Lab Notes

Think of Your Facebook Page as a Party

We’ve all heard the question:

“How do I reach my Facebook fans without paying to do it?”

Here’s how the story goes:

1) Marketers built up their Facebook pages by obsessing over Likes, only to realize they don’t have fans.

2) Now they’re fed up, in some cases leaving altogether because of Facebook’s assault on organic reach.

Now whether your page is a ghost town or a booming metropolis, the path to winning in News Feed is to throw a good party.

Because ultimately, people come to Facebook for entertainment and escape, not to be constantly sold.

Fans will “leave the party” not by unliking a page, but by repeatedly scrolling right on by your content.

You see, Facebook’s algorithm is like an aggressively weird bouncer who decides for you and your guests who will remain at your party.

If Fans don’t interact (Comments, Shares, Link Clicks, etc.), pretty soon they don’t see your posts anymore.

 

Understanding The Guests

First, every Facebook party includes three types of guests:

  1. The Hardcore Fan (“Besties”) – Your besties will come to the party and stay there no matter what. Think of your worst performing posts that reach and engage the smallest number of fans — that’s your core.
  1. Fan Only If Content Is Good (“Acquaintances”) – These people might stop by and stay if they are having fun. They could be your new best friends if the content gets them repeatedly interacting again. They see only your average performing posts.
  1. Fan That Stopped Caring Because Content Isn’t Engaging (“Castoffs”) – These are people you used to know, and sadly, most pages have the most fans in this bucket. These days, your Castoffs only see a post when it’s highly proven through the interactions of the first two types of fans.

FacebookParty1

Now that we’re all in the party mood (pass the bacon-wrapped cocktail weiners), I’ll tell you about the blowout every business wants to throw. This is the party that creates what we call The Gatsby Effect.

As you likely know, in The Great Gatsby a rich man throws lavish parties… but doesn’t need to invite anyone. Over time, the rumors of his soirees get out and eventually everyone is showing up.

 

Now for the nerdy part

The key to creating The Gatsby Effect and driving more reach in Facebook is getting fans interacting at a high rate (shoot for an average of 8% per post).

If you’re consistently engaging fans at that rate, your content will begin to reach more fans more regularly, which will extend more frequently into their networks (Think “Ryan commented on a story…”).

All of those interactions create a data trail, which can be analyzed and used to optimize your content to drive more fans and their connections to have what the weird bouncer calls a stronger “Affinity” with your page.

At a minimum, you’ll want to measure Average Engagement Rate Per Post and Average Fans Reached Per Post. Do this at least monthly (weekly is better).

Then identify the types of posts with a higher engagement rate and higher organic reach.

Start testing more posts like those.

Part of this will mean pivoting to content where fans give your page the heavier weighted interactions (Shares, Link Clicks, Comments, Video Views) that help drive “Affinity” with fans, and ultimately produce greater lift in your organic fan reach.

Your fans with the highest “Affinity” with your page are your Besties. We want to create as many of them as possible.

UPDATE: When you know a post will only be interesting to a subset of your fans, Facebook now has a desktop feature to allow you to target fans by their interests.

 

FacebookParty2

 

Now that you have a rager going…

Once your party is in full swing, only then should you consider paying to invite The Neighbors.

 

The Neighbors (Paid Likes) – This is where you target ideal fans, who would love to join in if they only got an invitation.

FacebookParty3

 

Let’s Recap

Through regular posts that create high-value interactions at a higher rate, you can reconnect with Castoffs, turn Acquaintances into Besties, and The Gatsby Effect will bring more people in all the time. When everyone’s having fun, if it makes sense for your business, then pay to invite the Neighbors.

If you think of your page as a party, and you take care to make it a good one each time you post, you will be well on your way to more Besties and Gatsbies before you know it.

Want a visual assessment of your Facebook party using GoKart Labs’ proprietary tool, reach out to [email protected].

This guy… he knows social media, he knows sports and is definitely not pro-Wisconsin when it comes to team loyalty. Prior to joining the digital marketing practice here at GoKart, Ryan graduated from Mankato with a degree in Sports Management and ran social media for Team Ortho (Get Lucky Minnesota anyone?).

  1. As a software development company, what are some tips that I can do to bring more traffic to my Facebook page and Twitter, that would keep it professional, and then have me be able to post the pure info stuff too?

    1. Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the question. First of all, your goals should be the basis for everything. I’m assuming you’re using social for Lead Gen — which then you should assume your followers already know you, so awareness isn’t the main thing. Think of them more for advocacy to create awareness through them and reach their extended networks. Your Facebook community might appreciate product updates or big company news, but people spend time in Facebook for entertainment and escape, so ERP systems information is probably better suited for LinkedIn or Twitter. I’d recommend picking a specific strategy for your Facebook page so the community knows what to expect and what value exchange you’re offering. It will help you simplify your content approach as well — Here’s an article on that: http://bit.ly/1Gz2v0B — You could make it completely focused on talent acquisition and showing the people and culture there. In terms of basics, your images should be consistently-sized for link posts as separate from photo posts. Here’s a link for that: http://bit.ly/1AAE2Ev. Remember, people are scrolling, on their phones, and they’re seeing your content in the same space they’re seeing babies and puppies. Plus, they’re self-interested. So what’s in it for them? Here’s a fun link of a page that gets it — Pool Supply World — they could be telling you about the new equipment that’s available and how it’s better than the competition, but they get the context of Facebook — so they just show pool escapes with the goal of staying top of mind for the next time you need them. Link: https://www.facebook.com/Poolsupplyworld — You’ll notice some tricks in writing posts they use to get people interacting… I’m a big fan of writing posts like a high school test to get as many comments as possible. A or B… True or False… Agree or Disagree… What’s your favorite A. B. C. or D? — Then for link posts, keep it short and create curiosity. Here’s a page I run basically as a Facebook experimentation lab: http://bit.ly/ILoveMinnesotaSports — Twitter is it’s own thing — using established hashtags to find the right conversations is smarter than trying to create your own, always be thinking about adding value, being present, having point of view versus just linking people to stuff. It’s like a cocktail party where you can get into any conversations you want, and the trick is to find the right ones and add value. Those might be buyers in market, which you could use social listening tools to identify renewing keywords that show people are looking. If you’re interested in discussing more on how we might help, just e-mail me [email protected]. Thanks!

  2. Aw yay! That sounds like an intsene conversation! ;) There are lots of things that we both do/don’t do well, but one that comes to mind as of late, is being more open with one another. Before a few months ago, I had no idea really what the hubs did at work… I knew he went, the gist of what he does, but not really. He knew that I blogged, he’d seen and heard about a few things, but again, not really…. Over the last while we’ve really talked about those things. It’s not that either of us was hiding anything from the other, just that we didn’t realize the other would be interested. And to be honest, I could care less what happens at his work, unless he’s involved. Because he’s interested, I’m interested and vice versa. :)