Written by: Courtney Duke Graves
Social media has changed the game of self-marketing in many ways. It’s evened the playing field for small business owners by allowing them to compete for advertising/markets with the same free or low-cost entry price as their larger competitors. It’s taken the knowledge gap out of web design, making it so that everybody’s content is displayed in the same set of pre-designed, easy-to-use templates, so that people who aren’t programming gurus still have a chance for their voice to be heard. One may even argue that it has brought the world closer together by increasing democracy and promoting the free market of ideas, giving a voice to the little guys and bringing awareness to issues in foreign countries that otherwise wouldn’t catch the attention of mainstream news organizations.
These same benefits, however, can also turn against a page admin if he or she doesn’t know how to use social media properly. Facebook adjusts its algorithm periodically, making it difficult to say what will get your post seen by the most people. They do this on purpose: the less you know how to raise an audience yourself, the more inclined you’ll be to pay them money to “boost” your posts or purchase online ads. That’s not a bad option for certain instances, but before you do that, here’s a few (cost-free) tips on how to raise your audience on Facebook, in both post likes/shares and page follows:
1. Stick to a consistent posting schedule.
The time of day your posts are published can have a dramatic effect on who sees them. You want your post to be seen — and hopefully reacted to — by as many people as possible in the first hour; after that, more recent posts by your competitors will begin to take priority.
Try publishing important posts at noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, and at noon and 3 p.m. on weekends. Social media sites generally see the most traffic when people are taking their lunch breaks or just getting out of school/work/church. Whatever times you choose, try to be somewhat consistent, so followers can know when to expect new content from you.
2. Plan your posts ahead of time.
Facebook also gives you the option to create your posts ahead of time and schedule them to publish at future days/times. (Keep in mind, this is only for public/business pages. You can’t schedule posts on a personal account.) To access this feature, go to your page and click “Publishing Tools” and then “Scheduled Posts.” After that, you can draft your post as normal and set a time and day for it to go live. If you can manage to get your content together a little ahead of time, and get all your posts for the week schedules in one 15-minute session, you can spend less time on social media and more time creating. Also, if you’re going to be away from a computer for an extended period of time, this can help you keep your page content relevant and save you a major headache.
3. “Farm” likes to harvest followers.
This is another feature specifically for page admins. When a post on your page gets reactions, click to see who specifically liked or shared the post. Beside their name, there should be a button to individually invite each one of them to follow your page.
General advertising/public relations advice tells you an average person needs to see something at least three times before they’ll remember it or act on it. Even if your page has name recognition, people will often need to see one or two posts that interest them before they’ll consider following you. Your invitation after they’ve liked or shared something may be the last part of the three-part formula to get them to make a commitment. Facebook will notify you when someone accepts your invitation, and also keep track of who you’ve already invited, so you don’t annoy people. This will give you much more favorable results than simply spamming everyone you see to follow you.
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