After years of managing Facebook pages, the number one mistake I see business owners make is advertising on Facebook.
We’re business owners! We HAVE to advertise our products and services!
I hear you! Once upon a time, Facebook pages allowed you to do that – with no catch! However, that’s not how today’s algorithm works. Posting links in organic posts lowers your reach and using language like “buy here” or “sign up” is considered promotional in nature to the algorithm.
So yes, you need to advertise your products, but remember, you can’t convince someone to purchase a product or service unless they are emotionally attached to it. People buy things from people they know, from those others recommend to them, and from those they trust. It’s time to switch up your strategy and sell – without selling!
So how do you “sell” without selling as a small business owner?
Use social media to build relationships. You can learn how in my free guide to social media for military-focused entrepreneurs. In the military community, this is slightly easier than building a relationship online with potential clients. Every Permanent Change of Station (PCS) allows a milfamily to meet new people and grow their network of friends from all over the world. Social media provides a similar outlet, but since you are unable to meet them in person, you need to stand out from all the noise to build that connection and commonality.
I have found that building relationships is most successful through content creation and thought-leadership. Networking online is also key to success in a small business because word-of-mouth is your biggest weapon (Hint: Use LinkedIn!).
Facebook is an important part of that strategy, but recent algorithm changes (hellooooo fake news algorithm change in December 2016) have made it increasingly difficult to get your posts seen by followers on the platform. So how do you combat it?
Worry less about getting ALL your followers to see your posts and worry more about getting the followers you DO have seeing your content to engage with it. When your target audience engages with content, it shows up in their friends’ news feeds. Their friends may also be your target audience and through engagement of another, you are now able to reach them. In other words, more engagement means more views…and that means more opportunities to sell a product, offer advice, and connect with your followers.
To do this successfully, you must be able to pinpoint the specific niche and target audience you want to have on your page. Once you begin attracting that type of client to your page, it’s important to understand all their needs and pain points – then solve those problems. When you do, your laser-focused content will be a sure-fire match for them.
Your mission over the next week (should you choose to accept it…and I would, just saying 😉 …) is to list out your target audience. Be specific – age, gender, price point, location, likes/dislikes, etc.
Then, list three ways you could meet their needs. Is it a blog? A graphic that asks them questions to encourage input? Is it a contest that helps them solve a problem with a product/service?
The more focused your mindset is, the easier it is to find not just any audience, but an audience that will find value in what you offer. As a result, your engagement will naturally improve as you meet their needs. More engagement can eventually bring you more clients and purchasers.
How can you beat Facebook’s algorithm? Play Facebook’s algorithm game! Use it to be social and build relationships, without posting sales-y information. Be present. Be a thought-leader. Provide great content. Find the right audience. Then, talk to them. Those conversations can become eventual purchasing conversations.
Want to join a community of military spouse and veteran entrepreneurs just like you? Gain advice and tips on marketing and social media for those in the military community here!
Jenny Hale is a marketing and social media consultant, coach, and teacher for military spouse and veteran business owners. Nicknamed “The Military Social Media Guru,” she uses her background working with military non-profits, corporate companies, the Army, and as an entrepreneur to help others struggling to meet their business dreams. With the goal of bridging the gap between the military community’s marketing efforts to civilians and vice versa, Jenny works to make an entrepreneur’s vision come to life. You can follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.