How to get organic engagement on Facebook. The million-dollar question. The holy grail of social media knowledge. The one lots of people pretend they know the answer to, but then waffle on for 5000 words leaving you none-the-wiser.
I’m going to tell you now, there isn’t an easy, one-size-fits-all answer. For it to be effective, it will vary from business to business. However, we’re going to look at some things to pay attention to, which you could add into your own strategy over time to help your engagement statistics.
Why is it hard to get organic engagement on Facebook?
Once upon a time, it was really easy for the posts you posted on your page to reach the majority of people who liked your page. In recent years, this has dropped enormously. VP of Advertising Technology for Facebook gives two big reasons for the decline in Facebook’s organic reach.
- There are over three million links shared on Facebook every single hour. THREE MILLION. Imagine how much content that is. If all of those shared by business pages got pushed out to Facebook users at once, their feeds would be utter chaos
- Facebook is all about improving user experience, and only showing the most relevant content to increase engagement. This means that only the top banana stories for each user will reach their feeds.
Your content has to be top banana.
Brian’s advice is a bit more eloquent:
“Publish great content – content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think or, in some other way, adds value to their lives.”
Basically, you’re not going to get loads of followers flocking to you just by churning out posts containing basic info about your properties.
What makes engaging Facebook content?
Think about your audience(s)
Stop thinking about what you want to say to people, and start thinking about what they want to hear. I don’t mean lie to them, I mean stop posting endless pics of properties for sale which are getting a few likes from the vendor, their family, and your staff members. This achieves diddly squat.
The audiences you have will vary depending what services you offer, but they might include:
- People thinking of becoming landlords
- First-time buyers
- Students and their parents
And some people are definitely going to belong to multiple categories. How do you cater to them all? This is where blog posts, or really superb website content comes in handy, because you can build your strategy around producing different content for different audiences.
If you’re an agent dealing with lots of students, you might offer an email checklist for things they need to take with them to Uni and some top tips. Or videos of you talking through the lettings process. Tenants might be interested in things like legislation around keeping pets, landlords will likely engage with content.
Sometimes though, you might want to keep the information separate rather than publish it all to your page directly.
An example of this we find particularly effective is sharing content with landlords which tenants might be less than thrilled about, such as legislative changes which appear to favour landlords, in a private group. Send emails to your landlords. Call them. Let them know that the group exists, and then share great content with them about things like updates to eviction processes in Covid-19 or how to maximise their rental yields.
You can also do live videos on groups, so you could do a live Q&A specifically for landlords on there. The possibilities are endless, but tailor it to them. If they’re engaged with the group content, they’ll be more engaged with what you post on your business page.
Facebook favours visual content
Facebook loves a video. Writing a long heartfelt text post doesn’t hold much weight unless it has images or videos or both attached to it. Facebook loves visual content because people love visual content, so make sure you’re mixing it up with videos and great photos to capture people’s attention and stop them from scrolling when they see it in their newsfeeds.
Top tip: If you’re creating video, always caption it. When people have their phone sound turned off, they’re likely to scroll on past videos without captions. With captions, they’ll engage with your content for longer.
If you’re not actively engaging in your local community as a business, no amount of social media will work for you.
This is one of those things that lots of digital marketers don’t tell you. It doesn’t matter how well we understand the mystical algorithms, how many posts we create a day, what time of day they go out or whether or not we use emojis.
Marketing is all about building trust. If your brand’s reputation is a great one, you’re engaged with your community, your staff visibly do stuff for local charities, you’re supporting local independent businesses by sharing their posts and giving them a signal boost to your followers – then your audience is going to be a lot easier to find.
If you don’t do any of those things, or you have a bad reputation locally people either won’t know about you, or won’t want to know about you.
Anecdote time! My Dad owns a home appliances shop in a town in Dorset. It took me years to convince him it would be great to have a Facebook page, so the minute he agreed I took to my laptop and created one. Within 24 hours, we had over 200 likes despite no effort on my part other than creating the page and sharing on to the local Facebook group.
People occasionally use it to make enquiries, but it’s become more of a hub for people to leave reviews or share the page when someone is asking for a recommendation to fix their washing machine.
It proves that it works, and digital marketing on its own isn’t an instant fix-all machine which will generate instant leads for local businesses.
Local Facebook groups
Wherever you live in the UK, and probably even globally, there is a Facebook group for where you live. This group will often contain arguments about dog mess and litter, complaints about the service in local shops, but often there will be positive stories about the local area and people asking for recommendations.
Whether you’re doing your digital marketing yourself or looking to outsource, local Facebook groups are important – join them! They’ll give you a heads up about local issues, you can share relevant things – like details of a local litter pick you might have helped organise. And of course, if someone asks something like ‘does anyone know of a two-bed property to rent which accepts dogs’, you can get right in there.
Be helpful, and people who don’t need your services now will recognise you when they do in the future!
What about ads?
Organic reach is important to pursue, but it doesn’t have to be either/ either. There are lots of marketers who shout about not needing to pay for ads, but there IS a time and a place for them as part of your social strategy.
If you’re interested in creating a strategy that includes both organic engagement and Facebook advertising to get the most of your social presence, you can read our recent posts, or watch our recent videos on Facebook advertising using the links below.