How Not to Join Facebook’s Walking Dead

Last week over at All Facebook, Brian Carter posted: Shocker 3% to 7.5% of Fans See Your Page’s Post, which was a wakeup call to many of us that perhaps our Facebook pages weren’t getting quite as many eyes as we had originally thought. Even more surprising was that, based on the data compiled by PageLever, the more fans you have, the less likely it is that your content is reaching your audience. What is going on?

EdgeRank is what’s going on.

EdgeRank is the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine which posts a user should see in his/her news feed. It’s influenced by the freshness of the content, engagement with the content (liking or commenting) and how strong the connection is between the brand and the user. The more interactions a particular user has with your brand, the more likely it is that your content will appear in their News Feed and that they’ll see it. This means, of course, that it’s not simply good enough to create a Facebook Brand page for your business. You must create content that users want to engage with. Otherwise, you’re wasting time posting content to an empty room.

Below are some tips to keep your brand active so you avoid becoming part of Facebook’s walking dead.

Craft Engaging Status Updates

You know how important your Status Update is. It’s pretty much your gateway for interacting with fans, but just because you’re posting something doesn’t mean it’s being seen. As noted above, EdgeRank is what determines whether or not a user will be exposed to what you’re putting out. That means to help your chances, you need to create content that is intended for interaction.

Use your Facebook Status to:

  • Ask questions
  • Hold informal polls
  • Get feedback
  • Encourage people to “Like” the update if they agree with a particular statement or to discuss why don’t.

The more you can encourage people to comment, Like or interact with your update, the greater your chance that Facebook will put the update on their friends’ news feed, exposing new people to your brand.

Use the Facebook Questions Feature

When using your update to ask your community a question, don’t just type the question into your Status and hit enter. Instead, use the Facebook Questions option that’s located above your status bar to help you post that content. Because of how these Questions are distributed through the site, your question will actually receive more exposure and prominence than if you just posted the question directly into the status bar. Facebook allows you to easily ask true/false, multiple choice or open-ended questions, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get creative.

Use Photo and Video Content

Because of the viral nature of Facebook, media content such as photos, videos and audio tend to do very well. People like to share this content, and the more they share and Like it, the greater the brand karma you’re going to create. Take a look at your brand and ask yourself what kind of media you have that you can share on Facebook. Maybe you have photos of the new line of cakes you’re experimenting with, video from your last company picnic or holiday party, or audio interviews that you’ve shared in newsletters or on-site. If you do, consider putting this material on Facebook, and encourage people to share it. And if you don’t yet have it, consider investing in creating it – either as Facebook exclusive content or content for your website.

Worth noting: Now that Facebook has given photos more real estate on your profile page, it’s even more important to provide something that is eye-catching and will pique interest in your page. If you have a lot of interesting images, you can use the Facebook Profile Banner to customize your photo strip.

Host Relevant Contests

Another great way to create buzz around your Brand page and keep users engaged with it is to hold contests via Facebook. Contests can keep old fans engaged by giving them something to interact with and a reason to re-visit your page, while also helping to attract new fans at the same time. When running Facebook contests, however, do your best to make the contest as targeted to your brand as possible; otherwise, you run the risk of shooting yourself in the foot.

For example, by running a contest that is too broad (“Like this page and win an iPad!”), you may get a lot of people to Like your page, but they’re not people who are interested in what you have to offer and they won’t engage with future posts. The result of this, of course, is a low EdgeRank score over time as a result of untargeted eyes. While Facebook contests can be a great way to attract eyes and ignite buzz, it’s the targeted contests that work the best in the long run.

Bonus: Get Smart About Targeting

One of the neat things about Facebook marketing is the power of the targeting that’s allotted to you. Knowing that part of your EdgeRank score has to do with engagement, you want to make sure that you’re customizing your messages for a particular audience as often as you can so that only the group that’s relevant to the message actually sees it.

For example, did you know that Facebook allows you to choose which audience you want to display certain messages to? Maybe you own a local chain of bakeries with storefronts in several different cities in Michigan. Do you have a special that’s only being run in one particular location? Or maybe you have a cupcake truck that’s circling the town and you only want the people within that area to see that? By clicking the small lock icon below the Status bar, you can opt to have Facebook show that update only to the people who can benefit from the offer.

By creating targeted messages for a small subset of fans, you help increase your engagement percentage.

If you’re not working to keep your fans engaged with your page on a regular basis, chances are you’re not being seen and you’re wasting a great opportunity.

More in: 12 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

12 Reactions
  1. Great tips thank you!

  2. Does Brian’s study also factor in users who log in so infrequently that even if it made a user feed it rolled so far down as to go unseen?

  3. Yes — interaction is the most important part! This is a great article. I especially condone the “Relevant Contest” tactic. This is an often overlooked tool that can really impact your Facebook page.

  4. I do agree that “Edgerank” is important. I’d love to know what’s an above average percentage to have for fans viewing your posts. Currently 35% of my fan base sees each post, though I hear that’s there’s room for improvement?

    Though I like the Questions, I’ve yet to find out how to close a poll/question. So after I have decided to end it, and select the most popular answer. People can still chime in.

    Also always de-select the option, where person can add their own question. ( Don’t know why Facebook has it selected by default)

  5. I have been visiting the option of running simple sweepstakes or contests through facebook but have been set back slightly by facebook policies regarding contests. Do they need to go through some approval process??? I’ve been told that without taking the correct (expensive) steps that facebook reserves the right to remove your page?

    I know of a company that does these contests daily and has not run into any problems that I am aware of. They do a daily give-away for commenting on a particular post and saying some catchy key phrase that seems to spread like Wildfire.

    Has anyone got any experiences and knowledge regarding the facebook policies on contests and giveaways?


  6. I have recently been looking into this exact issue – ie running competitions on Facebook and the rules are very strict. If they find you infringing them they can and sometimes do, take your Page down with no notice.

    In summary, you are not allowed to use the mechanics of Facebook to run a competition, so you can’t get fans to upload photos and vote on their favourite one using ‘like’, in fact no voting at all in this way is allowed. Similarly, you are not even allowed to pull a fan at random who has ‘liked’ your Page to award a prize to, though you can offer an incentive to everyone who ‘likes’ your Page. You are also not allowed to use your Page as a means to informing someone that they’ve won your competition, unless you have told them already and are just celebrating the fact!

    If you want to run a competition associated with your facebook Page, it needs to be done via a third-party app.

    Alternatively, you could run a contest via your website or blog and just post the link on your Facebook Page to advertise it. I hope this helps!

  7. Thank you for the fantastic information. I’ve been posting to my FB page and seeing # impressions, but no responses/comments. Does this mean I’m not getting thru?

    Any suggestions to get better exposure/comments?
    Diane Bird

  8. Lori A. Webster

    I have also heard that contests such as you describe are not allowed on Facebook, so I’ve been holding off doing what was once a very popular engagement tactic on our store’s Facebook page. Please help us understand why you would suggest doing something that Facebook takes a negative stance on.

  9. Lisa,
    The Facebook targeting just applies to Facebook ads right? Not normal facebook posts?

  10. Yes great article. I didn’t know they were shaping wall views based on all these metrics. Good info!