November 10, 2011

What Facebook’s hybrid News Feed means for engagement

Ticker and News feed

5 tips to help you take advantage of Facebook’s twin feeds

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, social media managers, Web publishers, individuals.

John HaydonFacebook’s enhanced News Feed and Ticker has changed the engagement game for Facebook Page admins. And those who know the rules of the game will be able to get more results simply by shifting strategy.

Facebook now has two News Feeds

Facebook users now have two News Feeds in one — the Ticker and the main News Feed (see image above).

The main News Feed is similar to what we’ve been used to, but “Top Stories” and “Recent” stories are more prevalent. The “Ticker” on the right is a Twitter-like feed of stories published by a user’s Facebook friends. These News Feeds present content in very different ways:

  • The Main News Feed – This includes stories by friends and Pages you’ve liked. “Recent” is simply posts in reverse chronological order. What appears in “Top Stories” is entirely determined by Edgerank.
  • The Ticker – This includes only stories by friends. Your Page only gets exposure if a user is “Talking About” your Page.

How the two News Feeds impact Facebook Pages

According to EdgeRank Checker, soon after Facebook tweaked the News Feed, impressions (the number of times a story is displayed throughout Facebook) were down 25%, but likes and comments were up by 9% and 21% respectively.

This makes sense because when a user engages with your Facebook Page, the Ticker pushes it to all of their friends. Likes and comments can also increase if users see your Page story in their main News Feed.

How to shift your strategy

There are at least five ways you can tweak your current Facebook Page strategy to take advantage of the new News Feed:

  1. Increase your post frequency. To make up for the overall decrease in impressions, post more frequently. Make sure you use Insights to determine how many posts per day work best for your Page.
  2. Create even more engaging content. Posts that have a high EdgeRank will now remain in the News Feed longer.

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August 31, 2011

Tricks to ramp up your nonprofit’s Facebook Page

Planned ParenthoodPlanned Parenthood had success engaging supporters through its Facebook Page.

How a few simple changes can make your Facebook Page more visible & engaging to fans

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, community managers, marketing professionals, NGOs, businesses, brands.

Debra AskanaseWhat is your nonprofit doing to engage with your Facebook fans? I put that question to attendees during a talk I gave recently at a gathering of New York nonprofit organizations — and heard about some great practices:

Planned Parenthood was able to move its Facebook fans to successfully defend the organization against legislative attacks.

• MASA Israel found that including a media image (photo or video) with every wall post update increased wall post engagement. MASA Israel also developed a successful Facebook application that streamlines the program enrollment decision-making process.

• The Partnership at Drugfree.org held a successful Facebook wall chat, most recently with the actress Melissa Gilbert.

The importance of the newsfeed

At the event, convened by my colleagues Michelle Perrault and Seth Giammanco at Minds On Design Lab, I talked about how to ramp up your Facebook engagement. The presentation covered understanding Facebook post engagement, matching goals to engagement, practices and ideas for designing Facebook Page, and how to measure engagement and ROE (return on engagement).

Most fans never visit a Page but instead rely on the Page’s content to show up in their newsfeeds. A recent ComScore study reports that “Facebook users are 40-150 times more likely to consume branded content in the newsfeed than to visit the Fan Page itself.” However, the problem is that not all content will show up in the Top News section of the newsfeed, which is the default newsfeed setting.

Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank that dictates which content will be featured prominently in an individual’s newsfeed. (See J.D. Lasica’s explanation of how EdgeRank works.) EdgeRank takes into account three factors: how recent was the content published (on a site, on a Facebook Page), how much interaction did the piece of content create and how regularly the individual interacts with that organization or brand. Thus, if an organization publishes a video to its Page, and no one Likes or comments on it, the video may never show up in the Top News newsfeed of someone’s home page. However, if an individual often Likes, shares or comments on that organization’s content, there is a higher likelihood that the video will show up as part of the Top News. Continue reading

July 7, 2010

8 ways to engage your Facebook fans in 3 minutes or less

Stopwatch

John HaydonOne self-evident requirement for nonprofit marketing on Facebook is regularly posting interesting content on your Facebook Page.

Don’t be scared by the word “content” – its definition includes a lot more than blog posts and videos. Status updates count.

I recently conducted a few informal experiments with some Facebook Pages and my own Facebook Profile. I wanted  to see how people engage with status updates alone (no links, videos, photos) versus shared URLs, videos and photos (with no status update). I found that folks were three or four times more likely to engage with a pithy status update over a shared URL, photo or video.

I wasn’t surprised at the results. Status updates are the language of Facebook users. It’s what they engage with most of the time.

8 simple ways to engage your Facebook fans

  1. Don’t Be All Work And No Play – It’s OK to ask people what plans they have for the weekend, or if they saw Toy Story 3. Facebook users love sharing the human details of their lives. You’re human too, right?
  2. Ask Simple Questions – Ask your connections how they’ve been personally affected by your organization’s cause. For example, the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (an Inbound Zombie client) might ask “How has a Brain Aneurysm personally impacted your life?”
  3. Play Tag With Like-Minded Pages – This is a way to create awareness about your Page on another Facebook Page. The best way to avoid coming across as spam is to 100% promote the other Page on your Page. For example, I noticed Mari Smith asking people to share their goals for the second half of 2010. I simply shared her post on my Page in an effort to send her new fans.
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