Three Ways You're Wasting Your Time on Facebook : The Maker's Business Toolkit

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.

1️⃣ Posting to Facebook as a way to send cold 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.

2️⃣ 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.

 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.

If you’re going to boost a post, don’t just boost something random. Use boosting for your promotions or events or when you talk about your lead magnet. 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 need to target people by their interests, which is why it’s so important to build up a profile of your best customers and start to think about the other things that they enjoy buying and doing, and the people they are likely to follow online.

The key to success with any advertising is to make your targeting as good as possible so that you pay less, because you’re not wasting money putting your adverts in front of people who aren’t interested.

Social media ads are fast moving and the price changes all the time, depending on who else is buying advertising at any given moment. So you can expect that you will have to use some of your budget on testing and experimenting until you know what works well. But if you start from something so broad as everyone who likes “Art” you’ll spend a lot of money. Having at least a starting point for the things your best customers like, will help you to learn for the least amount possible.

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.

I'm Nicola Taylor

I’m the founder of Maker’s Business Toolkit and I help artists, makers, and handmade business owners to make more money with less stress.

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