Increasing Facebook Reach: Ads or Boosts?

business facebook ad posting 2015
business facebook ad posting 2015

Is the Free Ride Over?

As many of us predicted for quite a long time, and then knew for quite a long time, organic (unpaid) reach on Facebook business pages is dwindling away. This leads many business owners to a great deal of frustration. Many are feeling that what used to be the best free source for spreading brand awareness has more or less become another paid advertising platform.

That's not all it is though! There are still many tremendous benefits to having a great business page, keeping it up, and investing in its growth. For those out there who do not already have a giant audience, this will most likely mean spending a little more time and money.

There are two main ways of reaching a larger audience on Facebook. You can implement ads on the site, or you can promote posts. This may leave you asking, "Which is right for my business?"

Let's Start With the Good Ol' Facebook Ads

Facebook allows you to pay to place ads which are displayed to an audience you choose through targeting. They offer demographics like age, gender, location, and even specific interests. Once you've chosen your target audience, Facebook will give you an estimate of people that your ad could potentially reach. Don't be mistaken, though...This is not the number of clicks you'll get. That depends largely on the budget that you set, and the quality and content of your ad itself. After all, a million people could see your ad but if it's not enticing, there's no guarantee that a single person will click it.

With an enormous pool of users to target, and a cost-per-click that is drastically lower than many other Pay-Per-Click ad venues like Google Adwords, Facebook ads can be a great tool for content marketing and expanding your reach.

On to Promoted Posts


If the first question you find yourself asking is, "Why would I pay to show people a post when people will already see it?" then you've got a little catching up to do! Before fall of 2012, when you made a post on your page, it would be served up to all of the people who liked your page. Unfortunately since then, there has been cut after cut after cut to the numbers of likers that actually see your posts in their newsfeeds. Facebook has confirmed that ultimately (at some undisclosed time), page posts will receive no organic views. This means whenever you post on your page, the only people who will see it are people who specifically find and click on your page, and then look at your page's timeline. That is, unless you promote posts.

This is done by making a post as usual, and then clicking the "boost" button after you've posted it. You'll then have options to set a budget. You can also decide if you want your post to be served up to people who already like the page, or if you'd like to target a new audience. Once your post has been boosted, Facebook will put your post into the newsfeeds of the audience you select. Your budget will be the biggest factor in determining how many people are reached.

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, much like any other form of paid marketing. The simple fact remains, however, that social media is quickly becoming a pay-to-play world for the businesses that have enjoyed free reach for so long.

Content Creation vs. Storytelling

webpage content creation services norfolk va
webpage content creation services norfolk va

Why Aren't People Interacting with My Social Media Posts?

Good Writing and Good Storytelling are Not One in the Same

Why aren't they sharing my pictures? What does Company X have that my company is lacking? If you find yourself asking these questions, you're far from alone. A lot of businesses in the Hampton Roads areas that we meet with face the same questions. Mastering the art of turning an ordinary bit of information into an interesting story is not always as straightforward as it sounds. In this day and age, you're not only competing within your own industry for business, but competing with other industries, causes, and individuals for the attention of a large, shared audience. So what's the answer?

Stop Stating Cold, Hard Facts

I'm not saying to lie, or even to fudge the truth. What I mean is that too many companies create content simply by stating facts and maybe attaching a relevant picture to those facts. They then wonder why people aren't interacting. You have to put yourself into the shoes of an average Joe. Not an average person in your industry, not an average person in sales, marketing, or management of any industry... But an average Joe that may or may not have any knowledge of your specific industry. One of the most common areas where content creators struggle with this concept is in professional services (doctors, lawyers, etc.). It can be very difficult to glamorize content that is, in and of itself, very straightforward. The trick is to focus not on the information, but on how it might apply to our good ol' average Joe.

Don't Write...Tell a Story

If you focus too heavily on structure and accuracy, it's easy to lose the story. The best piece of advice I can offer for getting started with content creation is just to let the pen (or your fingers on the keyboard) flow. In the very early stages, it's perfectly okay to not have an exact direction. Think of a big, general subject, and just start writing. Think of it as a brainstorming session. Leave the graphs and charts out, though. In the infancy of your content creation, rigid structure can steal your story-telling thunder. When you begin this free-flowing brainstorming session, be sure to choose a topic that you know and care about. As you write, you will often find a direction naturally.Make it Relate-able

Now that you've got a direction for your content, STOP! Okay, don't stop altogether, but don't get ahead of yourself. This is where a lot of content-creation takes a turn for the booorrrrriiiinnnnnggggg. Many of us who work all day, every day in our respective fields can be tempted to spew nothing but facts and statistics, because this is how we measure our own efficacy. Your average reader will often be more interested in the following than they will in the writer's measures of personal success.

a) Entertainment
This is one of the best ways to encourage engagement. People deal with enough negativity every day. Pushing your content in a lighthearted, amusing direction will almost always up readership and engagement.

b) Help or Encouragement
Problems, problems, everywhere. People want solutions! More than that, they want solutions that they can understand and achieve. Are you a home restoration expert? Give people some awesome DIY tips and hacks! Are you a doctor? Offer encouraging success stories about people turning their health and lives around for the better. We know you're an expert at what you do. You don't have to blind people with the science behind what makes you an expert. Instead, use that expertise to help people in small ways. This is not only good for interaction, but it's great for trust and client relationship-building. If your content is useful to your audience, then it is also valuable to them.

c) Be Relate-able ("I'm NOT alone in this!")
This is arguably the most important facet of good, quality content creation. Technical terms and industry-specific jargon is all well and good when it comes to communicating ideas with colleagues, but what good is it to the consumer? This is truly where story-telling comes into play. You can take your idea that you got in your brainstorming session, and focus down it into a story (real or hypothetical). Concentrate on showing the audience how the person in your story could easily be them!

To Sum it All Up...

Writing true, relevant, correct content is important. So important, that people often sacrifice the social aspect in order to clearly attain those qualities. Don't be a part of that content-writing crowd. At the end of your piece of content...Whether it's a blog, a short post, or an image description...Think to yourself, "If I came across this in my news feed, would I stop and interact?"

Hashtag – You’re it!

why hashtag mark your content
why hashtag mark your content

What’s the Deal with #hashtags?

Why do people and businesses load up their posts with these random words, phrases, acronyms, and so on? Well, it all started a long time ago…Back before Google and Bing became the genius search monsters that they now are. Before hashtagging was, well…a thing. Tags were used not only to categorize websites and content, but as a sort of SEO (search engine optimization) boost. The tags on a site would help it rank higher in search engine results. Think of tags along similar lines of search keywords. The search engines would crawl the tags on sites to determine the relevance to the search query. These days, search engines crawl all of the text on (and in) a site, which has made these tags and categories a lot less important to SEO.

Wikipedia[1] tells us that what we now refer to as the hashtag first appeared on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) which was created back in 1988. It was an internet chat system where users would chat through specific channels (topics) which where notated by the pound sign, immediately followed by the topic. For example, to join a group of people chatting about football, the user would type /join #football into their IRC platform.

[1] Internet Relay Chat - Wikipedia

Why Did Hashtags Become a Must-have for Social Media Success?

I’m glad you asked! As using tags for SEO became less and less impactful, they actually became a very useful way to optimize social media posts and blogs. Tags became a way for a user to search a specific topic or category within a website or social media platform. The first modern-day application of the hashtag appeared on Twitter in 2007. User Chris Messina tweeted the following, not knowing that he would kick off an international standard practice for nearly all social media platforms:

“how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”
—Chris Messina, (@factoryjoe), August 23, 2007

It caught on, big time. Twitter took nearly two years to respond by turning #hashtags into clickable links that users could follow in order to see posts made under the same hashtag by any public user. It didn’t take long for other platforms like Facebook and Google+ to pick up on the trend.

How Does this Affect You and Your Business?

First, it provides a great way to group and organize your content. This not only helps for your own reference, but it helps fans find older content that might be relevant to a particular issue they’re experiencing. Next, it’s a brilliant way to find new readers and reach an audience that you otherwise may never have been able to tap into. Not everybody may follow you, but if you diversify your content and your hashtags to match, you stand a great chance of reaching tons of niche audience members that could potentially follow you, or even become a client or customer.

In Hampton, we deal with a lot of small business. Hashtags have proven to be a great way to not only reach the entire Hampton Roads region, but a way to expand our reach to audiences across Virginia, the east coast, and the entire United States! They’re especially helpful for niche businesses that could use some healthy interaction from people who are truly interested in said niche.

So get out there, pay attention to trending hashtags, and do it! BUT…Don’t overdo it. Loading up your post with more hashtags than content is a quick way to make people lose interest or chalk you up as a spammer. Stick with a couple/few relevant and popular hashtags. Let us know how it works for you!

Is Facebook For Business Pulling a Myspace?

facebook marketing services hampton roads
facebook marketing services hampton roads

Many platforms that have been 100% free for years and years are now turning into ad-driven platforms.  This means that they are changing the algorithm that determines what pops up in any users’ newsfeeds.

Facebook for Business, Public Figure and Fan pages have seen dramatic drops in organic reach.  Organic reach is how many people see your page’s posts in their newsfeed when they log on.  Over the past year or so, reach dropped to about 25% of your audience (1/4 of your total likers may have seen your posts) to about 11%, to about 6%, and is now reportedly around 3%.

Facebook has admitted that its goal is to end up with pages getting ZERO organic reach, meaning anybody who wants their business to show up on peoples’ newsfeeds will have to pay for it.

So the Big Question...If Facebook is Doing Badly for Businesses, Why Does Everybody Still Use it?

Well, think about it…SO many businesses used Facebook for business as free advertising, not as social media was actually intended to be used.  Individuals are seeing fewer and fewer posts in their feeds from companies…The ones they do see are often paid ads and very obvious therefor easy to ignore…and they’re seeing more from their friends and family where those fan page posts used to be.  Win-Win for the individual, lose-lose for the business page that doesn't have an enormous advertising budget.

If Reach is Down, isn't Facebook for Business a Waste of Time?

NO (Not yet)!  People still by and large use Facebook as a vetting system, a rating tool, and a picture gallery.  This will most likely change with time, but for now, while people are still largely using Facebook, it is important to keep a nice presence there. You might want to invest less time into your Facebook for business content creation posts, and more time into other platforms. That being said however, you shouldn't let your company Facebook page become a ghost town. It just doesn't look good!

Will my Audience Follow Me to Other Platforms?

Maybe, or maybe not…Either way, you can always build a new audience!  I have found that my clients’ views on Twitter and on Google + skyrocket past Facebook views.  Neither of the former platforms seem to get quite as much interaction as Facebook, but the number of people exposed to posts to those platforms seriously exceeds the number of people reached by the posts to Facebook.

Will Facebook Die Out the Way Myspace Did?

Most likely, in time.  Businesses, especially small businesses and professionals that have used it as a marketing tool are largely concentrating their SM efforts elsewhere.  As Facebook becomes more and more flooded with paid ads and PPC (pay-per-click) baiting and its ridiculous unnecessary features, individuals will most likely go elsewhere too.  My personal take is that right now, more individuals are using Twitter, but over the next 6 months-1 year, I think Google Plus will see a swift and steady gain in popularity.  At some point, most people will probably start to let go of Facebook.  NOT NOW though.  You may want to focus your content creation on other platforms and share to Facebook more than you rack your brain for Facebook content, but for the time being I feel it’s still important to maintain a solid presence on Facebook. As of now, Facebook for business is now a pay to play platform.

Flexibility and Social Media Success

flexibility and social media marketing success
flexibility and social media marketing success

One surefire way to fail at social media is to be set in your ways. Not only do content trends change constantly, but actual platform usage and effective posting frequency change often as well. If you create a strategy and never make adjustments, you are just asking to flop. Let your social media strategy be comprehensive, but not set in stone… detailed, but not immobile. If you notice something isn't working well, CHANGE IT! Try something new! I can't stress enough how important flexibility is in any social strategy.

Take time now and then to do a quick Google search of social media trends. Twitter and Facebook even tell you what is trending right when you sign on! Don’t get stuck in a rut of boring, similar, strictly informative posts. Remember: It’s not advertising… It’s not an infomercial… It’s SOCIAL! If you give up before your strategy is fully implemented and has the opportunity to flourish, you’ll gain nothing, and will have wasted a lot of time!

There is a build-up phase that must take place before you start reaping the benefits of a solid social media presence. The lower your number of followers, the fewer people will interact and share. As your numbers get higher, so will your reach. Here's where that part about flexibility comes back into play. Not getting tons of new follows every day? Stay flexible. Recruit those closest to you to help spread the word. Ask your biggest fans (your loved ones) to do what they can to get more eyes on your content! You would do the same for them, right?

Every like, favorite, comment, and share means more eyes on your posts and your brand than before. Every new set of eyes has the potential to become a new follower if your content is great. Every new follower has the potential to one day become a paying client. This doesn't happen overnight, but there are always ways to speed up the process. The more flexibility you have built in to your strategy, the more you'll be prepared and able to adapt to changing circumstances. So basically, the less likely you are to fail.

Social Media Success Requires Effort From You

Your social media success program will only be as successful as you make it – You have to put the time in if you want it to take off and become a real means of self-promotion. If you don’t maintain a consistent presence, people won’t have anything to look forward to from you. That’s a very quick way to lose followers. Another great way to lose followers is to post uninteresting, run-of-the-mill stuff with no personal touches.

Remember…You want to show everybody out there that you’re not a faceless entity that wants their money. You’re a company made of PEOPLE! The type of people that they want to have their backs when they need the services you offer!

So dig in. Your social media success depends on it. The only thing you have to be afraid of is missing out on the brand awareness, trust, and loyalty that come along with solid social media!

Is Internet Marketing for Small Businesses Being Cornered?

I’ll start by mentioning this – as it has crossed my mind. I’ve been working in this field since 1994 and always felt the Internet was where small business was going to be able to compete with the Wal-Marts of the world. As we’ve seen what the big box effect has had on small business retail, I’ve also started questioning whether these same large entities have finally corporatized the Internet to the point where they are now setting the rules for REALLY having to pay to play.

Google and the large Internet marketing agencies want to say this is not the case however both of these entities also have the most to gain from it continuing its current course. Google through the inevitable increased PPC revenue and the agencies from a ton of work generated to service it – from those that can afford it, of course.

I see it forcing established businesses to commit to the expense of internally hiring or contracting an Internet marketing division or agency to completely research and develop an online marketing plan, implement it and perform the interactive follow-ups to do it correctly. I’ve found the level of creativity involved alone to really do this right to be intense – equating to being unaffordable for a small business to do.

Can Small Business Play This Game?

In one respect, we look at the new playing field as an excellent opportunity to expand our business and gain better quality clientele that can afford to pay for the service.

On the other hand, I’ve pointed out enough that start-ups and very small business owners with limited resources have to be asking themselves how they are supposed to be able compete as well.  Aside from the monetary aspect, what is probably even more critical is the time that’s involved.

Most small businesses have a hard time with working with us for their foundation website’s content much less committing to contributing to an on-going content marketing campaign. We’re finding that many of our clients are just not going to – or not willing to - provide the level of participation we are going to require of them.

Regardless, we feel there is no way that anything can be done effectively without a structured commitment from the client to participate to make it affordable. Thus, our challenge with small business content marketing has become finding a “balance” of establishing enough client cooperation for both, an effective and affordable Internet marketing program. There is no way most can afford to have us do everything that is necessary without it.

Works Only If Small Businesses Get Involved

I also found it interesting that a couple of larger Internet marketing sales blogs described where they drew their lines in making a sale. They pretty much make it clear when they meet with new clients; not only do they have to commit to a substantial monthly budget towards the program, but that they also have to be committed to providing the resources within their company to make it successful or they walk away from the deal.

Quite frankly, we also agree with this. If the client does not commit and follow through from their end then it would be impossible for the marketing program to be effective. There is no way we can do it all without it taking substantially more time to do than they can afford.

In a nutshell, the pundits are saying SEO isn't dead and small business can absolutely effectively still play the game. But the answer for small business content marketing most definitely involves more time commitment and monetary expense for the small business owner.

In our reality, despite the best intentions of our many small business and start-up clients, actually getting them to follow through with it is one of our biggest disappointments.  We cannot control their actions – only ours.

So the question remains, will small design and marketing companies and their small business clients be able to adapt to the new small business content marketing requirements and still be affordable?  I suppose the bigger question is - can they afford not to?

The Chronicles of Content Marketing

generating engagement to your social media
generating engagement to your social media


Coming up with content marketing that doesn't bore an audience to tears can be a little difficult for a lot of industries. There are some things that are just plain hard to make "sexy." Don't forget though...If you wouldn't stop, click on it, and read it...Why would they? Then again, something that's fascinating to you on a personal level might be completely uninteresting to one chunk of your audience! Another portion of your audience could even have a strong opinion against it! It may sound silly, but trust me. There are always people out there who want to find flaws in any and everything no matter how seemingly neutral or common.

The strategy that has worked the best for me has been to remain extremely flexible in content writing. Watch trends. Look at the news in the morning before doing your posts. We all will probably use automation/post-scheduling at times, but steer away from that as much as possible. There may be a video that is going viral in your feed. Maybe it doesn't relate to what you do, but people want to see it. Take that video, and think of a way to make a little headline or sentence that somehow makes the video relevant, without using it to try to advertise.

This way, people are engaging with you. You might be thinking, "How does sharing a random video help my business?" Well, it's a bit of a trickle-down effect. They see engaging content that makes them happy, and they see this content with your name next to it. This will begin a positive association. Over time, this positive association will grow into recognition, and often trust.

Social media is not always about landing a hard sale. It's about connecting and communicating with your base, building and nurturing relationships, and about giving your business a favorable personality. It should be used in a way that makes your own clients actually want to be your biggest advocates.

Tying In Social Media With Content Marketing

This brings me to another glaring issue with so many business' content. Social media is not the place for shameless plugs 24/7! This is one of the best ways to ensure that you'll have little-to-no following. People have ads shoved in their faces everywhere they turn these days. If your business has nothing to offer other than reasons why people should give you their money, you'll lose their attention quickly. Your content needs to offer or provide them with something they want. Try all kinds of things! Try humor...Many people would love a laugh. Try weird/interesting facts. Try asking questions. This is a big one. Many people love to have the opportunity for their voice to be heard. Not only this, but they enjoy being heard, taken seriously, and responded to.

Know What Your Audience Wants To See

Be original with your content marketing, but pull from hot topics. Experiment and find out what YOUR audience responds to the best. Some of my clients have audiences that LOVE pictures. Pictures of work, before/after pictures, inspirational images, photos of staff, photos that ask opinions/questions (i.e. two images with a text headline of, "Which look do you prefer?").

I have other clients whose audiences all but ignore such posts. Somebody’s following might LOVE to be asked tons of opinion questions. Other followings might want to be visually stimulated. Creating your content marketing strategy will take some trial and error, but it’s better to try different things out than to make the same types of posts every day and never gauge the interaction you get versus what you could be getting.

I find that people don’t want to be talked at. They don’t want you to tell them day in and day out why you’re the best at what you do and they shouldn't go to anybody else. They want you to show them how and why you’re the best, and let them make that call. Many people hit a plateau on social media with how many followers they’ll get and how much interaction they’ll drive when they decide to stick to one way of posting. Be funny some days. Be informative other days. Ask lots of questions. Offer advice. Most importantly, BE SOCIAL! All of these play a role in today's concept of content marketing.

Online Branding – Does Your Business Have a Personality?

conveying personality to your social media posts
conveying personality to your social media posts

With a world of information at the fingertips of nearly every consumer, businesses are being more thoroughly vetted than ever before.  Especially when it comes to spending a decent chunk of money on one product or service, people want and are able to learn just about as much as there is to know about the provider of said product or service before committing.  If your company doesn't have a solid online branding presence on the web, you may be missing out on a lot of business.

Online Branding Through Directory & Review Sites

For companies that don’t have big advertising budgets, social media online branding can be a wonderful tool.  It basically entails a few things.  The first part is creating and maintaining free directory listings on websites such as Yelp, Kudzu, Manta, and others.  Keep your online branding consistent across all platforms.  Have a logo that you identify your company with, and make sure it is present everywhere your company name is.  Keep information about the company consistent.

Keep Your Online Branding Natural

Most people want to feel as though they’re going to be dealing with real people, not faceless entities.  This is where online branding through social media and trust-building play a major role.  If you are not paying for visibility and ads on social media, return on investment (ROI) looks a little different than you might expect.  Social media online branding differs from social media marketing in that marketing usually includes paid advertisements and the purchase of audiences on various platforms; while online branding is more about making natural connections with potential customers.

Social Media Online Branding

Next, do the same for the major social media platforms.  The free reach business pages used to enjoy on Facebook is slipping drastically, and will continue to do so, but it absolutely doesn’t hurt to have a nice Facebook page that applies your branding and your company message.  Even though companies don’t get as much interaction as they used to, many consumers do still use Facebook as a part of the vetting process.

Social Media Online Branding (Cont...)

Google Plus is now streamlined with Google Maps, Local, and Places. It is imperative that you have a nice, professional Google Plus page that is verified through Google Places for Business and connected to your website.

Try to maintain this platform and update it often.  You may not get a lot of interaction initially, but when somebody Googles you, your Google Plus page is part of what pops up in the right-hand side along with a map of your location and your reviews.

It has not been proven yet, but there is a lot of speculation that a good, verified presence on Google Plus may be looked at favorably by the Google Search Algorithm.  Next, create and maintain a Twitter.  As of right now, with a moderate amount of effort, Twitter is a wonderful tool for getting terrific amounts of free exposure.

Establishing Your Business' Personality?

Now back to your business’ personality.  Once you’re on (at least) these three major platforms, focus on your content.  Too many businesses treat social media as a place to advertise and talk themselves up.  Remember, social media branding is not about hard conversions in the way that social media marketing is.

The idea is to connect with people, not to spit information at them.  Make posts that are legitimately interesting, useful, funny, engaging, or any combination of things that would make people actually WANT to interact.  Personify your business.  Make potential customers feel comfortable by projecting your company as one that is made by real people, for real people.

ROI Is Not Always Evident

Keep in mind, the ROI does not come the same way it would with paid advertising.  With branding and trust-building, your ROI may be a little further down the road.  If you create a professional and consistent, yet down-to-earth and relatable image, people will think of YOUR company when they need your service.  You might not get somebody to decide they suddenly need your product or service overnight.  That’s ok though.  When that same person eventually does need a product or service that your company offers, you will have built a memorable and favorable image.  When they need what you offer, they will come to YOU.

It basically boils down to natural human sociology.  The average citizen, including myself, would much rather work with a business they feel is personable and genuine than work with a faceless entity with little communication and engagement.  Everybody wants to feel as though they personally matter to the person/company that they are paying for a product or service.  Nobody wants to feel like just another drop in the bucket who just wants to get a job over with so they can get paid and never think of that customer again.

Social media online branding, when used properly, is probably one of the most effective tools for reputation management, trust-building, and branding.  Be the company that everybody in your area thinks of when it comes to the products or services you offer.

Be the company that interacts and cares with people who are interested, regardless of whether they are a paying customer today, or a potential customer a year from now!

Facebook Changed Social Media For Businesses

facebook business organic reach marketing
facebook business organic reach marketing

Where does the future of social media take us?  It’s virtually impossible to say.  Facebook changed social media for businesses. One thing we know for sure though, is that you have to keep up with the ever-changing world of social media.  Many business owners are noticing that their organic (unpaid) reach has seriously been declining on Facebook pages.

If you're one of these business owners, you are not alone.  It’s not necessarily because you don’t have amazing content.  Back in April of 2012, pages were reaching about 16% of their fans on average. That number has reportedly slid into the low-single digits.

For big companies that have the budgets to buy paid ads and boosted posts, this reduction may be a good thing.  It weeds out many of their smaller competitors that had depended on the free reach previously enjoyed by page managers.  So what does this mean for small businesses that have put a lot of time, effort, and money into building a strong presence on Facebook?  Well, it means that it’s time to get creative!

Content Has Always Been and Will Always Be King

Your posts aren't showing up in as many timelines as they used to, but if you want good interaction and sharing from the small chunk of people that will see your posts, you still need to post good stuff! Also, even though you may not be getting the same amount of likes and interaction that you used to enjoy, people still want to see activity when vetting a company...These days, online research is a large (if not the largest) part of that vetting process.

Expand Your Social Media Horizons

-Are you on Twitter? Don’t let this platform become a ghost town with nothing more than an automatic feed and a stretched out, pixelated cover photo.  If you are active on Twitter and have a nice looking profile, it is pretty easy to draw engagement!  What good does that do?  Well, remember…Social media management isn't always about hard conversions (especially not right at first).  It’s less about advertising than it is about branding and trust-building.  Think about it…People follow you because you post useful/interesting/funny/unique stuff.  They might not need your product or service now…But they’re much more likely to come to you over your competitor when they do need it!  An active, engaging, useful online presence tends to add legitimacy, personality, and trust to a company.  People often prefer to do business with other people, not with faceless entities.  People want to relate.  Social media is a great way to give your brand a personality...The type of personality that people want to do business with!

-Are you on Google +?  This is one that you really don’t want to overlook.  Google Plus for Business is now completely streamlined with Google Places, YouTube, and Reviews.  From the new dashboard, you can see your insights and what kind of activity your page sees.  Even posting as little as once a week will have a tremendous impact.  When anybody Googles your business, as long as your business is verified and you've got your Google + Business page all set, your Google listing will show your location on a map, reviews, and a feed of your latest posts.  It seems as though there is less commenting/interaction on Google + than some other platforms (for now), but the number of views per month is through the roof!

Record and Analyze

Not too long ago, Facebook was pretty much the standard metric for how your social media program was faring.  This has very quickly become false.  It will get worse too…Many experts speculate that Facebook will decrease organic reach of pages to 0% over time.  This means that if you don’t pay to show up in peoples’ timelines, you simply won’t show up in them at all.  This may seem alarming, but don’t worry.  We still feel that it’s good to have a solid presence on Facebook, but do not worry when you see your insights slipping.  This will happen no matter how great your posts are (to varying degrees).  When analyzing the success of your social media program, look to other platforms; don’t rely on Facebook.  Twitter and Google + both provide insights and may provide a much more realistic view of your social media impact.

So basically what we're getting at is...Carry on!  Post the best content you can come up with no matter what platforms you use.  Branch out to other big platforms and have an awesome presence there.  Don’t let your Facebook turn into a ghost town, but also don’t get scared when you see your reach and interactions falling.  Facebook is not the be-all, end-all of social media.  Just like years back when MySpace fizzled out and led way to the growth of Facebook, another platform will take its place.  This may happen more slowly because although brands get the shaft with the new Facebook algorithm, individuals still interact with other individuals well on Facebook.  No platform can reign forever though.  You'll get through this!