5 ways to a better Facebook strategy

5 ways to a better Facebook strategy

Over the weekend I was doing some research on content strategy for Facebook and how to leverage on the platform to promote your firm’s brand presence.

There are different opinions about this, but I think it is safe to say that you’ll be well on your way to a solid, sensible plan for promoting your plan on Facebook if you can do the following:

  1. Decide on who your ideal reader is and tailor your content for that reader.
  2. Every single piece of content you share should support your brand image.
  3. Focus on the right thing: the quality of Likes is more important than their quantity.
  4. Try to have less than 2 posts per day on average.
  5. Realise the importance of planning and give the plan sufficient time to prove itself (or not)

#1: Audience

If you can accurately identify your target/ideal audience, you are more likely to focus on the content that appeals to your readers. For example, if I aim to target working professional women who are also the main caregivers of their aged parents, I would focus on content that they would find meaningful and relevant – health tips for the elderly, skills to prevent caregiver burnout, medical resources on geriatric conditions, etc.

What I would not do is to flood my Facebook with posts about travel and spas and jetsetting lifestyles – unless I was able to tie it back to my audience and tell them, Look, going on a short break could recharge you and give you that breathing space you need, so that you are more present to your family when you come back. It’s not wrong to want to showcase all your content – but do it sensibly.

#2: Support your brand message at all times

Ask yourself: What is your brand trying to say? What does it want to be known for? If your brand has no identity, what is likely to happen is that the content on the brand’s Facebook page will be an incoherent mish-mash. That is not a good thing, because your audience will abandon you sooner or later – you’re not adding any value to their lives.

To put it another way, why would you stick around with someone who throws you a travel piece on day, an education supplement the next, a video on CSR the day after, and a feature on a cafe after that? If a human being did this to you, you’d probably run away – unless you know that person very well and can see all these things as parts of his/her personality. However, if you are a relative unknown, you should spend your efforts on building a recognizable brand for yourself, instead of trying to imitate James McAvoy in ‘Split’.

Support your brand with most – if not all – of your Facebook posts. If you are reaching out to the advertising heads of the leading companies in your industry, ask: what kind of content would they like to see? What kind of content will showcase you in the best possible light to these people? What would add value to their Facebook feed?

#3. Quality over quantity

To put it simply, it is far more effective to have only 10 followers – all of whom represent your target audience – who actively click on and share your content, than 1,000 followers who ‘Hide’ your content or scroll right past it on Facebook without giving it a second look. Your energies should be geared towards cultivating that coveted group of KOLs and influencers in your industry, rather than random strangers who will ‘Like’ a page for the sake of ‘liking’ something.

#4. Experiment with having less posts a day

In a fascinating article on Forbes, the writer posits that the ‘2 posts a day’ rule on Facebook doesn’t quite apply to pages with less than 10k followers:

According to a study from Hubspot.com, if you have  smaller following, posting twice a day will actually result in about 50% fewer clicks per post.

This means that, your total number of clicks will still be higher than if you were posting only a few times a week, but your engagement per post will be reduced.

Conversely, if you post a mere 1-5 times a month, your clicks per post will almost double. This is one of the fastest ways to get more traffic to your site, set set a goal and get posting.

– Neil Patel, “How Frequently You Should Post on Social Media According to the Pros”

What this possibly means is that, while you are figuring out your audience, you could also take the opportunity to post less and see if this strategy works for you. Remember, it’s not about total clicks, it is about engagement per post.

#5. Recognize the crucial role of planning

A plan is not optional. A plan to improve your Facebook strategy will not simply fall into place by magic – you need to think it through and work it out.

There are a myriad ways to plan, but not planning isn’t an option. If you need to buy time to create a better strategy, by all means do that. But set a timeline, set some goals, and work towards them. The human tendency to inertia means that if you don’t set goals, you’ll just drift along aimlessly and stay in the exact position you are in – with a Facebook page that is simply eating up resources but not giving your organisation any ROI, brand recognition or disseminating your content to the right audiences.

A failure to plan is a plan to fail. This is cliche, but it is so true when it comes to creating a FB strategy.

Links:

How Frequently You Should Post on Social Media According to the Pros

Creating your social media strategy +plan

How to use Facebook to improve your content marketing

The 4 essentials to building your brand on social media

How to use Facebook in your content marketing strategy

Facebook marketing strategy: Why you need one (& how to build it)

3 pointers from Forbes’ piece on content marketing trends

3 pointers from Forbes’ piece on content marketing trends

3 key quotes from Mike Templeman:

Simply blogging to have a blog or updating social media for the sake of it won’t cut it anymore. You need to engage with your audience and tell them a story.

I wonder how often we do something just for the sake of doing it. Trying out new technology just because it’s new (and not because it will create value for the end user), writing for the sake of writing, adding ‘interactive features’ just because they are interactive (and not because any reader will bother to interact). We get caught up in the novelty of something, so much so that we fail to ask the basic question: how does this add value to the end user?

More and more consumers are consuming more content on tablets and mobile phones.  But really, if we’re still talking about optimizing for mobile, then we’re having the wrong conversation. This study is really telling us that everything must be mobile first. Design and create for mobile consumption.

We are still a long way off from a mobile first approach. Our primary mode is still to focus on desktop even though fewer readers use that nowadays. I wonder if the only way to break this ingrained mentality is to force everyone to work using tablets and smartphones from time to time.

Don’t just make content to make content. But rather, outline your customer’s journey and then create the content that will help move them from one stage to the next. If they’re using the content to make a decision, then ensure the content you provide is guiding that decision.

I first came across the concept of user journeys during UX training. Admittedly it is not something that I’m very clear about, but it makes sense to tailor content for different parts of the journey. If we can’t go that far, then at the least, we should plot out the user journey and identify where our content is supposed to go, and how can it amplified for maximum impact.

This all ties in with John Lavine’s message – engage your user and be strategic about it.

Link:

Forbes: Content Marketing Trends – What To Expect In 2017 And Beyond

Content strategy: Some learnings from Northwestern University

Content strategy: Some learnings from Northwestern University

Several months ago, I participated in a Coursera course on content strategy by Northwestern University. The first of a five-part series, the course laid down basic principles that all content strategists need to be aware of.

Here are some quotes by John Lavine from the course (emphasis mine). I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  1. It’s tempting to put your energies into turning out lots of content that matters to you. But it’s not smart and it’s not strategic.  
  2. Whether you like it or not, target audiences you want to reach will only give you the smallest amount of time and attention. So if your organization’s strategic goals are gonna be met, your content should only be sent if it is a central part of those priorities.  
  3. The content the organization wants to deliver should have value for the intended audience and it has to be told in an engaging way, where, when and how the audience wants it. If this doesn’t happen, the audience won’t pay attention.  
  4. Taking up people’s time with non-strategic content is not only wasteful, it teaches the important audiences that you want to reach to pay no attention to everything you say.
  5. People’s emotional and cognitive limitations are real. They can only attend to a certain number of topics deeply at one time. So people only pay attention to topics when they’re motivated to do so. People will only learn about things that they’re motivated to learn about.

I find that a lot of what passes for content marketing falls into the trap of #1. Neither smart nor strategic, we simply churn out content to meet the demands of clients without asking basic questions like “Is this truly useful or interesting to our reader?”

We are at a real risk of #4 – over time we risk eroding our brand because people start to associate our content with irrelevance. I have lost track of the number of times users told me that our content are “just ads”, and they will simply gloss over them without even bothering to read the headline.

Users aren’t giving us the time of the day. What can we do about it?

Link:

Coursera: Content Strategy for Professionals: Engaging Audiences by Northwestern University