Facebook connects more than 40 million people and still feels like an opportunity for communicators – but it’s one that is often hard to see how to get the most from with limited organic reach, more communication happening in Messenger and a suspicion that it’s those with a budget who can get the best results.

Perhaps you feel it’s a platform where ‘you have to be’ but you’re not quite sure it’s getting you the results you want, or maybe you’ve had good reach and engagement in the past but are seeing it dwindle with every algorithm change, or maybe you want to get better at customer service through the platform, or you’ve wondered how to reach the people who aren’t already engaged with you (as well as battling to be seen by those who do).

For just one platform communicators can have a lot of tactical questions about how to get the most from it – and while there’s loads of info out there it’s hard to put it all together and start working the plan before something new comes along.

Why Facebook is still a vital part of your comms mix

Dan Slee blogged recently on why Facebook is a platform you still need to take notice of. Yes, the data breaches and worries over privacy have caused a change in the way many view the platform but it hasn’t halted it’s reign online. In Dan’s post he pulls out how around 65% of the UK population is on the platform, how the number of users is growing, how it’s a good platform on which to reach the over 55s, and how it is vital in local communications and for local media.

But while user numbers and audiences look great for public and third sector engagement rates are low – a survey from RivalIQ showed that across all industries engagement on Facebook posts is down to an average of 0.9%. This is down from an average of around 3% just a few years ago and means that only a small fraction of people who’ve already engaged with you on the platform are engaging with your content now.

The people are on the platform, but reaching and engaging with them is harder than ever.

Do I have to pay to be seen on Facebook now?

Organic posts – those you don’t pay for – on Facebook make up the bulk of what public sector organisations do on the platform. From their page they’ll share links to content, videos, images and more – but more often than not the reach of these posts is a fraction of their audience and as the RivalHQ report shows the engagement is even lower. It feels to many as if Facebook has throttled performance on organic posts to push organisations toward paying for Ads to get the results they once achieved for free.

However, there’s still ways on the platform to get the results you want with organic content. This comes down to crafting content which connects with your audience, and joining the conversations where they’re happening. For this second part that is unlikely to be around your Page but more likely in the goldmine of Groups for your local area, or around a shared interest. How you find and join these conversations matters, and the content you put out on your own Page should support that activity.

Perhaps too some of the communication has moved to Messenger, and while this might again feel like a dead end for communicators there are ways to make use of ‘dark social’ to engage your audience, build your reputation, and deliver in areas like customer service.

But you might also want to consider paying – and if you’ve got a tiny budget you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best result for your spend. This is unlikely to happen with in-page Boosted posts. While it’s the most obvious way to put a bit of money behind the post unless ‘awareness’ is your only outcome you’ll want to get to grips with the better options available through Ads Manager. Not only can putting a small amount of money on posts help you with Reach but it can help you find an elusive audience – those who haven’t already engaged with you.

Vital Facebook Skills workshops

To help you maximise the results of your efforts on Facebook Dan Slee and I have put together a new Vital Facebook Skills workshop which will take you through how you can best use content, Groups, Messenger, and Ads for your organisation.

There’s four opportunities to come along and get the insight and practical skills update – Manchester, London, Belfast, and Edinburgh – and you can get all the details here.

The workshops will help you understand what Facebook offers to your organisation and how to get the most of your activity as well as dispelling some of the myths around the lesser-used areas of Messenger and Ads. We’ll set you up so however you’re using the platform with your organisation your time and your money is well spent. Join us on one of the dates here.

Work with me

If you’d like to find out how I might be able to help you create communications which connect book in for a free, no obligation, 15-min phone call to talk through your current challenge or get in touch in one of the other ways. Want to find out more about who I’ve worked with recently? Head this way.

Original source – Sarah Lay

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