It’s no secret that 20% of new businesses fail within the first 2 years. That number jumps to 45% by the five-year mark. It’s scary for an entrepreneur out there. How do you prevent your dream from becoming nothing more than a statistical memory for the SBA?
If business is struggling, its due to a lack of customers and clients. To do well, you need more clients. The most obvious conclusion is to find them by spending money on Facebook Ads to find more customers. Sadly, I’ve seen that hurt more entrepreneurs than it’s helped. You throw some money behind a pretty graphic and hope for the best. Facebook takes your money, but the sales still elude you.
It’s frustrating. Confusing, and so discouraging. Why? I get asked this question a lot. Why aren’t my ads working?
If you truly are in the stage where you need to run ads to grow, I have an article specifically on how to fix them, but before you jump over there – give this post a shot. Because unknown to many people, before you can get your Facebook ads to work – you first have to look a little closer to home – at your organic growth strategy.
Why spend money when you get get what you want for free?
Your business page is a powerful tool that connects complete strangers to your message. But like any computer, it makes those decisions based on the information you give it. When your’e first starting out, your business has 2 components. The startup phase is from 6-9 months, and following that is the sustaining phase. This is when most business owners discover that starting a business and maintaining a business need two very different skillsets.
During the startup phase, sales are considerably easier because your immediate community of friends and family enthusiastically support you. At the the 6-9 month mark, your business changes:
- Your current community of friends and family members have by this point bought the bulk of what need from you. They’re moving into maintenance mode. They’ll buy an item here, an item there, but aren’t flocking to spend all their discretionary money with you.
- Your business has gone from new hotness to a staple in their lives, so they aren’t promoting you as enthusiastically as before.
- Now you need to find new customers from outside your immediate circle. To find these new customers, you’ll use the same techniques on them as you did on your friends and family, but it doesn’t work because this group of people don’t know, like, or trust you.
The result is that you aren’t seeing organic results. Because you believe it’s a reach issue, using Facebook Ads seemingly makes sense. It’s not a reach issue, it’s a trust issue. With a small change in your tactics, you can learn how to grow your organic engagement, and then put money behind the content that works to amplify your results. For that, lets go over the content creation issues that holds back 90% of my clients.
A hashtag is a keyword phrase, spelled out without spaces, with a pound sign (#) in front of it. For example, #InboundHour and #ChocolateLovers are both hashtags. You can put them anywhere in a post, and traditionally the more you use, the more likely it is that your posts will be seen.
Except on Facebook. On Instagram or Twitter, the number and variety of hashtags influences how many people see your post and engage. On Facebook though, according to Agorapulse, they do have a slightly positive impact on reach and a commanding impact on engagement, they need additional support from you to work. However many business owners aren’t sure what they’re for, so will overload their posts with hashtags to gain organic reach and interest, which ends up being a bust, since that’s not how the system works.
To make hashtags truly work for you, use less than 5, and ensure that they are relevant to your target audience and their keywords.
How Facebook Connects organically Content to People
So if we don’t use hashtags to find more people on the platform, what do we use? Facebook is much more like Google. It uses the text written in each post to determine what the post is about. It ignores “stop” words because they are so common, there’s no way to connect them to one particular person or interest. For example, if I say I like Golden Girls, that’s a specific interest. I also like breathing. That’s not very specific because everyone likes breathing. That doesn’t make me unique, so if I wrote a post about breath, it doesn’t really tell Facebook who to show my content to. For Facebook to show my content to the right people, I need to give it information to know who those right people are.
Maximize your ogranic reach by using descriptive text in your engagement posts. Don’t say, “love today, happy to be on vacation! #vacationtime!” instead say, “Camping is my absolute favorite thing to do! This is us right before we head out for a hike along the river, then some fishing! Man being on vacation is the best!” This gives Facebook the opportunity to determine who in your group likes fishing, hiking, and/or camping. This means that if they’re in your group or follow your page, they’re more likely to see it.
The issue you run into if you create Facebook ads without solving this problem is that you’ll pay to have your content shown to less people since you don’t know who they are, or the keywords to attract them.
5 Ways to Grow Your Organic Reach
- Your critical first step is to know who your customers are. If you haven’t created your target audience profile yet, this is where you must start. Every other aspect of your business will struggle without this information. Though this change may seem small, it is an enormous step. It’s like replacing vodka with water before exercising. It’s one change, but will have an enormous impact.
- When creating posts, use a variety of tools. Don’t just use all the hashtags. Pick 3-5, and make sure they are relevant to your post and your audience.
- Don’t rely on only image/post type posts. Use a variety of posts, polls, graphics, video, lists, memes all in alignment with your audience.
- Include keywords relevant to the content to ensure that it’s shown to the right people
- Always refer back to your audience insights to see what’s working. If you aren’t looking at the data to see what works and what isn’t you’re driving around in the dark with no headlights.
Want feedback on your post specifically? Need a coach to look over your content and give you feedback? You can in the Social Strategy Squad. Save hundreds of dollars and thousands of wasted hours by leveraging the power of crowdsourcing. For as little as $14.99 a month, you can get on demand feedback and coaching for your entire business and completely eliminate the anxiety of the unknown because you have access to an on demand library of business awesome.
Once you’ve tried all of this, and you’re ready to get started with Facebook Ads, check out my Facebook Ads Without Tears mini-course that will show you how to create your first high converting ad in 5 days!
Let me know what you think!
Did you know you can comment as your Business Page or yourself? When you do, it will automatically put your comment in your feed as a post! A quick and easy way to get content for your audience.