December 12, 2011

14 surefire ways to engage Facebook users

Image by kbuntu for Big Stock

Why you need a variety of strategies to keep fans interested in your cause

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

Guest post by Jon Loomer
Digital marketing consultant,

The secret to a successful Facebook page is a highly engaged community. You can drive thousands of fans with ads, but the number will be hollow if they aren’t active and engaged.

If you’re a restaurant, poll them on what menu item should get a special Facebook fan price. Ask them to vote on the name of a new product.

Why is this important? An engaged fan who interacts with your page is developing a loyalty for your brand. By being actively involved in your page, they are aware of your product launches and special deals, and are therefore more likely to purchase. Just as important, an actively engaged fan is sharing your brand with their friends, thereby expanding your fan base.

Engage, engage, engage. It’s been said so many times that the word is losing meaning. So what does this mean? Here are several examples of how to engage fans on your Facebook page, but feel free to get creative.

Be interesting
1 This may be easier said than done, but only post information that is interesting to your customers. Make sure it’s relevant and timely. If you’re not sure what your customers like, ask them!

Be human
2 Feature the humanness of your brand. Post with a personality, feature photos and videos of staff members, and show another side of your organization. Along the same lines, no one wants to follow an endless PR stream. People don’t trust PR. Be authentic and honest. Recognize mistakes and involve your customers in the solutions.

A more literal way to “be human” is not to use automated services to post to your page. This isn’t interesting. Most such services don’t allow you to add personal description to the post. People easily sniff it out, especially since these posts are highlighted with a third party icon. Studies have shown that posts made with third party services — automated or not — are less successful.

Prompt a response
3 An engaged fan is someone who not only reads your content but actively comments, likes and shares. How do you get that response? Ask for it! Ask questions in your posts. Ask for fan feedback. Get their opinions. Ask them to share your content. Ask them to recommend your page to their friends. These are your most loyal customers. Involve them!

Be brief
4 Don’t write a book. Whether you’re providing a description of a link you’re sharing or writing a status update, get to the point. Short posts have a clearer purpose and are much more likely to receive a response. Continue reading

November 4, 2011

Get deep into engagement with the new Facebook Insights

Online engagement
Image by iqoncept for Big Stock

Find out how Facebook can help your nonprofit increase engagement

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, brands, social media managers, marketing professionals, bloggers, individuals.

Debra AskanaseIlove the new Facebook Insights. Unlike so many other changes that Facebook has sprung unexpectedly on us, the new Insights is a welcome change. I think it is such a significant change that it is a game-changer in the social media space. If I sound gushy, well, I am. With the new Insights metrics, Facebook is boldly telling the Facebook community and its competitors that the most important social network metric is real online engagement. As I’ve written before, if your page cannot ultimately move people to take action, then your organization is wasting its time with Facebook. Online engagement is how it begins.

Know how engaging your content really is

Everything about the new Facebook Insights is focused on helping page administrators understand how well their page’s content is being received, shared, and talked about within Facebook. No longer do we have to count up Likes, fan posts to walls, and comments on posts, and pull together the online engagement percentage. And what’s more, we can dive deep, very deep, by post. By who is seeing the posts, and where. By how the content is being shared, and what type of content is being shared. That’s just the beginning. The Facebook metric that matters now is engagement. Here are but three examples of how Facebook is highlighting engagement.

Likes vs. PTAT (People Talking About This)

Think about the bold statement Facebook is making when it shows this publicly on every Facebook page, for all to note:


In one glance, which number is more important? With simplicity and sharpness, Facebook turned the Like numbers game into a “how many really care” numbers game. Brilliant. Continue reading

August 10, 2011

Nonprofits: Are your Facebook fans engaged?



Participation is the key for getting value out of your Facebook Pages

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

Debra AskanaseI‘ve been digging deep into research about Facebook fan activity lately, in preparation for a few upcoming presentations about social media return on engagement and Facebook engagement. I was delighted to find recent research about Facebook fan engagement from Michael Wu at Lithium and from comScore. Placed together, this research offers three very practical takeaways for nonprofits and brands managing Facebook fan Pages: relevant benchmarks of how deeply fans engage with Pages, the effect of fans on website visits, and how likely fans are to engage with your organization’s services or purchase items.

Basic benchmarks for measuring fan activity

1Michael Wu posits that “fan count is only the most superficial characterization of engagement, because it says nothing about the fans’ subsequent action and their interactions.” To measure the real engagement of a fan Page, Michael looked at different levels of fan engagement: active fans (who comment or post a message on a page), what fraction of posts have comments, amount of interaction among fans on a Page, and number of unique fans per conversation. From his research, he found these Page engagement benchmarks:

  • The number of active fans per day (i.e. actively engaging) is about 3.45% of total page fans.
  • About two-thirds of all posts do receive some activity, but it is normal to expect that around one-third will never receive comments and disappear quickly from a person’s newsfeed.
  • Most Facebook fans are not very loyal to the fan Pages. Only about 30% of the active fans re-engage with the fan Page more than once (i.e. through posting).
  • The probability of a fan returning to the same conversation on the fan Page is low, only about 9.6%.

If a fan never interacts with your Page’s content, then the reach of the Page will never grow, either. The more interactions, the more friends of fans will see your content. This correlates to the comScore research, next.

The role of the newsfeed

2Facebook users primarily interact with a fan Page in the newsfeed. What this means is that most fans don’t ever visit the actual fan Page. How often a fan or a friend of a fan will see your Page content within the newsfeed is determined by how often the actual post is shared, interacted with, and Liked. (See J.D. Lasica’s article for an in-depth look at how EdgeRank works.)

The new comScore report “The Power of Like” offers solid data on why fan activity with a Page is so important: reach. This report is focused on how people interact with the top 100 brands, with deeper analysis of a few large brands.

  • Facebook users spend 25% of their time on Facebook interacting with their newsfeed. In May, 27 percent of engagement on occurred on the homepage and newsfeed, followed by profile viewing (21 percent), photo viewing (17 percent) and usage of apps and tools (10 percent).
  • Facebook users are 40 to 150 times more likely to see branded content in the newsfeed than to visit the fan Page itself.
  • Friends of fans is an important potential segment for organizations to reach. Friends of fans typically represent a much larger set of consumers (34 times larger, on average, for the top 100 brand pages) and may receive social media brand impressions through their Facebook friends. In the graph below, you can see that for every fan that visits Starbucks’ Facebook fan Page, 156 others see the brand Page’s updates through the newsfeed.
  • Continue reading