Which came first? The Facebook post or the like/share/comment?
Sounds like a trick question, but that’s because Facebook has tricked us small business owners into a philosophical approach to how we target our buyers on their platform.
Sure, you have to post in order to get any kind of engagement, but if you don’t get any engagement (the oh-so-coveted like/comment/share), then what? Then, your post lands in the pile of millions of other Facebook posts that are never to be seen because Facebook’s algorithm has decided they’re not worthy enough of appearing in the news feed.
Ouch is right, but it’s the reality we face as we try to use another business’s platform to promote our own company for free.
And here’s another reality (that might be equally painful to hear): It’s not always possible to blame Facebook for the lack of engagement. Sometimes, it’s not just that our posts are hidden but rather, they’re just not that compelling. Sometimes, it’s just not interesting enough for our fans and followers to hit the like button, leave a comment, or *gasp* share the post.
What can you do? Instead of turning this into a *yawn* listicle post, how about I tell you about two super savvy businesses in Tucson (my hometown) that are doing an exceptional job of drumming up engagement. One is a mechanic and the other is a realtor.
There’s a lot of info and a ton of great ideas here, so if you’re short on time, I’m including the summary of lessons learned first. Scan these and if something sticks out to you, dig in by scrolling to the appropriate spot below.
- It’s not all about the vanity metrics. Go for the quality of likes instead of the number of likes.
- Form strategic business partnerships on Facebook to get the right people and pages sharing your stuff.
- Share openly about your philanthropic endeavors. It won’t sound like bragging; it’ll make your customers feel good about using your business.
- Make your social content interesting for your entire community; not just your perfect client.
- Show off your personal side, so your audience feels like they’re engaging with a human instead of an entity.
- Think beyond your neck of the woods. Grow your reach by talking about things that are important to your client’s worldview.
These tips for getting more engagement on Facebook aren’t talked about as often, so let’s take a closer look at what they look like played out in real life.
Case Study #1: Getting Noticed on Facebook When Your Business is Seemingly Boring
Full disclosure: This is one of our clients at Savvy Copywriters but since we started the Facebook page for this mechanic, he’s consistently seen high engagement numbers.
First lesson: The number of likes your business has doesn’t impact how many people see your stuff.
This Facebook page has a fan base of only 340 likes, which were all organically grown (read: no paid ads to try to generate likes). That number seems low, but the page’s reach is consistently in the thousands and that is significant. That’s because it shows that people are sharing these posts regularly, which are helping them to get seen by others.
Second lesson: Shares are important but where you get the shares is even more important.
The people who are seeing their posts are potential customers. We keep a close eye on where these posts are shared. The typical sources are:
- The Rita Ranch and Vail community forums which are filled with thousands of people right in our backyard (again, potential customers).
- The Vail Voice, which is our local community media. They do not advertise here but the content he shares (typically content from his website) is compelling enough for the media organization to share it with their thousands of fans.
Each of these sources are filled with potential clients who live in, drive in, and need their car serviced in this area. That means, their Facebook posts aren’t getting seen by any old audience. They’re getting seen by the people who will add real dollars to their cash drawers.
And they have! This business grew by over 400% in the first year we started working with them on Facebook and SEO. Talk about a significant growth rate!
Third lesson: Philanthropy is an exciting topic.
I regularly hear (and often preach myself) that you should share your customer’s story in all of your content. But here’s something that doesn’t get talked about enough: Your customers want to feel philanthropic. They want to know they’re doing good for the world and sometimes, that good comes through you.
Consider your buyer’s worldview. If giving back in any way, shape, or form is important to them, they’ll appreciate doing business with you because YOU give back. Tell that story on Facebook and you’ll even make ‘em feel good about hitting the like button on your posts because that alone will show that they have somehow contributed to your philanthropic endeavors.
Case Study #2: Getting Noticed on Facebook When Your Market is Saturated With Other People Who Do What You Do
The next case study is about a husband/wife team of realtors in Vail. They are not clients of Savvy Copywriters but they have impressed me with their ability to engage the community and get traction in their business. When I asked them about it, they told me that 15% of their business comes from Facebook.
Now, let’s be honest here. There are a lot of realtors. So, for this team to rise above the constant home announcements and posts from other realtors takes effort. It also takes a smart strategy, which they have.
First lesson: They talk about what interests the community.
And quite often, that’s not new homes for sale. Yes, they post about homes that are on the market in the area, but the posts that get the most engagement are ones that talk about stores popping up in our corner of Tucson. That’s a big deal around here because Vail, Arizona is a relatively rural community that’s on the brink of erupting with new businesses.
Second lesson: They make their posts personal.
Buying real estate is a personal experience. It’s a big deal for most people and when you make a major life decision, such as uprooting your entire family and moving to a new location, you need to trust the people who are on board to help you maneuver the details.
To earn that trust, The Looney Advantage team demonstrates their working knowledge of the region by sharing posts about their involvement at major events around this small town. For example, ribbon cuttings, pictures from ground breaking at hot button construction sites, and more.
Third lesson: They go beyond the tiny town of Vail.
Vail only has about 17,000 people and that includes all of the surrounding areas of Rita Ranch, Civano, Corona de Tucson, etc. (and if you’re not from Tucson, those areas are just small neighborhoods and regions). But, the people who live here tend to accept the fact that some things are a 30-minute drive away. That’s just how it is. I know because I am one of those 17,000. If a drive is shorter, it almost feels weird getting in the car and going.
That is called worldview.
To my in-laws, driving 30-minutes to get anywhere feels like forever. To us, because our worldview is different, it feels normal.
The Looney Advantage team knows that, so to excite their followers, this team of realtors talks about things that are happening outside of this small community. For example, they talk about how Tucson made the top 10 list of cities where people want to live. They also share information about a potential major amusement park opening up about an hour North of here.
In other words, they don’t just appeal to home buyers/sellers. They appeal to the lifestyle around here to attract the right home buyers and sellers to their real estate business.
What’s Your Top Strategy?
As a small business, creativity is the key to getting more engagement on Facebook. You have to think way beyond self-promotion *yawn* and think closer in terms with what your audience wants from you.
Digging deeper, you have to consider what your audience feels when reading your post because ultimately, it’s emotion that leads to action. And if they feel moved enough to engage with your content, they’re going to feel moved enough to remember your business. And that, my friends, is what leads to real ROI from social media.
Agree? Have another tip? I’d love to hear from you, right here on our Savvy Copywriters Facebook page.