Over 13.000 people signed up for Mari Smith‘s free webinar “7 Steps To Facebook Success” on June 4th, 2013. One of them was me, excited to hear about the success plan that one of Forbes top 10 social media influencers was going to share.
Mari Smith opened the webinar with some statistics:
- With 1,1 billion monthly active users Facebook is still the number 1 social network
- 75% of the users access Facebook over their mobile device and are twice as active
- 67% of the online population uses Facebook
- 79% of the users are outside the USA & Canada
Facebook created a paradigm shift on how we communicate. this ultimately affects on how we do business. Just like computers did in the 80s, email in the 90s, and cellphones in the past decade, today you seem like an odd person if you don’t have a Facebook profile – at least when you don’t have a business presence on Facebook.
According to Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, social media can jumpstart the global economy. Mari agrees but points out:
“Facebook is a big ‘free for all’ and very noisy, which makes it very difficult to stand out and reach your target market. Also, the fear of receiving negative comments stops businesses from opening a Facebook fan page. In my view though, businesses should welcome negative comments. You actually have an opportunity to win people over, build a stellar customer service and get new clients as a result!”
The way Facebook’s newsfeed works differs a lot from other social networks. A complex algorithm called ‘Edgerank’ is filtering out the content people get to see in their newsfeed. This means that not everything you post on your fan page will actually be shown in the newsfeeds of your fans!
Only when people go to the fanpage itself, they will see all updated content. Problem is, this doesn’t happen. Over 96% of the fans that clicked the ‘Like’ button will never come back to your page.
Understanding how Edgerank actually works is very important, because if you want people to interact with your page, you first need a consistent newsfeed visibility. Basically, the edgerank algorithm is based on 3 components:
The relationship that you have with a particular profile or fan page. The more you interact with a particular profile or page, the more you will see its content.
A point system that gives more visibility to photos versus status updates, but this depends on each fan page. Links tend to get the lowest amount of visibility in the newsfeed.
- Time Decay (or Recency)
A recently posted piece of content will be more visible in the newsfeed than something posted hours ago. However it depends if this is a popular post or not. So depending on popularity, the life cycle of a Facebook post can vary between 20 minutes, hours or days.
7 steps to Facebook success
1. Develop a solid strategy
Mostly, the missing component is the lack of a solid plan on how to monetize, how to get leads, how to convert leads into paying customers. Most businesses have a sporadic and scattered approach to their social media marketing and are just hoping for the best. Some businesses also have a silo approach to Facebook, they isolate it and put all their eggs in one basket. Others are looking at what seems to work and try to emulate that style, but what works for others doesn’t necessarily works for you.
Mari: “Social Media is an amplifier. It needs to be integrated in your marketing model and especially in your online marketing plan: your website, blog, email marketing & content strategy.”
A solid plan involves getting clear about what you want to accomplish and about what do you want to use Facebook for:
- For lead generation. Think of Facebook as the top of your funnel, that you are using it to bring people down through your funnel and get them signed up onto your email list.
- For driving traffic to your site and to your online store.
- For improving your customer service
- For visibility, to establish yourself as the number 1 authority in your arena.
2. Use professional graphics
This age is so visual that no business can permit itself anymore to have their images done by someone who is not a professional graphic artist.
The size of the Facebook cover image is really big and gives you a lot of real estate to communicate a powerful, fashionable, compelling & consistent brand. Also the profile picture, app thumbnails and contest landing tabs have to look pretty and attractive.
3. Map out a content plan
What are you going to post and when? Plan out your marketing messages in a content versus promotional calendar system. Plan out different content types with frequencies and timing.
A study by Dan Zarrella shows that photos get the highest visibility in the newsfeed, followed by status updates, videos and links. Also: the more shares you get the more your content will be seen in the newsfeed, followed by the more comments and the more likes.
Facebook will also propose you to “boost” a post that is doing well in terms of popularity. This means you can pay for a post to be seen in the newsfeed of your fans or any target audience you define.
As for the best time of the day to post there is no one-size-fits-it-all. You have to experiment and look at your Facebook insights to see when your fans are responding best. The same counts for frequency. Posting one or two times a day, maximum three, should be enough for not to overwhelm your fans.
4. Build a target fanbase
There are two ways to get more fans: organic and through ads. If you want to increase your fans organically, you should use your other channels to tell people you have a fanpage: by adding the icon in your email signature, by including a call to join your page in your newsletter, by making it very visible on your blog & website.
As for ads, you will have to be prepared to invest some money in both the ads themselves as into education on how to best use them. Some features of Facebook’s Power Editor are:
- you can upload your own database of subscribers to target your ads to them
- you can make Facebook find a look-a-like audience of your subscribers
- you can make a partner company select demographics of a very specific type of people you want to serve your ad to
- you can add a piece of code on your website to track how many people converted upon your add
As Mari says: “Content is King, but Engagement is Queen and she rules the house! You have to spark conversation and don’t just wait for it. You also have to respond to questions & comments as fast as you can.” Here are some stats that prove the urgency of this:
- 45% of questions and comments companies receive on social media are not being responded too.
- on average companies take 22 hours to respond to a Facebook fanpost
- 1 out of 6 Facebook users expects an answer to their question in less than 30 minutes!
Socialbakers.com can help you to get some metrics that measure how socially devoted your company or brand is. Engaging is about knowing your fans, helping people to help themselves, embracing them and really be part of the community. Having a passionate Community Manager is absolutely key and one of the most critical roles in your company.
6. Ask for the sale
Include conversion strategies and tactics. Use the 80%-20% rule for your content. For selling you could use a Facebook app like GrowthSocial is producing. You can also integrate it with software for affiliate marketing, e-commerce and email building techniques like InfusionSoft is producing.
7. Track & Tweak
Facebook metrics you should track are reach, people talking about this, but also other metrics related to conversion: how many people subscribed to your newsletter, how many traffic Facebook drives to your website, how many people converted upon your Facebook ad etc.
At Facebook Insights you should download your data at post level and look at:
- total organic reach: how many unique people saw your post
- reach for just your fans
- the viral number of people who saw your post upon a story in their newsfeed
- negative feedback: how many people are hiding your posts in their newsfeed or reporting it as spam
- how many fans are engaging with your content