10 Easy Ways to Expand Your Facebook Reach

Facebook Reach is ultimately the most important metric on Facebook. If you don’t know how to reach your followers, you will fail no matter how many followers you have. So in this blogpost I’ve set out to share my best recommendations on how you can reach more users on Facebook and increase your success on the social network. Enjoy!

 

1. Increase Facebook reach by being personal and funny

Nobody likes a boring brand. Think of your presence of Facebook like a performance: you are there to enlighten and entertain! Showcase your staff, and post about quirky and funny things that happens at your workplace and funny news in your industry etc. Do something fun and unexpected.

Here’s a great post from Tesco Mobile and 02. They challenged each other to a rap battle over Twitter for all of their fans to see and decide whose side they were on. Funny, entertaining and personal. Perfect!

2. Use Hashtags

Hashtags today are everywhere and you need to learn how to use them to increase your reach. Start by searching for hashtags that would be relevant to your business (including your business name) and see if people are already using them. You’ll also want to search for currently trending (or viral) hashtags to see if you might be able to create a connection. You can search for hashtags via Graph Search and by adding your hashtag to https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/your_hashtag.

For example, I might want to check whether or not anyone is using the hashtag #facebookmarketing. In this case, I just add Facebookmarketing to the end of the search string, like this:

https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/FacebookMarketing

Instantly I see that there are a bunch of people who are using this hashtag. Great! I’ll join the conversation. Here’s how:

I own a pizzeria (in my delicious alternate reality). Now, let’s say that I want to promote one of my specials. A trending hashtag right now is #HappyBirthdayJKRowlin so I could, for example, post something like:

“We’d like to say #HappyBirthdayJKRowlin with a one day special! All-you-can-eat pizza buffet & bottomless beer – ONLY £20 for all you #HarryPotter fans!”

You might also find relevant and popular hashtags by using the Trending feature by Facebook.

So, now that you understand hashtags, you can use them to expand your Facebook reach. But please, don’t overdo it. Nobody likes an overachiever.  😉

3. Comment on blogs using Facebook comments

The Internet is one big content repository, and a lot of it can be of interest to your company and your followers. Curation is the new creation, and content marketing has now been democratized, so all you have to do is look around to associate relevant content to your own interests and brand. I bet that you already are following some blogs relevant to your company (and if not, you should), and I bet that some of these blogs use Facebook comments. Why not add some thoughts on relevant posts—but instead of linking them to your personal page, add them as your business.

Just click the Change link in the comment section, select your business page, and write your (interesting, thought-provoking) comment. Your comment will be seen by everyone who is reading the comments thus increasing your business page Facebook reach.

4. Use Call to Actions

“Like this post if you love pizza!”
“Did you find this post insightful? Share it with your friends!”
“What do you think? Add your comment in the section below.”

CTAs are a direct marketing tactic, and they’re a great way to get people to engage with your posts and share them with their friends (which will increase your Facebook reach).

Using calls to action can be a slippery road, though. You don’t want to overdo it, and it should be natural. Here’s a nice example from Chevrolet. They let their followers choose what kind of car they like the best by either liking the post or sharing it with their friends.

Nicely done, Chevrolet!  (I’m European, so my vote is old school.)

5. Ask Questions

Asking someone a question is a great way to engage that person.  Asking questions to your followers activates them, leading to greater reach for your Page.  At the same time, it gives you the answers to questions that may be crucial for your company’s sales and marketing.

Keep in mind though that the goal of asking question should be to start a discussion. And you need to be a part of that discussion! Reply to your followers’ comments and and make sure that the discussion not only increases your reach but also provide value to your followers.

6. Connect with other pages

I wrote a blogpost about this earlier, so I won’t go into all the details here. But by liking and connecting with other companies on Facebook you will improve your Facebook reach.

7. Use Images

As I stated in a previous blogpost, it’s all about images. Image-centric networks see huge success which is the reason why we keep seeing them pop up everywhere. Research also tells us that by using images in your Facebook posts, you’ll improve the engagement on your Page and increase your reach. But what sort of images should you post?

My recommendations is that you use high-quality images, quirky  images, images of your staff and/or clients, images of how one can use your products, and images that shows the joy that your company brings.

8. Take advantage of Facebook’s new promotion rules

Facebook is a great platform to easily post promotions and contests onto Facebook Pages—and contests are a great way to improve your reach on Facebook! (Hey, did we mention that we make a Facebook contest tool?)

As businesses, we are now allowed to collect entries by having users comment or like a post and—more importantly—we can finally use likes as a voting mechanism.

You could, for example, post something like:
“Win a free dinner for two! Like this post and let us know in the comments below why you should win. The comment with the most likes wins!
Let your friends know and share this post.”

You can’t force users to share your posts as an entry mechanism any more than you can force a purchaser to enter a contest, but the “like” is powerful on its own. The more users who like and comment on your post, the more users you’ll reach via their activity feeds.

9. Built-In Social Media Monitoring: Use Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights is a great social media monitoring tool to learn more about your Page, your posts, your followers, and your Facebook reach. Visit your Facebook Insights, click on Posts, and order all your posts by Facebook reach. By doing this, it’s quite easy to find out which posts reached the most users.

This data will give you the insights to post more of whatever works for you. I’ll give up my own business intelligence (hope you can read Swedish)!

If you want to read more about Facebook Insights and how you can use all this data to improve your Facebook Reach I suggest that you read the blogpost 4 Facebook Metrics Every Company Should be Measuring.

10. Learn from the Best

There are millions of companies that have spent the past few years improving their reach on Facebook. So, it’s pretty safe to say that a lot of “tricks” have already been tried out by other companies. But who are the companies that reach more and more users every day? Who are the companies that are great at engaging their followers?

Well, it’s not that hard to find out—and that business intelligence is actually free!

Head over to LikeAlyzer’s toplists and find the companies that have the highest LikeRank. Pages with a high LikeRank are very good at engaging their followers and, by doing so, they increase their Facebook reach. Visit their Facebook Pages, check out what they are doing right, and I’ll bet that you’ll be on your way increasing your Facebook Reach for your own business page! Check out our previous blog on LikeAlyzer, the free Facebook analysis tool.

So, there you have it: 10 easy ways to expand your reach on Facebook. Do you have something to add? Please add a comment in the section below!

Want more Facebook Tips? Like us on Facebook.

10 Steps to Managing a PR Crisis

When I was growing up I had no idea I would be a fireman (of sorts) one day. As a mater of fact, I don’t know anyone working in PR who knew they would be regularly putting out fires when they entered the field. Today I can say I’m a veteran: I am a PR pro, and I put out fires regularly using time-tested processes and media monitoring tools. Truth is, a large portion of the work PR pros do involves PR crisis management. Here’s a secret: most of us enjoy the challenge and the rush of crisis communications, once we discover a way to manage the process.

Of course, you don’t ever want to be in a crisis, but it doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds. Over the years I have come up with a 10-step process that makes a PR crisis manageable.

Marc’s 10 Step PR Crisis Management Playbook

Step 1: Take a deep breath. When a PR crisis comes about the first thing you need to do is: nothing. Stop, close your eyes, and take five slow deep breaths. Why? You need to be calm; your team is depending on you, and if you’re calm you will be better able to control the situation by keeping everyone else on the team calm. We make better decisions when we are calm and in control than we do when we are panicked. Depending on how things go, you may need to repeat this step a few times.

First step in a PR crisis: take a deep breath! 10 steps to successful crisis management.

click to tweet!

Step 2: Circle the wagons. Take a few minutes to get in touch with all customer facing employees (other PR team members, the social media team, customer service, etc.). Brief them on what happened, the steps you will follow to react to the issue, initial instructions on how/if they should communicate externally, expected timeline for reaction, and how they can help. I suggest asking each of these folks to begin tracking the PR crisis on their individual channels using the media monitoring tools at their disposal (more on that later) and keep you informed of any and all developments.

Step 3: Investigate what happened. Now that you’re calm and everyone’s informed (which will drastically reduce your inbox submissions from your colleagues), you need to get the full story. Use your connections in the organization to determine exactly what happened. You need to know the entire story from an internal perspective, and how your customers perceive the incident externally. This can be the most time consuming step, but also the most important: you should not react to a PR crisis if you don’t know exactly what happened and why it happened.

Step 4: Understand business impact. Is this PR crisis having an immediate impact on business? Will it have a future impact on the business? Before you react, it’s important to know how your decisions will impact the business, revenue and your brand reputation.  This step will be very important as you begin to make decisions on messaging and your overall corporate stance on the crisis.

Step 5: LISTEN UP! Use your PR and social media monitoring tools to take the pulse on the reaction of the media and your community. This step will tell you is if the crisis has made it to the attention of your customers or media yet. From there your goal is to gauge the significance of the PR crisis: just how big is this issue? Are there hundreds of people talking about this incident, or only a few? What is the overall sentiment? Are people supporting you? Is the media reacting? Have any stories been published?

Step 6: Decide on corporate position and messaging. Armed with the full story, an understanding of the business impact, and a complete picture of the reaction so far, you will have a clear idea of the position your company should take. From there you can write up a quick messaging platform and get buy in from your executive team. I’d expect a bit of back and forth with key decision makers, but I can assure you that your research and preparations will be appreciated and make this process smooth.

Step 7: Make decisions on channels of distribution. Based on your corporate positioning and overall messaging you need to determine the channel/s that best deliver them to your audience. These days there are many channels to consider: you can post on your corporate blog, through social media, in a press release, directly to the media, or a combination. When making this decision, keep in mind the basic differences in each channel. Social media a fantastic choice if you are prepared for a dialogue and accept the fact that it will be hard to control your message. A Press release or a blog post are both great options if you want to broadcast and control the conversations around your message. Every situation will be different, and you’ll need to use the info you’ve gathered so far to decide on the best distribution.

Step 8: Get the word out. You’ve done your homework, gotten the buy-in on messaging, and have decided on distribution channel.  It’s now time to get your message out to the channels you’ve chosen.

Step 9: Monitor reaction and react as needed. You’re not done yet! With your message out in the world you need to circle back with your public facing teams and monitor. Is your PR crisis still a crisis? What happens next will ultimately depend on the reaction of the media, your community on social media, etc. As you monitor, keep in mind that it can take a few days for a fire to die down. Sometime you need to be patient and give it the time it needs, other times you may need to step in and offer additional statements or interviews. There are no hard and fast rules and you’ll need to make the call in real time.

Step 10: Learn from the process. No one wants to see a PR crisis pop up, but I promise you one thing: no matter how things go, you will learn something valuable. Everything you learn will help your company understand how to avoid future crisis and will help you to efficiently managing your next crisis. Take what you’ve learned and apply the next time you have a fire to extinguish.
Optional Step 11—Unwind. I usually like to include a step 11, because just like a volume dial on a guitar amp, 11 tips are better than 10.  My step 11 is to have a beer or glass of wine and wind down. You should choose your own form of relaxation, perhaps a jog or a massage? I try very hard to not make this step 1, no matter how tempting it might be.

The PR crisis steps can be complicated, especially when you take into account that you need to move very quickly in a crisis. Always aim to get through step 10 in hours, not days – faster if possible. Have you tried a similar process? What has worked, or not worked for you?

So I’m not a real fireman, but I like to tell my kids that if I worked in a firehouse I’d be the chief. They still don’t let me wear a fire hat in public, but they are coming around. And my local fire station won’t let me drive the fire truck – for some reason they reject my claims that I’m an extension of their team and have asked me to stop dropping by…  oh, well, at least the Dalmatian likes me. I guess I’ll stick to PR and leave the real fires to the experts.

Harness the Power of User Generated Content

As the saying goes “your brand is what people say about you,” and in today’s interconnected world our audience has a lot to say! Due to the influence of word of mouth, our audience has gained more power over our brand than ever before, but instead of running for the hills, let’s make the most of user generated content to help build our brand.

Harness User Generated Content to Increase Brand Awareness

User generated content is particularly useful in raising brand awareness and drawing in new customers during the discovery stage of the sales funnel. Video camera manufacturer GoPro is one brand that has benefited from user generated content and used this to reach a wider audience by showing us the versatility of their cameras as they are put to the test by their customers.

Harness User Generated Content to Build Brand Trust

Endorsements from peers are an influential tool in building brand trust. Our audience is more likely to trust messages coming from their peers than from our own marketing or sales department. Social media monitoring tools (such the ones we offer here at Meltwater) enable us to cut through the noise and zero-in on positive user generated content that we can then promote in our communications. Reviews and forum comments are a great source of user generated content. They also show that our brand is transparent. As a result, customer reviews and comments are key factors in driving purchase intent. Addressing negative comments is also a great way to rebuild trust as it shows that we’re genuine about our brand promise and committed to responsive customer service.

Harness User Generated Content for Storytelling

We’re most likely to warm to a brand that we feel we have a personal connection to. What better way to create a connection than through the authentic voices of our customers. Phone network provider Three ran a campaign apologising for holiday spam. The #holidayspam ads are humorous, relevant, and creative. Moreover, the fact that the campaign has an obvious and fitting hashtag gives the audience a reason to engage and contribute to the story, which keeps Three’s bank of user generated content growing and growing.

Measuring user generated content

What constitutes the successful application of user generated content in marketing? That depends on our goals. For example if we’re trying to build storytelling into our brand, then the use of images showing how our customers make our product their own aligns well to our stragtegy. But what about the kinds of hard numbers that our executives love? The use of media intelligence tools to benchmark our brand’s share of voice, sentiment, and reach allows us to quantify and visualise campaigns featuring user generated content.

What are your best examples of user generated content? Let us know in the box below!

When is the Best Time to Post on Social Media? – INFOGRAPHIC

“When is the best time to post on social media?” This is one of the most common questions in social media circles, and with so many apps out there to pre-schedule content, it’s a good one to answer when you’re setting your content marketing strategy and calendar.

Now our overall answer to the question on everyone’s lips, “when is the best time to post on social”, would be that engagement for your own target audience may occur at times that differ from any back-of-the-napkin social media timing guide; at the end of the day, the best time to post on social media is when your target audience is most likely to respond.  There are some helpful apps out there that can help you figure out how to optimize your content marketing (other than the native apps): SocialFlow, for example, analyzes your audience’s interests to help you understand what sort of content is going to do best, and when.

Our own Jen Picard wrote a thoughtful post on the best time to post on Facebook (and how to find the right time for your brand), but the folks over at Fannit put together an infographic that’s a good rule-of-thumb for folks who need to just get the content flowing.

If you have any insights as to the best time to post on social media, feel free to share them in the comment field below.

How to Start a Conversation on Social and Increase Brand Engagement

The secret to a successful social media strategy is flirting. Yes, flirting! Only in this case, lines like “So, do you come here often?” aren’t the ones lead to increased brand engagement.

We often talk about how we need to be social on social media in order to increase brand engagement. So how do we break the ice and start a conversation? Even the most extroverted among us face big challenges in creating brand engagement. The obstacles standing between us and brand engagement include:

  1. Google and Facebook’s ongoing algorithm tweaks, which decrease organic reach
  2. Multiple competitors all vying for the same audience
  3. The ever decreasing attention spans of social media users

Conversations should be designed

There are typically three ways we can spark up a conversation on social: by joining an existing conversation, by asking questions, and by sharing topical news to encourage people to to share an opinion or ask a question of their own. Any of these strategies can lead to high levels of brand engagement.

Join relevant conversations

For conversations to be meaningful, they must be relevant. Small talk is awkward, but if we have something valuable to say then the conversation can be anything but. Social media monitoring tools can help us find those customers, prospects, and influencers speaking about our industry. We can then join relevant conversations and boost brand engagement. Alternatively a hashtag search on Twitter is also a great way of discovering relatable chatter.

Example entry points into existing conversations (plus follow-up questions):

  • We disagree, what about _____. Have you considered this?
  • Great article, ____ is particularly interesting. This got me thinking, what are your thoughts on ____?

Ask thought provoking questions to boost brand engagement

A community member who retweets content that we’ve posted offers the perfect chance to increase brand engagement by simply asking them questions about the article. If we show an interest in them and their ideas, chances are they will show an interest in us.

Example questions to use:

  • What’s your #1 goal to achieve in ______ this year?
  • What do you think the future holds for _____?

Share up-to-date industry news and trends

By keeping up to date with industry news, we can zero in plug into trending conversations that are taking place in the moment. It’s called news hijacking. Sign up for a news curation service or share stories found via a social media monitoring tool to remain relevant. By asking questions about the article, we can gain insight into what our audience thinks about a particular topic and increase brand engagement at the same time. Moreover, sharing our own thoughts enables us to flex our muscles and demonstrate our expertise, thus confirming our position in the market.

Example question:

  • What’s your biggest question mark over ______? We’ll try and answer it.
  • What’s the most insightful article you’ve read this week?