Five Ways to Boost Your Facebook Performance
Those who know me well know that I am a die-hard board game geek. While I enjoy a casual game of Outburst or Apples to Apples from time-to-time, it’s the strategy board games, like Carcassonne, Dominion, Alhambra, and Settlers of Catan that really get my blood pumping. I play for the camaraderie, sure, but truthfully I play to win. Similarly, one of my favorite parts of my job is formulating social media strategies for businesses of all sizes. Not just because I like the big picture, but because I like finding the tactics that work best for various segments of the Facebook population. And I play to win.
Creating a social media strategy is not all that different from architecting a win in a favorite strategy game. Beyond reading the moves of your opponents and thinking three moves ahead, you have to simultaneously balance offense and defense – without showing your hand. You have to adjust for the unforeseen, and in many cases, you have to take an outside-of-the-box approach to meeting your objectives.
If you are a regular reader of this blog or a subscriber to our newsletter, you’ll know that I often write about ways to measure your performance. But where do you grow from there? Today I am going to talk about how to immediately boost your Facebook performance, regardless of your experience level. I also hope you’ll join me next month, on July 18, when I present a webinar on Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank.
1. The Right Time for Posting on Facebook
One of the components of EdgeRank is time, but that isn’t what determines the right time for your business to post on Facebook. A lot of brands posts their Facebook updates whenever is most convenient for the company, instead of when the post will be viewed by the majority of the fans. This simple error can cost an organization thousands of views and hundreds of comments, likes, or shares.
A recent study by YesMail Interactive found that the best time for deploying marketing campaigns from was 10PM – 12AM EST. Those campaigns had significantly higher engagement rates than those run at any other time of day, despite it being the least utilized time slot. The brands in the study had a target demographic of those age 30 and under, so the later time slot made sense.
Put another way, you need to post when your target demographic is most likely to be responsive to your content. Many people may read your updates at work, but they’re more likely to click through to your website and make a purchase when they see your post from home. Schedule your content around the lives of your customers to increase tangible, meaningful engagement.
2. Deploy Campaigns on the Right Day of the Week
Believe it or not, but there is a best day of the week for every brand. The aforementioned study pointed out that most brands launch significant campaigns on Friday, despite Friday being one of the worst reported days for engagement. Tuesday, which is when most people have cleared out their social clutter and are getting into the swing of their week, has the highest level of engagement, while simultaneously being the day of the week most companies do not push messages on Facebook.
Take a good look at your Facebook Insights and determine what days of the week are your strongest performing days. Start posting at those days, at optimal times for your target demographic, and you’ll see an increase in engagement and organic fan growth with a month.
3. What is the Right Facebook Post Length?
If you thought Twitter was the only place to keep your brand message short and sweet, think again. Facebook allows far more characters, but many brands abuse the platform by posting verbose messages that never get to the point. Track Social, a social analytics tool, analyzed the length of posts and the resulting levels of engagements. Your fans want to read messages that are short and sweet. As you can see, size matters. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words and can help you tell your story without bogging down your fans’ news feeds.
4. How Often Should We Post on Facebook?
When Facebook first took off as a marketing platform, many brands were skittish to even give it a try. Now? Brands are serving up messages left and right with little regard for how these messages appear to their fans. Another Track Social report demonstrated that the most interaction comes from posting once per day. When a brand posts twice per day, they receive only 57% of the likes and 78% of the comments per post, and that number continues to slide down with the more posts that go up. The interesting part of this study is that the total number of responses did not increase as the amount of posts went up. In short, remember that your fans have invited you into their space. Don’t abuse it by thinking you’re overly important to them.
5. Redefine What it Means to Be Engaged
This last section is the most important, in my opinion. Just like many companies were scolded by Google for using underhanded techniques to try to game the search algorithm, many brands are now trying to manipulate EdgeRank the same way. Instead of focusing on creating killer content that speaks to their fans, they take short cuts that are designed to increase their EdgeRank, but do nothing to enhance their relationship with their customers. In the end, those marketers are selling themselves short.
Social media is not just pushing your messages, but also for gathering data. If you’re constantly littering the web with content that is meant to manipulate, how do you learn what your core base really wants and needs from you? How can you translate that into a meaningful demonstration of ROI? You can’t. Your content needs to have value from the perspective of the consumer AND the brand to be effective.
There are a handful of people who have disagreed with me on this point, but they’re the type of board game players who are looking for the easy way out – one that borders the lines of cheating the system, even. But as I said above, I play to win. I know that victory tastes the sweetest, and provides the most value, when it’s a hard-fought, honest battle from both sides.
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