It’s no secret. Organic reach on Facebook is plummeting.
Still, reports of the death of organic reach have been exaggerated. In updating their algorithms, Facebook’s aim is to stop the barrage of ads that masquerade as posts – not to bring down “organic reach” per se. Yes, they want to monetize their platform, but not at the cost of user engagement.
The good news is that a decrease in organic reach doesn’t have to mean a drop in engagement or conversions. This random page from my newsfeed, for example, has an engagement rate of 938%.
So how are Facebook pages such as the one above staying at the top of the social pile?
They are engaging users and encouraging them to interact and share with each other. Only the brands that recognize this need to increase meaningful interactions with their audience will continue to pick up conversions from Facebook.
Here are some tactics to put you ahead of the game by boosting your engagement and conversion rates on Facebook – as well as your reach.
While you don’t have much control over Facebook algorithms, you do have control over creating great content and engaging your fans so that they want to buy from you.
After all, what good is 100% or more reach if your conversion rate is 0%?
Well, I know this might sound like some New Age touchy-feely BS, but interactions between people are the primary driver of conversions on social networks.
I even have the science to back it up.
A scientific study conducted by the University of Singapore explored the interactions between the users and marketers that drove conversions. Here’s how the study worked.
Being the statistically knowledgeable PhDs that they were, the researchers also controlled for several variables in order to avoid mixing cause with effect. (You know, the whole “correlation isn’t causation” thing.)
Here’s what they discovered:
There’s a lot to take in here, so let’s review a little, shall we?
First off, there’s this whole thing about user-generated content having more influence on sales than marketer-generated content. Does that mean we as marketers shouldn’t even bother producing content, that we should just open the page up as a free-for-all? Especially when we see that only direct interactions boost sales?
Instead, we need to think of marketer-generated content as a vehicle to create interactions between users. A piece of content that gets shared a lot but that doesn’t lend itself to conversation probably isn’t going to do much for conversions either.
A piece of marketer-generated content aimed at your general audience (as opposed to a single person) should have two primary goals:
As the study shows, user-generated content has the strongest impact on conversions. And the more comments you get, the higher your average lifetime customer value will become.
If you’re still working at increasing the conversation around your blog posts, there are other ways you can interact directly with your audience. Shopify recommends posting surveys or asking questions to get your audience involved.
The study sheds light on another interesting aspect of conversion psychology.
Information-rich user-generated content increased sales regardless of whether the tone was positive or negative. This mirrors what we said about customer reviews a few months ago. A diverse range of opinions helps sales as opposed to hurting it.
While the study found several instances where positive interactions were more helpful than negative ones, they didn’t find any cases where negative interactions actually hurt sales.
Focus on creating those interactions (whether good or constructive) by getting people talking.
By now, I hope the insights above have convinced you that it’s time to step up meaningful interactions with your audience on Facebook. And while I’m sure you see the benefit of keeping your existing audience engaged, you likely also want to leverage those interactions to help your audience grow in size.
This is a dilemma faced daily by smart marketers everywhere: the struggle between expanding your reach and keeping your existing audience. Keeping an audience is the hardest part. In order to make it work, typically, you need more than surface-level content. You need depth.
And, of course, that’s a huge problem when you also need to get shared on social networks. Because what gets shared on social networks is almost never in-depth.
True, Facebook’s increased prominence and visual weight for link posts has helped a lot, but at the end of the day, most of what you see in your Facebook feed still looks like this:
That’s the kind of content that earns a page an engagement rate of 866%:
So we’re faced with a dilemma. If we want to retain an audience, we need in-depth, actionable, useful blog posts. But if we want to expand our reach on social networks, we need bite-size visual content that produces an instant emotional reaction.
The solution to this problem is to do what we just did with Classic Rock 101’s Facebook post: embed it.
By embedding bite-sized Facebook posts directly into your blog posts, you can complement the traditional Facebook process in a number of ways:
The goal here is to take Facebook itself out of the equation as much as possible. You’re not trying to game Facebook’s algorithm and you’re not relying on Facebook as your primary platform. Instead, you’re using your own site and your own email list to build up an audience and merely using Facebook to expand it.
A quick Facebook post embed tutorial
You’ll find the embed code for your post by clicking on the arrow in the top right corner of the post you’d like to share and selecting “Embed Post:”
Keep in mind that you’re going to confuse your audience if your Facebook post links to a blog post that doesn’t exist yet. In order to get around this, you’ll need to hide the Facebook post until the blog post goes live. You can do that from the same menu where you found the embed code (look for the “Hide from Page” option).
All you have to do is take the Facebook post out of hiding once the blog post goes live.
Alternatively, instead of hiding it, you can schedule the Facebook post to go live at the same time as your blog post, using the clock in the bottom left corner:
Improving your conversion rate on Facebook isn’t about “likes.” It’s not about counting on Facebook to do the heavy lifting for you. It’s about creating things that people will actually share with their friends and family. The purpose of each piece of content you create should be to start as many conversations as possible.
Open up the conversation to others by using embeds, on-site social share plugins and even your email list. To borrow a mantra from advertising, “The more you show up in front of your audience, the better the chance they’ll remember your brand when they’re ready for a purchase.”
If you focus on creating great content and making it easy to share and talk about, you may find that your ability to get people talking does wonders for your conversion rate.