December 20, 2014
With its active user base of 1.35 billion people worldwide and more than 30 million small businesses with active pages, Facebook is pretty much THE social media marketing platform for small businesses. And with the recent relaunch of the advertising platform Atlas, Facebook is making great strides in advertising too.
Think of it this way—for search engine marketing, it’s all Google. Sure, Bing and a few others get some traffic, but anyone who is serious about generating leads looks to Google first. Likewise, for social media, most businesses start with Facebook.
Many businesses do use other services, like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+, to connect with consumers. Some are even using the disappearing message service, SnapChat, as a marketing platform.
Nevertheless, Facebook is holding steady as the dominant social network, in terms of its ability to drive traffic. According to Sharaholic, in June 2014, Facebook drove a whopping 23 percent of all social traffic, (whereas Twitter only drove a measly one percent). For this reason alone, every small business should have an active Facebook presence. And, then…tread very carefully.
Before You Post, Consider These Three Items:
1. Facebook Does Not Want Your Click-Bait.
You’ve probably seen these oddball headlines before, and perhaps you’ve even clicked on them because they look so…odd.
“Some People Came Out With A Cool New Kind Of Poster. When You Hang It, People Cry From Happiness.”
“A Puppy That Tries To Scare People Away Gets Exactly What He Has Coming To Him.”
Click-bait. People see these headlines and wonder… How can hanging a poster make people cry from happiness? And, what happened to the puppy? People can’t resist clicking! Even people who know they’re probably being mislead, they’re probably going to end up on some weird, spammy website, they’re probably going to be annoyed that they fell for it…they’ll still click! As a result, these articles appear to be popular and therefore get a higher ranking in the Facebook News Feed.
Facebook wants to stop rewarding people and businesses that engage in click-baiting. In order to tell whether or not an article is click-bait, Facebook now tracks the time users spend looking at the content once they click through to a website. As Facebook explains in its blog, if people click an article and spend some time reading it, they're likely getting something valuable from it. If they click something and go immediately back to Facebook, it probably wasn't all that valuable.
Facebook is also watching what people do after they click a link in a post and then come back to Facebook. If they don’t comment, Like, or share it with friends, that’s an indication that the content wasn’t valuable.
2. Facebook Dislikes your Like-Bait.
Avoid the temptation to always ask people to “Like,” comment and/or share your post. That’s certainly counterintuitive to the advice given by marketing professionals who tell you to always always ALWAYS include a call to action in your content. And you should, but just don’t overdo it with the blatant requests for Likes, comments and shares.
According to Facebook, it’s OK to encourage discussion among fans. They’re really cracking down on “Pages that frequently post and explicitly ask for Likes, Comments and Shares.” Facebook claims they can now better detect Like-baiting stories and stop them from showing prominently in News Feeds.
3. Facebook Doesn’t Need Your Nonsense.
Before you set up your Facebook for Business page, read the rules and respect them, or risk being shut down. In addition to the above advice:
- Take care to post thoughtful content and links to articles, blogs, infographics, videos and other information that your fans and followers will appreciate.
- If you run a contest, make sure to follow the promotion guidelines.
- Don’t repost content that’s been shared a bazillion times on Facebook.
- Don’t try to trick people into clicking through to a site that is littered with ads and garbage content.
Facebook has 1.35 billion users and 30 million business pages. Facebook does not have to put up with a business that tries to circumvent the rules. In other words, you need Facebook more than it needs you. When you try to figure out ways to beat the system, you’re likely to lose in the end.
Basically, if your brand messes up on Facebook and your page is taken down, or your posts don’t rank in the News Feed, you lose one of the best ways to drive traffic. So how can you keep your business in good standing on Facebook? Easy. Create high quality, thoughtful, purposeful content—solve a problem, answer a question, clear up a misconception, take Kevin Spacey’s excellent advice and tell a riveting story about a customer’s experience with your product or service—and follow Facebook’s rules. That’s it!
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