If You Build it, They Will Come: How to Get Facebook to Work for You

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By Sue BradyBuild a social media plan

With over 500,000 million active users, Facebook is an important tool for your social media strategy. If you aren’t sure how to set up your page, you can read this post. If your page is already setup, read on.

Goals. What do you want to get out of Facebook? Is your goal customer engagement? Are you trying to reach influencers to spread the word about your product? Do you want prospective employees to see your page and want to come work for you? Or is your goal simply to get as many followers for your page as you can (aka ‘likes’) in the hopes of driving more business?

Content. After you’ve set your goals, think about what you want to post about. Your topics should support your goals. Are all of your posts going to be product-centric, can they Editorial Calendars are Importantvary with the seasons, do you want to include personal stories about some of your employees? Whatever it is, establish a content calendar to help guide you. This calendar can help you organize all of your social media content (across different media), and probably should. I have a client who lets multiple people post dependent on the day, but the theme for the content is provided by management. Your content calendar can be a simple excel sheet that tracks date, title, topic and keywords.

Content Sources. Sources of content are plentiful. Think about asking your sales people for the types of questions they hear from customers. Or talk to your customer service phone or sales reps. They have daily interactions and are a wealth of information. Ask other employees if they have a pertinent topic they’d like to write about. Take a look at your competitors and see what they are writing about. Or check out what experts in your industry are saying.

Posting. Decide on your posting frequency. Will it be multiple times a day, daily, weekly, monthly? It’s important that you are clear here. If you post too much, fans may ‘unfollow’ you. And the same may happen if you don’t post enough. Facebook is a visual medium, so post with pictures. Here are some statistics from KISSmetrics that show the value of posting with pictures:

  • Posts with photos get 53% more likesPhotos with likes get more shares
  • Posts with photos get 104% more comments
  • Posts with photos get 84% more click-thrus

KISSmetrics also states that posting with a question generates 100% more comments than posting a statement. Get users to engage with your brand by asking questions!

Gaining Fans

  • Ask your personal network to ‘like’ your business page. It’s a great way to gain exposure early on, and to generate some immediate buzz and activity on your feed.
  • Include ‘Please share this’ in your post. You’ll generate more shares that way.
  • Advertise. Advertising on Facebook took a while to work for many brands. But that’s been changing. I know a company who went from a fan base of less than a few hundred followers to over 5,000 fans in three months. How? After about 6-months on Facebook they started running ads that offered a cents off coupon. Now they are enjoying much greater customer engagement, with fairly frequent posts from customers on their page. Facebook has some easy to use methods to help you maximize return on your advertising. This post is a great read on the subject. (Little known fact from the folks at Hubspot: you can test your messaging before you run your ad by creating unpublished posts, known as dark posts. Dark posts appear in the News Feed but not on your timeline. This article tells you how to do it.) If you aren’t sure how to get started, here’s another gem from Hubspot explaining the options.

Why do consumers follow brands?

  • It’s no secret that a big reason consumers like brands is because they are hoping for coupons. In a survey by market research company Lab42, they found that 77% of those who had ‘liked’ a brand saved money as a result. Tweet that stat! In the same study, 69% said they ‘liked’ a brand because a friend did.
  • Understand the Facebook Algorithm. Facebook’s goal is to keep users interested, and to do that, they show content they think will be of interest, based on past behaviors. It’s important to understand this because it impacts how your posts will be ranked. Rank is determined through an algorithm, formerly known as EdgeRank. EdgeRank was created as a way to prioritize stories in a user’s news feed and referred to the concept of ‘gaining an edge.’ The key elements have remained the same over the years, although according to Facebook, they now use over 100,000 factors.

Key Elements in Facebook’s EdgeRank

  • Affinity Score – This is based on an action the user took, his ‘closeness’ to the person posting, and how much time has passed since the posting. Commenting on someone’s posts, or ‘liking’ those posts, increases a fan’s affinity to a brand. ‘Liking’ gives that brand an edge.
  • Edge Weight – Edges are weighted based on the effort required on the part of the user. Leaving a comment has more weight than leaving a ‘like.’ A video view has more weight than leaving a comment.
  • Time Decay – This refers to the length of time that has passed since an edge was created. As time passes, it loses value. However, if a story is very popular, even if it’s a few hours old, it could be bumped to the top of a feed.

You can read more about EdgeRank here.

3. Promotions. Promotions are a great way to garner fans on Facebook. But there are rules that have to be followed. The rules around promotions continue to evolve, so make sure you are using the most current set. For instance, it is now okay to use the ‘like’ functionality as a way to collect entries. Here’s a summary of the <current> Facebook rules as of August, 2013. You also must follow local and national rules imposed by the government (check with your lawyer!).

Be prepared for trolls. A troll is someone who frequently posts negative comments on your page. Trolls can be problematic. They may have a legitimate beef with your company or maybe they have nothing better to do. Have a plan. And, let management know that they are likely to see some negative comments on the company Facebook page. No surprises. And also let them know you have a plan.

See you on Facebook!

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