Depending on who you believe, Facebook could be overtaking Google in terms of marketing importance for small businesses. Either way, it’s having a huge impact on the way we think of attracting customers online. While the world’s biggest social site still lags behind the world’s most popular search engine in terms of traffic, Facebook users log on for longer and pay more attention to the individual posts they see.

But, getting prospects to see your content in the first place can be a challenge. According to most surveys, a businesses’ posts only reach between 15 and 20% of their fans and followers (and obviously, very few users beyond those). So, before you can make an impact on social media, you have to find a way to expand your reach on Facebook.

Here are five quick ways to do exactly that…

#1 Post More Content, More Often

Obviously, more posts give you a greater chance of reaching your target audience through sheer volume. At the same time, though, Facebook uses an engagement formula that rewards those who post frequently and get lots of responses. So, one of the best things you can do to get in touch with more buyers to stay active on your profile and pages.

#2 Use the Right Content Formats

While typing a few lines of text into your status updates might be the easiest thing, it’s not necessarily the most effective. Because of the fun, fast, and interactive nature of Facebook’s feed, you can often get many more views on your posts by taking advantage of images and videos then you can other types of messages. So, if you can say it with a picture, do so.

#3 Pay Attention to Your Hashtags

Although a lot of marketers associate hashtags with Twitter, you can mark your Facebook posts in the same way and reach a wider audience. That’s particularly true if your hashtags bring your posts in line with bigger trending topics or popular ideas. You may find others commenting, joining in, or sharing your content with their own fans and followers.

#4 Start Discussions

If you can, start a discussion and see where it takes you. Because of the social engagement formula that was already mentioned, Facebook rewards you with more views and impressions when you’re posts generate comments and responses. As an added bonus, others will see that their friends or colleagues have weighed in on your post, and are much more likely to add their own thoughts or opinions.

#5 Boost Your Posts

If you’ve got something really important to say, you can experiment with boosting your posts. This involves paying Facebook (and essentially becoming an advertiser) to ensure a wider viewership of your content. That can include your own fans and followers, or a bigger audience that adheres to demographic guidelines or personal interests that you indicate when you set up your campaign.

As with search engine optimization, social media marketing is predicated on the idea that you have to get buyers to pay attention before you can make a sale.