What cha talking about - Rules of Engagement on Facebook
Rules of engagement on Facebook
Facebook is forever changing it’s metrics making it nearly impossible to manipulate as a
business wishing to avoid paid advertising. This isn’t all bad – after all, no one wants to
be inundated by irrelevant, annoying ads while perusing family photographs. However,
there are a few key points that will help your business reach potential INTERESTED
customers without spending thousands on pay-per-click campaigns.
In days of y’orr (yes I purchased advertising on Facebook way back then), it was all about
“Likes”. The more “Likes” the more eyes would see your posts. I quickly learned how to
raise the credibility of a page through targeted interests and my pages quite literally
exploded...that is until December 2013 when Facebook popped my bubble.
The result was that the high number of “Likes” measured against how many of my “fans”
actually engaged with my page now worked against me. With more than 45,000 on one
my more popular pages, I saw the numbers dive bomb literally overnight. This was just
one page however. At the same time, I ran a page that was very targeted with less than
3,000 “Likes” but high engagement. That page had the opposite response and organic
impressions actually increased with the change.
Let me demonstrate:
◦ On the left is a page created to share tips on healthy and sustainable agriculture. With 47,214 fans, it has an
engagement number of 416. On the right is a page about fish keeping. This page has only 5,382 fans and yet it’s
“talking about number” is a fraction less than the much bigger page, and the new likes during the week are much
higher by percentage (33.3% vs. 74.1%). Both pages receive occasional “bumps” through advertising with a spend limit
of $1.00 a day and I run advertising in tandem for better measure in comparing results.
If I want to generate more impressions on the bigger page, I will need to invest
more dollars than I would on the smaller page. The “Talking about number” is key
in determining how effective your page is, not “likes” as “likes” can work against
you in the long run.
Facebook is a place for entertainment and interests, not business. Therefore, walking
into Facebook with you business first is like attending a strangers’ wedding and handing
out business cards. Good chance you will get bounced.
Instead, think like a media provider. In radio we create our audience through choosing
entertainment that will appeal to a demographic. Listeners may think we are in the
business of entertainment, but the reality is that we target a niche specifically for
advertising. In TV we do the same through programming. If you are a business on
Facebook, think what type of information is valuable to people who might also do
business with you.
◦ I created the Fresh Water Tropical fish Group - https://www.facebook.com/FreshWaterTropicalFishGroup as an experiment with
targeted channel engagement, using the lessons I learned from the food page. Let’s pretend for a moment that I operate a pet
store. The first mistake I will probably make is to assume that people who like pets will like all pets and have an interest in my
page, but that is an incorrect assumption. The better approach would be to create specific “channels” under the pet store
umbrella and assign a pet expert for each topic.
◦ Secondly, I learned that people love to share their pictures and ask questions so rather than create my own content, I share
content that followers post to my page. I typically receive 10 to 20 posts a day with photographs and questions from my
audience which I repost, and my audience will provide advice for me. My need for knowledge on the topic has become far less
important than my ability to facilitate communication. Think like a mediator or information provider first. Salesmen last.
Keep the posts to less than 140 characters and include hashtags in the post
Avoid duplication – Facebook posts can automatically be sent in a tweet (another reason
why to keep it short and use hashtags)
Engage – ask questions and answer questions...don’t ignore and assume no one will
notice. They will.
Use pictures and video with every post – oh and with video, if you use the auto upload on
Facebook rather than on YouTube, it will auto-play in the preview feed, which is a nice
The information provided is based on over five years of advertising on Facebook. I am not
sure anyone outside of Facebook, truly knows the mathematical formula that Facebook
uses to determine who see’s what. In my experience, high engagement is key, regardless
of the number of “fans” a page has, and high engagement is always a matter of quality
information and interaction with “fans”.
These are a few of my basic rules for Facebook engagement for business. I have methods
for strategic advertising (my average over nine clients at $0 .11 cents per “like”) well below
the benchmark average.... but that is a slide for another day.