By Amanda Cleary Eastep
In my town is an independently owned coffee cafe that I love. But chain businesses abound in the ‘burbs, which puts the cafe smack across the street from Starbucks. While big chains don’t necessarily have to “get the word out” to local customers, smaller and especially newer businesses certainly do.
Many small business owners, like the cafe’s, understand the value of social media. They have a Facebook page. They realize that consistency and engagement are imperative.
But are they using the types of images that will inspire sharing and capture attention in their followers’ news feeds and in promoted posts?
This is more important than ever as organic reach for Facebook pages is about to [INSERT sound of person falling off a cliff].
Basically, this means that your business page posts will be showing up even less than before in your customers’ news feeds. Not good news for small businesses, especially ones with limited (or no) advertising budgets.
According to Socially Stephanie of Social Media Today, the formula for the “perfect boosted post” begins with “an awesome, eye-catching image.” Quality images will also help your unpaid posts get noticed when they show up in the news feed. And people will be much more likely to share them on their personal Facebook profiles.
WOW statistic: Photos get 53% more Likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs. (Source: Kissmetrics, 2013)
5 image suggestions to increase engagement on your Facebook page
1. Show us the minestrone! Or other top products.
Rather than simply listing the daily brews and breads, post a photo of what’s cookin’. A text-only blurb that looks just fine on your main Facebook page will disappear in the news feed. But a pic of that frothy cappuccino or hearty soup? (Or whatever product or service you provide.) Now you have people’s attention.
2. Meet Joe.* He can’t start the trek to the city without his quadruple espresso.
Ask customers if they would be willing to have a photo of themselves taken with their favorite product and a comment about why they love it. Remind them to share it on their Facebook profile.
*Name changed to protect the innocent (or easily embarrassed)
3. If customers buy this, good karma will ensue.
Does your business sell Fair Trade products? Showcase local artists? Have a heart for animals? If so, keep highlighting that with images. This is also an opportunity to educate rather than only sell and provides value to your followers. Those handmade bags? Yeah, women in India were paid a fair price for their work. The artwork hanging on the walls? Tell us how you partnered with the local high school to encourage young artists. Cute dog photo? That’s because you help support the local animal shelter.
4. “I’ll take you there…”
Photos of your place will help your customers envision themselves there. In that comfy chair reading a book and sipping chai. At that table chatting with friends. And don’t forget the facade and the location in the context of a more well-known landmark if your business is new or a bit difficult to see from the road. (How about a pic of the chain restaurant across the street with a photoshopped red arrow pointing in the opposite direction? I’m kidding, I’m kidding.)
5. Getting to know you
Customers don’t just keep returning to your business for the great coffee or other product or service. It’s you and your staff–the way you make customers feel welcome, the awesome customer service you provide, your passion for the perfectly roasted coffee bean. Post a pic of yourself serving a customer. Show your workers with their favorite product picks. Using Facebook to continue that caring, service, and passion outside the walls of your business will increase customer loyalty.
And a loyal customer is the best “face” for advertising to the public in any book.
What types of images or posts have you found to inspire the most engagement on your business’s Facebook page?