A question I am asked ALL THE TIME, (which I’ll add is a really good open-ended question that sparks a lot of debates) is – Is the amount of Facebook page followers I have important?
The answer is – it depends.
I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say the Virtual Assist does not have many page likes. Businesses like Crafted and Co, who like us are Manawatu locals, boast over 9k in page likes. That’s an astounding amount of followers for a smallish town. So the question can definitely be asked, why don’t we have so many?
That’s an easy one, and it comes down to whether you are selling a product or services, and whether they are being sold to a business or to a customer.
Companies that are selling products already have an advantage on social media. With Crafted and Co, their followers are routinely told where they will next be parked up to help with dinner, on the day. So a mass of customers who don’t feel like making dinner that night turn up to a nice outdoor venue to eat a well made tasty burger is a no-brainer. So they are selling multiple products to a mass of customers.
At Virtual Assist we are very clear that we serve a target market of small to medium-sized businesses in the Manawatu area who are going through periods of growth or strain. The two key words in that elevator pitch are “serve” and “businesses”. Already we are limited simply by the fact that we are a service-based company who service businesses. Businesses aren’t really on social media, people are, and I know a lot of businesses who relate to this conundrum.
The problem here is that first impressions last. Followers rate whether we are worth following based on the size of page likes we have. So why don’t we just go out and hunt for page likes from non-customers just to increase page likes? The answer is this – you can spend a lot of time talking to complete strangers on social media who you will never come into commercial contact with. In some cases (like ours) gaining likes from non-customers is a complete waste of precious time.
With that in mind, I want to go into the Five tips to help plan your Facebook for Business strategy in the hopes of helping business owners to confidently focus less on page likes, and more on making their next sale:
1. Define what you’re selling – Are you offering services or products that are business to business (B2B), or business to customer (B2C)? B2C products should be able to gather likes easily if you have your strategy down pat. B2B services will have the hardest time in gaining page likes (and that’s ok, it’s still worth doing). Defining what you sell will dictate your strategy.
2. Figure out your goal – You know who your serving, now you need to ask why your business is on Facebook. Are you:
– Raising brand awareness?
– Sharing information?
– Increasing product sales?
– Building trust by engaging with potential customers?
It can be all of the above and there are more benefits to social than just that list. By understanding what your plan/aims are not only will it help direct your strategy, but when you have a rough day and ask yourself “why am I doing this?!!!” you’ll know the answer. Without goals it’s a hard slog, and you may end up focusing on the wrong thing (like page likes rather than engagement) which may be really discouraging.
3. Plan how you want to sell what your selling – Some products are much harder to sell than others, and services are a whole different ball game altogether. The type of language you use will be important as well as images. I can’t press this enough, what you post of social must match your overall brand. So, with everything you sell, figure that out, then you can start selling.
4. Figure out a posting plan in advance – Don’t just sell sell sell. It’s social media people, not sales media. Rule of thumb is ¾ posts need to be selfless and social. Only every ¼ can relate directly to sales, and even then you have to be smart about it. Plan ahead. Those 3 selfless posts can still relate to the 1 sales one, but that won’t happen without a plan. Converting potential customers into a customer rarely happens without a plan. You wouldn’t create a radio ad without a plan, same for social. Plan it.
5. Monitor your stats – If you are doing a good job of keeping your following interested it will show in your engagement stats (can be found under “Insights”). Having lots of people ‘like’ your post is not the whole aim comments and sharing are. That shows engagement, and Facebook likes engagement. High engagement = high organic reach. Pay attention to what did well, and amend your strategy accordingly.
I would also point out that there are more algorithm factors where more page likes are beneficial, but Facebook has made it very clear this year that the one thing you should be going for of all things is overall engagement. If people comment, share and like, Facebook will like you. If you REALLY want more followers, just do a page likes competition. It’s the perfect time of the year for it but just make sure you follow the Facebook Policy (go to straight to point 3) or Facebook may shut your page down. You really don’t want to risk that. It will be gone for good and you won’t get it back.
I can’t push this enough with people, it doesn’t matter what you do in business, you need a plan. Without a strategy you can’t answer questions like “do page likes matter” or “why did I spend my time on that” and those are important questions that should have answers.
If you have any questions about strategy feel free to contact us. Strategy is one of my favourite things to help people with as I find this saves them a huge amount of time and money long term, and I’m more than happy to do a quick 5min audit of people’s Facebook pages to see if they are on the right track.
Hopefully this has helped motivate business owners to think about their plan and how important it is. We’re all busy, but putting some time aside to plan is a real time saver long term. It’s worth it.
Do you have any strategy tips which you find helpful for your business Facebook? I love to hear your feedback, so comment below and let me know.
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And until next time, keep up the good work!