Five tips to grow Facebook engagement for small business in 2018

Back in January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to the social network’s news feed algorithm. Facebook is seeking to improve the overall quality of user experience by prioritizing interactions between friends and family ahead of content created by brands and media outlets.

Not surprisingly, the changes have forced many businesses to re-evaluate their Facebook strategy. If you’re concerned about the impact of decreased visibility for your small business’ Facebook page, here are five things you can try to help grow engagement.

Post original photos

In a world where anyone can stream live video to a Facebook audience, a simple photograph might seem a little quaint, but don’t diminish its appeal. Posts with an image have been shown to generate more than twice as much user engagement than those without one. Rather than flooding your feed with stock images, shoot and post original photography as much as you can. Feature your products, your workplace and staff or, better still, your customers.

If you’re not comfortable with a camera, consider hiring a professional to provide a bank of original, eye-catching images. Another idea is to put out a call for images from people in your network. Unlike stock images, original photos are seen as more personal, honest and authentic. Boost interaction further by including text that solicits feedback on photos or asks users to choose their preference between multiple images.

If you do opt to use stock imagery, make sure you are paying for it or using royalty-free imagery, as grabbing random photos from the internet may lead to copyright issues.

Start using Facebook Stories

A relatively new addition to the engagement toolkit for brands and businesses, Stories have yet to become a widely-used Facebook feature despite being hugely popular on other networks, such as Instagram on Snapchat.

Ideal for taking customers behind the scenes, providing how-to sessions or hosting Q&As, these disappearing video or photo segments offer a unique opportunity for businesses to put content at the top of a user’s Facebook news feed, helping your brand get the visibility you desire.

If you’re already posting Instagram Stories and want your Facebook fans to be able to see the same content, you can choose to automatically share stories to both networks in Instagram’s settings.

Broadcast with Facebook Live

Live video is a growing part of the Facebook experience, offering anyone and everyone the opportunity to be a guerilla broadcaster and tell whatever story they chose. Live videos typically generate six times as much engagement as regular videos, making them more likely to be seen than other types of content.

Some of your Facebook fans are notified when you go live, which is a huge help in building not just your viewing audience, but also general attention for your business page. Like Stories, live videos can be a great forum for information sessions, interviews and debates, especially by incorporating comments and questions from those watching along. It’s also a great way to capture reactions to breaking news.

Take advantage of Facebook Groups

When the changes were announced, Zuckerberg specifically mentioned groups as an area of emphasis. Last summer, Facebook rolled out updated features for group administrators and launched Groups for Business pages. Groups create opportunities for increased person-to-person interaction among managed communities of people with overlapping interests.

For businesses, group pages are a fantastic opportunity to talk directly to your most devoted customers, offering them a space to connect with one another. Group pages can also be used to solicit valuable feedback about your products and services, overall brand image, and business performance. However, groups are hard to grow and manage, and are best used on bigger Facebook pages for brands that have an active group of “super fans.” So instead of starting a group from scratch on your small business’ Facebook page, consider joining already existing Facebook groups that are pertinent to your industry. You’ll see what other customers and businesses are talking about, and may have opportunities to lightly push your own products and services.

Post quality over quantity

With the algorithm change, now quality is more important than quantity when it comes to your Facebook posts. Instead of posting seven times a week and receiving very little engagement, consider consolidating your efforts into two or three of your best posts.

Comments and shares are vital to the potential reach of anything you post, which should be uppermost in your mind whenever you create content. Find ways to generate conversations and discussions by asking questions, soliciting stories and opinions, or creating opportunities for interactions, such as a funny photo caption request or fill in the blank post. Imagine you’re speaking to a single person and remember to employ the Five Ws when writing posts that are intended to generate feedback on requests for personal preferences, experiences, prospective attendance at events, reviews, and advice. Try to reply to comments left by users as promptly and reliably as you can – it’s impolite to ignore people!

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