How To Use Facebook in 2018: New Strategies & Lessons Learned
Waaaay back in the beginning of 2017, I wrote a blog on using Facebook in 2017 and my 4-part strategy to get the most out of the platform.
The free Facebook Group workbook I included was my most downloaded free opt-in for the entire year, which tells me 2 things:
- People still love free workbooks that are actually helpful!
- A lot of you struggle with how to use Facebook (use it well, that is).
Here we are a year later, and in true digital marketing fashion, so much has changed!
I'm going to break down the lessons I've learned, how well (or not) I implemented my strategy, and what I'm changing moving forward into 2018.
I'm also going to address "Facebook Zero" - the recent announcement my Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook business pages that you MUST KNOW about if you have any hope of still using the platform successfully for your business.
My content strategy and analysis of my previous content posted on Facebook showed that my audience (and the FB algorithm) preferred funny and entertaining posts vs. industry news and updates.
Bringing more levity to my page definitely worked! My site traffic showed an increase in referrals from Facebook (although Pinterest was still my #1 source).
I struggled with consistency as I stopped using a 3rd-party scheduler and scheduled right within Facebook (more on this later). But there was a direct correlation between consistency and site traffic - if you needed any reminders about how closely those two metrics are related!
At some point in 2017, Facebook announced that it was putting more of a focus on community building (i.e. Facebook Groups).
We saw the platform add lots of admin functions - like group insights - that clearly let us know Facebook wants us to use Groups to build our communities.
I originally said in my previous blog post that was going to participate in only 4 groups, including my own, so I could really focus on getting to know people better in my chosen groups.
...best laid plans, as they say...
Wins: I did take my Rockstar Solopreneurs Group to a new level with consistency and education. I was able to run my free Office Hours every week almost without fail and added more members than the previous years combined.
Adding members was directly related to actually promoting my group in emails, opt-in thank you pages, and webinar/training registrations (it all works together people!!),
I found myself mostly sticking to the same, comfortable, high-value groups - where I did really get to know people and build relationships (so INFJ of me).
Losses: I could not for the life of me stay consistent with participating in other groups (which could be high-value but I just don't know) because I couldn't get beyond the time-commitment of simply link-dropping.
Link-dropping is what people do when they only participate in a group promo post - like an invitation to drop your latest blog post - and do not participate in any other way.
I don't do it, I hate when other people do it, and when people in my group do it (which happens rarely), they fall to the bottom of my time and attention radar.
I attempted to come up with a spreadsheet documenting all the groups I wanted to participate in and their weekly prompts - but failed to keep up with it or connect it with actual reminders.
Part of this is because I time/task block my week, so if a group's prompt is on Thursday and my time for Group engagement is on Monday, I have a hard time getting to it.
I am going to take another crack at this in 2018 and see if I can come up with a better system to authentically participate in more Facebook Groups - especially in light of the recently announced Facebook Page changes (keep reading for more of that).
If building and participating in Facebook Group communities is part of your plan for your business in 2018 (it should be), make sure you grab my free workbook - The Ultimate Facebook Group Swipe File!
Video was the cornerstone of my Facebook strategy in 2017 and was where I really excelled. I consistently did Office Hours in my group via Facebook Live. After each video, I would download it in order to re-purpose the content (key for content strategy!!).
I like to give my Rockstar Solopreneurs first access to information as their exclusive benefit, but there is one problem with that...
When you have a closed group, you cannot just share the content on your public Facebook Page.
My solution to this was to do a shorter, key points version of my Office Hours on my Facebook Page after my Group video, and direct people over to my group for more info (2 birds - 1 stone).
I also played with doing more videos on my Facebook Page as a way to promote the webinars and launch events I did in 2017. I found this worked much better than simply posting images or links - although I know I can do better and I'm taking this up a notch in 2018.
I also created videos for most of my lead funnels on the opt-in pages.
While I didn't start this until later in 2017, the conversion stats I'm seeing are great, so it's a strategy I'm sticking with.
Overall, video will continue to be my key strategy on Facebook (and the connected marketing that goes with it) in 2018.
Facebook Ads were my final piece of the 4-part strategy I laid out for 2017.
Let's just say that was a mixed bag...
When I laid out my strategy for the year, Lead Gen ads had just been announced and were hot, hot, hot in marketing circles.
In true digital marketing fashion, it wasn't long before chat bots became a thing, Ads Manager went through big changes, and on and on.
Quite frankly, I couldn't keep up.
I had two, very different experiences with Facebook Ads to launch one of my business products in 2017.
The first was in April/May around a previous social media masterclass/group program. I invested serious cash (for me, at least) in Facebook Ads and saw a decent return on investment.
So in September/October I did the same thing...
And it all flopped - like I lost all the money I invested in that round of Facebook Ads and didn't sign up a single student.
Other online businesses and creative entrepreneurs all around me were having similar experiences and everyone was talking about how the price of Facebook Ads had skyrocketed.
There were MANY factors that led to that launch flopping - not just a change in Facebook Ads - but it was enough for me to swear off paying for Ads for the foreseeable future.
More on Ads strategy in 2018 below...
On January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg dropped a serious bomb on anyone that uses Facebook Pages for their business.
But this announcement does not come as a surprise to anyone that's been paying attention in the marketing world.
Here is the gist of what he said:
- Content from businesses, brands and media are crowding out people's personal feeds and they are going to squash that.
- Passively reading articles and watching videos (*note he does not say Facebook Lives) "even if they're entertaining or informative" are not helping people to connect with each other.
- You will see more in your News Feed from friends, families, and GROUPS.
- They are going to encourage ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT (i.e. Live Videos), vs passive experiences (i.e. watching a video - uploaded, not Live - reading news or getting a page update)
Social Media Examiner did a great summary/assessment of the announcement.
Social Media Examiner is widely considered the authority on all things social media marketing - so I take this advice more seriously.
WHAT NOT TO DO ON FACEBOOK ANYMORE:
STOP SCHEDULING VIA 3RD PARTY APPS!!
If you do schedule posts, do it within Facebook.
If your posts get little to no interaction, stop posting.
Don't post multiple times a day - you're clogging the News Feed and Facebook will penalize you.
STOP ENAGEMENT BAITING.
This means typing things like "Win, Share, Comment" - this will hurt you!
Stop linking out to blog posts, articles, etc. Facebook wants to you stay on platform is at the crux of this.
There is sure to be lots more as this develops!
You can be sure I'll be chatting about it on my Business Page as this rolls out!
Facebook is serious about Live videos - do it or don't get your content seen.
I am far more comfortable doing Lives in my Facebook Group because I feel like that's my tribe, but that's going to change.
I will be doing a Facebook Live on my Business Page once a week or more (even if my mother-in-law watches and makes comments).
I will not be posting links to my blogs - I will be talking about the blog in a Live and linking the the blog in the comments.
I am using Be.Live to schedule Lives and to enable more of a "teaching" vibe with screen-sharing and guest experts.
I will be strategically coming back to my Lives after the broadcast to interact with comments (over the course of a day or two) - this bumps your Live video back up in the News Feed.
Groups remain a key component of Facebook's direction and my (now 2-part) strategy.
I will be making more time and effort to interact authentically and set up a system for such in more Groups than my own and more core couple of Groups.
I will continue to market my Rockstar Solopreneurs Group in everything I do.
Two options for further marketing OFF Facebook that I am considering are upping my LinkedIn and YouTube game.
If I can't publish blogs on Facebook anymore, they'll go on LinkedIn.
Since you can now put videos on LinkedIn, I will re-purpose my Live videos to go on both LinkedIn and YouTube.
I'll be tweaking and refining my systems for each of these over the next couple of months.
In short - I'm not going to do them. There are a few reasons why:
I have spent the last year switching my paid products to evergreen instead of launch style. Pinterest Ads are perfect for evergreen content and they provide a FAR BETTER return on investment and are much lower cost than Facebook Ads.
I now focus my services and product on Pinterest Management and Promoted Pins, so I really know what I'm doing over there. This might simply be a case of not knowing how to use Facebook Ads as effectively, but I have neither the time nor the capital to figure that out this year.
I am a solopreneur and I can't afford to lose my ass on Facebook Ads again. This might change in the future, but for now that's too great a risk for me.
Until Facebook rolls out this update and gets the feedback they need to make further decisions about the future of Business Pages, I can't devote the time or the learning curve and expense required.
Overall, I feel like this update and the changes I'm make for my own strategy are actually a really good thing.
I love teaching, and doing more Facebook Lives are a fun and effective way for me to do that.
I love my Facebook Groups, and not spending the time pushing out content on my Business Page will give me more time to participate in more Groups.
I'd love to know your thoughts over in my group. It's all about digital marketing and online business and we have tons of fun in there - plus our gif-game is ON POINT.
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Hey hey, I'm Cara - Pinterest marketing evangelist and lover of all things Squarespace website design. I team up with online entrepreneurs to get tons of website traffic into sales funnels (marketing speak for getting eyeballs on your website and turning them into customers).
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