Here’s a scenario that might feel familiar: You come up with a great promotion or new holiday design, create a cute photo, write a snappy caption and post everything to Facebook — only to hear… crickets. No comments or shares. No hearts. Maybe a like from one of your designers. Don’t worry. You aren’t alone.
The digital marketing firm BuzzSumo recently reported that the average number of engagements — likes, comments, shares — created by brands and publishers has fallen by more than 20 percent since January 2017. What’s behind the drop-off? The sheer popularity of the site means that any given user could be seeing up to 1,500 stories on his or her feed. Even more important, algorithm changes on the site have made organic posts less effective.
“On average, only 1 to 6 percent of people who like your page are seeing your organic posts,” according to Crystal Vilkaitis of Social Edge. That means it’s becoming more important for companies to engage in paid advertising on Facebook if they want to be seen.
But there is one workaround for retailers looking to score improved organic reach — and it’s a tool tailor-made for promoting holiday events and merchandise: Turn the camera on yourself.
“Free reach still exists,” Vilkaitis told a crowd of about 70 floral industry members earlier this month at the Society of American Florists’ 1-Day Profit Blast in Louisville, Kentucky. “The best way to get it is Facebook Live videos.”
There are many reasons Live videos create waves that text/photo posts don’t, she added. Videos tend to be more popular online and, during Live videos, followers can comment in real time. Facebook notices when that happens.
“If your post becomes popular within 30 minutes of publishing it —meaning you are seeing more people commenting than your normal post activity — Facebook with story bump the video,” ensuring that even more users see it, Vilkaitis explained.
Ready to roll Facebook Live videos into your marketing plan? Vilkaitis has suggestions:
- Be consistent. Let customers know ahead of time that you’ll be going live and consider having a standing live broadcast — every Monday at 10 a.m., for example.
- Be professional-ish. You’re a small-business owner, not a video star, and that’s OK. In Louisville, Vilkaitis mentioned an example of a regional pet store owner, who took to Facebook Live to announce a rebranding effort. At the beginning of the video, viewers heard the employee manning the smartphone whisper, “OK! And, go!”— an off-screen cue that only humanized the effort.
- Be interactive. Ask viewers for comments and reply to comments and questions as they post. Don’t forget: People love to hear their names. Mention people by name as they comment. (“Great question, Sue!” “Nice to hear from you, Jim!”)
Get additional tips and ideas on how to use Live to promote your business, including practical suggestions on checking your connection before you go live, topics and ideas to cover and even how to sign off memorably (hint: Don’t just turn off the video without saying good-bye.).