Are Your Facebook Fans Even Seeing Your Posts?
You’re feeling good about your Facebook business page:
- Customized welcome page – check.
- Fans/likers – check.
- Friendly, informative wall posts – check.
Then why so few likes and comments on your fan page?
Because your fans might not be seeing your posts at all.
Your content doesn’t get into your fans’ news feed unless and until it passes Facebook secret, proprietary Edgerank algorithm. In other words, just because you post something does not mean your fans will ever see it!
Getting your posts seen in your fans’ news feeds – News Feed Optimization (NFO) – is a daily challenge for Facebook marketers and community managers.
NFO is crucial because 88% of your fans never return to your fan page once they’ve clicked “Like” – instead, they see and interact with you in their own news feed. And because Facebook has 700 million users who share 30 billion pieces of content every month, many marketers are saying “NFO is the new SEO“.
The all-important EdgeRank of your post is different for each of your fans and is based on three variables:
- Affinity or the interest your fan has shown your page. Has he liked or commented recently on any of your content? Has he clicked on any of your photos or links?
- Weight or importance of your post, which considers the type of content (photo, video, status update, etc) and your fan’s and others’ interaction with it (tags, likes, comments). A comment gets more weight than a like because your fan is investing more of his time to comment.
- Timeliness, not only of your original post but of subsequent interactions. Posts and comments decay over time which lowers their EdgeRank score.
In a May 2011 webinar, Mari Smith explained several key tips to increase your posts’ EdgeRank. Her recommendations are based on data sources such as SocialBakers, BuddyMedia, BrandGlue as well as her years of experience as a leader in Facebook marketing:
- Shorten your posts. According to BuddyMedia, posts of 80 characters or less in length have 27% higher engagement rates.
- Use long URLs rather than link shorteners. Again, according to BuddyMedia, engagement rates are 3 times higher for posts that used a full-length URL, most likely because people trust it more.
- Post photos and videos, but vary these with status updates, links, apps and questions. Photos tend to get more impressions, likes and comments.
- Post in high traffic windows, such as between 9 a.m – 3 p.m. CST, but do experiment and find your own sweet spot.
- Consider posting on Fridays, because Facebook’s Happiness Index is 10% higher.
- Find your posting frequency “sweet spot”. Mari posts 2-3 times per day and spaces these out by several hours. Dan Zarella recommends that big brands post once every other day. (Jeremiah Owyang says posting too often was the #1 reason people unlike your page, so be sure to monitor your insights for unsubscribes.)
- Post manually within Facebook if at all possible, versus using auto-post features available in many third party apps such as NetworkedBlogs, Hootsuite, SocialOomph and Twitter. Not only does Facebook give these auto-posts slightly lower EdgeRank scores, but Facebook also collapses/aggregates 3P posts under a single link such as “See 5 more posts from NetworkedBlogs” in the news feed.
Culture and Engagement
The tips above are really the finer points of Facebook community management. Don’t neglect the all-important fundamentals:
- Build your page’s culture. Provide valuable content (your own or others’) so you’ll be known as the source to get answers and solutions for your area of expertise.
- Encourage interaction. Ask easy-to-answer questions, do polls, add your own comments to any photos or videos you post, etc
- Employ a consistent, friendly engagement policy, such as replying within 2 hours, replying to every post, using first names and stripping out spam.
Mari noted that once your Facebook business page has 500-1000 fans, it reaches a tipping point where it begins to get real traction. Until then, use the tips outlined in her 21 Creative Ways to Increase Your Facebook Fanbase. Once your page does gain critical mass, get creative to raise its visibility even more. For example,
- Mari sometimes has “Fan Page Friday“, where she allows people to post links to their blog, fan page, website, @tags, photos, etc.
- Social Media Examiner has “Expert Friday” where they have a subject matter expert available for 1 hour to answer live Q&A on their fan page.
- Set up “Office Hours” where you are live on your page. (Consider promoting this on your profile image or photo strip.) You can do live video or live chat using tools such as Vpype, Livestream, JustinTV, Ustream and Linqto.
Finally, track and test everything you do daily and over time so you’ll uncover what works best for you and your fans.