Are you busily growing your Facebook Fanbase? Got a few thousand fans? Maybe millions? Are you seeing results? Many of the marketers I meet tell me that they are struggling to drive sales from their fan base. I can understand that.
Consider this question: If 60% of your emails went directly to the Spam folder, would you expect significant sales from your email? Of course the answer is no. So why do we expect sales to come from our Facebook Fan relationships? Consumers are not visiting fanpages with great frequency. Most of the traffic occurs when the brand promotes their Facebook page on their website, emails, blog and other vehicles.
- People don’t visit Fanpages for free. It’s a value exchange whereby consumers exchange their attention for offers, information, entertainment, recognition.
- The majority of a consumer’s Facebook experience is the wall… the stream/feed
- The 95% of Facebook users view their TNF (top news feed) only
- 35% of commercial wall posts hit TNF (internal SSL study)
- Net: At rough estimate, 40% of commercial wallposts are viewable.
Although this is a heuristic estimate, I believe much of what is being posted is effectively dropped in the trash bin of Facebook. Why? Well, without some sort of filter, our personal Facebook “walls” would do a poor job of connecting us with the most important topics. If we were away for a day, we might miss some critical item from a close friend that was swept away by a flood of commercial posts that followed its posting.
To manage this challenge Facebook has developed an algorithm to present the best of the recent posts. The algorithm is designed to focus on sharing things that we will like. The more that we comment or “like” a post, the more it shows on other friends/fans posts.
Edgerank is the name of this algorithm and it’s used to determine what’s in the Top News (e.g. inbox) versus the MRF (e.g. spam). It’s a pretty elegant and powerful methodology and our understanding of it is limited to what’s been shared in the industry. Regardless, it is important that marketers understand the major levers that drive inbox/spam for their campaigns. Small tweaks can make the difference.
The Edgerank Formula:
Facebook uses a formula to score and prioritize all of the wallposts that have hit your page over a period of time depending on when you last viewed it. It breaks down into three parts:
- Affinity = The level of relationship your fan has to your brand defined by the amount of interactions the fan has with your content and fan page.
- Weight = The amount of comments and “Likes” to a post from other friends and fans. Also, the value of content you have placed in your wall post. Manual posts have more weight than app driven posts. Photos score big for weight (just look at your TNF). Then descending value for videos, links, status and apps.
- Time = This is a score that accounts for the amount of time that has elapsed since the message was posted.
So what can we all do to optimize our news feed and ensure our messages are getting through and extended virally through Facebook?
- Leverage your use of Facebook Insights… it’s full of strong data to guide your messaging.
- Measure your clickthrough rate on each campaign. Use open tools like Bit.ly to track this.
- Cluster the high performer posts versus zero performers, repeat the winners… drop out the low click performers.
- Focus on messages that “gather” multiple “edges”… Ask for the Edge… give a reason to “edge”.
- Leverage customer feedback and ask fans to post for content and always edge their content (photos… comments on user photos is powerful)
- Heavy comment action doesn’t guarantee the TNF.
- Avoid the spam triggers (Use Facebook insights to track your hides daily).
- Treasure and reward your high influencers with interactive experiences like games.
- Add content and interest through social apps like coupons and shopping tabs to allow for browsing.
- Consider whether your team is staffed to allow this level of work. If you are barely able to get the campaigns out… might be better to send less frequently and maximize the impact.
Alternatively, reach out to a professional. There are many companies that provide software and coaching services to help you on your way likeWishpot (disclosure, we partner with Wishpot). If you are ready to add your own social game to the mix, check out our biz at Social Shopping Labs. Have fun!
Image Credit: http://static.technorati.com/10/09/17/18465/Facebook-icon.png