Category Archives: Facebook

megaphone

Tagging a Facebook Page to Increase Post Visibility? It’s Unreliable at Best

megaphoneIf you’re a Facebook page administrator, you’ve probably tried tagging other pages in your posts. This method is often referred to as @ tagging, and it involves using the @ symbol in a Facebook status update, which triggers a drop down menu from which you can select another Facebook page name.

Many page admins use @ tagging in an attempt to increase the reach and/or visibility of the post. They hope that by @ tagging another brand’s page (typically a larger brand), the brand will be notified about their post and share it, make a comment or just realize that they exist.

But recently I realized that this strategy is unreliable, for this reason:

Pages are not consistently notified when they are tagged by other pages.

My own Facebook business page is never notified of tags. Perhaps Facebook doesn’t deem my page worthy of this feature? I figured this out when I was scrolling through the timeline of a friend’s brand page and saw that she had tagged my page in one of her posts. But I had received no notification of this. Nothing on my timeline in Recent Posts by Others, nothing in my page’s Activity Log, no email, nothing. And my page settings are completely open to other posts and tags. I scrolled down and saw that she had tagged my page in several posts over the past few months. I never would have known.

However, on other pages, I’ve noticed inconsistencies. I manage some client pages where we will @ tag a page but it never appears on the tagged page. But at the same time, I’ve observed pages where their Recent Posts by Others sections are full of tagged posts from other pages.  I posted a question about this phenomenon to a group of blogger friends who manage Facebook pages and only one of them could find an example of where their page had been notified of an @ tag. I’d love to hear about your own experience with this in the comments.

Here’s the takeaway:  Your page post doesn’t always get increased visibility when you tag another page. Because the other page often is not notified of the tag.

Second takeaway: Facebook is annoyingly inconsistent.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to use @ tagging. Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith wrote an excellent post on tagging etiquette back in 2011. She says some appropriate uses for @ tagging include acknowledgement, attribution or appreciation for other pages, and to help promote other pages (since the tag creates an easy click through for fans).

[Note that in the post she mentions “give careful consideration as to a) how your post will come across on someone else’s profile or page wall” (emphasis mine) which seems to imply that at one time, Facebook did consistently display tagged posts on page walls.]

I’d love to hear about your experience with your own Facebook page. Are you notified when your page is tagged by other pages? Have posts where you use @ tagging appear on other pages’ walls?

photo credit: piermario via photopin cc

 

how to schedule a post

How to Schedule Facebook Posts [Facebook Marketing Basics Series]

how to schedule a postHere’s a basic tutorial on how to schedule Facebook posts to your business page using Facebook.com.

Many page admins, especially beginners, don’t even realize they can schedule posts directly from Facebook.com. Scheduling your Facebook posts in advance is a nice time-saver. It’s especially helpful for those who want to schedule a week’s worth of posts in one day, or wish to schedule posts during a vacation, weekend or holiday.

How do I schedule a post? Where’s the schedule button?

Scheduling Facebook posts is super easy, once you locate the scheduling button. Facebook does a nice job of hiding it. The trick to finding the scheduling button is that you need to navigate to your Facebook page and then click into the status update window. When you do so, a little clock button will appear in the lower left corner. Believe me, you’re not alone if you’ve either 1) never noticed the button, or 2) noticed it but had no idea what it was.

scheduling button

Once you figure out where the button is and click on it, Facebook walks you through the rest of the process step-by-step.

Here’s a quick video tutorial of the process.

Quick note: You can click on the scheduling button before authoring your post. Just don’t click “Schedule” until the post is ready.

As I demonstrated in the video tutorial, all of your scheduled posts appear in your page’s Activity Log, where you can view, edit or delete them as needed. To find your Activity Log, just visit your Facebook page and click Edit Page > Use Activity Log.

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Why not use an application like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule Facebook posts?

You can, if you want to. Third party tools (tools not owned by Facebook) such as Buffer, Hootsuite or Sprout Social can help you schedule posts more efficiently if you want the posts to go up at the same time each day. Instead of scheduling each post individually, you simply set the time you want posts to go up each day and fill the “hopper” with posts. But those who aren’t comfortable using a third party application, (or those who, like me, are not convinced Facebook doesn’t penalize third party applications) the process for scheduling a post on Facebook.com is very simple and a great option for page administrators.

Read more in the Facebook Marketing Basics Series: What is Facebook EdgeRank and Reach?

edgerank and reach

What is Facebook EdgeRank and Reach? [Facebook Marketing Basics Series]

This is the first in the Facebook Marketing Basics Series for beginning Facebook marketers.

What is Facebook EdgeRank?

EdgeRank is the algorithm that Facebook uses to decide what posts appear on Facebook users’ walls (also known as the “news feed”). edgerank and reachOnly a small percentage of the posts from users’ Facebook friends or brand pages users “Like” will actually appear in their news feed. This percentage can vary, and can be increased when friends or brand pages post more of that Facebook considers to be “engaging” content — content that gets lots of Likes, Shares and Comments.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of EdgeRank:

Facebook EdgeRank is comprised of three parts: Affinity, Weight and Time Decay.

Affinity: Facebook determines the relationship between you and the person posting. If that relationship is close (say, a close friend or family member OR a brand with whom you interact frequently) those posts score higher for Affinity and they are more likely to appear on your wall.

Weight: Facebook ranks certain types of posts higher than others. For example, Facebook tends to rank Photo posts higher than links. I’ll talk about this more below.

Time Decay: The older the post, the less likely it is to appear on your wall. This keeps your news feed looking up-to-date with the latest news.

Why is EdgeRank Important to Marketers?

Because the news feed is where most of your fans will see your content. 96% of fans will not return to your Facebook Page after Liking it. That’s right! The vast majority of their interaction with your brand and the things that you post to your page will be in their Facebook news feed.

So making sure your posts appear on your fans’ news feeds is critical to your success on Facebook. (Although it’s also a good idea to make sure users can find your Facebook Page in the first place, and that it looks attractive enough for them to Like.)

Posts that get the most likes, shares and comments. Via Dan Zarella of HubSpot.
Posts that get the most likes, shares and comments. Via Dan Zarella of HubSpot.

The Best Ways to Maximize EdgeRank

Should EdgeRank dictate how you post to Facebook? Not really. Attempts to “game the system” are generally exercises in frustration. However there are a few guidelines for posting that will help you improve the chances that your posts will appear in your Fan’s newsfeeds.

They are:

1. Post a variety of content.

2. Post photos and status updates more frequently than links.

3. Post frequently. At least once a day, if possible, with 4 hours minimum between each post.

What Does “Reach” Mean?

One way that Facebook lets you know if your posts are appearing on your fan’s walls is by sharing the “Reach” number at the bottom of each post. This number is visible to Page Managers only.

Facebook defines Reach as ‘the number of people who have seen your post in the first 28 days after a post’s publication [on both desktop and mobile]‘.  ‘…Your post counts as having reached someone when it is loaded and shown in News Feed’.

In plain English that means, the number of people who saw your post in their news feed (wall).

As I mentioned in the previous section, this number is typically a small to medium percentage of your fan base. Two ways to increase your post’s reach are:

1. Post engaging content — when your fans Like, Share or Comment on your post, their friends are more likely to see it on their news feeds. Here’s an oldie-but-goodie post from my blog with some unique engagement ideas to try. Another engagement strategy is to run a Facebook contest.

2. Click on the “Boost Post” button (on some pages, this is called “Promote Post”) and pay to have your post reach more people. Yes, this costs money and shouldn’t be done lightly. Jay Baer gives some excellent advice on when to promote a Facebook post.

UPDATE August 2013: Facebook has made some changes to its newsfeed algorithm, including not calling it EdgeRank anymore. However, this post and the definition of the algorithm still applies. “The three primary EdgeRank factors — Affinity, Weight and Time Decay — are still important pieces of what is today a much more complicated News Feed ranking algorithm.” -Lars Backstrom, Facebook.

In other words, continue posting the most engaging content you can come up with. Read more about changes to the News Feed ranking algorithm.

Read more posts in the Facebook Marketing Basics Series: How to Schedule Facebook Posts.

graph search text

5 Fixes to Optimize Your Small Business Facebook Page for Graph Search

graph search textMarketers have been talking about Graph Search — Facebook’s enhanced search engine — since January 2013, when it was introduced to a limited group of beta testers. After six months of testing and tweaking, Facebook rolled out the new search feature to the rest of the U.S. yesterday.

What does this mean for small business owners? To put it simply, the information section of your Facebook page has become more important than ever. The keywords in that section will determine how someone doing a search for something like “Restaurants nearby” or “Furniture store” is going to find your business.

Here are 5 fixes to help optimize your small business Facebook page for Graph Search.

1. Make sure you are using the correct page type for your business. Have a brick and mortar store? A “Local Business or Place” page is probably your best bet. Did you develop a product that is sold in multiple locations? A “Brand or Product” page is a good choice. Not sure what type of page is right for you? Learn more about the types of Facebook pages and which type is right for your business.

2. Fill in your Basic Information section as completely as possible. You can edit this information by navigating to your page and clicking Edit Page > Update Page Info.

3. In the Basic Information section, choose all of the categories and (for Place pages) Place Sub-categories that Facebook allows. For most pages, Facebook allows two categories and three sub-categories.

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While not directly related to graph search, the last two fixes are important for the overall look of your page. A great visual impression looks polished and professional — it’s like the virtual sign in front of your store — and will attract more page likes.

4. Get a high quality cover image. Your Facebook cover image is your first impression on potential fans. A poor quality, low resolution, fuzzy or dark cover image reflects poorly on your business. Start with a high resolution image. Don’t take your cover image with your smartphone camera. Use the highest quality setting on your point-and-shoot digital camera, or use a professional shot or stock photo (as long as you’ve paid for it and own the rights). Read these helpful tips on making your cover image look as sharp as possible.

This incorrectly sized profile image is unreadable.
This incorrectly sized profile image from a local day spa is unreadable.

5. Size your profile image properly. Your profile image is the one that appears next to all of your posts, and in the bottom left corner of your cover image. It’s pretty important– most businesses use their logo here. If it’s not sized properly, the image can get cropped incorrectly and will look, well… bad.  This isn’t always your fault. Facebook makes size adjustments frequently, and what looked fine yesterday might suddenly be incorrect today. Refer to Facebook’s guidelines for profile image sizing. An easy (and free) tool for resizing or cropping an image is PicMonkey.

peanutbuttercup

How to Create Engaging Facebook Contests Your Fans Will Adore

peanutbuttercupFacebook contests are a great way for brands to spread awareness, gather market feedback, and turbocharge a mailing list. But contests, as in all things social, should also be built to consider the person on the other side of the conversation.

So let’s talk about ways that your company can still run engaging Facebook contests to hit sustainable business goals, while also factoring in your participants’ online behaviors and tolerances.

1. Keep your contest activity on Facebook

Do you salivate over the promise of a web traffic bonanza by asking entrants to go to your website? Would you like a larger Twitter audience by requiring a follow as a condition for entry?

While those are certainly exciting potential outcomes of your contest, they are not realistic ones.

In all probability, entrants stumbled onto your contest page while on Facebook. They most likely were on their newsfeed, chatting with friends and finding out the latest from their extended family. Unless you are offering the most killer of killer prizes, you will meet great reluctance from entrants if you ask them to click off Facebook, do your non-Facebook requirements, and then return to the Facebook entry form for submission.

Of course keeping contest activity on Facebook doesn’t mean running the contest directly on your wall. Rule #1 of Facebook contests is that you MUST use a 3rd party app to administer them.

2. Shy away from photo, video, and essay contests

If you understand that Facebook fans by and large don’t want to leave Facebook to enter contests, you’ll realize that photo, video, and essay contests do not have a high entry rate. I can’t tell you how many clients try to convince me about the ease of such contests by saying, “Everyone has a camera on their phone nowadays.”

Sure, cameraphones are ubiquitous. But again, this type of contest requires an entrant to leave Facebook, find an image or scene to capture, possibly edit what has been taken, and return to Facebook to upload the entry.

Do contest entrants love your brand enough to leave Facebook for that long? This is an important consideration before going forward with any contest requiring an essay, photo, or video.

3. Ask qualifying questions

sippy entry form
USA Kids Facebook contest entry form

Although I’ve said that you should keep the entrant experience short and sweet, it behooves you to tickle their fingers for some key market feedback. Two to three short questions are often well tolerated by entrants and can help your business segment entrant email addresses and boost its market research.

You’ll see that USA Kids asked entrants one question about their family, one about their shopping habits, and one about their social network use. That’s a reasonable expectation for entrants vying for a sippy cup set worth about $20. Any more questions might not sit so well with entrants — but fewer than that will slight the company of vital marketing information.

4. Don’t rely on word of mouth to make your contest “go viral”

Many people call social media “word of mouth (WOM) on steroids.” Sure, WOM is what made George Takei photos and Gangnam Style popular. But it doesn’t fare well with contests. Why would entrants want to decrease their chances of winning by having their friends add their entries to the contest pool?

Make the investment in Facebook ads to reach out to existing fans and to potential fans. You’ll get a more reliable increase in fans through targeted ads than by relying on your entrants to do your leg work.

If your heart is set on friends spreading the word, design a contest whereby entrants receive a bonus entry for getting others to sign up for the contest. Contest platforms such as Woobox allow you to easily set up such functionality.

My free ebook “How to Create a Winning Strategy for Your Facebook Contest’’  goes into greater detail on this dichotomy of needs. Download it to learn more about creating a firm foundation for measurable results from your next contest.

photo credit: Bob.Fornal via photopin cc