When it comes to Facebook strategy, let’s face it: most of us are running around like headless chickens.
Especially at this point, with ads getting more popular than even ‘awkward crop’ profile pics. The platform’s “pay to play” mentality is getting more backlash than ever, leaving marketers feeling dejected, discouraged and hopping in line for panic burritos at Chipotle.
Yet, in spite of the hopeless feeling that nothing’s working on Facebook, and that any efforts are fruitless and disappointing, Facebook is still among the most important platforms you can use to grow your blog, brand and business.
After all, odds are good that your ideal audience spends a great deal of time on Facebook, so failing to tap into that presents a massively missed opportunity. And sure, while Facebook is scary, we’ve got the perfect weapon to slay this beast: strategy.
SO, instead of filling that sad void in your soul with a 5th bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, we propose that you fill it with scrumptious strategy-building instead.
… Much less delicious, but we promise: infinitely more rewarding.
TELL US IN THE COMMENTS: What are your biggest fears, struggles and concerns when it comes to Facebook strategy? Drop your page link in the comments so we can check you out!
Today’s post marks the start of our month long “Blogtoberfest”, where we’ll be building solid strategies around our favourite social media platforms. Our goal is to leave you with actionable advice that helps you gain clarity on how social media can help you grow your blog, brand and business…
So, duh, let’s start with the biggest supervillain: the sad soul crusher that we know as Facebook. Specifically, we’ll be kicking our strategic brains into gear with the following questions:
This post won’t go much into detail about paid reach because a) ain’t nobody got time and b) I don’t like preaching that you should throw money at your problems to succeed.
Instead, what we’re focusing on is good old fashioned strategy and planning. I know, some of the following content might sound obvious, but the point is, a lot of things, no matter how obvious, are still missing pieces of our workflow simply because we’re lazy walrus-people and haven’t put them into practice. I know this is the case for myself, which is why throughout the month, I’ll be working through these questions with you. Think of us as two suburban moms at the gym, motivating each other to succeed with nice compliments like “great butt, Carol!”
… except perhaps less butt…. And more social media.
You feel me. Let’s get started before I make things any more awkward.
WHY do you need a Facebook page?
Strategic thinking begins with goals. Without goals, you’re swimming in a sea of ambiguity and overwhelm. In order to figure out what you should be doing on Facebook, you need to first determine what your end goal is. Trust me, “everyone else has one” is not a valid reason to be pouring hours into the platform.
Here are some of the common goals that people have when it comes to Facebook strategy, alongside considerations you should make if these ARE your goals.
- To drive traffic
I’ll be honest with you – if traffic is your main goal, it’ll be tough to see amazing results with solely a Facebook page. That’s because of all that paid algorithm nonsense that has been discussed (no doubt) to death. Plus, with so much great content on Facebook itself (think memes, videos, etc.), people are increasingly less likely to click away from Facebook to consume content. There are other, smarter ways around this issue of course, and if you want to find out more about them (hint hint, yes you do!), I highly recommend you read this post about 4 Facebook hacks that actually drive traffic.
- To build your brand
It’s very helpful at all times to think of your social media platforms as extensions of your brand and Facebook is a great place to do that. If you’re an aspiring influencer (looking at you, hungry blogger folk in the corner), you can use your Facebook page to solidify authority in your desired field of expertise. That’s why it’s important to consider sharing content that’s not just your own, but content that aligns with your brand. Remember, people don’t like following content monkeys who just hurl their self-promotion like rotten bananas. Instead, they like to follow people they trust on a certain topic, and a huge part of building that trust is sharing golden, worthwhile content that’s in line with your niche.
- To capture leads for your business
If this is your main goal, Facebook ads might be your best option. Well-targeted ads that guarantee exposure to potential clients and buyers is much more likely to rake in actual paying customers than casting a wide net with your Facebook audience. You might also consider creating a Facebook group/community of your own focused around your business area. Just remember that a Facebook page in and of itself might not be the best choice in lead generation, and if that’s your only goal, focusing on Facebook posts might not be the best use of your time.
So, in other words, before you dive head first into creating a proper Facebook strategy, evaluate whether or not a successful page actually helps you meet your goals. Here at Slaying Social, Lia and I don’t believe in wasting time, and that’s a cutthroat mentality you should learn to adopt too.
FACEBOOK STRATEGY TAKEAWAY: Consider your goals FIRST before doing anything else. Write them down and then consider the action items needed to make them a reality. Don’t assume that you NEED to have a page or you NEED to run ads without clearly reflecting on why.
WHO are you trying to reach with this page?
Next up, you need to develop a solid understanding of your target audience.
A lot of the time, people look at their Facebook page and think it’s a numbers game… that growth should be concentrated on growing likes.
I can tell you based on firsthand experience that this is not the case.
The reality is much more complicated than just growing numbers. I’ve had great success getting likes on my travel blog Facebook page, specifically through the use of Facebook square videos which help rack up likes on autopilot (learn to make them here). Sure it was pretty cool for bragging rights after I surpassed 15k likes, but why am I still not swimming in fame and loyal devotion….?
Here’s why: those likes and that audience weren’t really that targeted.
I’m going to get realllly honest with you right now. Many of my viral videos skyrocketed in popularity because people loved the locations they featured (e.g. Romania or Malta). Let’s say I got 5000 new likes on my page because people loved my Romania video. These folks loved Romania, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll love it when I share my article about glamping in Slovenia, ya feel? Which means while my numbers are high, my fan loyalty and engagement aren’t as strong as I’d like them to be.
Because my main goal with Facebook is to solidify my brand and build a loyal audience, those big numbers don’t mean all that much because I want fans that love everything I post, rather than just a mob of people who once gave me an Internet thumbs up.
That’s why it’s important to consider not just NUMBERS but specifically WHO you are trying to reach.
The great thing is: the more you know about your audience, the more you can do to attract them. That’s why having a detailed portrait of your audience (and niching down) is super helpful, because understanding who you’re attracting helps you better attract them. It’s like dating… if you know you want a sporty demi-god for a husband who loves eating vegan food, you’re not going to attempt meeting him in a McDonald’s parking lot… riiiiiiight?
In other words: the more targeted your audience, the better you’re able to cultivate loyalty and continually publish content that they love.
So, sure, invite people to like the page, but ONLY people who will genuinely love your content and most importantly, ENGAGE with it. There is absolutely zero value in having fluffy numbers that do nothing to help you reach your goals.
Remember: It’s not just a numbers game, so you absolutely should NOT pay for untargeted Facebook ‘like’ campaigns that simply inflate your numbers.
FACEBOOK STRATEGY TAKEAWAY: Before you can create content for your Facebook page or attempt to grow its likes, you need to understand the audience you are trying to reach. The more specific the better because the more well-defined your audience is, the easier it is to predict where to find them and what kind of content they will love. You need to let go of the idea that numbers are everything and instead prioritize creating an audience that loves and engages with your content.
WHAT kind of content will you create?
I know that the term “content creator” is like the vaguest thing ever, but that’s precisely what you are. Every time you are on Facebook (and not stalking your new crush), you are creating content, and it’s important that this content is more than just “posting a status” or wine-fuelled rant. Remember: every piece of content should be backed with intention.
There are two main factors you must consider when thinking about content: that content’s theme and its type (i.e. photos, videos, etc.)
When it comes to content theme, here’s the truth none of us want to hear: the nicher the better.
I know – you’re groaning, I’m groaning, we’re all rolling on the floor with disappointment. I get it. You’re a magical unicorn with SO much valuable wisdom to write about, how can you possibly narrow down your genius to a meager peasant niche?
But narrowing your content focus is important, because engagement hinges on creating content that your audience consistently loves, and that gets much easier when your focus is specific. It’s like that irritating saying goes: when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. It’s something I have struggled with for a long time but this month, I’m going to bite the bullet alongside all of you and finally niche down a little bit more on my own blog’s Facebook page.
Proof that even weird niches work: this hella engaged Facebook page that does nothing but post THE SAME PHOTO OF JEFF GOLDBLUM EVERY DAY. Genius.
So, as an example, my niche: travel, casts a pretty wide net. I could post all sorts of content, from backpacking guides to cruise reviews to straight-up photos of me flexing in front of waterfalls.
The problem with that is, sure, some of my audience might like those backpacking guides, but those same people probably won’t be into reviews of all-inclusive cruises.
On the contrary, if I posted exclusively about budget backpacking, I would quickly cultivate a very engaged audience who LOVE backpacking. Even better, if I focused exclusively on backpacking in the Balkans, I would become well known as “that Balkan backpacking chick” and then it’s even easier at that point to create superfans.
This is why local blogs focused on a geographical niche are marketing dynamite, because they build such a strong, engaged community.
FACEBOOK STRATEGY TAKEAWAY: Have a clear picture of your audience and then continually create content that pleases that audience. Don’t be afraid to get specific in your niche!
Content type is another really important consideration. Gone are the days when posting an article or a few photos is enough. With Facebook rolling out crazy new features all the time, the key is to experiment, say on top of trends, and find out what works well for your audience.
NOTE: We’ve always known that engagement helps boost you in the Facebook algorithm, but these days, the way that content spreads on Facebook has mostly to do with how shareable and taggable it is. If you can create content that encourages people to tag friends or share, then that’s the most effective weapon you have to grow your audience and reach new people.
Some content types to consider include…
- Facebook videos: the hottest new thing and a bandwagon I URGE you to jump on. A viral video can grow your page likes by a ridiculous amount.
- Facebook Live: absolutely epic for boosting loyalty among your “superfans”.
- Memes: works well depending on what your brand personality is like. Great potential because they’re highly taggable and shareable (but also dangerous because they’re superbly cringe-worthy when used wrong).
- Photos: Facebook is still a visual platform and photos tend to rank better in the algorithm.
- Relevant articles: Thought-provoking (and even controversial) work best. It takes a lot of incentive for someone to leave Facebook and go read content elsewhere (because we’re lazy).
- Plain text statuses: Can be effective if you’re a thought leader in your industry and have important things to say. The focus should be on well-written content that invites sharing.
FACEBOOK STRATEGY TAKEAWAY: Don’t be afraid to experiment with new content types, and realize that different content types also fulfill different goals. At the end of the day, every piece of content you publish should be backed with intention and reflect your overall brand personality/voice. Don’t just become a soulless robot on Facebook (like most!)
WHEN will you post your content?
The world of online business is a world of “shoulds” and “woulds”. We bloggers and entrepreneurs have a very silly habit of being proud of our ridiculously long to-do lists… like somehow it’s an honourable thing to have lots of things we haven’t done? It’s a bit strange yes, but here’s the truth we don’t want to hear… the much sexier alternative is getting stuff actually DONE.
As they say, done is better than perfect.
With Facebook, serious problems arise when you just “use it as you go”, replying to comments as they come, posting articles when you’ve published them, randomly sharing things whenever you feel like it. Doing it this way (without a strategy or system) is a recipe for disorganization and overwhelm.
This is why strategic thinking on its own isn’t enough… to go with it, you need an action plan, filled with super fun and exciting things like action items, schedules and colour coding! *hands out highlighters* woo! Ain’t no party like an OCD organizational party, amirite?
Now, everyone has their own system when it comes to creating a work schedule. I personally love to block off periods of time on Google Calendar and then move the blocks if needed so that I guarantee I work at least x amount of hours on certain tasks. Others swear by to-do lists. Regardless of how you choose to police yourself (having an accountability buddy always helps, FYI), knowing WHEN you’ll be posting content/working on your page is critical to your success.
FACEBOOK STRATEGY TAKEAWAY: None of the information doled out above will matter unless you actually commit to putting it in action. That is why you need to create an action plan for yourself. This will look a little different for everyone, but whether you map out your tasks on a calendar, create to-do lists, etc. the key is that you actually have a PLAN for implementing your ideas, and most importantly, a plan that you stick to.
HOW will you stay competitive?
I.e. what’s the unique value you’re providing among the sea of other content creators on Facebook? ?
It’s incredibly tempting, especially if you run a blog, to simply use your Facebook page as a soundboard for all your content. And sure, if someone is absolutely head over heels obsessed with your content, that will do fine, and they will click.
But let us briefly stow away off our narcissistic egos and pretend that not everyone is restraining order-level obsessed with us.
There needs to be a reason people come to YOU rather than someone else. Your toughest task is figuring out what that reason is.
This will be a theme that we keep coming back to throughout this course, because it is stupidly important and for some weird reason, people avoid it like it’s adulthood covered in bees. So, apologies for the constant drilling of this point into your head – I swear it’s for a good reason.
Here are a few things to ask yourself when it comes to your unique value proposition:
- What can YOU offer that no one else can?
- How can you present information in your niche in a way that’s different from others?
- Why should people follow YOU over others in your niche?
The truth is, social media is a crowded space and it’s only getting more saturated. That’s why considering HOW to stay competitive is such an important piece of your Facebook strategy (and one that is neglected more often than my diet).
Sure, it’s all well and good to know your audience, what content to post and when you’ll post it, but your unique value is your secret ingredient to success.
Hence why you really need to figure out what that unique value is.
FACEBOOK STRATEGY TAKEAWAY: Like with all other aspects of your business, consider why your Facebook page is worth following (vs. the thousands of other pages out there). What can YOU bring to the table that no one else can? Write down your unique value proposition, keep it somewhere you can see it and always keep it in mind when you’re publishing content on your page.
… and breathe. I know that was scary, so let me give you a hug.
Facebook is a wild, seemingly untameable beast, but hopefully this post gave you a little more insight and clarity on how to create a Facebook page strategy that rocks and most importantly, works to grow your blog, brand and business.
And sure, I know you’re all probably 5 beers deep after that monster of a post, but I’d love to hear from you. Want to chat more? Leave your questions, insights, epiphanies and compliments in the comments below 😉