Yeah, yeah.  We’ve all heard it a thousand times:  You need to post original content to get traffic.

Content is king.  That’s what they told me.

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.

I’m calling BS on that.

There are roughly a billion websites out there.  There are more than 1.6 Billion Facebook users and more than 1 billion of them are active daily.  That’s a lot of people making a lot of content.

OK, stale content won’t help you.  Neither will buying stuff from a content farm or just recycling the same old idea.  But the problem isn’t content.  It’s discovery.  Amid all those posts, marketing teams creating “brand stories” and viral videos, how in the heck do you get noticed?  How do people find the amazing content you’ve been working on?

It’s like the writer that spends a week crafting the perfect post, then links to it from social media with a headline she spent 30 seconds on.  I’m sure you’ve had this happen, you read an interesting tidbit and post a link on Facebook.  It gets shares, likes, and comments.  But when you check the stats, what it didn’t get was clicked on.  If all people do is read your one-liner and look at an image and form an impression, you don’t get the benefit of all that work you’ve put into crafting that content.

You’ve probably heard this before: “The majority of content is not searched, it’s discovered.”  That’s what makes social media so great.  You will discover things you would never have thought to seek out.  If you can just get your brand message into the social media stream, you’re good.

burger kingBut think about it.  Burger King is one of the more active brands on social media.  They have more than 7.6 million likes.  They’ll reach with any given post, just more than 2% of their fans.  Still, that’s 152,000.

The average engagement rate with Facebook posts from brands with large followings – half a million likes or more – is between 0.5% and 0.9%. So of the 150,000+ reached, somewhere between 7,500 and 15,000 people engaged with it in any manner.

bg sharesEven that’s assuming a lot.  I scoured the Facebook page for BK and while there were a handful of post that hit close to those engagement levels, the more typical post fell short.  Way short.  More typical was 500 likes and 50 shares.

Every day, Burger King serves 11 million customers.  Let’s assume, for this exercise, every one is a heavy consumer of Whoppers and visits twice a month (big assumption).  That would mean Burger King would have roughly 167 million customers.  That great Facebook post reached a fraction of their customers.  Actually a really teeny tiny fraction.  Less than 1/100th of 1%.

There are just too many Facebook pages and too many posts are out there.  There is so much content that the competition for a place in your feed is really, really intense.  Facebook is trying to serve up the things its visitors are most interested in – the best content that is relevant to each individual.

That’s why companies spend those crazy dollars on Super Bowl ads.  They can reach 100 million customers, or potential customers, in one shot.

So what’s a marketer to do?  First, be realistic.  Social media can only be one piece of your marketing strategy.  But it can be a powerful piece.  In its “2016 State of Marketing” report, Salesforce surveyed 4,000 marketers and reports that 75% say social is generating ROI – 46% better than a year ago.


The study found the highest correlation between marketers who claimed significant ROI from social and those that rolled out cross-channel strategies.  In other words, when social is part of an overall strategy mix, 63% showed significant return on investment.

  1. Set goals and measure 

    Oh, yes. You should have goals.  Is your goal to increase Facebook likes so that more people will see your content?  Is your goal to drive people to your website?  Is your goal to get more people to come to your store?  Is it strictly ROI?Far smarter people than me have said it:  You can’t manage what you can’t measure.  Set your goal and then make sure you can track the results.

  2. Be true to yourself 

    Make sure whatever you post feeds back to your brand. Random posts may get some attention, but do they meet your goals (see above).Be authentic and genuine.  Write like you talk not like you think a newspaper writer would approach it.

  3. Post consistently 

    Since you never know how many people will see your posts, or how often, you need to make sure there’s enough content in your pipeline to get the broadest distribution. Consider scheduling posts for when your target audience is online and available.

  4. Target your audience 

    Just as you would target your ideal customer for your business or product for your advertising, you can do the same thing with your social media. You can target by age, geography, demographics, etc.

  5. Find the emotional connection 

    Create content that ties your brand into what’s going on in people’s lives at that moment. Finding a connection with someone – hopefully a large group of “someones” – can be powerful.  Can you tie into a holiday or special event that everybody’s thinking about? is a website that matches up pet owners and pet sitters on-line.  They tied into Mother’s Day by asking people to post pictures of Mom and their dog.


Finding the right image to create an instant emotional connection can be the difference between someone stopping to see your post or just swiping on to the next.
Reacting quickly to an event, even something bad that happens, can create marketing buzz and position your brand as someone that cares. There are dozens of great examples, but here’s one.

lowes 2

One of my personal favorites was how a cookie company tied in with an eclipse.  The marketing team for Oreos put this together.  It’s a simple concept, but it paid big dividends.  Before this, was anyone thinking about Oreos when talking about an eclipse?

Finally, when you’ve got something that’s working, consider putting some dollars behind it.

I know we all hate spending money, but when something clicks, it’s pretty easy to boost the distribution on Facebook.  There’s even a handy boost button that only you can see when you’re signed in.  There are a myriad of targeting options, including fan groups and lifestyle to narrowly target.