Three Ways You’re Wasting Your Time on Facebook

You’re probably wasting a lot of time on Facebook. And, no, I don’t mean by watching cute animal videos and scrolling through your frenemies’ photostream. Who really does that anyway? *ahem*

If you’re doing any of these three things you’re wasting time with your Facebook marketing too.

1. POSTING TO FACEBOOK AS A WAY TO GENERATE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE.

WHY IS THIS A WASTE OF YOUR TIME?

Nobody really knows Facebook’s organic reach number but estimates put it somewhere around 1-2% (at best). This means that for every hundred followers your page has, 1 or 2 will see any given post.

If we assume that your online store’s conversion rate is about normal at 1% (so 1% of all visitors will make a purchase), this means you would need to have a Facebook following of 5000 to 10,000 people in order to make one sale from a single Facebook post.

And that assumes that everyone who sees the post clicks on it and goes through to your website.

If we assume that only 10% of people who see your post click on it, then you would need to have 50,000 to 100,000 followers in order to get just ONE sale.

When we look at the numbers we can see that this is not a great use of our time. Certain strategies like live video streaming or uploading native video, linking in the comments or asking for shares might increase your organic reach in the short term but gaming Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t seem like a sustainable strategy for your business when Facebook have made it clear that they expect businesses to pay to use the site.

WHAT YOU CAN DO INSTEAD.

I’m not suggesting that you stop posting organically altogether but, as a single person business, I believe that you shouldn’t spend a lot of time on an activity where you are unlikely to get much of a return. Automating your posts may be a reasonable compromise for a lot of businesses.

You can use a social media scheduler like Buffer, Hootsuite or Social Pilot to schedule your day to day posts or highlight some of your products. This frees up some time for you to get on with other more high value activities like creating promotions and designing new products.

2.  SHARING OTHER ARTISTS’ POSTS ON YOUR PAGE.

WHY IS THIS A WASTE OF YOUR TIME?

This is a bit of a tricky one because we all want to support each other and promote each other’s businesses but posting random promotions and competitions on your page is confusing to your customers and is probably diluting your brand, especially if you simply share posts without any explanation. Your customers may think your account has been hacked or they may simply feel less convinced that you are a genuine business (which is always a risk for us when our customers only meet us online.)
Sharing artwork from curated sites like MyModernMet, Colossal and BoredPanda can sometimes work well but you need to carefully consider why your customers are visiting you on Facebook and what they want to receive from you.

If they are looking to you as a curator of tastes and styles and someone who can show them something new, then great. If the specific content you share is very much aligned with what your customers are interested in, then great.

But don’t simply share things that are of interest to you, or would be of more interest to your peers than your customers.

For example, for my photography work I know that my customers are interested in stories and fantasy or costume drama so I might share articles about the costume design or special effects in Game of Thrones but I won’t usually share photography that I think is amazing if it doesn’t fit into the right themes. That’s because my customers are coming to me for stories and escapism and they’re not necessarily as interested in photography itself as I am.

WHAT YOU CAN DO INSTEAD.

If your friends’ work is a good fit for your audience, make sure that when you share it you also explain to them why they’ll love it and what the promotion is.

This helps them to understand that you are really considering their needs and not just blasting them with anything and everything.

If your friends’ work is not a good fit for your audience, then consider forming a Facebook or Instagram pod instead. This is a group of makers who agree to like and comment on each others’ posts in order to boost organic reach on their own pages. It’s another way of helping out others makers (and getting help) without confusing your audience.

3. BOOSTING RANDOM POSTS OR CLICKING THE “PROMOTE YOUR PAGE” BUTTON

WHY IS THIS A WASTE OF YOUR TIME?

I’m a huge fan of Facebook advertising. It has helped me to sell a lot more of my products and has helped me to grow my online business so I am less dependent on craft fairs and more able to reach new people on a regular basis.

But, if it’s done without thought, Facebook advertising can be a real waste of time and money.

Facebook is happy to take your money regardless and, although they would rather you got better results (because then you keep on spending), they’re mostly focused on larger businesses and won’t be too worried if you blow through your budget with zero to show for it.

The power of Facebook advertising comes from your ability to target very specific groups of people and get in front of them in a place they’re visiting every day. If you don’t take advantage of that targeting then you’re not going to get very much out of it.

WHAT YOU CAN DO INSTEAD.

I’m going to be sharing a lot more on Facebook advertising in future posts because I think it’s very powerful but confusing and it is easy to get it wrong.

Here are a few pointers in the meantime:

If you’re going to boost a post, don’t just boost something random. Save it for your promotions or events. If you’re doing a flash sale or taking part in a big show, that’s a great time to use Facebook advertising. Create a great post with compelling text and an eye catching image and boost that.

Consider your aims in boosting the post. Do you want to reach more of your existing followers and get them to participate in your sale or come to your event? Or do you want to reach new people?

If you want to reach more of your existing followers, make sure you target only people who follow your page. But if you’re looking to find new people, you can’t simply boost your post to your followers and expect to widen your audience.

Instead you can target people by their interests and you can visit Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to get some great ideas.

For example, say you make fabulous illustrations featuring your French Bulldog and you’d like to sell more of your work. If we type “French Bulldog” into the interests section of Audience Insights, Facebook will show us some of the most popular pages related to this interest, including “Manny the Frenchie” who has over 1 million Facebook followers.

This is a great resource just for learning more about your customers and what other kinds of things they might be interested in.

For example, we can see that people who are interested in French Bulldogs are also likely to be interested in Pugs. This isn’t exactly a revelation but what’s less obvious (at least to me) is that they’re also more likely to be interested in Kat von D and Snooki from the Jersey Shore. Use this information however you will 🙂

So, when we come to create our fabulous Facebook advert promoting your French Bulldog illustrated throw pillows, you can put French Bulldog into the interests section, or you could just target people who like Manny the Frenchie’s page. The more specific and targeted you can get with your adverts the better. You might find that people who follow Manny the Frenchie are more traditional and your throw pillows are more alternative and so people who follow Miso (a French Bulldog with 210,000 followers) are a better fit.

The key to Facebook ads is testing and refining until you know what works well. But if you start from something so broad as everyone who likes “Art” you won’t be able to refine it down to the people who really care about your specific product.

We’ll have more about the magic of Facebook ads in the coming weeks because it’s a huge topic. But, in the meantime, do yourself a favour and put your organic posts on autopilot and start working on email marketing instead, where you can look forward to open rates considerably better than Facebook’s 1-2% organic reach AND readers who are more likely to click through to your website, spend more time there and are more likely to buy too.

HELLO!

I'm Nicola and I founded the Maker's Business Toolkit to help all Artists & Makers to build profitable businesses.

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