Since moving from Devonport, Tasmania to Wollongong, New South Wales, one question I receive hasn’t changed – how does an entrepreneur or small business increase their Facebook engagement?
A lot of the businesses I talk to feel like they’re talking to no one. And a one-way conversation is always going to be a lonely one. Despite having 1000+ fans on their page, they have 20 people see their post and a mere 2 people “like” it.
That’s pretty disheartening.
Sure, a big part of it is that Facebook has reduced the reach of posts, but there are many ways you can increase your reach. One of those is through the type of content you share.
You can download this handy, actionable 23 clickable Facebook post ideas for small business guide (yes, that’s THREE additional Facebook post ideas beyond what’s already packed into this blog) to increase engagement. Get your copy by clicking below.
I’ve seen first hand how this can change a business’ page. One client went from having an agency posting stock photos and generic copy to doing my social media training program and taking the reigns of their social media to skyrocket their engagement and traffic to their site.
Now, I don’t believe in cookie cutter methods, nor do I have some grand notion that everything I suggest below will work for your Facebook page. Our businesses and our ideal clients are unique to us, so it’s important to experiment to determine what’s the right fit for you.
You also need to know how to read and understand your insights and have a strategy behind what you’re doing to make all this effort worthwhile. Posting randomly isn’t a strategy.
But this post really serves as a guide and form of inspiration for you to be able to craft content for your social media strategy and plan.
Let’s dive in.
Share a story
Considering I believe in the power of good storytelling, I’m sharing that one first. You’ve heard it said before, but storytelling to sell a message has existed since cave man times, when a flat screen was called a cave wall. Storytelling is social and it’s why it can work so well on social media.
I shared a story to illustrate the power of storytelling (how’s that for linking two and two). It shows the simplicity of storytelling and how something we can all relate to will resonate with your audience.
Storytelling can change someone’s opinion and behaviour from little caring about a brand to pulling out their wallet and handing over their money. I’ll share more on how to do this in another post.
ACTION: Be open to the moments in your day that make for great storytelling and are wrapped in a lesson you can share with your audience.
The social media purists will scoff at the idea of inspirational quotes. But you know what? For many businesses, they work. They’re even more effective if you can team them with another of the strategies here. The reason they work is because they uplift you, the images they contain often stand out in the newsfeed and they’re easy for us to engage with.
Don’t be afraid to show yourself as a thought leader by creating your own quotes either – even if it’s shared in text form. Here’s a throw away line I used with branding coach Darla Kirchner, who in turn made it into a quote status to promote a blog post.
If you can’t come up with your own, then a simple search of Google with the emotion, message or theme you want to get across, plus the word “quote” will bring up plenty of inspiration.
Then it’s a matter of using simple tools like the Wordswag app or Canva.com to quickly design and share the image.
Look at that. It gained 87 shares – and I had less than 1000 fans at the time.
ACTION: Think about the message or story you’re trying to get across and then go searching for a quote that will complement that. Use Wordswag or Canva to design a quote that fits your branding.
Behind the scenes
This works so well in my business it’s become a bit of a staple. The reality is, people are on social media to socialise with friends. A big part of that is showing the inside of your life, which is really what showing the behind the scenes of your business does.
Often, what we find completely mundane in our business, can be incredibly fascinating to your customers and clients.
If you’re a financial planner, you might find the way you prepare a client’s BAS fairly straightforward. But if you’re using a tool that some of your followers aren’t aware of, this can be a fascinating insight to how they can prepare their own BAS faster.
Or maybe it’s something a little more exciting, like being interviewed on national media, like Kelly+Partners Chartered Accountants:
ACTION: The next time you’re working on a client project, packaging your product or setting up an activity for your child care kids, take a photo (a selfie, even) and post it with a description of what you’re doing.
Tutorials and Tips
When we’re inherently interested in a topic, we want to learn all we can. Tutorials and tips are a great way to provide actionable content that’s highly valuable to your ideal client. Similar to behind the scenes, often what we find simple or mundane is of high interest to our ideal client.
Share what you know. This can lead to people asking you about what you’re teaching, where you got the products you’re using or how to overcome a challenge they may face in doing it themselves.
There’s often a fear from business owners that if they teach what they do in their businesses, people won’t pay them to have it done. Quite the contrary. Often, people love seeing how something works, but just don’t have the time, skill or desire to do it themselves.
And don’t think that it needs to be something complex either. How about a simple recipe, like my Adelaide client, Nutrition for Weight Loss Surgery, which had a post go viral with a Facebook fan base of just 3000:
Those stats are impressive… and still growing as I write this!
ACTION: Take a simple system or technique that you either use yourself or that you teach your clients and share it in a visual framework, a blog post or scannable written steps.
Ask questions and seek your fans’ opinions
Everyone has an opinion, right? If your real estate agency has a new logo, branding, website, product packaging, program venue, ebook cover… you name it, these are ideal to not only get your fans invested in your business and feeling like they’re a part of what you’re creating, BUT it’s also an ideal way to launch that website, product or ebook. If you’re looking to increase sales, try this strategy.
Here’s an interesting insight too – question statuses get more engagement than straight statuses. And, according to Bufferapp..com, questions that start with “should”, “would”, “which” and “who”, where the answer is limited to a few choices outperform questions starting with “why” and “how”, where people need to think more about what their answers is.
People don’t want to work hard to comment on your status.
Here are a few examples of questions:
- “Which brand colours do you prefer in our logo?”
- “Which topic do you want us to cover in our next blog post?”
- “Which marketing activity do you spend the most amount of time on?”
- “We’re thinking of bringing in an organic hair care brand – is this important to you?”
ACTION: Create a post with multiple choice answers for your fans to “vote” on. Or simply float an idea you have for something within your business and see whether it resonates with them.
Share your results
Now you’ve asked the question, be sure to let people know what the result was from their opinions. This extends the investment people now have in your brand even further, showing their contribution to your creations.
In the example above, I teamed a quote that related to how I came to my decision, with a link to my website to show the logo colours in action, as a way to share my results of a recent question asking which of two logos my followers liked.
While social interaction wasn’t particularly high, what was interesting to note in my analytics was it received high clickthroughs to my website. Those clickthroughs still count as engagement on your page and will help give Facebook clues that this person is interested in my content and continue to show it in their newsfeed.
ACTION: Share an image of the result or show a tally of votes for what you were seeking an opinion on.
Share a Video
Did you notice how your newsfeed is now filled with videos. Facebook is competing with the video giant Youtube when it comes to video. So when you post video to Facebook, it’s going to reward you with great reach. Embrace it.
If putting your face in front of the camera intimidates you, then use your voice over slides, video in your files, arty shots or scenery within your building.
The other upside of using video is it’s proven to speed up the rate in which people are able to get to know, like and trust you. The key with video is to upload the file direct to Facebook, rather than through a third-party like Youtube or Vimeo.
Facebook has taken video one step further with its Facebook Live feature – the ability to do live videos directly on your Facebook page. One of my Wollongong clients recently gained 6000+ views for a Facebook Live video on a page of just over 2000 fans.
You don’t need to go for fancy equipment or high production with video. In fact, avoiding the slick production videos will actually help you resonate with your audience.
Like my client Island Care, an aged care provider, which simply grabbed a phone and turned on the video camera. It couldn’t be easier.
ACTION: Take a video of you talking about three tips clients could follow, mix it up with the tutorial suggestion earlier and show a quick tutorial using your product or simply take the viewer on a tour of your premises. You want to know an insight about me? I will often resist visiting some businesses because the idea of having to first find the front door and then figure out where the front counter is, all without looking like a deer caught in headlights, frightens me. So make it easy for people like me.
This video from the Nan Tien Institute isn’t a video directly posted to Facebook, but a virtual tour of your premises embedded on your website that you can share to Facebook is the next best thing.
Share your blog posts
Mix up the way you share your blog posts – one time may be a thumbnail image from the blog post link, and next time might be an image you’ve created with a link to read the blog post.
And we’re not talking just any ol’ blog post. It has to be a post that solicits some sort of response. Whether it’s a controversial post, shows a strong opinion, is a tutorial/tip/recipe/strategy that achieves a desired outcome or reveals a secret, you may find you gain more comments about the blog post on your Facebook status than you do in the comments section of the blog itself.
Take Kat from The Organised Housewife’s tip for freezing bananas (valuable tip) that leads to a blog post (about recipes):
If you’re struggling with what to write in your statuses, use some tried and true copywriting techniques.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Before (where they are now) + After (where they want to be) + Bridge (how to get there) = Spending too much time on Facebook? Imagine investing just 15 minutes a day. Here’s how I do it: (blog post link).
- AIDA is Attention (grab their attention) + Interest (interesting info) + Desire (benefits of product and proof it works) + Action (get them to take an action) = Have you SEEN this? 21 fresh Facebook status ideas that took one business page from zero engagement to three-times the reach of their fan base. Ready? (blog post link)
There are plenty more copywriting techniques that work beautifully on social media, but I’ll save that for another day. Or you can discover them inside my social media training package.
ACTION: Take one of your most popular blog posts and get creative with how you share it on Facebook. Think about the copy you use and whether it’s best to use a thumbnail link from the post or create a whole new image for it. And, as with most Facebook statuses, provide a call to action for people to like, comment or share it.
Share statistics and facts
If you suddenly yawned at the thought of that (don’t worry, I’m not a numbers person either), know there is some great persuasion in them there golden stats. Case in point, a web designer on a Blab recently introduced what he did by reeling off a host of stats about people and what they don’t realise about their humble website. It sounded rather convincing – and shocking.
So you if you stumble upon some juicy stats that may shock, excite, persuade or just entertain your audience, then play around with this on Facebook. You may be surprised at how much they get shared.
ACTION: Type in “statistics” + your topic or niche into Google and see what stats are revealed. You may even be able to find an infographic that’s been created and share a portion of that to your page.
Post a photo
Speaking of statistics, Kissmetrics shared how photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts.
But what on earth photos can you share?
Well, here are a few ideas:
- Show your product in a real-life setting or being used in everyday life, rather than against a white background. If people can visualise how they can use the product, it’s easier for them to see themselves with it – and then, of course, buy.
- Combine with the behind the scenes status and show a photo of your office, workspace or what you’re working on.
- If you’ve had a session with a professional photographer, share those images.
- Show your latest offline marketing material, like real estate brochures, seminar posters or seniors week activity program. Why not get more mileage out of that.
- Take photos during your annual retreat, workshop or conference for staff.
Another little tip for you: share an album of photos. It will display the photos like a collage, which attracts the eye on Facebook. This will increase the engagement on your page and, in turn, increase your reach.
My client, Devonport Child Care Centres, has used the method quite regularly – and it works for them. Here’s an example:
How many status types can you count in this one post?
And an interesting insight, Devonport Child Care Centres gain higher engagement when they share images of staff over images of children (with their parents permission, of course!).
There’s something about seeing a host of photos that are connected. Maybe it’s:
- an event,
- how you create your product or
- a day in the life of your business.
We are visual creatures, so look to visual mediums, especially on a platform that displays images so well.
ACTION: During your next event, an everyday activity, launch or even on the weekend, take a series of photos that you can share to your page in an album.
People in your business
How are you going? Are you keeping up? If you want all these ideas in a handy PDF, download the post ideas list and print for your office so you have these ideas handy each time you need to create new content.
OK, let’s keep going…
A little along the lines of the “behind the scenes” idea, people love seeing who’s inside your business.
Whether it’s the front counter staff at your holiday apartments they’re already familiar with, or the top executive in your aged care facility that few see. This is a perfect way to humanise your brand.
People want to do business with faces, not buildings and logos. Now, if all they know is your logo and the premises they drive passed every day, you’re just another business to them. But when they hear Sally from the mailroom’s story or Jim from accounts and the incredible path he’s followed to be where he is today, well, you’re suddenly a business I “like” and feel I “know”!
Nurture me through an email sequence, and I’m sure you’ll also become a business I “trust”.
As you can see, winning an award is a great time to highlight your people. Celebrate your wins.
ACTION: Turn the camera and your typing fingers towards someone in your business. Ask them what a typical day looks like, or find out how they came to work in your business in the first place. Maybe they’ve just won an award and you can share a little of that celebration with your audience.
Highlight your supporters
Let’s not just focus on staff. What about your suppliers, collaborative partners, customers – or even your Facebook fans themselves. If you can tap one person on the shoulder and give them their 15 minutes of fame, you’ll create a fan for life. And if you can do this on a regular basis, you will build a thriving fanbase – one person at a time.
If you have a hashtag associated with your business, be sure to regularly scan for the use of that hashtag and “share” their status to your page where possible.
Here’s an example of businesses championing each other, with Petuna showing how CHISWICK Restaurant uses its produce:
ACTION: Next time a supplier walks in the door, ask if you can take a photo of them to post to your Facebook page and highlight the good work they do. If you have a fan who is highly engaged on your page, reward them publicly with a gift or exposure for being such a loyal supporter, and if you’ve been able to show true transformation for one of your clients, turn what you’ve done into a mini case study to share to your page.
Tickle their funny bone
If you circle back to why people are on social media, it’s to be social. But digging a little further, for many pages their highest engagement on Facebook is later in the week – when their mind has moved from being at work to what they’re going to do on the weekend.
Check your analytics to see if this is true for you too.
They’re looking for light entertainment. Anything to take them out of their day. It’s why humour works so well on Facebook. This is where you can really attract some of your most aligned clients, because they “get” your sense of humour and the comedy you share.
This image from Chocolate For Breakfast is in perfect alignment with their brand:
ACTION: Whether it’s a meme, something funny that happened in your own life or a funny commercial, pick one to share and tickle their funny bone. If you’re not sure what will resonate, take a look at what’s already working on the pages of businesses where you know your ideal client is hanging out.
Share a free tool, resource or training
Whether it’s a cool tool of someone else’s, or your own resource or training that allows you to build your email list, these can help make you look like an expert and in the know in your niche.
I’m guessing you probably have a virtual shelf full of resources you’ve launched once, used as a one-off with a client or a small piece of a larger program that you can pull out and make into a lead magnet.
Or maybe you love delivering trainings live and can do webinars.
Really cool free tools are also highly likely to be shared by others.
ACTION: Look at what you have already created, or develop a short one-page checklist, template or resource list you can link to your email service provider and share on your Facebook page to build your email list.
Host a Competition
If you want a fast way to boost your engagement and reach, host a giveaway on your page. But think really carefully about what your prize is.
Ensure it’s something that makes sense to your brand and that is aligned with your ideal client. iPads are all well and good, but they may attract every June, Carol and Beryl.
You want to attract quality fans to your page or you’ll find that once the competition is over, you’ll be left with a lot of people on your page who aren’t interested in hearing what you’ve got to say.
Here’s Visit Wollongong’s latest competition, which not only ties in perfectly with promoting what the Illawarra region has to offer, but also abides by Facebook’s current competition terms (this is done more than you can imagine).
ACTION: Pick a product or service offering to give away, set up the details of how fans can enter and then determine how you’re going to host it. Remember to check Facebook’s guidelines to ensure you’re abiding by their rules.
The more you can collaborate with others, the more you can help leverage each other’s platforms. For instance, you might tag another Facebook page to promote what they’re doing. You might share a blog post another business has featured on their blog. Maybe another business guest posts on your blog and you share that to Facebook.
When you leave another business, think about how you could incorporate what you saw, learned or experienced into a Facebook status you could share on your page.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What feature or benefit from this business stood out for you?
- How was the customer service experience?
- Did they provide a “wow factor” you think is worthy of mention?
When you do a shout out to another business, chances are they will come and like, comment and likely share that status to their own page. This can open a whole new door to working with this business.
ACTION: Take out a notepad and write down 5 collaborations you’d like to foster. Then write a further 5 collaborations you already have that you could be leveraging through your social media. Now start crafting Facebook statuses around each of these to spread out over a few months.
Use a trending hashtag, regular hashtag – or create your own
Before we even dive into this one, be really careful about the context of the hashtag before you use it.
If you have the ability to use a hashtag that is trending (you can find what topics are trending by going to your Facebook profile and checking in the right hand side of your feed), you can open up your potential reach and attract many new followers who are likeminded.
If you’re at an event, this is another way to use the hashtag for the event and connect with people who are in the room that you otherwise might not have connected with – thus attracting some in-person connections to your page.
When you use a trending hashtag, you are taking part in a bigger conversation, so ensure what you’re saying benefits that conversation.
There are also a few regular hashtags, like #ThrowbackThursday and #FanpageFriday.
And don’t forget, if you’re hosting your own event or want to further your own branding, create your own hahstag, like Sydney.com:
And a search of this hashtag reveals even tennis ace Roger Federer has used the #ilovesydney hashtag!
ACTION: Do a little research to find what’s trending and its associated hashtag, how it fits with your business and whether it’s where your ideal client is hanging out. Then start crafting a clever Facebook status to join in the conversation.
Share what you’re reading/listening/watching
I’m always astounded at how well sharing what I’m reading does on Facebook. Whether it’s your favourite book or what book is currently on your reading list, if books resonate with your fans then share what you’re reading.
Readers are always looking for recommendations, plus it’s a bit of an insight into who you are and what interests YOU. It doesn’t necessarily need to be associated with your niche either. If you’re into fiction, share what fiction book you’re reading.
Think about it, if you discover the owner of a business you’ve been thinking about buying from has the same taste in books as you, doesn’t it make you feel like you can trust that person a little more than you did before? After all, they’re “just like you” and have read every Enid Blyton book too. (Only with my daughter – promise!).
But it doesn’t have to be just a book. What about music, movies or TV? Make sure it fits with your brand.
ACTION: Take an image of your book and ask your followers what they’re reading. Simple!
Go one step further than the behind the scenes and actually provide some insights into your life. What do you do on weekends, where do you holiday, how do you celebrate certain occasions throughout the year?
This is a beautiful video from yTravel Blog on what their life looks like.
It’s up to you and what you’re comfortable sharing, and often sharing the photos of your holiday AFTER the event is a wise move, but people want to know that you’re just like them. They want to do business with someone they identify with – so show them who you are.
ACTION: Take a look at the photos you’ve taken recently. What do they reveal about you? Would your fans identify with them? Post one on Facebook and see the reaction.
Facebook timeline cover
I promised 19, but I’m prone to overdelivering. Did you realise that your Facebook timeline cover actually gets shown in the newsfeed?
Here’s a timeline cover from Jamberoo Action Park:
And what it looks like in the newsfeed:
Go one further and click the cover when it’s uploaded and “Add description” to include a status using one of the above methods and a link to what you’re promoting.
This is prime real estate, so think carefully about what you want your Facebook timeline cover to achieve. Don’t put up a random pretty image for the sake of it. Make it work for you.
Take these two scenarios –
Scenario 1: You see your friend Julie commented on a status from a Facebook page for a naturopath. You’re looking for a naturopath in your local area. So you click through to the naturopath’s Facebook page. You see the cover, a pretty picture of oils, and scroll through the feed. But promise yourself you’ll think about it and leave.
Scenario 2: You see your friend Julie commented on a status from a Facebook page for a naturopath. You’re looking for a naturopath in your local area. So you click through to the naturopath’s Facebook page. You see a cover that offers you 5 free recipes to improve your health in exchange for your email. You click the image and it opens up a status with a link where you can put in your email address and then download the recipes. You promise yourself you’ll think about this naturopath and leave. A day later, she emails with even more value and continues on that path for a few weeks, continually delivering you so much value that it’s hard not to want to work with her. That, my friend, is a client pathway.
You can find some rather creative Facebook timeline covers here.
And just ONE FINAL tip… where possible, be sure to have a call to action and ask people to like, comment or share. People are more likely to take action when you actually ask them!
What posts resonate most on your Facebook page?
Want even more inspiration for your Facebook page? I’ve saved THREE of my favourites for this FREE handy, actionable guide – 23 Clickable Facebook Post Ideas For Small Business.
Download the LOT into one handy, actionable guide you can revisit easily.