When it comes to building a brand online, the thing you need to know about Facebook – and social media in general – is this…
NO ONE IS SEARCHING FOR YOU
Social media is a platform for friends to get together, to share funny stories with each other, to connect and be entertained.
It also just happens to be a wonderful marketing platform – but ONLY because it’s a SOCIAL platform first.
As soon as the focus becomes selling, advertising and marketing, people will leave the platform. And then this wonderful marketplace will disappear.
So the question for us as Solopreneurs who want to build a brand on Facebook becomes…
“How do we grow our following without being too salesy?”
I’ve been playing around on Facebook since it first started, back in 2006 when you still needed a university email address to get an account.
Oh boy has it changed since then, but the one thing that remains constant is that it’s SOCIAL FIRST, ADVERTISING SECOND.
The good news is, there are dozens of ways to organically grow your following and build a brand around your company, while still being social and entertaining.
The trick is in connecting with people, and showing up as a genuine human. Which is super easy for us Solopreneurs to do, because we ARE the brand.
So here are 3 areas of focus for you, and I’m going to let you in on my secrets about how to show up authentically on Facebook, and do them right.
Groups, Your Page, and Paid Ads.
Groups bring people together to share a common passion or goal. You’re probably an active member of a few groups yourself (I just undertook a HUGE declutter of my Facebook groups – I was in over 100!)
So it seems obvious that by joining a group relevant to your target market for your brand, you’re going to have a captive audience to sell to.
One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs doing on Facebook, is joining dozens of groups, and spamming them regularly with their advertising posts.
I first discovered this when I was doing social audits for business pages. Even though the “likes” and “comments” were varied, every post on the page had about 15 shares, and I thought wow!
But on closer investigation, it turns out it was the owner of the page, cross-posting and sharing this post into multiple groups.
“Did much business come out of it?”
The way to succeed as a member of Facebook groups is NOT to spam them with your offers.
My suggestion is to choose only a handful of groups – say 3 or 4 – and become KNOWN in the groups as a trusted advisor.
- Contribute to the conversations
- Add helpful and supportive comments on other peoples’ posts
- Share valuable and helpful content in the group
- Ask questions yourself
Why only 3 or 4 groups?
Because becoming known takes effort. Each comment or post needs to be thoughtful and relevant. If you put that much effort into more than a handful of groups, not only are you spreading yourself too thin, but you’ll burnt out quickly and won’t leave enough time to run your actual business.
Remember, you’ve still got clients to serve!
You’ve probably noticed, each group has a theme. Some are support only groups (no selling), others are Buy & Sell groups, and others have theme days around certain topics (usually one day will be a “promote” day).
Follow the rules of the group you’re in, and aim to make genuine connections with other members. This is how you’ll build your loyal brand.
2. Content on Your Page
The content that goes on your page sets the tone for your brand.
When potential clients look you up, they will get a taste for what you care about, your style, how you do business, and what they can expect when working with you.
Unfortunately, even if you’re sooo busy with paying clients that you don’t have time to post anything on your page, NOT posting regularly has a negative impact on your brand.
If your last post was over 2 weeks ago, your potential clients are going to think you’re not active, and they won’t bother following you.
Remember – NO ONE IS SEARCHING FOR YOU ON FACEBOOK. Facebook is for interaction, entertainment, connection and fun.
People aren’t going to follow your inactive page online just in case they need your service in the future. They want to learn and be entertained by your page, ONLINE, now. Without regular content, you will get skipped over.
The good news is, you don’t need to be posting something every hour. Once a week is the minimum to appear active. And Facebook even provides a FREE scheduling tool so you can batch your content and set it up to auto-post every week.
With all that said, now it’s time to understand what CONTENT to post on your page.
The general rule of thumb for free content is this – GIVE!
Give value at least 4 times more often than selling or promoting.
“Giving Value” means sharing tips, showing photos of behind the scenes, talking about your staff, highlighting client results, teaching concepts and ideas, sharing relevant articles or videos for your industry.
(For a full list of 42 Ideas to Spice Up Your Social Media, click here to download a FREE GUIDE)
Why would a potential client follow your page if all you ever did was tell them about your prices or latest special?
Here’s some ideas to get you started:
- Show them around the factory where your product is made
- Make a mini video of you creating a website
- Share some tips about building team culture
- Highlight a clients’ recent results
- Post a funny meme (relevant!)
- Share an article by a mentor and add the reasons you loved it
- Tell them about your personal morning routine
One of my best tips for organic content is… ENGAGEMENT.
Did you know that only a small percentage of your posts are seen by your followers? Like 2 to 5%.
And the single biggest factor that determines how many people see it is… ENGAGEMENT.
The faster your ad gets likes, comments and shares, the more people it gets pushed out to.
To encourage engagement, I love to ask questions, tell a story people can relate to, or share something funny.
When one your followers comments on your post, some of THEIR friends will now see your posts. And this is how your following grows organically.
3. Paid Ads
Back in the day, there used to be a huge drive to “buy likes” or pay for followers, which I have always been firmly against.
I’ve always felt it’s inauthentic, and now, it’s been proven to actually HARM your natural growth.
So just don’t do it.
Instead, you can use PAID ADS to promote your content to even more people.
And, Facebook actually prioritises accounts who do some regular paid advertising all year round, instead of just one-off ads at sale time.
With Facebook advertising, there are dozen of types of campaign objectives, but I’m going to talk about only 2 right now…
Engagement (and how to capitalise on it), and
Boosting (and why you SHOULDN’T do it)
I’ll come to boosting in a sec, but first I’ll give you the run down on Engagement campaigns.
Under engagement, there are 3 options – Post Engagement, Page Likes and Event Responses.
My favourite is Post Engagement, because you can also use this to grow your page likes, and I’ll show you how.
This is where you take one of your original page posts, making sure it’s entertaining and valuable, and promote it to a demographic of people that match your ideal clients.
You don’t need to spend a lot, only a couple of dollars a day is fine. Depending on the post itself, and how relevant and engaging it is, you should be seeing costs per action of between 2c to 20c. More than 20 cents – it means your add is not engaging enough, or your audience is too small. Change it up.
The benefit of an ENGAGEMENT campaign is that Facebook will send your ad to people who are likely to either like, comment or share.
That’s right. Facebook monitors our behaviour on the platform, and uses that to determine which ads to show us.
So you should now be seeing more interactions (likes, comments and shares) on your post.
And here’s how you can grow your page likes as well.
Every couple of days, click on the “likes” button on your post to see everyone who had liked it. Next to each name will be a button saying “Invite” which is the invite to ask them to like your page.
Since they have already liked your post, it’s an easy request for them to like your page now, too.
And now, why you should NOT use the BOOST function…
Boosting has a time and place, but for a small solopreneur, it’s not the most recommended option.
The outcome for a boost is to show your ad to as many people as possible.
HOWEVER, when Facebook says “show” it really means “show onto a newsfeed” and here’s the thing – we don’t actually put eyeballs onto every ad on our newsfeed.
You know when you open up your facebook page, and it loads several posts (about 30) and then you scroll to the bottom and more will load?
Within those pre-loaded posts, about 3 or 4 are ads.
Even if we don’t scroll down and look at the whole feed, those 3 or 4 ads count as a “show.”
So when you do the “boost” function, you’re paying for those ads, even if people don’t see them.
As I said before, Facebook monitors our behaviours, and it uses that information to determine which ads to show up.
The “boost” ads don’t take into account any information about behaviours, so it’s not the best use of your money.
There are much better ways to use paid Facebook ads to grow your brand – like the engagement campaign as described.
Time to grow your brand!
So now you know how to use Facebook to grow your brand and your followers.
The idea is to build a community, be known as a trusted advisor, and add value to your audience.
Facebook (and any social media platform) is all about engagement – remember, it’s SOCIAL FIRST, ADVERTISING SECOND.
So approach this with the aim of entertaining, delighting and education your audience, and your brand will grow organically.