but it does take time, effort and commitment. Designate accountability for the campaign and follow up. Be sure to apply these rules to yourself if you manage your company’s campaign!

3.       Decide Which Social Media Platforms to Use.  There are dozens of possibilities and each channel can serves a different purpose and often, reaches a different audience.  Unless you have a fulltime employee whose sole responsibility is social media you will never be able to utilize all of them. Pick 2 or 3 to concentrate your efforts. The most important social media platforms are:

·         Facebook. By far the biggest and most used platform. It should be a priority in your postings.

·         Twitter. Second only to Facebook in users. Their 140 character limit makes it tough to get across your point but it makes it easy for users to look at a lot of posts. It is a good site to make announcements and share news.

·         LinkedIn- Facebook for professionals. You will not see family photos on LinkedIn. Use it more like a website by filling your page with information about your company and for making informative and more formal posts.

·         Instagram. Growing in popularity. It is a very photo centric. If you are in a visual business or have lots of announcements to make this is a great outlet.

·         Snapchat. Used almost exclusively on phones it is a great place to post videos. Your posts are automatically deleted after 24 hours.

·         YouTube. The king of video posts. Others are stealing their business but they are still the most important player in the fastest growing segment in social media, videos.

4.       Creating Your Pages. Each social media channel has made it easy to open an account but it is very important to put in the time creating you page for each platform in order to have good looking and informative pages. Important consideration include:

·         A captivating description of your business. Bear in mind that you want visitors to want to find out more about you.

·         Quality banner photos.  A quality and engaging image will help bring people into your page.

·         Direct visitors to your website. This is possibly the most important element of your social media page.  Facebook’s call to action button allows you to place a link to your website on your home page. Utilize this.

5.       Posting. Posting is the nuts and bolts of all good campaigns.  What you post and when you post is worthy of an article on its own. Here are the basics.

·         Posts should be a mixture of interesting items designed to build engagement and informative substance in order to build your reputation as source of information.

·         Posts about your company should be used sparingly. Followers do not want to see a lot of posts about how wonderful you are. If you hit a special milestone or win an important award by all means let people know just do not overdue it.

·         Post about topics related to your company. There is a lot of leeway here. You can post about the city you are located in, your industry as a whole or interesting facts that in some way can be tied back to your business. Cat videos are popular but a landscaping company posting a cat video is just going to look like a cheap attempt to get views.

·         Always add an image.  Photos beat copy and videos beat photos. Use photographs or videos on almost every post. An image draws attention to a post, increasing views and can grow followership.

6.       Frequent and Consistent Posting.  We cannot stress this consideration enough!  It is essential to post frequently and consistently. Posting for 5 straight days and then not posting for a week will not benefit your company, and it might actually hurt it. Numerous studies show that a high percentage of consumers will check a business’ social media pages before doing business with them.  A lack of frequent and consistent posting will be noted and will possibly affect their decision to create a relationship with that business.

7.       Reinforce Followers. If someone goes to the trouble of commenting on one of your posts make sure you reply to their comment or at least like it when appropriate. People love to have their opinions validated and showing them some appreciation will bring you a lot of goodwill.  

8.       Avoid Mistakes. We covered common social media mistakes in our LinkedIn article. The most important rules to remember are

·          Be neutral like Switzerland! Do not post anything controversial.

·         Accountability.  Be sure that someone is being held responsible for your social media campaign.

9.       Analyze. Social media channels provide basic analytical tools. Things to look for when analyzing your social media efforts:

·         Look at which posts are creating the most social media engagement. Some posts you think are great will fall flat and some you were not excited about will create buzz. Learn from the past and adjust your posts to reflect the ones that are working.

10.   Be Patient. You are not going to set the social media world on fire your first day and probably not even your first year. Building followers and developing a good reputation takes time and effort. Eventually the posts that were seen by 30 people will be seen by 100 and the ones that were seen by 100 will be up to 1000.   

 
 
In our previous article we talked about why your followers may not even receive your Facebook posts. In this article we will discuss when you should post to Facebook to maximize engagement.

Getting a lot of followers is important as long as Facebook is not filtering out your posts through their Top Stories filter. Getting onto potential clients and customers newsfeeds is great but it is also important to get a lot of engagement and views. It does not do you any good to create a great post and get it to a lot of the right people if they never see it. One of the keys is to post at an optimal time.

Many of your followers will have hundreds if not thousands of friends and companies that they follow.  If they do not go onto Facebook until many hours after you have posted, your post will be 20, 30 or maybe even 50 posts down on their newsfeed.  By the time they have scrolled all the way down to your post, if they even make it that far, they will have most likely lost interest. Your post will earn a lot more engagement if it is the first thing your followers see instead of the 30th.

The chart on the top of this page is called the “Whale” in the Chicago Social Media Marketers office because of its shape.  While this graph was created for a client, a Chicago real estate firm, it is representative of overall Facebook engagement. It shows what time of the day their posts are actually viewed. Gone are the days when there was a spike in the morning when people arrived at work and then another one when they returned home. The explosion of Facebook use on smart phones has meant that people are looking at Facebook at all times of the day and night

 
 
Facebook news feedChanging your news feed from Top Stories to Most Recent
Ever wonder why your business Facebook posts are only being seen by 25 people while your business's Facebook Page has 500 followers? It is because Facebook gives its users the option of seeing all of the posts of the pages they follow or just the top stories.  Top Stories is Facebooks way of saying that they are going to pick which posts you will see. Odds are almost all of your followers have their accounts set to top stories. Most users do not even know about this option and even if they set their account to Most Recent, which shows all of the posts in chronological order, Facebook will periodically change it to Top Stories without their knowledge.  

So how do you overcome the problem of Facebook filtering out your posts so almost no one sees them? The most important step is to make your posts engaging. If your followers Like your posts or Comment on them, Facebook will not filter you out of their newsfeed. Additionally, it is also very important to post consistently.   Posts that are made frequently will engage your followers and avoid the dreaded Facebook filter. The final step is to analyze the results of your social media efforts. It is important to consider a number of factors including how many people your posts have reached and which posts have yielded likes and comments. Continue with posts that include content that encourage follower engagement and drop the topics that go unseen. Our next article will cover what is the best time to post to social media to maximize engagement. 


 

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