Okay, so I am sure you have heard about all the Facebook changes. First thing’s first, we need to all just breathe in and out and quiet ourselves a bit.
I have a lot of thoughts on this, and I want to preface it by saying that these are MY THOUGHTS. You can take this advice or leave it, but as someone who runs three very highly successful Facebook groups, a successful Facebook page, used advertising, retargeting Facebook pixels, and MeetEdgar… I am not as worried as everyone seems to be.
I don’t ever remember a time that Facebook rolled out a change that people were “happy” with. But guess what? We all lived through it. We all chose to use this free platform for our personal life and our business and many of us don’t spend money doing so.
These Facebook Changes Are A Long Time Coming
Since last year at Social Media Marketing World, Michael Stelzner and his team predicted this. They said that Facebook was running out of space for the newsfeed because so much content was being produced and shared. They said that organic reach (meaning you just post something on your page and people see it) was dropping and the way to succeed was PAY TO PLAY and be useful and relevant.
What Does That Mean?
It means that when you have a post that is performing well, boost it for $5. It means that when you have a message you really want a lot of eyes on, use it as an advertisement and install a pixel on your website if you are sending people there so you can retarget them.
Want to know more about what retargeting is? This is a great article explaining it in depth. Hint: Pet sitters can 100% use this to find more dog walking clients, overnight clients, or employees. Yes, it is that specific if you use it right.
Sigh, But I Don’t Want to Pay Bella!
Okay, then don’t. But I ask you where else are you paying for advertising in your business? Why NOT pay for advertising on Facebook? You are going to have to put some skin in the game if you want it to happen and even more so, I would encourage you to find a person who can really help you navigate through this or at least teach you. This is a person you need on your team. Personally, I enjoy working with Robert He is the guy I hand my FB advertising off to. He has gotten me 205 subscribers since October from Facebook leading to just over $6,000.00 in sales since October. He has also been able to get my conversion rates from 5% to 13% since working with him.
So really, it is up to you if you want to pay to play or not but I have first hand experience that you make much more than your investment back.
Please understand that it is only one part of the funnel. Allow me to show you mine. I hand drew it quick so you could see:
If at any point the user doesn’t make it to the purchase product segment, they are retargeted for the advertisement. I am showing this to you to give an overview of how this can work for pet sitters. As I mentioned in my Facebook Live starting at the 20minute mark you can use this to find employees or clients and put it all on a system. I tell you exactly how you can make this funnel above your OWN using an actual example of a pet sitting business. I would suggest you use someone to help you set it all up and then you can forget about it (sorta). I promise that if you do it right, tweak it to perfection… you will still get a flow of people. But you have to pay to play!
Start listening at the 20 minute mark to see what I am saying. Facebook is STILL the largest database in the world and they still want you to use them for that.
So here are my thoughts to you on the Facebook changes:
Most Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers Don’t Have Reach To Begin With:
So many pet sitting Facebook pages barely have any reach to begin with. They are correlating other people’s content that people just don’t care about. There is no engagement (meaning likes, comments, or share) and if you were to scroll their feed it looks like a ghost town. So you can’t be upset about something you never had to begin with.
Stop Asking Other Pet Sitters to Like Your Page!
You are not going to trick Facebook unless all of those people are constantly engaging with your page on a daily basis. All you are doing is making your engagement ratio tougher to reach. What I WOULD be asking for is more relevant REVIEWS on your page.
Episodic Video Is Great
Although they are saying that video views will go down, the future of Facebook is a TV station and this can only help you. In addition, entertaining and episodic content will be favored so why not (finally) start going live on a certain day? Not sure what to talk about? How about that content you were blindly sharing and posting to your wall? Talk about it! In fact, Facebook just sent me this last week showing how to knock it out of the park with short video on facebook.
I have been preaching about this for a long time.
Educate Yourself as a Business Owner and Always be Learning.
Consider your Facebook strategy based off the actual experts and thought leaders. Don’t just go blindly following with others are doing in a Facebook group because that is what everyone is doing. Social Media Examiner is having a conference that I am attending Feb 28-March 2nd in San Diego with 8 other pet sitters. Consider meeting us at Social Media Marketing World I was able to learn and meet so many incredible people last year that I can 100% recommend this is the conference to be at!
Another great resource and one that will be on my podcast soon is the Queen of Facebook. When Facebook needs help explaining Facebook, they headhunted and hired Mari Smith! Go follow her and learn!
Facebook Groups Are Your Saving Grace!
One thing I don’t see being too affected is Facebook groups. You know, the ones that you always LOVE to be in, check in to see what is going on, and care about the most? Where there has always been the MOST engagement? I have seen pet sitters like Crystal Hammond and Maureen Dunn McCarthy really take this to the next level increasing their business and networking in their communities by thousands of dollars a month. Want to learn how? Maureen spilled all her secret’s in this podcast interview.
Be careful of what you can’t can and can’t happen in your brain. The strong make things happen. The weak allow, “it can’t happen” to take residence in their brain.
If you haven’t done a facebook group in your community (and the RIGHT WAY) I highly suggest you start making that your personal development. Google it, learn about it, do it right. That can REALLy help you in numerous ways.
Website SEO Matters More Than Ever If You Used Facebook To Drive Clicks To Your Site.
Yet again, there is that three letter word that many have become numb to. But understanding how these Facebook changes relate to it will be crucial. Strategies will need to change. Those who were using Facebook to drive traffic back to their website via their pages are predicted to see a dramatic decrease. I am one of those who will be affected as FB has been a leading driver of readers for my previous pet sitting company and Jump Consulting. But there is a saying that says if you know what you are fighting, you can plan your attack. Folks, we know what we are “fighting.”
Best you have yoast installed on your wordpress website and make sure that every page and post on your site is properly SEOed. A resource I love for this is Barketing Blog. They provide done-for-you pet sitter websites for 93% off. They are so good I have people writing me thank you letters for referring them. In their options, you can actually hand them your blogs each month and they will post them and make sure they are properly SEOed.
This matters because the organic google search that is favoring mobile sites first… is huge. I hope you understand the magnitude of what can happen to your pet sitting business this year if your Facebook strategy and your website strategy are not on point. If you do what you have been doing in the past months and years, you will see a dramatic decrease in organic search results. My expert for this is Erika Godwin and you can learn more about her here
Train Your Audience Like You Would a Dog!
Simply put, ASK your audience to put your page on a “see first.” Facebook has made this so easy where you can do a Facebook live video showing your screen and exactly how to do that. Make it a point to start and end every video asking for this. When you ask people to do these things, it works and I am pretty sure you will start to see a LOT of people doing this.
Your Plan With Your Facebook Page:
I am wondering…. right now, how many clients have you attracted from ONLY seeing you on Facebook in the past month? I am guessing none. Am I right? I have hardly ever see the majority of pet sitters tell me “They found me on Facebook” and if they did… it was because someone (a client) was engaged with their page and sharing their content.
It wasn’t organic.
So I want to encourage you to think – are you really missing out on anything?
I also want to encourage you to think that when people are looking for dog walkers and pet sitters, they aren’t passive about it. It isn’t some silly magnetic eye lashes sold in China that we click on in the news feed and buy for $9.99 on an impulse. This is pet sitting and dog walking. These people need to trust us. They have asked their friends. They have asked their vet and you can bet – they have googled.
So put your focus back to google. How is your website performing? Are you coming up in the search? Are you being relevant? Are you constantly adding content? Are you helpful? Or are you just shooting for PET SITTER YOUR CITY and leaving out the Big 5 blog titles that every business owner needs to be doing?
The strategy needs to change for many of you, but mindset also. This really isn’t new news. You need to be engaging, relevant, and make it a two-way conversation. Don’t be too worried if you weren’t getting that much engagement to begin with, this should just REALLY make you want to change your strategy. How often do you even look at your stats? Please… keep learning but understand that it isn’t the end of the world. Facebook wants to keep the integrity of the platform. They want to keep people engaged. They will focus on the people and make the businesses pay. It is as simple as that. When Facebook is the largest database in the universe…. They know who the cat lady living in Nowhere, ND making $55k a year and who only travels to see family out of state a few times a year is and they can help you reach her. That is powerful and worth paying for.
And PS – If you are one of the dozen pet sitters in Better Marketing with Bella…. as always, I got your back! We will talk all about you can rock this and adapt to the change on our monthly coaching calls!