Facebook’s algorithm hates you.
This might sound like a conspiracy theory, but it’s true.
Let me explain why.
Your business page’s organic reach (the number of fans that your posts reach) has continued to drop like a rock over the past few years.
Just look at my Facebook referral traffic over the past six months! Ouch.
In 2012, about 16% of fans saw what you posted.
And guess what. That number has dropped 52% in the last year alone!
That’s pretty bad, right?
How are you supposed to fix that? What can you do differently to reach all of the fans that you’ve worked so hard to get?
One of my favorite strategies is to look at what the best Facebook pages are doing and reverse engineer their approach.
Their exact tactics won’t work for you, obviously. However, you can focus in on what they’re doing well. Then, you can adapt the same things for yourself.
Here are some of the best Facebook Business Pages to start analyzing (and how you can copy their strategies).
This wouldn’t be a marketing article without a good meta tip to kick things off.
Facebook’s Facebook Page has over 189,780,591 likes (and counting).
It should come as no surprise that Facebook team members know their way around the platform.
That starts at the top with the guy who invented the whole thing.
Even Zuck gets in on the action, hosting a Facebook Live event with none other than Jerry Seinfeld!
Why does this matter?
Because Facebook Live is the best shot you have at defeating the algorithm that’s taking away all of your organic reach.
First, users crave video in general. It’s risen to number three on the list of “what content types do you want to see more of?”
Second, live video engagement blows regular video engagement out of the water.
Facebook’s own internal data shows that live videos get higher completion rates and viewer interest.
Facebook Live viewers also spend three times longer watching these streams.
The good news is that you don’t have to be Zuck or have guests like Seinfeld to run effective Q&A’s on Facebook Live.
Start by keeping it lighthearted.
Live video isn’t the place for formal and stuffy. The Seinfeld Q&A is a perfect example. People are expecting a more natural and authentic delivery.
Natural, unforced humor is one of the best ways to keep people engaged, while simultaneously humanizing your brand.
Starbucks comes in next with 35,431,531 worldwide followers.
Starbucks has been one of the early adopters in social, local, and mobile (SoLoMo) technology since the beginning.
Their mobile app, for instance, brings all three of those trends together, allowing you to order, walk into a store to pick up your drink, and share the experience within a few clicks.
But one of my favorite features is their interactive store locator app on their Facebook page.
For example, you can pull up store locations directly by typing your destination:
Then you can even click on a store to see its information, including the hours it’s open and address.
Think about how helpful this is while driving around or in a new city. Now there’s no need to leave the app and start fumbling around in Google.
Adding apps to your page is easy. (However, putting together a sophisticated one like this will require some extra work.)
Inside your Business Page, look over to the page tabs that commonly already include Video, Events, Photos, etc.
Here, you can select to remove tabs to make way for a new app when ready.
Starbucks’ Facebook page also integrates with Pinterest to show off dozens of content pieces. These include everything from recipes to historical facts about certain types of coffee.
The goal of this integration is to keep you glued to their Facebook page. You could spend hours going through every content piece here.
That means their fans are racking up engagement points each time they click on one of these new features.
And if there’s one thing the Facebook algorithm loves, it’s engagement.
Everybody’s favorite mashup, Nutella, clocks in at 31,985,113 followers.
Nutella has a problem, though.
It’s obviously delicious. However, not everyone knows what to do with it or even how to use it.
Jell-O had the same problem over a hundred years ago.
Consumers were a little thrown off in 1904 when it was first introduced.
Jell-O is a weird consistency, and unlike anything people had ever seen at the time. So the company created a recipe book to highlight its versatility.
The recipes didn’t showcase just the product, but instead all of the delicious meals you could whip up with it.
In other words, it focused on the result or outcome instead of just the product itself. This approach worked well enough to help pull in over $1 million in 1906 after introducing the book.
See? Content marketing isn’t new at all.
Nutella has adopted the same approach, whipping up all types of delightful treats that showcase its versatility.
You’ll also notice that this Facebook post is Instagram-like.
It’s obviously from a professional photoshoot, but the angle and ‘scene’ make it seem like a lifestyle shot that works the best for adding new Instagram followers daily.
Nutella also excels at adding beautiful videos to their page:
While it might be difficult to come up with compelling Facebook Live ideas for a product like this, they do the next best thing with commercial-like videos.
Zappos surprisingly only has 2,215,007 Facebook followers.
I say “surprising,” because their customer service is second to none.
They respond to customer inquiries on Facebook within an hour, no matter what time of day!
But here’s my favorite example that couldn’t have been any better.
I went to their page to see if I could find an example for this post, and right there at the top was this interaction between Zappos and Angela.
To be honest, Angela is asking a random, irrelevant question about brick and mortar locations from Zappos (which they don’t have).
So you could probably give Zappos the benefit of the doubt if they just simply ignored this question or blew it off and hoped it went away on its own.
But that’s not what they did.
Instead, if you read the very last comment, you’ll notice that Zappos took the time to look up physical, offline stores that carry the shoe Angela was looking for.
In other words, they were wholeheartedly recommending the competition!
That’s unbelievable (in a good way).
Most companies would never want to help the competition like that.
But I love what Zappos is doing here. For example, I recommend that you link out to the competition if it’s relevant.
The end goal is to make the user happy. If you help them, they’ll remember that and come back to you, even if it means you gave up the initial sale.
Threadless is technically a t-shirt company that features one-of-a-kind designs from independent artists. So far, they’re up to 895,181 Facebook likes.
Partnering with artists gives them an all-access pass to beautiful, interesting images to use on Facebook.
For example, one of their designers (Ailadi) specially designed that cover photo above.
You can click on it and get more details, including a link to her own personal Facebook page.
Let’s note two important things that are happening here.
The first is that Threadless is partnering with designers and giving them ‘free’ promotion to their massive audience.
Being exposed to even a sliver of Threadless’ 800,000+ Facebook fans can be a massive boost for ‘starving artists’ who’re simply trying to get their name out in the marketplace.
However, the second key here is that Threadless is getting some uniquely awesome content (for nothing out of pocket).
The artist can donate their skills in exchange for the promotion they so desperately need (saving Threadless the thousands it would have cost to create similar content in-house).
It’s a win-win for both parties involved!
Here’s another great example by the artist Vó Maria.
Co-creating content like this also appeals to the fans and followers who feel like they can get to know these designers personally.
Threadless will then take the next step and integrate their store with their Facebook page so customers can flip back and forth when they see something they like (without leaving Facebook).
For example, you can click on the “Shop” tab link and immediately start diving into their product catalog.
You can move into viewing individual products and then click on the link that will take you back to their site.
That gives you two more big benefits:
- You can track these referral visits to see how much business you’re driving with Facebook.
- You can also use custom audiences to track product views and start running Facebook ads that convert.
For example, most new fans on Facebook won’t be excited to see you endlessly promoting your own products and services.
Custom audiences are one of the best ignored Facebook ad features to fix this problem.
Instead of showing the same content to everyone, Facebook allows you to segment out different people based on how they’ve engaged with your brand in the past.
For example, you can have different audiences for people who’ve liked your posts, visited your website, or even visited specific product pages.
Then you can use Dynamic Product Ads to automatically show that last group the products they expressed interest in so that they come back to buy.
6. L.L. Bean
Outdoors clothing brand, L.L. Bean, has 751,573 followers.
L.L. Bean does many of the same tactics that we’ve covered above.
However, two things set them apart.
The first is their “Open Jobs” link towards the bottom of their tab menu.
Let’s be honest.
Almost all companies use social media to vet potential hires.
For example, the number of hiring managers using social media to screen applicants can be as high as 76% in the IT field.
If anything, they’re using social media to disqualify people.
That’s what makes this L.L. Bean example unique.
They want to show off who they are (as a transparent brand) and use their social media profile as a way to encourage new people to apply for a position.
Instead of fighting the trends, they’re accepting them and using it as a way to hopefully get better applicants in the door.
L.L. Bean doesn’t stop there. They also have a user-generated section of their page that shows off photos of everything happening in their community and at events.
So they’re not just exclusively showing product shots like some other companies might do.
Check out the bear mascot on the left! I have no idea what or who that is, but it’s definitely not L.L. Bean clothing.
And yet, that’s also the point. Many times companies will have a “community” that’s nothing more than another advertisement.
Customers see through that stuff, though. They pick up on how fake it is and will completely ignore it.
However, L.L. Bean smartly lets the promotional content blend in with the non-promotional stuff so that the community looks and feels real.
L.L. Bean is also incredibly responsive, answering messages within an hour in most cases.
Answering messages quickly is one of the best ways to create a personal connection with your customers, and that can make all the difference in the world when it comes time for them to pay.
7. Stella & Dot
Last but not least, Stella & Dot clocks in at 482,820 followers.
Stella & Dot’s business model is different than everyone else we’ve reviewed so far.
They’re a network marketing business, so their salespeople are also their customers.
Network marketing sometimes gets a bad rap, but it can be incredibly powerful when done correctly.
It effectively turns your best customers into your best salespeople.
That means these people can often establish a strong connection with other new customers (much stronger than internal sales people would).
Stella & Dot uses Facebook Live to post streams of their ‘trunk shows’ where people can watch for entertainment (or even watch and learn to see how to do it).
You’ll see the example above does an excellent job at setting up expectations for where and when the live stream will take place.
In addition to building anticipation, it also can create more excitement when the show does start.
The broadcaster can interact with the audience from the very first minute with live discussion questions.
Facebook Live also gives businesses (and business owners) the perfect medium to bring customers ‘behind the scenes.’
This ‘inside’ look helps deepen the relationship between you and your customers.
Stella & Dot also provides direct shopping access from their Facebook page.
You can dive into individual products, like the last example with L.L. Bean, to track Facebook sales and create custom advertising audiences.
They even will pull in content from their other social networks like Instagram, so there’s no reason to leave.
That keeps people interacting with Facebook for as long as possible.
And their community section will also pull in user-generated content to show off what other real customers (as opposed to fake, paid models) look like.
Realism reigns supreme today, with 63% of people preferring authentic brands as opposed to fake ones.
And that’s where Stella & Dot starts to exploit their key benefit over many other jewelry companies — their loyal customers.
Your ability to reach Facebook fans continues to dwindle.
That’s a bummer. You’ve done all that work to get them to become fans in the first place.
You shouldn’t have to pay for advertising to reach them again.
Unfortunately, that’s the reality we live in today.
Unless, of course, if you can increase page engagement and turn fans into raving, loyal customers.
Fortunately, you don’t have to waste a ton of time trying to guess at what works or doesn’t.
Instead, you can just reverse engineer what the best Facebook Business Pages are already doing!
They’re already laying the groundwork, doing all of the trial and error for you.
Obviously, you might not be able to pull off the same exact strategies as a multinational, multi-million dollar brand.
But you don’t have to.
The key is to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing so you can adapt the same approach for your own Business Page.
What’s your favorite Facebook Business Page (and what do you like most about them)?