Constance Aguilar is a social media strategist at Abbi Public Relations, a Reno/Tahoe-based public relations firm that specializes in driving public engagement through a targeted mixture of expert positioning, social media and traditional public relations.
Everyone wants to be on top. On top of trends, on top of current events, on top of their game and certainly on top of everyone’s Facebook news feed. The EdgeRank algorithm that dictates the selection of status updates and postings on top of the news feed will remain mostly a mystery. But as more studies and whitepapers are released, it becomes easier to learn how to dominate the news feed and implement steps to assure our postings are the most effective digital marking tools they can be. Here are a couple of tricks that can help you go head to head with Facebook’s funny little ways of “organizing” things.
1. If you ask questions people want to answer, you have a better chance of getting comments. Therefore, you have a better chance of getting to the top of the news feed. Obviously asking a question is one of the most effective ways to engage your audience on Facebook. Let’s face it — people LOVE talking about themselves, love chiming in their two cents and certainly love stirring up some conversation. But you can’t expect them to do it all on their own. You’ve got to engage, and you’ve got to do it in the right manner.
Ask a question that directly relates to the customer and your product. Ask them for suggestions on new developments, give a few details on a prototype you’re testing and see if its attributes are approved by your customer. Considering a new product or venture altogether? Ask about it! You don’t have to give away the gritty details or reveal any “secrets.” Ask your audience as you would a close friend for advice. You pose a question they want to answer, they get to input their opinions, and who knows, you might just walk away with some valuable insights. Either way, you’ve built a sense of connection and trust between your business and the customer, which is one of the most important things to accomplish with social media. And bottom line? You’ve generated a response that’s going to put your little status update at the top of your fans’ news feed. Mission accomplished.
2. Make your Facebook interactions fun! Easier said than done, right? But if you can engage your audience’s intellect and give them incentive to answer, you’re increasing your chances of top news feed rankings. If you give your customers a chance to answer trivia questions and participate in games, you’re giving them an opportunity to show off their intellectual skills. Who doesn’t love to feel smart? This form of engagement can gather tons of responses in comments and likes, which in turn increases your news feed top placement. People are brought into your company’s conversation in a fun way, and in turn you get to gather some much deserved attention, simply by asking people to show off their knowledge of what it is you do or are about. But don’t forget that a little reward is always nice, even if it’s just a comment back telling them what a special little smarty pants they are.
3. Keep conversation going! I cannot stress this enough. Too often I’ll see fans actually engaging with a business, almost begging them to have a conversation about something, yet the business will either ignore it or brush it off with a quick, “thanks” or “great!” No, no, no! You can climb EdgeRank if you can keep a conversation going, keep the customer on your page and talking, and especially if the conversation pulls in other fans. The longer the conversation thread, the higher EdgeRank puts the post. So you can get to the top of the news feed without starting any of it. But as your parents used to tell you, “Never start it, but always finish it.”
4. Use the wall gadgets and customer offerings to increase your chances of getting customer interaction, or sharing, which leads to you topping EdgeRank and increasing your chances of being seen by the widest audience possible. In my opinion, this option is the best way to get interaction outside of Facebook. If I’m given a poll question to answer, especially when its relevant to something I feel an emotional connection with — say something to do with a football team, human rights, peanut butter and chocolate — I’m going to be excited to answer it, share it and talk about why I answered with the option I did or why it pissed me off so much that the answer I wanted wasn’t listed. That’s the key! If you’re giving out an exclusive Facebook coupon for a one day sale, don’t you think your fans are going to share it with their friends, family and anyone they can possibly grab off the street so everyone can bask in the savings? And don’t you think you’re going to get new fans from that? Don’t you think they’re going to then go and comment with a “thank you” or “you rock” or “I really want 20% off, not 15%.” Again, the more conversation, the more sharing, the more liking that goes on, the more you’re going to land on the top of the news feed. Plus, since this is a reward/incentive deal, it also increases the chance that people are going to become recurring visitors to your page. Not a bad deal.
5. A picture is worth a thousand likes. Incorporate relevant photos to show instead of tell. Text gets blurry and lost in the midst of all the other text. Post images that give your business a personal touch — employees carrying out everyday tasks, allowing Facebook fans to have the first peek at a new product, anything that allows the customer to comment/like and express their affinity toward what’s in the picture. Facebook has assigned a higher ranking via EdgeRank to photos than text, so just by posting a photo, you’re already challenging that algorithm and boosting the odds that people will see your photo amidst all of the other updates. Images are great ways to get your fans excited — if they can see it, they can more easily relate to it.
Just be sure to implement these tactics with thought and care. Before posting, always remember to put yourself in the customer’s shoes — what would you want to see/read from a business such as yours and actually give a response to? If you wouldn’t care, then they probably won’t either. There’s a bigger emphasis on comments than likes, on photos than text. But they all can work to your advantage — if you first let them work to your customer’s advantage.
Image Credit: lisegagne, via iStock Photo