So you’ve done your research. You’ve weighed the pros and cons. And you’ve FINALLY decided to jump on the social media marketing bandwagon. Now what? It’s likely that you’ll spend countless hours trying to bone up on best practices and likely throw your hands up in frustration at some point since everything you’re reading seems to contradict itself.
Don’t give up hope though! Social media marketing isn’t rocket science and a lot of it really boils down to common sense. That’s not to say that there aren’t things you can do to stack the odds of success in your favor, particularly as it relates to Facebook. A comScore report released in 2011 found that brands that posted an average of seven times per week on Facebook reached a mere 16% of their fan bases. Facebook has never revealed exactly how an individual or business can gain greater reach, even though the company did release an ad product called Reach Generator. The good news is that you CAN expand your Facebook reach easily… if you arm yourself with the right knowledge.
Undestand the EdgeRank Trifecta
EdgeRank is an algorithm Facebook uses to determine screen-worthy content for users. It multiplies three factors – weight, affinity and time – to determine the value of your content. The affinity score is based on how many times a fan has engaged with your brand content before (page visits). Weight is simply popularity, measured by likes and comments, while time is a factor of the decay of your content. Once you understand how the EdgeRank algorithm works, you can expand your reach and audience. Here’s how:
1. Know Your Brand’s Audience
What content do your fans respond to? When do they want that kind of content? How do they want it? These are the 3 main pillar questions you should use to determine the kind of content you’re posting, as well as how to dispense it to your fans and potential fans. Take time to evaluate the historical consumption patterns using Facebook insights in order to determine whether they consume your content on mobile devices, only at work or if they are only responding to a specific type of content. Remember, catering specifically to the needs of your audience with regard to the EdgeRank trifecta will result in more engagement, which increases the chances of it appearing in their Facebook news feeds.
2. Be Brief, Topical and Not Hard to Get
Studies have shown over and over again that succinct posts perform better than lengthy content. The latter goes unread and discourages users from liking and sharing it. Always make your content short and easily digestible. This makes it easy for your fans to consume and interact with it.
Equally important is to ensure your posts are timely. These types of posts are proven to increase excitement, cause spikes in engagement and catalyze engagement among your fans. Such a strategy will expand your reach while simultaneously allowing you to keep an eye on relevant events that are exciting for your community of fans.
Avoid being coy when it comes to your calls-to-action on Facebook. Ask your fans to comment, like or share your post. These three actions initiate further reach on Facebook. You will be surprised just how much your fan base will grow since your posts will end up in the news feeds of your fan’s friends. Remember, fans want engagement and sometimes all they need is just an invitation.
3. Partake in the Engagement
Fans want to know that their favorite brand is listening to them too. Many social media managers overlook this and end up getting a cold reception from their own fans. Make time to answer questions your fans ask in the comments section. Sometimes a simple “thank you” will do. Tag your fans in the comments so they are notified whenever you give them special attention. When they like your comment, it continues the conversation, which boosts your visibility.
While following the aforementioned tips will increase your brand visibility and reach on Facebook, the key takeaway is this: it’s imperative that you create quality content that’s worthy of conversation. Chattiness wins every time.