Let’s be honest. Facebook marketing is not as easy as some marketers would like you to believe. People do not have their credit card in hand, ready to buy, when they are checking out the pictures of their crush or when they are writing on their friends’ walls.
Actually, social conversion rates are less than a third of the rates of email conversions (0.71%, as compared to 3.19%, according to this study).
The thing is, email marketing is getting tricky, and not only because of the introduction of tabs. Even if email tabs are not a ‘universal’ feature (yet), people are already doing selective reading and opening on the go; they can tell who is writing to them, and who is trying to sell them something.
The solution? Dip your feet into social, too. “What? But you just said…”
I know, I know. I said it’s not as easy as people are led to believe, but it can be very effective if you do your marketing right; and that’s what this article is about!
1. Give People a Reason to Join and to Stay
Seriously, if people want to look at what you have to sell, they will check out your website or online store. That’s not what your Facebook page is for! Your page is here to gain fans AND to get them to engage.
This page, Just Girly Things, are doing things right. At this time of writing, 83.4% of their fans are actively talking about them.
Pretty sweet (and rare!). How are they doing it? By posting stuff like this:
(Spoiler Alert: For those who don’t want to spend minutes figuring it out, it’s Mario)
Their page is full of pictures. You’ve got to admit; that’s what Facebook is mostly about. Don’t have the time, money, or interest to invest in custom tiles for some engagement? No problem. Maybe you can post pictures like this instead:
(This “picture” has 19,728 Likes, 899 shares, and 831 comments so far…)
I think we can all agree that it’s not about the design. As long as you post something that is one or more of the following, you should be able to produce a nice response:
2. Share What’s Interesting, not Necessarily What You’ve Created
Let’s have a look at that Mario picture above. Do you think Just Girly Things did it themselves? In fact, the majority of their shares are taken from other places.
Tell you what, if you go to my Facebook profile right now, you will see that, over time, I “Liked” at least a dozen high fashion brands and two dozen local attractions including restaurants, hardware stores and a few travel agents. For one, there is this little French restaurant 3 blocks over that I have been meaning to drop by for quite some time now. Then there is dinner cruise I am always thinking I will book one day for my birthday or Valentine’s Day.
Basically, I am a potential customer for each and every one of these businesses and I absolutely love the fact that Facebook and the other social networks make it so easy for me to keep up with what’s happening around me. I mean, if tomorrow, the little French restaurant is having a special event like say 50% off steaks, I would want to know but at this point, I am not an actual customer of any of the establishments I “Liked” on Facebook. My “Like” means very little. And I’m not even talking about tweets or +1s!
So here is a question for you marketers.
Why are you guys still obsessed with Facebook likes and Twitter followers? Is it getting you anywhere?
You need to realize that at the end of the day, social media is all about increasing your business potential. A good social media campaign increases the reach and impact of your brand and exposes you to the right people. But an even better social media strategy involves work that converts this potential into action.
So are you ready to get your social media strategy right? Let’s get started!
1. Don’t Be an Attention-whore. Be Tactful!
For social media success, you need eyeballs on your content. What you need to know is this: Getting on people’s radar is a tactful process. You can’t mastermind crazy stunts to build your brand awareness. Sure, faking a hack (*cough* Chipotle *cough*) might draw some attention, but do you think that kind of brand awareness leads to action?
If you are going to invest in social media marketing, make sure people talk about you for the right reasons. You want your followers and Facebook fans to convert into buying customers.
Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm is dead. In fact, it’s been dead for the last two and a half years. Instead, the social networking service is using a more complex algorithm based on machine learning. The current News Feed algorithm doesn’t have a catchy name but it is estimated that as many as 100,000 individual factors are involved in organizing and producing a Facebook user’s News Feed.
Facebook’s original News Feed ranking system worked around 3 variables:
3. Time decay
Affinity is a one-to-one function between a Facebook user and an edge. In Facebook’s EdgeRank, an edge is anything that happens on Facebook. It can be a status update, a like, a comment or a share. For businesses, affinity quantifies and qualifies the connection between a brand and a fan. Affinity is built when a fan repeatedly interacts with a brand’s edges.
On Facebook, a comment is deemed more valuable than a like because it involves more engagement. In the “weight” system used by Facebook’s EdgeRank, certain actions have more value than others. All edges are assigned a value.
Time decay is a measure of how long an edge remains alive. Mathematically, time decay equals 1/(time since action) and the older an edge, the less valuable it is. This serves to keep Facebook’s news feed fresh.
So with EdgeRank, the way people used Facebook determined what stories showed up in their News Feed. This is still the case but now, there are some other factors that also come into play.
Each month, more than a billion people use Facebook. Users are accessing millions of Pages (over 18 million Pages to be precise), many of which actively look for ways to show up in people’s News Feeds and they are using a diverse range of mobile devices to do so with different technical capabilities for processing and displaying content. With all that going on, Facebook faces the challenge of controlling what stories users see each time they log in on Facebook and what content from Facebook Pages make it into people’s News Feed. Affinity, weight and time decay are still important but now, there are also categories and sub-categories of affinity.
Facebook is now measuring how close a user is to specific friends and Pages based on not only personal interactions but also global interactions. For example, if Facebook shows an update to 100 users and only a few interact with it, it may not show in your News Feed but if many people actively interact with it, chances are, the story will show in your News Feed.
1. Relationship Settings
Facebook now allows users to choose different relationship settings. For each Facebook friend that you have, you can label the person a “close friend” or an “acquaintance.” With liked Pages, users can choose to “Get notifications” or “Receive updates”. These factors are taken into consideration to determine what shows up in people’s News Feeds.