The Facebook Algorithm – How to stay on the right side of it and increase your Facebook reach

With over 60 million businesses using Facebook (as of Q1 2017) – competing for the hearts and minds of Facebook users has become more of a challenge than ever recently. Facebook’s recent algorithm update hasn’t made things any easier and has seen many Facebook pages, that once received hundreds of organic viewings, clicks and likes reduced to single figures.

Facebook’s official line in all of this is that it wants to deliver more relevant content to the end user but the reality for all but the biggest brands is that is you want to get noticed, you’ll need to “pay to play” by sponsoring your daily Facebook posts. But even that’s not enough to guarantee you reach your desired audience. You’ll still be competing with other businesses who are targeting the same customers and also paying to promote their posts. So how do you ensure Facebook puts your posts above those that are competing for the same audience? How do you ensure you win favour with the Facebook Algorithm? Here some useful tips.

Facebook likes positivity

If your strategy is to post “risqué” content which might provoke negative reactions, it’s time for a rethink. The Facebook algorithm ranks posts with positive reactions above those with negative reactions. Negative reactions include unfollows, hiding of posts, marking a post as spam and even negative sentiment in the comments. If your page is regularly receiving negative reactions, it will quickly go down the Facebook rankings.

Facebook values shares and comments above likes

At businesshands we’ve always believed it’s much more powerful to encourage engagement with your audience rather than simply asking them to passively like your post. It seems Facebook agrees so going forward, you’ll need to think about how your posts can encourage debate and add value to the viewer. This strategy will help to weed out business pages that are simply farming out uninspiring content for the sake of posting something on a regular basis. It means if you want to gain favour with the Facebook algorithm, you’ll need to post regular, high quality, thought-provoking content which sparks the imagination and interest of your intended audience.

Facebook doesn’t like clickbait or fake video

Have you ever clicked on a play button on a Facebook post only to be taken to another website? It turns out the video wasn’t a video at all, just an image with a play button linking to a website page. Going forward this is a big no-no. Videos which simply contain static images will also not rank going forward.

Facebook likes real video and it likes its own videos best

Countless studies over the past few years have shown that the best performing posts on Facebook contain video, but did you know that native Facebook videos (i.e. videos uploaded directly to Facebook rather than a link to a video on an external website) are over 10 x more likely to be shared. A study completed by quintly of over 160,000 profiles found that Facebook native videos have a 1055% higher share rate than those from YouTube or other sources. They also have a 186% higher interaction rate (likes / comments).  It’s worth noting that the Facebook algorithm ranks longer videos above shorter ones and also places a ranking on the % completion. The idea being that the longer someone watches the video, the higher the quality of the content must be.

Don’t forget, in addition to posting pre-made content, Facebook also offers its Facebook live feature which enables you to deliver a live feed to talk about key issues or report from a particular event.  Facebook users are 3 x more likely to watch a live video than a pre-recorded one. We’ve used this feature with our clients to great effect and the audience really does love it so it’s worth thinking about how you can incorporate this into your Facebook strategy going forward.

Content sources matter

For many businesses, its simply not possible to create unique, high quality content every day and curating content from other websites is a perfectly acceptable strategy to use. What’s important to remember with curated content though is that quality matters. I can’t count the number of times I’ve clicked through on a link to a post only to find the content is either out of date, completely incorrect or simply not worth posting. Remember, your Facebook page is being graded on the number of shares and comments it receives on its posts. If you’re lazily posting random content without checking it, you’ll pay the price.

Even with quality content however, it’s worth testing different sources. Your followers will have preferences and will enjoy or relate more to content from some sources than others. Finding out which sources your followers prefer will help to increase those all important shares and comments.

That’s it for this article. If you would like more information about how to use Facebook effectively for your business, or you would like to talk about our managed social media services, why not contact a member of the team today on 0207 458 4788.

5 things to consider before you make your first post on social media

So I’ve just been working on the marketing strategy for a brand-new tech start-up that I’m bringing to life called Secret Think Tank and thought I’d share with you, some of the factors we’ve taken into consideration before taking the leap into social media with the new business. Let’s dive straight in.

What’s your goal?

It’s a simple question which for many people, proves difficult to answer. Many organisations we speak to have a social media presence because they think they should, but they don’t really know what they’re trying to achieve from it or what they should expect from it – and that’s a problem. If you don’t know why you’re doing social media, how do you know if what you are posting is helping or hindering your objectives. For our new start-up, Secret Think Tank, our goals are to increase brand awareness and generate registrations for the platform before the launch. With that in mind, we can now tailor our posts accordingly and build a strategy to maximise the reach of our posts to improve brand awareness.

Who is your target audience?

The chances are that you’ll want to target your ideal customer or at least, the person with the decision-making ability with regards to purchases.  The last thing you’ll want to do is publish a stack of posts giving them the hard sell so you’ll need to think about the interests, the values and the challenges that they have and how that coincides with your products or services. Think about how you can relate to your target audience and most importantly, how you can add value to your target audience. It’s important at this stage to also figure out where they hang out. There’s little point having a LinkedIn strategy if for example, you’re trying to sell to teenagers. But don’t be presumptuous about this. Go and do your research. Hang out on a range of platforms and find which ones work best for your brand.

What is your brand persona?

Now you might think we’re starting to get all “agency” on you, but this is a very important point. Your company will be defined to the online world by how you come across on social media. If your business is always posting negative things, you’ll come across as a negative company. If your posts are short and devoid of personality, that’s how your company will come across on social media. Think about your brand values and how you want to be perceived by your followers and make a sustained effort to adhere to that in every post you deliver.

How can you integrate your social media into the wider marketing strategy?

If you’ve got hundreds of thousands of followers, you’ll probably find that social media is a strong sales tool in its own right. But if you’re not that lucky, then you’ll need to think about how your social media fits into the bigger picture. How can social media be used to complement your sales and other marketing activities? Where does it sit in the process? How can you maximise the value of social media to your business, day in day out?

What’s your growth strategy?

Starting off with zero followers and no social media posts on your wall can be pretty daunting, so how are you going to get through the first few months and build a sizeable following that starts to deliver value to your business? There’s no doubt that in the beginning at least, you’ll need to allocate a decent amount of money to run social media advertising campaigns. If you’re a social media newcomer, that might come as a surprise. After all, social media is free… right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s a bit of a myth. Sure you can post for free, but if you want to reach anyone outside of your friends, family and work colleagues, you’ll need to pay.

There’s typically three types of campaign  you might want to run – (i) increase the number of followers (ii) drive traffic to your website or (iii) maximise engagement with your audience. Whether you choose one, two or all three of those options and how you split your social media budget between them will all depend on the answer to the first question – “what’s your goal?”

 

So there’s 5 things to consider before you even tap a hashtag into your keyboard. I’m sure there’s more. Can you think of any? If so, let us know and we’ll publish the best ones on a second blog and give you credit for them.

Thanks for reading and if you’ve find this article useful, don’t forget to share.

Chris Mayfield

CEO of businesshands

Founder of Secret Think Tank

10 Ways to Increase Sales in 2017

Yep, we know – there are probably a million articles on the net this week about how to increase sales in 2017. But this post is different – why? Because it’s actually useful. It’s full of real, no nonsense, genuinely implementable things you can do to increase your chances of getting new business in 2017. Are you ready? Let’s begin.

Revise your message

Take a look at the wording on your website and in your marketing literature. Is it still relevant in 2017? Are your clients still facing the same challenges? Do they still want the same things? What are your competitors saying? Is it time to modernise your message to remain relevant in the year ahead?

Go through your existing clients and upsell or cross sell

It’s a simple as it sounds. Pull up a list of your existing clients and ask what more can you do for them. Can you sell them a higher volume of the same product or do you have an alternative product that they would also benefit from? It might pay to look at their website and their social media and find out what’s going on in the company to give you a better idea of how you can add value. Unless you have hundreds or even thousands of clients, it pays to go through each one and create a unique offer just for them. It may be more time consuming but you’ll see greater returns. Send each client an email with their bespoke offer and follow up 24 hours later with a phone call.

‘Happy Meal’ your offering

This is an extension on the idea about and is a great way to increase sales and cross sell your products. Just like we do here at businesshands, why not try bundling a selection of your products and services together at a discount price and offering this as a package to your customers. This works well if you have a large client / prospect database. Try to create 2 or three different bundles to meet different needs and budgets.

Lure your old clients back

If you lost some clients in the past year or two, now is the time to put in a quick call or email. Acknowledge them as a previous client, ask them about their plans for 2017, find out about their current arrangements and if they’re happy with them. Next be brutally honest and ask them if you could do anything to bring persuade them to give you another shot, what would it be?

Turn your invoice into a sales tool

This is a real winner. Add a special / time limited offer to the bottom of every invoice you send in 2017 and we guarantee it will deliver results.

Ask for referrals and recommendations

Don’t be afraid to ask clients with whom you have a good relationship to recommend you to their connections, whether that be clients or suppliers. You may want to put a referral scheme in place. There’s been a lot of negativity around these schemes but done well, they can become a real business development asset for your business. Here at businesshands, we offer a 10% referral payment to our existing clients (in the form of a discount on their bill) if we get a new client based on their recommendation. We only pay out when the new client pays their first invoice. Our referral scheme is mentioned at the bottom of every invoice as are the T&C’s around it so our clients get a reminder of the scheme every month.

Invest in a quality social media strategy

Here’s two questions for you. (i) Is your business on social media? (ii) Has social media delivered any value to the business? Your answers are probably (i) Yes and (ii) No. We talk with countless start-ups and SMEs every month who are not getting anything out of their social media. Done well though, social media could be one of your greatest business development assets. If it’s not working in your business, get an agency that specialises in it to help you out… preferably us of course!

Do 5 prospecting calls every day

Nobody likes to make sales calls but if you really want to see your business pipeline skyrocket it’s a necessary evil. Try doing your sales calls first thing in the morning before opening your emails or getting distracted with other convenient tasks. 5 calls can take anything from 10 to 30 minutes of your time after which you’ll be free to carry on with your normal daily activities. Best of all, if your morning calls go well, you’ll be set up for a great day ahead. If you’re selling B2B (business to business) – you can create your prospects list from research on LinkedIn and prepare the day before.

Combine blogs and LinkedIn

If you’re a B2B business and you’re not writing regular high quality blogs/articles – you should be. Blogging is not only great for your SEO but it helps to define who you are as a brand, it helps to show your expertise and it helps to demonstrate you can solve your (potential) customer’s problems. A great way to maximise the visibility of your blog and get it in front of people who will find value in it, is to set up a LinkedIn InMail campaign. This will allow you to introduce your company to a very specific list of people which can be filtered by Job title, seniority, company size, location and many other factors. If you’d like to know more about this option – get in touch.

Exhibit

Exhibiting at a trade show is a great way to gather new leads and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  We have just booked a stand at a local trade show in February for just £130 + VAT. Don’t be afraid to haggle on price and plan the event carefully. You’ll need to think about what you do in the build up to the event, what you’re going to do and say at the event and then how you’re going to follow up afterwards.

So there you go, 10 ways for your business to increase sales in 2017. And because we’re full of new year’s cheer, here’s another one on us…

Network within your industry

Networking events might seem superficial but they’re not just about finding new clients. These events provide a great platform to make more contacts within your industry and make more people aware of your business. By growing awareness of your brand, you’re more likely to receive referrals and who knows, you may even be able to build a partnership with another non-competing business in your sector to help sales really take off.

If you would like any more information or advice on the above tips, why not give one of our team a call today on 0207 458 4788. Thanks… and don’t forget – if you’ve found this article useful, please share it with your network.