The Facebook newsfeed is the single most important feature of your Facebook page.
According to Facebook 85% of fans interact with brands via the newsfeed. That means when fans read your updates, comment or like them, the fan is doing so without visiting your page.
That’s not to say fans don’t or won’t visit your page, I’m sure they will if there ‘s a reason for them to do so. But in most cases communication and interacting happens in the fans newsfeed.
This means the newsfeed is the number one communications tool for brands on Facebook, so here’s 10 ways you can maximise your newsfeed communications.
1. Content Is King
That phrase is a pet hate of mine, it’s overused to the point where talking about content being king has indeed become content in itself. This may sound obvious, but, in the the Facebook newsfeed you need to be posting regular updates that contain information relevant to your audience. The better the content is the more likes and comments it will receive and the more newsfeeds it will appear in.
How often you post must be another consideration. If you clog up your fans newsfeeds with unnecessary updates your page will get unliked. Unliking a page can also happen in the newsfeed, with just two clicks. So whats the right frequency? It depending on the type of brand, more than one post per day may seem excessive, although posting day after day may also seem a bit much. It really comes down to what you have to say, and if your fans care about that piece of information.
3. When To Post
I have seen articles that state the best time to post is mid afternoon on a Wednesday, or on a Saturday, some brands post only in the evening, some at lunchtime, some in the morning, some at weekends, and some don’t post at weekends. I guess what I’m trying to say is there is no single answer for ‘the best time to post’ because brands, audiences, goals all differ from one page to the next. The best time to post is when your audience is online, and not when it suits you to post.
4. Your Page’s Icon
This may seem like a small detail, but considering 85% of your fans interaction with your brand will be via their newsfeed, the icon which appears beside all your posts will become the visual imagery they’ll most associate with your brand. A a clear and properly sized image is what’s needed here – something that properly reflects your brand.
The newsfeed is split into two sections – ‘top news’ which is the default setting (and is twice as much used) and ‘most recent’. The latter setting is self explanatory. However the ‘top news’ section displays posts Facebook believes to be the most relevant to the viewer. Edgerank is the system by which Facebook decides what content is most relevant. The network assigns a ranking to every piece of content based on the following;
Affinity – this examines the links between the content creator (in this case the brand) and the receiver (the fan). If the fan frequently visits the brands page, comments, likes, shares etc. Facebook will determine the affinity between the brand and that particular user is strong.
Weight – the number of likes, comments, shares the item of content receives. So for example you post information about a new product launch and it receives 100 likes and comments, Facebook will decide this content is relevant and so the Edgerank score will increase making it more likely to appear higher in more newsfeeds.
Time – when was the content posted? Content will stay relevant for a certain amount of time. Even if your number one fan is online, and the update has 200 comments and likes, after a day or two, time will begin to affect the Edgerank score and so the update will fall much further down the newsfeed.
Edgerank really underlines the first points – create interesting content people will interact with will boost affinity, will increase comments and likes, and do it regularly.
6. Content Format
There’s further evidence to suggest that posting an update with just text will receive a lower ranking score than an update with a link. A link will also rank lower than a photo which will rank lower than a video. So try to include videos or photo’s where possible. Why is this the case? Facebook recognises certain types of content as being more engaging than others and so will promote that above content it may perceive as less interesting.
This is hit upon in the Edgerank point, but I can’t underline how important engagement is. Last week I posted that Manchester United have almost 10 million fans and Lady Gaga almost 3 times that at 29 million. Logic would dictate that Gaga has a higher number of active fans, but she doesn’t. In fact Manchester United trounce her, with 66% more engaged fans (in the post I do point out a flaw with how that figure was reached but it highlights the point). Did you know 95% of the marketing communications we come into contact with we simply ignore, so producing engaging content leads to more active fans which means more people are receptive to your communications. All plus points when trying to get key brand messages out there.
8. Mix It Up
Yes video posts might appear higher in the newsfeed than other types of posts, but don’t always say it with video. Try and mix up the types of content you post, also look to add games, polls, apps (anything that fits the brand and audience) to really get things going. In this case you’re only limited by your own imagination!
9. Newsfeed Commerce
Newsfeed commerce is selling goods directly via the Facebook newsfeed. There’s a simple way of doing it as I posted here recently. All it takes is powerpoint, slideshare and an online shop. There are more professional versions of these launching in the near future – the TV show Dexter used one for a Valentines Day promotion earlier this year
To keep within Facebook guidelines, campaigns cannot be run on the wall. However will campaigns should be run via an app, they can still be talked about on the wall. Create a really good campaign and it will spark off loads of wall discussions amongst fans. Campaigns can provide plenty of content for the newsfeed, and understanding how to best leverage campaigns for such content is important. I’m not talking about the inevitable UGC campaigns either, but brands should be able to identify key points in campaigns that will generate posts, updates and news of interest to fans. In fact campaigns should come with a ‘talk-ability factor’ – specific elements of campaigns designed to boost posts, comments and likes. Chatter should be built around these key points and not just around the beginning and the end. Campaigns should be milked for every bit of content they can.
11. Asking Questions
A bonus tip suggested by Fiona Ashe on the Facebook For Business Ireland group on Linked In. Simply asking a question at the end of a FB page post is more likely to stimulate engagement than stating a fact. Also, asking questions from time to time which demonstrate interest in your fans lives, rather than always posting comment about your brand, is an effective tool for stimulating engagement.
There’s my 10 points if you have any tips, please leave them below.