Tag Archives: facebook

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.

When brands make the switch to Timeline, Facebook communities will not be what they used to be.

I’ve been running a vibrant, engaged Facebook brand page for several years. While many community managers consider Facebook to be a marketing tool above all else, I have long argued that our brand’s page is a true community. Fans regularly post to the wall, engaging with each other and the brand itself. Posts were not just in response to conversation-starters I initiated, but to each other as members of this public yet cohesive group of like-minded people.

Then Timeline for Pages came along. And suddenly community took a back seat to marketing. Many brands are probably thrilled with the changes. But for community pages like ours, the changes aren’t so welcome. Here are three reasons why:

  • The Timeline cover photo is great for creating a visual showcase of your brand, but it pushes conversation below the fold. That big beautiful photo takes over a good 1/3 of the screen. Wonderful for brands who want to make a dramatic visual impression. Not as wonderful for brands who took pride in the meaningful conversations happening on our wall. Last fall, eye tracking studies showed that on the old Page design, your eye went to the wall first. Now, with the majority of your wall (now timeline) “below the fold”, the cover photo and profile photo grab your attention first.
  • Fans’ posts used to appear in the wall amongst all other posts. Now they are abbreviated, consolidated and set aside.Granted, Facebook walls were never designed to operate like forums or discussions, and there wasn’t exactly a conversational “flow”. But in the old design, fan posts appeared on the page right alongside brand posts (much to the chagrin of some brands, many of whom turned off this functionality). Now fan posts are set off in their own little box, with only a handful appearing at once. As a result, fan contributions have lost most of their legitimacy as part of the Page.

    Posts from fans to your Page’s wall are now abbreviated and set aside.
  • Now that brands can message fans directly, many conversations that used to be public will instead become private. PR folks are likely doing a happy dance about this one – no more customer service squabbles in public! Yet it is another loss for the community, as you will no longer learn from each other’s experiences, be able to weigh in with your own comments and witness how well (or poorly) the brand handles conflict.

What do you think of Timeline for Pages? Is your brand mourning the loss of community, celebrating new marketing features (or both)?

Photo credit: R/DV/RS on Flickr

I accidentally posted this photo to the company Facebook page. Doh. (Image altered to protect the innocent.)

I was at my college reunion when it happened. My friends and I were at an outdoor luncheon looking through old yearbooks, laughing and pointing at photos of ourselves. I snapped some pictures of the yearbook pages with my phone to share with friends who couldn’t be there. One particularly funny photo was of my friend D., who was wearing a necklace bearing the name of her old boyfriend. Ha! I snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook for my classmates to see. (For the record, she was sitting right next to me and was fine with the post.) “Hey ‘95-ers!” I captioned. “Check out D.’s necklace!”

Only it didn’t post to my personal page. I accidentally posted that photo to the company Facebook Page.

Commence panic.

If you’ve ever used the Facebook iPhone app as a Page admin, you understand it isn’t difficult to make this error. The app doesn’t clearly indicate from which (or to which) account you are posting. It also doesn’t allow you to delete a post. But I digress…

So I’m in the middle of an outdoor luncheon in a tent on a college campus, and I’ve just posted a silly personal photo to the company Facebook Page that I can’t erase. What to do?? My mistake wasn’t exactly of the #gettingslizzerd variety but embarrassing nonetheless.

I knew that it was not just about the mistake, but how I handled it. How a community manager deals with errors can make the difference between it being a blip on the radar versus a major embarrassment.

Here’s what I did.

I ducked out of the luncheon (literally ducked, under the side of the tent) and ran in search of the nearest computer lab. While running I used my phone to post a comment to my photo acknowledging the error. I couldn’t erase the post from my phone, and I knew it would take some time to get to a computer– the college campus had been renovated since I was a student 15 years ago and I wasn’t sure where the computer lab was. Rather than having the photo pop up on our fan’s walls without explanation, I decided to come clean. “Oh no!” I posted. “I’m at my college reunion and I just posted this by mistake!”

I ran into the campus security office. Although a bit taken aback by my urgent need to find a computer lab, the staff was kind enough to steer me in the right direction. I located the lab, logged onto our page, and erased the photo.

Then I cursed Facebook (again) and returned to the luncheon for a glass of wine.

Phew.

The result? Not a peep from the fans. Overall, it ended up being a non-event.

So, what did I learn from my mistake? A few things.

1. It’s always a good idea to respond quickly and sincerely. Even humorously, if you can manage it. If you’ve read about the Red Cross story, you know that response is where they really shined. Their error became a case study for handling social media faux pas instead of a blight on the brand’s reputation. Kenneth Cole, on the other hand, responded to his ridiculously offensive tweet with another that was almost defensive in tone, making an already bad situation even worse.

2. This is when the community relationships you’ve built pay off. Despite my panic, deep down I knew that our fans would forgive a bit of human error. After all, our fans know there is a real person behind the page. And although I post on behalf of the company, I occasionally post in the first person (or rarely, from my personal account). Our fans know me. And so when I do mess up, I can say things like, “Sorry guys, I made a mistake.” And their reaction is “No big deal,” rather than “Ooh, Big Untouchable Brand just screwed up!”

3. It’s okay to erase your mistake. As a community manager I feel very strongly about maintaining transparency. I don’t believe in erasing posts from the community unless they explicitly violate the rules of engagement. But sometimes you need to press delete. Obviously leaving the photo on our Facebook page would just cause more confusion and embarrassment over time. Even worse is failing to delete something that has offended your fans, because leaving it in cyberspace implies that you stand behind it. Which brings us back to Kenneth Cole, who left his offensive tweet and non-apology up for several hours before finally removing it and issuing a real apology. Too little, too late.

4. Finally, the no-brainer. If you’re a Facebook Page admin, stop and think before posting photos from your phone. I wish I could say I trashed the Facebook iPhone app after this whole debacle, but I didn’t. The truth is, I use it pretty frequently. But I’m going to be a heck of a lot more careful with it in the future.

What is your biggest social media faux pas?