I recently had a marketing revelation, one of those ‘of course!’ forehead-slapping moments that just have to be shared with others.
It happened while listening to a content marketing webinar by Joe Pulizzi, who was presenting on how to get the most from your blog and social media posts. As he started talking about social media marketing, I started zoning out, naïvely thinking I’d learned everything I needed to know.
Then he pointed out something so blindingly obvious that it made me sit up, take notice, and rethink my entire social media approach. Are you ready for it? Here it is:
You do not own your social media community – they still belong to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And unless you convert them, you are building your audience on rented land.
Lessons from Facebook
As we found out back in 2014, Facebook can move the algorithm goal posts whenever they like and depending on the behaviour of their 1.3 billion users. When their research revealed people didn’t like getting so many promotional style posts in their news feeds, Facebook decided to reduce the reach of business pages.
Which means that today, (as Joe pointed out in his webinar), you could be Starbucks with 36 million likes, but under the new algorithm each post will only have an organic (non-paid) reach of 5% of the audience.
Claim your social media audience
So right now, the audience you’ve built up on social media? You’ve got no way of contacting them should your access to them ever be revoked. How do you protect yourself against this? You need to start using social media as a gateway to your business.
Here are three simple ideas for starters.
1. Facebook newsletter sign-up
Newsletters are the best way to regularly communicate with your customers. A newsletter serves as a friendly little reminder of your existence in a customer’s inbox, keeping you top of mind until the time is right. If you don’t have one yet, check out programs like MailChimp (free up to 2000 subscribers) for an easy way to start.
Helpfully, Facebook recently introduced a ‘Sign Up’ box for business pages so you can link people from your Facebook page directly to your newsletter sign-up page. It’s easy to set up and is the most direct way to start converting your Facebook community.
2. Link back to your website
Make sure that a good proportion (at least 50%) of your social media posts link back to your website – this is where having a blog or ‘news’ section on your website is incredibly useful. The longer people dwell on your website the better, so take the time to make your content useful and compelling.
3. Give them a reason
Use social media posts to tempt your audience into create an account or signing up to your newsletter. It could be a discount or access to an offer only for Facebook customers.
Another idea is to offer in-depth information linked to your business. It could be in the form of an e-book or presentation from a platform like Slide Share that will arrive in a customer’s inbox only after sign up. An educational tool like this will also mean you’ll gain recognition as a trusted authority in your field.
Use these tips to start taking control of your social media audience and you won’t be left at the mercy of the Facebook algorithm game.
Got any tips for converting your social media audience to your turf?