A total of 40 percent of all interaction on Facebook occurs in the News Feed, yet most brands experienced a 47 percent drop in reach in the past six months. How can you get your reach back?
Here are a few tips that the pros use:
- David and Goliath. The smaller guys buy the names of their larger competitors in Facebook’s search. Just try typing in “Eloqua” to see Marketo’s ad — also try “Canadian Music Week” or “Get Satisfaction” to see our fun message. It costs pennies to do.
- Surfing credibility. My friend Ekaterina just wrote Think Like Zuck to surf on his name. Let’s say you have a thought piece on Apple vs. Samsung — maybe have a subject line like “Seven Things Steve Jobs Is Mad About,” or “Samsung’s 10 Ways to Compete with Apple.” Make it classy, of course.
- Post frequency management. Of course, there is no magic time to post for all brands or magic words of a magic length. Folks like Being Liberal and I F****ing Love Science know that posts live for 40 to 60 minutes in the News Feed. So they wait until posts are starting to trail off in activity before posting again. If posts get hot, they wait a bit longer for the next posts. This way, they’re always riding the peaks.
- Asking for shares. Just like saying RT on Twitter increases retweets, many brands are asking users to share, sometimes in all caps. More sneaky, they say click LIKE to agree or comment to disagree. They win either way. Great taste, less filling.
- Blending content. We’ve seen community managers use a ratio of 1 in 4 or even as low as 1 in 8 for promotional posts. The high engagement posts raise your average engagement, letting your sales-ish posts get through.
- Run ads to boost organic exposure. Did you know that paid reach significantly impacts organic and viral reach? This is not true in Google, but completely true in Facebook, since its algorithm looks at engagement, paid or not. But make sure these are News Feed ads that are highly targeted — with click-through rates above 3 percent.
- Leverage your Facebook contacts. On Twitter, if you spend enough, you get a verified badge, which is also taken away if you stop spending. Facebook is not quite like that, but certainly you get more attention when you’re spending money. Your rep has an interest to make you happy, to change your page name when you’re above the fan limit, fast track ad approvals, or tell you about new features.
- Have users ready to comment back on brand posts. This gets the initial folks on the empty dance floor, so to speak. Some agencies have community managers that do this to jump-start engagement. We don’t think this is necessary on naturally social brands (entertainment and consumer packaged goods).
- Use Facebook Exchange to increase conversion rates. Only a couple thousand accounts so far, so the traffic is cheap on Facebook retargeting. If you’re a real pro, you’re running your Google retargeting pixel on your Facebook app, to get retargeting both ways. Direct marketers, are you hearing this?
- Passion Pages. Mari Smith was telling me that groups/pages like “I like turning the pillow so I can sleep on the cold side” can get millions of fans. Wouldn’t you be more likely to engage with that vs “Serta Mattresses?” The Mormon church has passion pages that celebrate family values with bumper sticker-like names. They funnel to the central page in a hub-and-spoke, of course. High engagement!
- Make a mistake intentionally. The title said 12 tips, but there are only 11 here. A friend of mine had his Facebook printed upside down on his business cards. Of course, people would point that out — it made him memorable. But don’t take it too far, such as Burger King faking getting hacked on Twitter, after Taco Bell actually was hacked.
Readers: What’s your favorite tip to game Facebook engagement rates?
Dennis Yu has helped brands grow and measure their Facebook presences. He has spoken at Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, Web 2.0, The American Marketing Association, PubCon, Conversational Commerce Conference, Pacific Conferences, HostingCon, Affiliate Summit, Affiliate Convention, UltraLight Startups, MIVA Merchant, and other venues. Yu has also counseled the Federal Trade Commission on privacy issues for social networks. Yu has held leadership positions at Yahoo and American Airlines. His educational background is finance and economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics.