Did you know that not all of the messages that you post to your Facebook business page may be observed by the people who have “liked” your page? Even if you have a lot of fans, your posts may be seen by only a portion of your fans in their newsfeeds. Why? Because the default setting for the newsfeed on your fans’ personal profiles displays “Top News”. If users want to see “Most Recent” posts, they have to manually change the setting. Most people just use the default setting.
So, what does Facebook consider to be “Top News”? We don’t know exactly- Facebook isn’t divulging its secret formula called Edgerank- but we do have some tips we have compiled after research and observation.
Encourage conversations: Facebook likes to see strong bonds between users (they call if Affinity). When one of your fans likes or comments on your posts, there’s a higher chance that your fan will continue to see your posts in their newsfeed. To help encourage “affinity”, post items that spark conversations. Use questions. Say something controversial or share something funny. And if your fans like or comment on your post, acknowledge them with a comment of your own, making it a two-way conversation.
Facebook also seems to give more weight to posts that get comments rather than merely “likes”, so asking questions seems to be a better strategy that just posting something that people enjoy but don’t encourage comments.
Post links, videos and photos: Facebook seems to like some content more than others. Maybe links, videos and photos tend to get more reactions from people, so that’s why they get better visibility. But it is believed that some kinds of content are weighted more heavily and are more likely to be considered “Top News”.
Time your posts well: As you know, unless you have only two inactive friends and have liked only one page, your own newsfeed is constantly changing. So, after you post something to your business page, the clock is ticking and it will have less chance to appear in your fans’ newsfeeds as time goes on. Your post will stay around longer if there’s a lot of interaction on it, but most updates don’t have a lot of staying power as “Top News”. You can experiment with posting at different times of the day or week and see if that has any effect. You can also use your Page Insights to see when something you posted got the most comments and likes. Has Wednesday been the best day? Evenings versus mornings? Weekdays versus weekends? If you haven’t taken the time to look at your Page Insights, put it on your to-do list.
We don’t claim to have the inside track with Facebook, but if you’re using Facebook as a major part of your overall marketing strategy, these tips should help you increase your visibility. Also, doing some of your own research into Facebook’s Edgerank and your own Page Insights is a smart idea.
Small business owners and leaders struggle to develop and maintain the consistency and frequency of their marketing program, especially now that social media is in the mix. We are already consumed with running the business and hopefully moving it forward. With mailers, flyers, newspaper ads, radio spots and even Google Adwords campaigns, you do a bunch of work to get them scheduled and set up, but then you can (I realize I’m oversimplifying this) sit back and wait for the phone to ring. A mailer might go out every 6 weeks. However, if you only post to your Facebook business page every 6 weeks, you’ll be lost in the torrent of information. With social media, the work to remain visible and engaged is constant.
It is not the job of the customer to remember us. It is our job to be responsive and deliver valuable information on a consistent and frequent basis. Consider if your favorite TV show aired for a couple of weeks and then dropped out for 3, then aired again for 1 week and dropped out for 2 more. You’d probably stop watching it.
Quality of the content you share is very important, but in social media, consistency and frequency may be even more so. I’m not saying that this good or bad; it’s just an observation taken from experience.
So how do you attain consistency and frequency? This is often such a struggle, but here are some of the tactics that we use and share with our clients:
1. Set up an editorial calendar. Your editorial calendar should document the days and times you plan to blog and post in the various platforms. Although the ideal may be every day, “I will aim for progress, not perfection” is a good mantra.
2. Read. It may seem difficult to carve out time to read something, but I have found that doing a bit of reading in a business book or 2-3 blog posts per day really helps with content generation. Sometimes it’s a quote (like the one above) that I run across during my reading that gives me the impetus to share something helpful (at least I hope it’s helpful!).
3. Observe and record. If something happens with a customer or employee during the day that would be a “shareable moment”, jot it down for later. People really respond when you share experiences that provide insight to your readers and customers.
4. Map out ideas for the next year. Most businesses already have certain dates or periods of time throughout the year that are important to the company, industry and/or sales cycle. Putting those dates down on your editorial calendar and brainstorming related ideas for social media content far in advance can really give you a laser focus for some exciting campaigns and content.
4. Get help. A social media specialist can assist you with planning, scheduling and content creation.
What tactics do you use to stay consistent?
So you’ve built your Facebook business page and you’ve been waiting for the fans to “like” your page in droves. However, as with many small businesses, you may have noticed that Facebook fans do not usually materialize overnight. Below are some ways to increase your fan base.
Use Facebook with Your Business Page and Contribute to Other Business Pages
Within Facebook, you now have the ability to “like” pages and comment on other business pages as your business. This will help you spread the word about your brand and also get your page noticed. Just remember to add value to anyone else’s pages that you are commenting on and don’t spam by posting links to your own page or site (at least not on a regular basis). Put some thought into your contributions- remember that other small businesses are usually in the same boat. If you make meaningful comments on the posts of other businesses, they may take the time to check out your page. The aim is to get followers, not to annoy people.
Add the Facebook Badge
One good way to gain fans is to have a Facebook badge on your website. Ideally, the badge should be placed at the top or right side of your site as people will click it while reading down the page. Whether or not you want to show people’s faces and your timeline on the badge is a personal choice- you do have options. Get your badge here: www.facebook.com/badges
Add Your Page to Your Other Social Media Profiles
Include a link on social media sites that allow you to post more than one URL on your profile. LinkedIn allows this as does StumbleUpon, to name a couple. You may also want to include a link to your Facebook page on your Twitter bio. Tweeting a link to your Facebook page on a regular basis can also net you some fans over time.
Join LinkedIn Groups
Many LinkedIn groups have an ongoing discussion thread that encourages members to share their Facebook business pages. This is a great way for you to find Facebook pages to “like” as well as make others aware of your Facebook page.
Create Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads can be inexpensive and very targeted. All you need is a credit card and a daily budget. You can set up the ads to appear to people in a specific area, a specific age range and with specific keywords. Facebook Ads can be set up to say whatever you want, albeit in an abbreviated format. Find out more about Facebook ads here: www.facebook.com/Ads
Include It on Your Business Card and Email Signature
Put a link to your Facebook page on your business card and in your email signatures. Even though Facebook is a social media site, some people use it to bookmark their favorite brands and products. Next time you are due for a reprint of business cards, add your Facebook page URL and change your email signature today.