Facebook's Magic Formula
How do you optimise your presence on Facebook? It's difficult to get visibility in your fans' newsfeeds but it is not impossible!
Facebook was ten years old in 2014. What a remarkable journey it has been since it was first established by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004!
Over the course of a decade it has grown to become the social media platform of choice for many brands with 1.366 billion active users in January 2015, according to WeAreSocial.net
. Crucially, 1.133 billion of the platform’s global users – 83% of the total – now access the service through mobile devices which shows that the platform has made an easy transition into the world of mobile devices, and interestingly, according to Felicity McCarthy, MD of Spark Digital
, 16 minutes out of every hour online is spent on Facebook. That’s a sizeable proportion of any user’s online activity and one which no brand can afford to ignore.
So how do you optimise your presence on Facebook? The recent changes to Facebooks algorithm have meant that it is much more difficult for brands to get into the newsfeeds of their fans organically, however it is not impossible. According to Felicity McCarthy, the magic formula for News Feed visibility is dependent on IxPxCxTxR or a combination of the below factors:
- Interest: Interest of the user in the creator
- Post: This post’s performance amongst other users
- Creator: Performance of past posts by the content creator amongst other users
- Type: Type of post (status, photo, link) user prefers
- Recency: How new is the post
How to stimulate engagement
It is key therefore that your posts are engaging to ensure that you stimulate the interest of the user in what you have to say and in order for them to interact with your posts via likes, comments or shares. If you follow the ‘magic formula’, you will see that your ability to gain visibility organically in the newsfeeds of your fans is dependent on generating engagement through posting quality posts on a regular basis.
There are a few rules of thumb when it comes to creating a post of Facebook.
- Lengthy posts have less traction than shorter posts, so be succinct and say what you need to say in the minimum amount of text. The optimum character count for a post is 90-100 characters to catch people’s attention on Facebook, so hook them quickly!
- Aim for a friendly, approachable tone in your posts which invites the user to interact with you, humour can work well here –but keep it tasteful.
- Effective use of imagery is crucial, particularly emotive imagery which sparks an emotional reaction in the user and stimulates them to share your post.
- Remember if you are posting images that you cannot post images on Facebook that are covered by more than 20% of text! (this also applies to advertisements)
- It is better to post less but post higher quality posts than to post a large volume of posts that have little or no relevance or value to your fan base.
Running a competition – what you need to know
Competitions on Facebook are a great way of getting interaction going, but again a few rules apply.
- It is crucial that you select a prize for your competition that is relevant to your target audience. It can be tempting for example to select a high-end generic prize in the hope that it will generate a large volume of entrants. However if the prize is not relevant to your target audience, you may just succeed in generating a large volume of entrants who have little or no real interest in your brand and have only entered the competition on the basis of a lucrative prize. The likelihood that entrants of this nature will convert to a sale therefore is minimal. It is better to offer a prize that may not be as high-end but which is more relevant to and compelling for, your target audience in order to generate quality leads.
- Remember you cannot ask entrants to ‘share’ directly from your page when running a competition, this is against Facebook’s rules, although you can ask them to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ directly from your page. If you wish to request that your entrants ‘share’ when running a competition, you will need to use a competition app like Shortstack. These apps can be useful in running a competition as they can help you to streamline the process and particularly as regards the process of selecting a winner for your competition.
Nathan Latka in his JeffBullas.com blog post ‘Facebook Contests that captured 10000 emails’ cites examples of some of the best Facebook competitions of 2014. Amongst Nathan’s tips for running Facebook competitions are:
- Including your brand logo prominently on the competition design to communicate trust and credibility with your target audience.
- Including a ‘countdown’ on your competition that has less than 7 days on it to spur fans on to enter the competition before the final deadline.
- Having an easy to follow opt in form.
- Ensuring that your Facebook competition is also fully accessible on mobile.
Measure your performance with Facebook Insights
You can track the performance of your posts using Facebook Insights (Facebook’s Analytics). Keeping an eye on your Insights can be a valuable exercise, particularly as you can begin to see trends emerging over time. According to Felicity McCarthy, Facebook Insights will allow you to see:
- Which posts people engaging are most with
- Who is responding the most
- What the best times of day for engagement are
- What the best days of the week for engagement are
Facebook Insights will also allow you to see the gender breakdown of your fanbase and the geographic location they originate from. This can be useful as it will help you to build your customer profile and target advertising campaigns specifically for them.
Facebook also offers brands the useful functionality whereby in Facebook Power Editor you can create a ‘Lookalike audience’ of people who are similar to your existing audience in terms of demographic characteristics and again you can target them with customised advertising campaigns.
Looking to the future
Despite ripples in the rock pool from the recent emergence of new social media platform, Ello, Facebook still remains a powerhouse in Social Media terms. Although the younger demographic are transitioning over to the likes of Snapchat and Instagram, the lucrative grey market who have a large amount of disposable income available to them, remain a force to be reckoned with on Facebook and a particularly attractive segment for brands with an offering that meets their needs. Facebook has been around for ten years. Will it be around for another ten? Only time will tell.
Gemma Shannon - Digital Coordinator and Marketing Specialist
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