Facebook Marketing

There has been quite a lot of discontent among Facebook marketers of late due to the apparent decline in news feed visibility. The more cynical among us believe this is Facebook’s way of coercing page admins to pay to promote their posts in order to get the same exposure they once enjoyed for free. Whether this is true or not, the Facebook news feed is becoming an increasingly competitive marketing space – meaning you need to fight to be seen.

So, how do you become a prominent fixture in users’ news feeds? First, you need to understand how Facebook decides which posts will show up and why:


EdgeRank

Gone are the good old days when most of your community would see your content. Now, an average of about 16-17% of fans will see each of your posts.

You’ve probably heard of EdgeRank before but may not fully understand exactly what it is. You’re not alone! Basically, EdgeRank is the formula that Facebook uses to decide which posts will show up in a user’s news feed.

The EdgeRank algorithm is Facebook’s key to determining who is going to see your post, and if you can understand how it works, you can try and optimize your posts to suit it. There are a lot of articles out there that go into great depth about EdgeRank, but all you really need to know are three key elements: affinity score, weight and time.

Affinity score measures how strong your relationship is with a user based on interaction. The people who are frequently commenting, liking or sharing your posts are going to have a stronger affinity score, and thus will be the people who are more likely to see your posts in their news feed. The next element, weight, refers to the weight of the interaction with your post (e.g., a comment or share carries more weight than a Like). So if your post is getting a lot of comments and/or shares, it will be (theoretically) shown to more people. Lastly, time is an easy one – the older the post gets, the less relevant it becomes, which means that it will appear less and less in the news feeds of fans over time.

So now that the technical stuff is out of the way, how can you cater to the EdgeRank algorithm to make your Facebook page and posts more visible? Here are 20 ideas:

1. Don’t Post Too Often

This one is a common trap. You set up a Facebook page and start getting fans, but then you get it in your head that now that you have a channel and community you must constantly feed them content. No!  Never post just for the sake of posting. There is no magic number for how many times to post in a week, but I very rarely recommend more than once a day – unless you have content that requires timely delivery and is of interest to the majority of your community. You rarely lose fans for not posting content, but you can lose fans (or have your posts hidden by fans) if you’re posting too often. Additionally, the more posts you put up, the less engagement you may get – which will affect your EdgeRank.

2. Post Engaging Content

This one is a pretty big no-brainer. The better and more engaging your content is, the more interaction you’re going to get and the better your EdgeRank will be, which means more people will see the post. Keep track of how all your posts perform and pretty soon you’ll know what content your community finds engaging. Then post more like that.

3. Use Images and Video

Text updates are boring (well, sometimes) and don’t stand out from the rest of the news feed. Stats show that photo albums get 180% more engagement, photos 120% more and videos 100% more. Based on these number, it’s easy to see why you should post images and videos whenever possible.

4. Determine the Best Days and Times to Post

There is often conflicting data on when the best time to post is and to be honest, I think it completely depends on who your audience is. Stats have shown (and this is in line with my practical experience) that people engage most with pages are 18-24 year olds from 9-10pm. However, if you’re not targeting 18-24 year olds, this may not be the optimal time for you to post. If you’re targeting moms, maybe weekdays would be the best time, or perhaps evenings. My advice would be to do some testing of your own by posting at different times for a month, then checking to see which days and times got the best results. Then, begin posting your most exciting and engaging content at those times.

5. Ask your Community to Change the Setting to Get Notifications

So this one may not work spectacularly, but it’s worth a shot. If you hover over the “Liked” button on any page you’re a fan of, you’ll see there’s an option to get notifications from that page. If you post an update asking your community to do this for your page and get fans to bite, your post visibility is definitely going to increase. I wouldn’t expect a large number of your fans to do it, but even if it’s a small percentage, it’s still going to help.

Show in News Feed

6. Promoted Posts

If you don’t mind spending money, you can increase the visibility of your posts by promoting them via the news feed. This basically means you pay somewhere between about $5-$200 to increase the exposure of your post to either just your current fans, or your fans and their friends. As you can see in the screenshot below, in my case, spending a maximum of $10 would get my post an extended reach of about 1.26k-2.34k (fans and friends of fans). It’s a little annoying because that is exactly what Facebook wants you to do (spend money in order to get your posts seen), but at the same time it can be very effective.

7. Request Feedback

This is an awesome idea because not only can you get up to 90% more engagement than your average posts, but you can also obtain valuable feedback and ideas if you ask the right questions. It might mean a generic question like “What’s for dinner tonight?” (which might be relevant to a food service brand), or it could be something like “What do you think about _____?” or a crowdsourcing style of question like “What color do you think we should add to our range of _____?” Asking questions gets more comments, which are weighted heavier than Likes, which in turn is great for your EdgeRank and will get you more visibility. So do it!

8. Caption Contest or Fill in the Blank

Personally, I’m not a fan of these two types of posts, but they do generally see pretty good engagement if your community is large enough. Essentially, you post a photo and ask your audience to come up with a funny/interesting/appropriate caption OR you can post a text update with a blank and tell them to fill it in, such as “This weekend I’m going to _____.”  If this suits the tone, personality and content of your page, then give it a try. After all, it’s driving comments rather than Likes, which is better for your EdgeRank.

9. Inspirational Quotes and Images

One of the best ways to get engagement (depending on your audience) is to post an inspirational quote or image. Preferably, this relates somehow to your business (e.g., exercise-related quotes and images for gyms and personal trainers). Facebook users eat this stuff up, so if it fits in with your brand personality, do it!

10. Run Competitions

People love free things, so give them the chance to win some. Posts about competitions get high engagement on your page, and if you promote your competition via Facebook ads or other means, it’s likely your Facebook community will grow as a result. Just make sure the prize is relevant and you adhere to Facebook’s T+Cs and you’re good to go.

11. Ask People to Share your Page/Competition/Post

This one is also a little cheesy, but it can work. If you want something, ask for it. Plenty of businesses routinely add in a “share to _____,” “Like if you agree” or simply just ask their fans to Like, comment on and share their posts. It may seem a little desperate at times, but it gets results.

12. Be Funny

Nothing gets engagement like a funny post, photo or video. Try to be funny (without trying too hard) and you’ll find that your engagement will increase and thus so will your EdgeRank! Voila, your Facebook posts are suddenly much more visible!

13. Facebook Offers

Facebook offers are a great way to get exposure for your Facebook page and your business AND generate sales. If you’ve got a great deal, consider promoting it via a Facebook offer – it’s easy for fans to redeem and when they do, they send a nice viral message into the news feeds of their friends. You can also promote this via a Facebook ad campaign to get even more exposure.

14. Coupons and Sales

People love free things, but they also enjoy getting discounts. Provide exclusive coupons, coupon codes or sales to your Facebook fans and promote this via a post – if it’s a good discount you will see plenty of engagement on your post. Not only will this help the visibility of the post, but you’ll see the viral exposure of your post and page increase as well, likely driving more fans to your page. Double win!

15. Encourage Photo Tagging

Another easy way to gain exposure to friends of your fans is to encourage your fans to tag themselves in photos that you upload. Ideally, these photos would actually feature your fans (e.g., if you took pictures at a company-sponsored event); however, it may be that you just post a super exciting new product and tell people to tag themselves in it if they want it. Try not to make it too cheesy or you may find yourself embarrassed when nobody complies.

16. Encourage User Check-ins (+ Make your Page Available for Check-ins)

Obviously, this is only relevant if you have an actual physical location. If you do, make your Facebook page a place page so that people can check-in to your business. Facebook check-ins show up in users’ timelines (and thus their friends’ news feeds) and increase exposure for your brand and your Facebook page. Encourage people to check-in not just through posts on Facebook, but at your actual place of business, too (e.g., by using signage).

17. Target Friends of Fans

The easiest people to engage with on Facebook, outside your current fans, are the friends of those fans. When someone can see that their friend has Liked your page, it is already more likely they will want to do so also, because peer recommendations are a strong influence. You get exposure organically, but you can boost this by using some paid options – like sponsored stories, promoted posts or general Facebook ads. It may cost a little bit of money, but it will increase the visibility of your Facebook page more effectively than targeting the general Facebook community.

18. Surprise and Delight

Social media lends itself really well to surprise and delight tactics, because people love sharing things that are really positive, surprising and/or delightful. Do something out of the ordinary – donate a bucket load of money to a local charity, post a story about saving the baby bird that fell out of the tree outside your business, post a video of something whacky that happened in your shop… just do something that will make your fans (and their friends) go “wow,” “awww,” “holy moley!” or a similar response. You’ll get loads of engagement and your EdgeRank will love you for it.

19. Keep it Short

This one is an easy one. Try to keep your text posts short. Posts between 100-250 characters get 60% more Likes, comments and shares than longer posts. People just don’t want to read much anymore!

20. Be Targeted

Does your Facebook community come from all over the globe? Do you have a promotion relevant just to one country, state or city? What about something targeted only to, or to younger people, or older people? Facebook allows you to target posts by gender, relationship status, educational status, “interested in,” age and language. So if you have posts that are meant for only a specific segment of your audience, target them. That way you’re not boring or (even worse) annoying the rest of your community and you’ll see better engagement in terms of the percentage of people who have seen the post. Targeting fewer people may seem contrary to the goal of getting more visibility, but your EdgeRank will be better if you’re sending more relevant messages out to people, which will make it more likely your messages will keep appearing to your fans!

Facebook Ad Targeting

9 Ways to Become a Better Facebook Community Manager

#1: Know Your Voice

Branding is important on social media. Your company should have a “voice” that matches your brand and your company philosophy.

Are you more serious or do you add a little bit of snark in your posts? Do you stick mostly to business or can you be off the wall? Do you like to stir things up or do you remain neutral?

If you are a one-person operation, these decisions may be easy. But if you have multiple employees and possibly multiple people posting to the Facebook Page, you want to have the “voice of the company” communicated clearly to the people who will be managing your Facebook Page.

The voice of the company is important in how comments and community feedback are handled, as well as the day-to-day posting. Consistency in your voice will help your community know what to expect.

know your voice

ModCloth has an offbeat, humorous voice that engages their audience.

 

#2: Have Access to Visuals

Visual marketing is becoming a vital part of Facebook and all social platforms. The more you can incorporate photos, screenshots and graphics, the richer your Facebook Page will be.

Even if your business isn’t visual, make a plan for how you will add images to your posts. You can use things like:

  • A screenshot of something you’re demonstrating
  • An interesting photo with a quote about your niche
  • An infographic with statistics about your niche
  • Behind-the-scenes photos from your company events

I like using tools like Snagit, iPiccy or PicMonkey to create or modify images to make them interesting. You can even use PowerPoint to create a slide that you can then export as an image.

use images

Orange County Animal Services uses creative images.

#3: Know the Rules

As a community manager, make sure you know Facebook’s policies. Pages can be shut down without warning for violating these policies. Usually it’s very difficult to get your Page restored and you don’t want all that hard work to go down the drain for violating Facebook’s contest terms, for example. Make sure you keep up with the updates to the terms as they do change frequently (see #7).

facebook contest violation

This Page is violating Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines and could be shut down.

#4: Know the Industry

If you are managing a Page for someone else, you need to know the industry so you can speak the lingo. It won’t reflect well on the company if you aren’t using the terminology or common acronyms correctly in your posts and follow-up comments.

know the industry

Some industries have terms that you will need to know if you are managing a community for someone.

#5: Recognize Members

A community manager needs to recognize contributors and members and get to know them. If you have a physical location, you can take pictures of your community members and recognize them on your Facebook Page.

community members

Recognize your community members who come to your physical location.

Or you can find other ways to recognize your community by featuring them in a post or promoting their business somehow.

community members feature on page

Promote your community members by featuring them on your Page.

#6: Answer Questions Quickly

Promptly respond to posts or questions on your Page to create strong bonds with your community. Even if you don’t know the answer, let them know that you will get back to them. Or point them to a useful resource is another good option.

answer questions quickly

Answer questions quickly if possible.

The good news is you have more options to get notifications when something happens on your Page. If your Page is large, these can get overwhelming, so you may need to set a schedule to check in. To access your notifications, go to Edit Page > Manage Notifications.

notifications

Adjust your notifications so you can keep on top of your posts.

#7: Stay on Top of Changes

Facebook changes a lot! There are changes to their official policies and in how things are working at any given moment. Make sure you keep track of Facebook’s official changes by following the Newsroom and the Facebook Marketing Page.

facebook news room

Follow the Newsroom on Facebook to see announcements.

For “unofficial” quirks and issues, you can always come to our Facebook Page and ask questions. Another great place to see if others are experiencing the same thing is to come to our Facebook Networking Club.

facebook club

Find out what others are seeing and get your questions answered in our Facebook Networking Club.

Some other great Facebook Pages to help you stay on top of the news are Mari Smith, Social Identities and Jon Loomer Digital.

#8: Respond Calmly to Negative Posts

If you get some angry posts for whatever reason on your Page, think before you fire off an angry response. Respond quickly (even if it’s to say we’ll get back to you), but don’t respond in the heat of the moment when you might feel like “telling them off.”

If you have some upset Facebook fans, there could be a good reason. By dealing calmly with the situation, you can hopefully salvage the relationship.

respond calmly

Campbell’s Condensed Soup acknowledges the customer’s concerns on their Page.

#9: Have Fun

Find some ways to have fun with your community. Have a Facebook “live Q&A chat” time, do a Livestream or even (gasp) go over to a Google+ Hangout.

have fun

Have fun with your community.

When you are having fun and sharing with your community, you are all getting to know each other better and everyone wins.

have fun encourage sharing

Encourage sharing to have fun and get to know each other.

Always be thinking about how you can be a good resource for your community and create a great experience for your fans. Your Facebook Page will grow and so will your business.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)