Tag Archives: Facebook

TANSTAAFL and other Facebook EdgeRank tales

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The acronym for “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch . . .” rings true for a reason. Because there ain’t.

What about the idea that companies would have the opportunity to engage their consumers directly, and at no cost?

Consider: Facebook provides brands the opportunity to post to a fan page. That post is presented directly to fans in their News Feed. A direct marketer’s dream. Almost sounds like a free lunch.

But . . .

Facebook employs a well-discussed, and still mysterious, technology called EdgeRank. Find a good description by “Inside Facebook” here. The key part is:

EdgeRank is the algorithm that determines what items populate your News Feed. With all the friends people have and pages they like, most users would be overwhelmed to see all of the activity generated by these connections. Facebook, therefore, assigns a value to every possible story that could end up in the feed. This value is based on affinity, weight and time.

I added the emphasis on the only inputs into EdgeRank: Affinity; Weight; and Time.

Affinity is an attempt to quantify the importance of the content to each individual fan; weight recognizes that some types of content are more engaging (presumably rich links or photos are more attractive than text) and should be ranked higher; and time is . . . time.

So, it seems that Facebook will tend to deliver brand content . . .

  • To enthusiastic fans, even if the content appears a bit dull and some time has elapsed;
  • To all fans if the content is exciting and new;

but, once content is posted, every minute that goes by works against a brand’s effort to accommodate EdgeRank’s filter.

Even more troubling, we need to face up to the fact that not all fans are rabid brand ambassadors. And, not all content posted makes hearts race. So, time works against us even more.

Can we fight back? Yes. But, TANSTAAFL!

We believe Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are a great answer. And, while not free, these ads can be little dynamos! Think of Sponsored Stories as your best weapon against the time bomb ticking away inside EdgeRank.

 

- Jon Victor, CEO Engage121

 

3 Steps to Increase Engagement on Facebook

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Facebook Fan Page + Facebook Post + Facebook Ad

This week’s International Franchise Association Annual Convention included several opportunities to learn about localizing social marketing from new IFA member Facebook and its representative Brian Wheelis, Manager of Agency Management Operations.

Brian shared valuable data including new research on where consumers are spending their time on Facebook. The good news is that they are spending more and more time on Facebook. The bad news is that they may not be spending their time on Facebook with your brand. We can fix that in 3 easy steps…

1. Create Engaging Content on Your Fan Page

Many brands’ Fan Pages consist of a slick picture and a blatant advertisement. Why would anyone return to this page after his or her first visit? Very few brands will garner millions of fans due only to loyalty and without having anything interesting on their page. These include Apple, Starbucks, and … I think that’s all.

Your page must include something of value to a consumer: coupons, freebies, rewards, virtual gifts, or downloadable digital content.

Value can also be in the form of assets or tools like informational (or fun!) videos, financial calculators, “ask an expert” type features, polls, quizzes, contests, and games. Remember, it must be valuable for the consumer and potential customer, not just for your brand.

All of the above must be refreshed frequently with new reasons for the consumer to come back. Each time something new is created on your page, you must do step 2: create a post.

2. Publish a Post About Your Page’s Content

You can build the most engaging, fun, or valuable Fan Page on Facebook, but if no one knows about it, they won’t come. Facebook currently has over 800 Million users, but I’m guessing most of them are not looking at your Fan Page right now! Well-executed posts will drive some of them there.

Users spend 27% of their time on Facebook looking at their News Feed. And, with the proliferation of smart phones, most mobile users are looking at the News Feed exclusively. So on a regular basis, post a status update inviting everyone to come play your game, take your quiz, or get the new coupon. This is the quickest, easiest thing to do in all of social media! Write a little text, add a link to the tab on your Fan Page where the feature lives, and submit.

Your update will be seen by your fans on their News Feed and Ticker. Next, we move beyond your fans with step 3: create an ad.

3. Create a Facebook Sponsored Story About With The Post

The Facebook Ad, or more specifically, the Sponsored Story, is the spark that will ignite the inferno on your page.  Facebook’s Brian Wheelis says that these ads will be seen by 3 to 5 times more Facebook users than the post alone.

Why? Facebook Sponsored Stories appear not only to your fans, but also to their friends.

That’s the key! Too many brands focus only on the number of fans they have accumulated. That number is important, but the goldmine is in those Fans’ Friends.

Our team has recently launched Engage121 Version 2.1, which now includes the ability to instantly create a Facebook Ad out of your status update. More importantly, you can also instantly create multiple localized ads for each of your franchisees’ or outlets’ local pages.

A marketing misstep is spending too many resources on converting customers to fans. If that sounds backwards, it’s because it is! Yet we see it everyday: print displays or customer service messages asking current customers to become a Fan. I supposed that has had value, as you do want your customers to be a part of the community. But don’t stop there; the people seeing those “please Like us” messages are already in your store, visiting your website, or receiving your invoice! Don’t market Social Media to them; market your business to new people using Social Media. Using the above 3 steps will refocus your attention to converting Fans (and their Friends!) to customers!

Fan Pages:   Seen by your Fans
Posts:   Seen by your Fans in their newsfeed
Sponsored Stories:   Seen by your Fans and their Friends

 

Jack Monson, Vice President at Engage121