Here's the Challenge:
Posts on your Facebook business page are extremely limited: your reach is ‘throttled’ to an average of just 16% of your fans. Some posts will reach more, some will reach less, depending on how many people engage with your posts (through comments, likes, and shares). In general, this means only your most passionate and active fans (plus a small percentage of their friends) will see your posts.
That's why Facebook should go back to using the term "fan" instead of "like": those who simply like your Page, and never interact with it again may never see you again.
Once you reach your fans, the engagement rate is only about 1% (studies show it's 1.4% for the top 200 brands on Facebook, and less than 1% for most everyone else). So, even if you're a hot brand like Nike, 99% of your fans are indifferent to what you're posting.
In fact, in the article linked above, a Facebook executive essentially said that fan interaction is not as valuable as basic reach and frequency. In other words, basic ad purchasing on Facebook produces better results in terms of interaction than wall posts.
The conclusion is obvious: Facebook wants to sell more ads. That's totally understandable; Facebook isn't a charity. The irony here is that social media was supposed to be an improvement over more traditional forms of advertising.
So, what can you do to make your brand's Facebook page worth your time and effort? In lieu of spending thousands of dollars on Facebook ads, here are 6 strategies for optimizing your company's Facebook page:
1. Provide reference material.
Keep adding information about your brand, products, and services to inform those consumers and others hitting up your page to learn more about you.
2. Add a face to your brand.
It is called "Facebook," after all, where your primary competition for consumers' attention isn't your industry rival, but your fans' friends, family, and other relationships on the platform. While your brand would be hard pressed to ever be more interesting than your consumers' own circle of friends, you can at least be more personable with stories and photos of the PEOPLE behind your brand. This can help to bridge the gap between blaring corporate messaging and amicable brand along for the ride.
3. Reward your most active fans.
Identify the most active and passionate users (the ones liking, commenting, etc.), and reward them with prizes. Organized contests are not necessary – in fact, they tend to attract the freeloaders who "like" your Page, and never come back again. Just as you would in your business, save the treats for your best customers.
4. Work with charities.
These organizations actually have very impassioned, involved fans, so collaborating with them – and sharing images from those collaborations – will generate awareness, and help to build positive brand perceptions among those fans.
5. Share eye-catching photos and valuable advice.
The kind of posts that often get shared usually involve an eye-catching photo combined with some interesting fact or advice. Engaging posts also demonstrate your expertise, and show how your product/service can be used.
6. Drive traffic to your website.
Your goal should be to promote your website on Facebook, not vice versa. So, if you must have a contest, host it on your site. While customers are there, encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter or blog, which are not throttled.
Facebook ultimately works best in combination with PR, SEO, traditional media, and of course, a well-crafted website. Remember that Facebook is only a small part of an integrated marketing campaign.