Monday, October 19, 2015

What would Facebook Do? The ultimate key to organic Facebook reach that no one is talking about- Part 2

This is a continuation of my post about Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm and how it uses facial recognition software to fine tune what content escapes your page and into a user’s newsfeed. You might want to take a minute to read about this here.

In this installment, I’ll share what I believe to be the true key to organic reach and engagement on Facebook.

Following is a list of 5 strategies that I employ for many of my clients and which I have seen success with in the past.

1. Increase your postings.

As a Facebook page manager, I’ve had the opportunity to see the effects of the latest newsfeed algorithm changes across a variety of different-sized pages. The pages with the higher numbers on them seemed to be affected much less than the pages with lower numbers.

Pages whose posting strategy remained unchanged with regards to times and frequency seemed to see a dip or flat line when it came to page reach and engagement, whereas the pages who increased the frequency of postings on their pages saw a steady growth in engagement and reach.

Increased postings are hard when you barely have time to schedule just one post a day, but the truth is, you might not be reaching your full potential.

Remember in my last post when I mentioned that Facebook has to decide which of the 3-5 posts that go out on your favorite Page it will show you in your newsfeed (if any)?

Well imagine if it was just 1 post a day. Chances are you wouldn’t see that post but once a week perhaps.

Now imagine if that page was posting 10 times a day.

With more posts and times to choose from, Facebook now has more opportunities to slip at least 1 of those posts into your newsfeed when there is less competition from other sources.

An easy test will be to simply double your postings for 1-2 weeks to see what happens.

2. Vary your content type each day.

In all of my other client’s cases, we saw increased reach and engagement, especially if we varied all of the posts by content type:  video uploads, links, graphics and just ordinary status messages.

Videos are also a huge hit on Facebook right now. You’ll get more views by uploading it to Facebook, even if your video isn’t that popular on YouTube, because that is what Facebook wants, more people watching videos!

3. Check your insights each week.

If you really want to think like Facebook thinks, then you have to determine what your audience is engaging with and give them more like that.

I recommend you take screenshots of your Facebook Page Insights "Overview" screen each week, rather than relying on the actual arrows to tell you how you’re doing. Pay close attention to your overall reach numbers, and actual Engagement numbers (as illustrated).

If you do it on the same day each week, you’ll be surprised to see that the arrows really are not showing you a week’s worth of progress.

You should also go to your “Posts” screen in your Facebook Page insights, and sort all of your posts by the most engaging.

Look down through them to see if you can find similarities: colors, text (message), objects, etc. Make a list of all the similarities that you notice and use this as a guide to selecting your content moving forward.

Of course, you can repost content, and you will see high engagement on previously viral content that has been re-posted, but the numbers never really reach the original levels of engagement, in my experience.  It’s better to try and improve on your numbers by finding similar content, but not the same exact content.

Do this every week but also try to put new content out there so that you don’t get stuck with Facebook showing one content type. It would be a tragedy to paint your audience into a “blue with white stars” corner (as mentioned in my previous blog post).

4. Check best posting times on Facebook. 

I love how social media consultants are always trying to figure out if they should be posting during “high posting times”. It’s funny because Facebook tells each page manager the best posting times and days for THEIR audience and believe me, it IS different for every page.

Don’t assume you should post on Tuesdays and avoid Saturdays just because someone said that is the most active time overall.

Remember, we are playing in Facebook world, so what would Facebook do?

If your page insights say your best posting day is on Wednesdays at 4pm (this is when your followers are on Faceook), then post your most important content during that time.

Look at each day and see what time it peaks and then post in those times. Facebook is using this data and so should you.

5. Use the audience analyzer in your Facebook ads manager. 

Your page insights will show you data on your followers such as age, gender and location, but the Audience Insights gives you even more data on your audience. If you really want to think like Facebook thinks, then you need to have a look at the data that is showing here and forget whether or not it’s accurate because it might not be.

The truth is, the “interest profile” of your audience is what Facebook is working with and is located in its newsfeed algorithm. This Audience Insights tool basically gives you access to the data it has, based on your page followers actions and online activity that they choose to share, and it’s what Facebook uses to determine what content will get seen when you post it.

For example, let’s say you are an author and you see your audience is primarily women between the ages of 44-65. That says a lot, but when you look at this same audience through the analyzer, you learn that 80% are married and home owners.

Suddenly you realize that if you offer up content catering to parents (funny kid graphics) or pet owners (cute pet videos), Facebook will find it very suitable to this audience and push it out more than if you had posted pictures of someone playing golf.

What does it all mean?

Hopefully by now you can see how it's possible to use this data to manipulate your content into more user’s newsfeeds organically.

Caution is warranted, however, because eventually this system is set to collapse in on itself due to closed nature. Remember the blue background with white stars conundrum?

If all we do is keep giving audiences what we know Facebook will show them, then we can’t ever get this audience to engage in other content. This can make it harder and harder to come up with new ways to reach them without having to ad more funds to your marketing budget for ads.

What would Facebook Do? The ultimate key to organic Facebook reach that no one is talking about- Part 1

This article has been a long time coming. It’s been very difficult trying to decide which direction I wanted to take with it until I saw another headline on an article that read something like “Top 7 Things You Should Be Doing on Facebook” and it did not once mention what I know to be true about Facebook and that is this:

Facebook determines what you see on Facebook so when you want to reach people on Facebook you have to think, “What would Facebook do?” 

If I post a picture on my Facebook page, what will Facebook do? Will it show it to 100 people? Will they show it to 4,000 people? When will they see it? For how long?

Many of us wonder about this when we post our content to our Facebook pages.

We hope that the audience will “like” it and share it and frantically watch for the little green arrows or red arrows on our insights to see how we’re doing but did you know that you can actually think like Facebook thinks?

Facebook has even given us the tools, like the Audience Insights and Page Insights, which both give us data that can tell us extensively what our audience will like and not like on Facebook.

Marketers wonder, "Is that data even accurate?" My answer is, who cares? It’s what Facebook SAYS is accurate and since we are in Facebook world, we need to play by Facebook rules.

Remember the Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm?

Well it’s been amped up with some pretty high-tech extras, and my theory is that this includes the facial recognition software that help us to tag our friends when we upload a picture of them onto Facebook.

Let’s say you are an average user on Facebook, and you like and share an inspiring quote from your favorite author. Let’s say that quote was blue and had lots of stars on it.

We already know that the Newsfeed Algorithm has logged our interest in the page and will make a point to continue to show things from that Page, but that just isn’t enough because there is a lot of stuff trying to find its way into your newsfeed.

Facebook needs more information to determine which of the 3-5 posts going out on that page will make it into your newsfeed, if any.

So how can it tell which posts you’ll like most? This is where the facial recognition software comes in. Facebook can now determine colors, text, and even OBJECTS on the graphics.

If anyone you follow on Facebook ever posts another blue graphic with stars on it, Facebook will immediately move that one up the list in priority.

Facebook can rate each graphic coming from a page with attributes that you have engaged with in the past and compare them to all of the other graphics you have ever liked (which is all data stored under your “interest profile”) and the picture with the most similarities in your “interest profile” will be the winner.

Take a look at the following screen shots that I have taken over time from my personal Facebook Newsfeed. It’s a great example of how Facebook started using these new finely-tuned interest profiles to show me what they thought would be interesting to me in my profile from all of the pages and friends that I follow.

In each case, the similarities were so freaking obvious, you can see exactly which attributes Facebook was picking out of the content:

So what exactly does this mean? Well, from a page manager’s perspective, it should be easy for you to use the audience insights and also your page insights to determine what your next biggest viral post will be. I will write about this in my next installment.

Does it mean that your viral post is viral because people really liked it or because Facebook decided to show it to more people?

The answer is both. The trick is to get people to see it, then it will go viral as more people share it. However, you can have the most viral post in the world, and because Facebook doesn’t think your audience will engage with it, well, you’ll never know.

There is a moral dilemma of course, and hopefully it is obvious to everyone, and that is,how can we escape the loop of continuous repetitive content in our newsfeed and make sure that what we see is REALLY what we see and not what Facebook says we should see?

There are ways to fine tune your newsfeed experience and I can write about this in a future blog post, however, after managing pages for so long, what I do know is that not everyone has the ability to figure that out. They don’t have the time,patience or knowledge to sit down and create their own custom newsfeed or to set their favorite pages up with notifications or subscribe to events.

Facebook will and always has been a user’s place and quite honestly, the average Facebook user does not understand all of the possible settings available.

It will be up to page managers to find a creative way to introduce new content to their users and new ways to engage them with their message and/or brand.

Make way for brand advocacy campaigns with more accurate communication strategies. It's time to put some serious effort into reading your audience. More on this in Part 2,

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Facebook Reactions are now available on Facebook Page insights.

As a Facebook pages manager I'm always tickled about new features on Facebook because I never know which ones will stick around and which ones won't. Since I have access to so many client Facebook Pages, I usually see the roll-out of new features on one page and not on the others. This is the case with Facebook's latest new feature, "Reactions".

Take a look at this screenshot taken from a client's post insights screen:

This just turned up on one of the more higher reaching posts for the previous week, so I'm not sure how many people have actually had a chance to see that there is a post to react to, but I tracked it down and without disclosing my client (due to privacy issues), here is what it looks like from the timeline:

As you can see, there are no reaction buttons to click so I was unclear how this would look from someone's perspective (not my own).  A quick search on Facebook revealed that users in Ireland and Spain are the only users who will be able to see these reaction buttons. I'll have to check with a former client of mine who is currently in Ireland to see if he can send me a screenshot. :) Stay tuned!

The overall feedback on mentions has been nothing short of brutal, with both Mashable and NPR among some of the many reporting on the overall negative reactions of users. Page mangers like myself, however, will find the added input highly enjoyable with a hot cup of coffee in the morning.

The complete list of all the reactions?  Here is a handy image from Facebook:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Insufficient Permission Error on Facebook Pages 10/5/15

Facebook seems to be experiencing a strange glitch this morning. Probably not so annoying for someone with just one page they check in on every now and then, but for a social media manager like myself, it's quite annoying because this message pops up every time I go to one of my pages.

Insufficient Permission- You do not have the necessary permission for the specified Page to perform the requested action.

So what action am I trying to perform when this message pops up? Basically, just scrolling down the page (which causes Facebook to have to retrieve older posts) will make this message pop up.

A quick google search of this reveals that this is a standard FB message that occurs when you try to do something that is "not allowed" on Facebook such as using your FB page to post to a Group wall for example.

Nothing yet on the Facebook Help Desk with known issues, so I guess I'll wait to see if anyone else experiences this today. Comment below if you do.