Do you remember back in the days when every time you posted something on your Facebook Page, you would naturally get plenty of people liking, commenting, and sharing your posts?
Today, you may realize those days are already long gone. Hundreds if not thousands of others have been fussing over their low organic reach on Facebook Pages.
On one hand, some still find great success with their engagement by focusing on creating great content. However, most marketers are left with no other choice by resorting to spend more money on Facebook advertising.
In fact, a recent statistic shows the majority of marketers are prepared to invest a bigger budget for Facebook advertising in the near future. While done right, it is possible to see quality engagement quickly, but more often than not, two common problems tend to arise.
First, marketers may be blinded with the intention of driving more engagement without defining a clear journey to getting more leads or sales. The second trap many businesses fall into is they may not be using the right type of Facebook advertising product. These two hidden traps may cause you to spend unnecessary budget.
But little do most marketers realize that there are plenty of creative ways to achieve high engagement over your competitors on Facebook without spending a dime. This could also lead to more website traffic, more people turning up for your events and more sales.
Look Within Your Community
Content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi would call this method “Rent-to-Own” Content Marketing. What it means in content marketing is publishing content or to investing in native advertising on related media publications. There is an equivalent method that marketers can apply on Facebook as well.
The secret lies within something a lot of marketers tend to overlook – Facebook Groups.
Have you noticed that the average number of likes, comments, and shares on active Facebook Groups are tremendously higher than those of Facebook Pages? In fact, you may also have observed that people are generally more proactive in sharing their thoughts within a closed community in Facebook Groups.
Facebook Groups bring together people with similar passions and allow greater engagement and connection. While Facebook Pages are a great way to publish content and announce exclusive discounts, Facebook Groups allow more in-depth discussion and provide a great environment for relationship building. In many ways, Facebook Groups are the modern version of niche internet forums or hobby portals. Compare the posts from Mother Kelley’s Home Cooking (Facebook Page) and from a member of Home Cooking Recipes (Facebook Group).
Aside from that, you will notice that the formats of the posts are quite different, but are both quite simple. These are effective in their own right, but if you’re looking to get more engagement out of your posts, add a visual that follow these visual ideas.
So you may be wondering as a marketer – Does these mean you should be starting your own Facebook Group?
While that would be one possible method, here’s a powerful way to “Rent-to-Own” somebody’s audience without having to invest more time and effort to start one.
Find Communities with a Common Passion in Your Local Area
The first step is to find an active community that already exists on Facebook. If you’re in the business of selling technology gadgets, then simply do a search on “Computer Geeks + Your Local Area”.
From there, you would be able to identify a few Facebook Groups that consist of people within your target market. Some of them may be small communities, but as long as the members are actively posting, it is still a worthy platform to join.
A side note of caution – In some cases, you may not be able to find any relevant Facebook Groups at all. If that happens to you, this may be because some communities on Facebook have their settings set to “secret”, and these groups do not show up on the search results on Facebook.
Identify the Influencers Within the Group
Most marketers may not have the time to actively engage within the community for months before putting up a relevant promotion.
The trick to getting noticed in a relatively quick timeframe is to identify the influencer(s) within the Facebook Group. This could be the members who have been actively posting their opinions, answering questions from other members, and sharing the latest news.
However, identifying the influencers and reaching out to them immediately would be a rookie mistake. Often times, this may give a bad first impression of your business and may even lead to negative publicity.
After identifying the key individuals, it is critical to observe what specifically they are interested in. If we were to go back to the earlier example of selling gadgets, there could be several specific things that these influencers love. For instance, it could be wearable technology for fitness, 3D printing, or flying drones.
What your business is selling could be something that is totally opposite of what these influencers are particularly interested in. But that would not be a critical aspect for now.
Build Relationship with Influencers and Bring More Value
Once you’ve identified the community, influencers, and their particular interests comes the most exciting part – building relationships with them. When done correctly, this will be the part that truly propels all your engagement and can drive new business results.
This involves reaching out to the respective influencer at the most appropriate time by presenting something which they would be particularly interested in. It could be a news article, for instance. Do this over time and the influencer will notice you, allowing you to build a relationship over time.
The next step is to naturally bring up the possibility of promoting your content from your blog or Facebook Page or even organizing a joint local event together so members can meet one another.
Do it repeatedly over time, and you will build a loyal and trusted community willing to share your content, purchase your products, and even refer their friends.
Getting more sales from social media requires a healthy level of engagement from your target audience. With the decreasing organic reach from Facebook Pages, all hope is not lost, especially when there are creative methods like this. Combine this with producing great content, and it won’t take long before you start regaining high engagement.
Are you part of a Facebook Group? Do you find yourself engaged more in Groups or in Pages? Do you see how effective this strategy can be to your business?
Featured Image: Thinglass via Shuttestock
All screenshots taken April 2015