Facebook: Your startup is probably doing it wrong

Marketing

It’s a platform to build communities and culture, not the Craigslist of social media.

Facebook’s vast user-base and advertising potential alone should convince you to take it more seriously. Don’t know where to start? Here, that’s where.

If you didn’t already know, Facebook is pretty much considered a diamond in the rough of the world that is social media. In Q4 of 2016, Facebook reported an active user base of 1.6B accounts (that’s a lot of memes). So do you start when your company is only a couple of months old with a tiny budget and a ton of social media channels to invest in?
When it comes to social media, most businesses (especially the small ones) think of Facebook. And rightfully so. Yet, most startups struggle to use Facebook to its full advantage. In this post we’ll go over what and how to post on Facebook.

This will be a long one, so buckle in!

Which type of startups can Facebook help?

If you’re a B2C startup where your customers use Facebook as their preferred social network (e.g., e-commerce sites, lifestyle products, etc.), then Facebook is the place for you. If you’re a B2B startup, Facebook isn’t going to be the place you magically rake in those new leads. Simply put, Facebook is casual. The purchase intent would (in most cases) be a lot lower since it’s an important business decision. Does that mean you shouldn’t have a Facebook page? Although some B2B startups may disagree, I would still recommend having a Facebook presence because without it your startup will lose the edge in many instances (searchability on Google, advertising, check-ins… the list goes on).

The major challenges you’ll face on Facebook

First, let’s talk about theFacebook Edgerank Algorithm which drastically affects your posts’ visibility (super serious).

Ever wonder why your Facebook post reach is going down even though you publish top-notch content? Blame the Edgerank algorithm. Facebook only shows customized content to people even when they’ve liked your page.

Users that don't engage will never see your new status updates

That’s thanks to the millions of Facebook pages also fighting for attention. Think of it like babysitting 1.6B 10 year olds (it’s okay, we’re just pretending.) Mark Zuckerberg knows this and introduced Edgerank to make sure that people only see content they care about ( they also need to make money by encouraging companies to invest in ads and increase reach, but that’s neither here nor there).

So the major challenges your startup might face may include:

  • Declining post reach because of the new algorithm (don’t get surprised if only 5% of followers see your post)
  • Confusion in understanding which type of content/posts work best for you and at what time.

Post reach

This problem can be solved if more people interact with your posts (duh). Here is how to do it.

Show what's happening inside and hear people out
Promoting transparency and openness always sends a positive message and helps people connect with your company on a deeper level. This also gives people a chance to tell what they think of your company (yay, free user feedback.) Johnny Cupcakes is a great example.

Post at non-peak times
Since everyone is trying to publish at the same time (say 6 p.m.), try posting at a non-peak time. That way you’re competing with fewer accounts for attention. You can check the peak and nonpeak times in your Facebook Insights. I find that 11:43 a.m., 3:24 p.m., and 8:54 p.m. work great for DMZ accounts (this won’t be the same for you.)Overall industry stats show that the best time to post is between 1 and 3 pm and Thursday’s, Friday’s and Sunday’s see the most engagement.

Use more of pictures and videos
Various ‘studies’ have shown that pictures, video and live posts have higher weightage than status updates and links.

Content

Evidence shows that picture, video and live posts perform 43% better than any other posts. The optimum resolution for pictures is 940 px * 2048 px. Topical articles (good or bad) always perform better, so check what’s trending on Facebook (fake news... what fake news?) Also, posts that are optimized with Open Graph perform 64% better (more in the final tips section)

Final tips

Your content is great, your page is on fire and you’re getting leads like it’s Christmas morning. Before you celebrate, here are a few tips on adding that final touch to make sure you don’t look amateur.

Open graph

When you add a link to Facebook, it auto generates a preview at the bottom of your post. When this happens you’re free to delete the link from your post (neat, eh!) From here you can change the article title, description and even add in your own picture. You know your audience best, so take the time to customize each post to better engage and attract them.

Hashtags DON’T always work

I get it, you love hashtags. Your team just scored a large lump sum of funding and you want to let everyone in the world know. Considering what we discussed above (the Facebook Edgerank Algorithm), users aren’t actually going out there and looking for hashtags on Facebook. One hashtag is enough, but treat your business page in this case like your personal one. You’re having a one-on-one conversation with each user. Studies show that posts without hashtags (formatted properly) will do 7% better than ones with. Something is better than nothing.

Calm down, someone’s already beat you to the punch

Facebook isn’t like any other platform. You shouldn’t be posting six times a day (or everyday for that matter). Of course this all depends on your industry, audience and type of content, but Facebook is the most used platform out there. Users will usually have 20 minute sessions on the platform, 6-10 times a day. So if you’re posting too often, you’re spamming. Listen to your audience and track what posts do better on what day and time. Rinse and repeat from then on.

Key terms

Impression: How many times your post was seen.

Reach: How many individual accounts/people your post made it to.

Likes: ‘I agree with what you shared so I’m going to like this post’

Shares: ‘I super agree with what you shared! My friends need to see this’

Comments: ‘Great picture, Sheila!’

Conclusion

Knowing when, how and what to do with Facebook can be tough. But if done properly, the returns are well worth it. Some B2C companies out there understand this and sell more inventory through Facebook than on their website. Listen, learn and adapt. The right content strategy and approach can save you a lot of time, money and worry.

Next up, Snapchat!

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