The Importance of Facebook’s Organic Reach
As of early 2020, Facebook has over 2.6 billion monthly active users. When you’re trying to promote your business, it’s a golden opportunity: if you can figure out how to get even a small percentage of those users talking about you!
You could try advertising with Facebook Ads, and probably should at some point. But there are other ways to develop an engaged following, and the only cost is your time and creativity.
It All Starts With You
By you, we mean a Facebook profile. You probably already have one, but you’ve likely developed it before you started your business and definitely post COVID-19. You wanted to keep in touch with friends and family, join interesting groups, or simply not look like you were out of the loop.
Take a look at your friend’s list. It likely consists of people you know personally or met through your favorite (for example) sports car groups. It’s a decent-sized list, but your business is about gluten-free cakes, not classic automobiles.
Time to rebrand.
When you’re a business owner who wants to develop a Facebook following, it starts with your personal profile. Swap out that profile photo of you at last season’s car show and replace it with something that reflects you and what you are now. For example:
- Your adorable niece enjoying a huge slice of gluten-free lemon loaf. (Bonus points if she’s under three and got half of it on her face.)
- You standing in the kitchen, holding a chocolate cake that would make Gordon Ramsey shut up.
- You donating a batch of baked goods to your local food bank.
- A close-up of that gluten-free cookbook you just self-published.
When you shift from being just another Facebook user to a business owner who wants to attract brand followers on Facebook, your personal profile has to change unless you don’t mind someone messaging you to ask what car parts you have in stock.
Find Your People
Your profile’s been updated. Now it’s time to be seen, and the fastest way to do that is to join the right groups.
Since you run a gluten-free bakery, you may assume that you should hang out in groups populated by other businesses in the same field. That’s fine, but don’t stop there. These business owners are all competing with you for fans and followers, so cast your net further and think outside the box a bit.
You could join groups dedicated to:
- Your hometown. You might be surprised how few people know about the new specialty bakery in their midst.
- Parents of kids with celiac disease.
- Gluten-free recipe sharing.
- Living gluten-free on a budget.
These are all forums catering to people who are interested in what you make and sell. Join them, contribute to the conversations, and watch the friend requests come in. It could take a while, but when you bring value to these groups, it will happen and you’ll be able to get in touch with potential customers.
Become a Master of Notifications
One guaranteed way to catch the attention of potential followers is to get your name into their notifications.
After identifying the best groups for your target audience, pay close attention to those members who engage a lot. Who welcomes the newbies and answers their questions? Who sounds personal and shares a lot of great content? Those are the people you want on your new business page, so use the notifications feature to catch their attention.
Let’s assume that someone in the Gluten-Free On A Budget group asks for ideas for their child’s birthday cake. When you reply with some photos of cakes you’ve decorated, that person gets a notification. If they tagged others in their comment and you react or reply, everyone who was tagged also gets a notification. Suddenly a single reply brings you to the attention of multiple people with an interest in gluten-free baking- -people who might just decide to check out your profile and become active followers.
Hold a Facebook Event
As your follower count grows and your business page becomes more popular, think about throwing a Facebook Event. You could demonstrate a few recipes, answer common questions about cooking with celiac disease or address some other topic that’s been getting a lot of traction lately.
When you create an event, you get a dedicated page where you can provide all the enticing details, plus some tools to notify your followers and see who’s attending. To give your personal profile some extra traction (remember: authority is everything), use it to co-host the event once you’ve created it from your business page. You can:
- Post event details on your personal profile and invite people from your friend’s list
- Take note of who clicks ‘going’ or ‘interested.’ These are the people who are interested in your business and, with the right cultivation, can become engaged followers.
While you can use the Events feature to advertise a local get-together, consider using Facebook Live to hold a virtual event too. People love video, and even those who are too far away to visit your bakery might keep following your page for great baking tips and even buy a copy of your book.
Pro tip: Facebook cover videos make it possible for you to hook people’s attention and convey your brand’s message as fast and as clearly as possible.
Make Your Business Page and Profile Work Together
As you add content to your business page, don’t forget to tag your personal profile in the post or video description. Doing so will send a notification to your profile account, alerting you that you’ve been tagged and asking you if you want to add the post to your timeline. If you allow it, that video or post is also going to show up on your personal timeline, doubling the exposure and giving it maximum reach.
Facebook users have one thing in common: they love talking about and sharing enjoyable products and experiences. When you catch the attention of those users who want what you have to offer, you’re well on your way to developing that dream following. You can still advertise if you want, but you probably won’t have to!