How “Stone Soup” Can Expand Your Facebook Reach

Everyone knows the story of Stone Soup. It has a variation in almost every country in Europe. Axe Soup, Nail Soup, Button Soup … you get the idea. Just in case you’ve lived under a rock, here’s a quick synopsis:

Travellers enter a village with no food. The villagers won’t provide any (since, you know, food was hard to come by for peasants). The travellers boil water and place a rock at the bottom of the pot, saying they’re making stone soup. Curious villagers, one by one, pass by and provide a small bit of garnish for the soup. In the end, they make a delish pot of soup and share it with the whole village (after removing the useless stone). Everybody wins!

So now that you’re in the know, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Andy, I came here to learn about social media, not to read about antiquated folk recipes! I have Pinterest for that!”

Hear me out.

Pretend the people are Facebook Pages and the foodstuffs are impressions. I guess the food scarcity would be Facebook’s draconian restrictions on organic reach … anyways, the traveller Page needs nourishment but can’t get it on its own.

Do you see where I’m going with this? To maximize organic reach, Facebook Pages must leverage the communities around them! It’s called social media after all.

Here’s how to get your social communities to share your posts for you:

1) Show Them Some Love

This may be the least creative method of getting your posts shared, but it’s effective. Give a little shout-out to other organizations you have a relationship with. It doesn’t even need to be a post about collaboration. Here’s an example of something we did:

A photo of our Old Town Tavern Facebook post.

In this post, we’re doing nothing more than talking about how much we enjoy the Old Town Tavern (we really do love the place). The discerning amongst you may wonder how re:group benefits from promoting a local bar. The short answer: about 10 page likes and a whole lot of brand awareness. You can see at the bottom of the picture how many people saw this post. For comparison, here’s another post with a similar number of “likes”.

Our Autumn 2016 Facebook Post

There are a few things to notice here. Most obvious is that our Old Town Tavern post has reached five times the number of people as our autumn post. Also noteworthy is that both posts have a relatively similar number of likes. Based on those two facts, we’d consider the autumn post to technically be a better performer (higher engagement rate). In terms of how engaging the content is, it WAS a better post. What that doesn’t consider, however, is that tagging Old Town Tavern in our post is, by default, reaching people outside our own network.

On top of that, writing the post to be flattering to the staff encouraged the sharing of the post, which reached even MORE people outside of our network and gave us a chance to grow our social community significantly.

2) Involve Your Team Members!

Our Magic 8 Ball post is a great example of how to involve employees in fun and engaging ways that will help with your brand recognition. By tagging our featured team member, we’re reaching outside of our network and into hers for views. Since Kara looks like an absolute rock star in this photo, her friends and family loved it and really boosted its performance, both in terms of engagements and reach.

Kara holding the magic 8 balls.

There’s an added bonus with this post, too. We tagged Jerusalem Garden, a local restaurant, in the copy. Though this post has relatively little to do with that business specifically, the use of the tag allowed us to reach the Jerusalem Garden network. In this particular instance, the restaurant also engaged with the post, validating the friendly goodwill between the two local businesses.

But that isn’t the only way you can utilize your team members. By motivating your coworkers to share content, you can turn them into effective brand advocates. Brand advocacy is one of the best methods of social media marketing. According to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 83% of people trust recommendations of friends and family, and the same percentage take action on these opinions at least some of the time!

For us, that means when one of our team members shares their love for a re:group blog, their connections are more likely to click and read and, if they’re in business, consider us as an agency.

Dan's re:group promo tweet.

3) Involve Sponsors in Event Posts

This one is easy, but is often neglected. Any business with a social media presence is bound to be involved in an event from time to time, so it’s important to make sure that every other person or organization that is involved with the event is connected to your post.

A photo from Dart For Art 2016

In the above example, not only did we tag the Townie Street Party in the copy, but we also set the location for the photo album as the event Page. That’s two extra networks that our post tapped for impressions! The Townie Street Party also engaged with our post, creating a post story visible to some of their fans. Be sure to tag the Facebook Page in the copy, tie in the location to the Facebook Event, and also…

4) Request that Other Pages Share Your Post!

Some organizations might not think to share or interact with your post, even though it’s right in front of them. Do not feel weird about reaching out to other Facebook Pages and directly requesting that they share the post. You’ll find that most businesses on Facebook are very willing to at least talk to you about the prospect of sharing your social content.

Really, what do they have to lose? This type of social interaction fosters a mutually supportive relationship, where both parties benefit from the visibility of the interaction, the content of the post and the new bond.

A great example is how, last year, a representative from the American Heart Association took the time to come to our office and demonstrate how to perform CPR (Hey, Katie!). We maintained a relationship over social media and ended up participating in the AHA Heart Walk earlier this year. Everybody wins!

A re:group Facebook post that was shared by the AHA.

By increasing your visibility outside of your immediate network and into the community around you, you’re building relationships. Over time, you have an opportunity to turn these businesses and individuals into new brand advocates. After all, we’re all six degrees from Kevin Bacon. How many degrees do you think your advocates may be from someone who may want to do business with you? Maybe that person is actually Kevin Bacon!

Are you doing all these things? If not, you’re not getting the most out of your posts, and the solution is just a few keystrokes away! Just like Stone Soup, it takes a village to maximize the reach of a successful organic Facebook post. Never forget that success in social media is truly dependent on just how social you choose to be. Get out there, network and leave no boxes unchecked!

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