- Most fans never return to a page after they like it.
- Most posts by pages are seen by less than 10% of fans.
- Many fans will never see your ‘welcome’ tab.
- When fans create new posts on your page, other fans don’t see them.
These facts run counter to many peoples’ assumptions. They go to their fan page, so they think their fans do, too. They assume that fans are seeing their posts, which they have discussed. They assume their fans are seeing posts made by other fans. But your Fans see the people and pages they interact with.
In fact, fans experience Facebook through the news feeds. The news feed is set by default to top posts, which means Facebook uses algorithms to show people the stories it thinks they’ll be interested in. How does it know what you’ll be interested in? By keeping track of the posts you like and comment on. When fans no longer see your posts, it’s much harder to get them back. Therefore it’s best to engage fans while you’re growing their numbers, and then never stop engaging them.
You may be surprised to hear that there’s a diminishing return on larger fan base. There are a number of reasons for this, some of which you can control. Many of the biggest pages have fans that are several years old. Fans who don’t respond to posts for many months probably haven’t seen posts from that page. If you don’t get your fans to like and comment on your posts, they’ll stop seeing them. Imagine you spend months and thousands of dollars getting 10000 fans but in the end only 2,000 see your posts. Disappointing? Of course!
You can get better results from the best practices outlined here. But first, let’s take a more in-depth look.
Post Metrics and Benchmarks – Anyone can see how many likes and comments each of your Facebook page’s posts have received. If you’re an administrator, you’ll see extra data about each post that your fans won’t.
Impressions – This is how many times the post was shown. This isn’t a count of unique visitors, as some may have been shown your post more than once.
Feedback Rate – This is a calculation that shows how engaging your post was. Facebook adds up the number of likes and comments and divides them by the impressions count. This figure is always relative to the audience that saw the post.
Sometimes a post will only go out to a very small audience but have a dramatically higher feedback rate. Don’t fret. Feedback rate is important but can be skewed higher when you don’t reach that many people. Generally speaking, you want a 1% or higher feedback rate.
Impressions and Fan Count – This number isn’t shown, but it’s easy to calculate. Look at your last five to ten posts, find the average number of impressions you’re getting, and then divide that by your total number of fans.
[Average (impressions / post)] / Fan count = % of fan seeing posts
This gives you an idea of how many of your fans are seeing your posts. Very new posts won’t show impressions or feedback rate right away.
Feedback Rate’s Effect on Impressions – Here’s the important insight: the higher your feedback rate is, the more of your fans you reach. The pages that struggle to get more than 30% of their fans to see their posts also have low feedback rates and probably aren’t using interaction tactics.
Are Some Fans Unreachable Forever? – If you haven’t stimulated your fans to interact with you for months, it can be very hard to get your messages in front of them again. At this point, you need to use advertising to get them back. There are a couple of ways to use ads to reanimate “dead” fans.
Leading the Community You Create – Facebook empowers you to gather a community of potential buyers and then lead the conversation. This is better than Twitter, where conversation is fragmented and hard to follow. You can use Facebook to post images and videos for discussion. It’s possible that the people you serve have never had a community in which to share their passions.
Less connected people like that give you high click-through rates and low-cost clicks, they don’t cost a lot to acquire, and they talk like crazy. Put them in a Facebook group and you have a perpetual motion machine. You can ask questions and use polls to gather more information about them.
Formulas for Posts – There are two or three main goals for each post, and if you want, you can try all three at once!
- To get likes, say “Click like if…” and keep the second part simple.
- To get comments, ask a question or say, “Tell me in the comments below…” followed by whatever you want to know.
- To get clicks to your website or blog post, put the URL in the update and say, “Click this link…” and tell them why.
“Click Like If…”
This is a simple formula. It’s all about whether people agree with you. Choose something that you’re pretty sure 60% – 100% of your fans like. If you got a lot of fans from targeting a particular interest, you can be pretty sure they’ll respond positively to that. Tell them to click like if they like that thing. After you have the thing you want to show them or mention to them, combine it with the following variations of the formula:
Post a photo or video related to the dream or benefits you’re selling, and make it something like “Click like if you’d love (to have this benefit)” or “Click like if you’d love to see yourself (living such and such dream).”
- “Click like if you love…” (denim, or whatever applies to your niche).
- “Click like if you think….”
- “Click like if you’d love to have….”
- “Click like if you believe that….”
- “Click like if you want….”
Questions and Prompts – The best questions are open-ended. The goal is to get the other person talking. The more you listen, the more likely you are to get what you want. The more you talk, the more the other person turns off and you don’t get what you want.
Here are some ways to ask questions:
- “What do you think about…?” (For example, you could ask about some recent good news in the niche you’re operating in).
- “How do you feel about…?”
- “My ideal day includes ______________. Fill in the blank and tell us!”
- “What happens when you…?”
- “What are your goals related to…?”
- “If you could change one thing about…, what would it be?”
- “When do you feel most…?”
- “Why do you…?”
“Click this link…”
If you put a web address into a post, Facebook pulls in the photo, page title and description. You can actually change them. Simply click on the title or the description and rewrite. That’s a lifesaver if, for some reason, it’s pulling in HTML formatting. Choose a thumbnail that looks interesting or fits best with what you’re sending. If none of the images fit, select “no thumbnail.”
Don’t assume that the information Facebook grabs with your URL is stimulating enough by itself. Add calls to action like these:
- “Check out this blog post because…”; then tell them what the benefits of reading it are.
- “Click here to get this discount now before it goes away!”
- “Check out our latest press release”; then make sure they know why they should care.
Press releases so often consist of information that customers don’t really care about. If your blog post already has a catchy title, you might not need to be too creative with the text you add in the Facebook page. But be sure you add a reason to click and/or a question for commenting. If you don’t, that’s a missed opportunity.
Good vs. Bad Posts
- The following are qualities of successful posts:
- Has a 1% feedback rate or more;
- Has 50% or more impressions compared to fans;
- It’s attention-grabbing;
- It’s something 95% of the audience cares about;
- Asks for a like or asks a question;
- Fits the demographics and geographic location of the fan base;
- Contains no-brainer text;
- Sells the dream;
- Is based on what you learned from ad testing.
Bad posts have these qualities:
- Feedback below .5%;
- Impressions that are less than 30% of fan base;
- Not understanding audience;
- Posts that 95% of the audience doesn’t care about;
- Promotes things that very few people will care about;
- Photos without captions or calls to action.
- Learning from Your Previous Posts
Administrators can view some pretty cool insights, and one of them lists your last 10 posts, how many impressions it got, and the feedback rate you got from them. You can use this (and of course you can also scroll through your page’s wall and look at more of these) to look for patterns in which posts got better feedback rates and why. Pick out a few of the ones with the highest and a few with the lowest feedback rates, and see if you can tell what you did right or wrong. After you develop a theory about which posts are best for your audience, test it by trying another post along those lines to see whether you get similar results.
Engagement Milestones – Here are three milestones that will tell you you’re making great progress with getting your audience to interact with you:
- Get 1% feedback regularly.
- People posting spontaneously on your page – When people are excited about your brand or page, they’ll go back to the fan page and post there.
- Fans see and post on fan page posts – If you have a lot of fans going back to your fan page and its set by default to show fan posts, too, then some of them might comment on each- others’ posts. This is one way to know your fans are stirred up. When they have that much enthusiasm, they’ll tolerate more sales messages.
Guiding Your Community – Because you administer the page or group, you have ultimate control. You can subtly guide the conversation with your posts and comments. It’s a good idea to step back and let conversations take their course. When the administrator is too involved, discussions don’t evolve. Don’t think you need to respond to every post. If you post something, get one comment, and then comment on that first comment, you are less likely to get more comments. Aim to get five or ten people to comment before you do.
The point is that you create a space for discussion and then leave room. Imagine you’re sitting in a circle with 10 people and bring up a topic. Would the people in the group want you commenting after each person? Or would they prefer to have a normal conversation? Let something evolve out of the fans themselves, and see where it goes.
Dealing with Difficult Fans – You can remove or block troublesome people (but let’s hope it’s because they’re weirdos and you’re not just blocking the people who are bringing to light real problems with your business). If you have issues with your business that customers complain about regularly, fix them! If you make a small mistake in social media, apologize! The way to deal with these situations effectively is to listen, acknowledge the feedback, validate and thank the customer, and then fix the problem.
Because your customer service is public in social media, dealing with problems well or badly is amplified. If it happens in the comments of one of your posts, people are witnessing it. If you do a great job hearing and satisfying an irritated customer, other customers will trust you more.
How to Avoid Publicity Nightmares – Most people have learned not to write an email reply while angry. It’s even easier and quicker to shoot off a negative Facebook comment. When you read something distressing, step away from the computer, take a breath, and do something else for a while. Remember, if they posted it on your Facebook page’s Wall, it does not go out to all your fans. Only the few that come back to the page will see it. It is not an emergency. If you feel defensive, worried, or upset, absolutely forbid yourself from posting a response without getting someone else’s opinion, taking time to relax, and even having someone else edit your response.
Also, if we’re talking about comments that fans see, one of your most loyal fans might respond with a more fair view. It’s much more powerful and believable when a customer comes to your aid. It can be worth the anxiety to wait 30 to 60 minutes for one of them to chime in.
Just keep in mind that what seems like a great idea right now might not later.
Balancing Engagement and Selling Types of Posts
Some people may only care about creating interaction and remaining visible to fans, but others want to profit from their efforts. So, how do you combine conversation with sales? Do they fit together? A number of companies have found that they can alternate interaction-oriented Facebook posts with more direct offers, discounts, and other types of sales-oriented posts.
Ratio and Frequency – There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how many of your posts should engage or sell the dream versus how many should actually sell your products or services. Some go with this rule of thumb: four engagement posts and then one sales post. Your audience might be okay with more sales posts than that, or they might want less. If you’re not sure start with one post per day, mostly engagement oriented, and one or two sales posts per week. You can look at your sales records to see which days of the week you sell best on, and do the sales posts that day or the day before.
I think you’re missing an opportunity if you don’t post every day, but there are exceptions. If you really run out of post ideas, it might be better to wait a day or two than post something inane. Some businesses are seasonal and the customers aren’t buying all year-long, so you might not be able to sing the same tune all year. If you know when people buy, you have a big advantage. For example, people who vacation in the summer often book their vacations early on in the year. Resorts can start selling the beach dream while everyone is at the office freezing.
Ideas for Posting – Some businesses with fans see good sales right away. Others have to work at it, especially those with longer sales cycles. How often do regular customers buy from you? If they buy every three months, then expect new fans to take three months until they’re ready to buy. Your goal in those three months is to build awareness and a relationship so that, come decision time, that relationship and their knowledge of your offerings will be a strong influence to purchase.
Some of your fans might never have bought what you offer online. So, follow these suggestions:
- Post why it’s good to buy online.
- Post why you’re better.
- Quote positive reviews of previous customers.
- Put a link to your website in more of your posts. If you get more likes and comments, you’ll get more impressions. Let’s say you’re getting 2000 per post. You should be able to get 1% – 2% of those to click to the site if there’s a link. That means you could get perhaps 20 site visitors per day and 140 per week. So create posts that give a reason for people to like, comment, and click. Here’s an example:
“Click over and check out this product: [link]. Do you LIKE it? What would you do if you owned it?”
Posts that get people thinking and talking about products:
- “What’s the most important product for…?”
- “What ________ products do you like or dislike?”
- “Do you have trouble finding products for…?”
- “Do you buy _______ online?”
- “Are you ready to…?”
Another way to bring business into the picture without being in-your-face is to talk about what’s going on in your business. Not all companies are willing to be this transparent, but it can work. Here are some examples:
Vacation Rental: “We are almost all booked up for May and June. We’re actually looking into buying a couple of other properties to meet demand. If you haven’t booked yet, you can call us at xxx-xxx.”
Attorney: “Great settlement today. A very happy client!”
Chiropractor: “Trying out our new massage table, and boy is it nice.
Association: “Just over 5,000 people attended our conference this weekend. Great time! We’re putting on a local get-together. Click here to check out details: (link)”
Feedback Rate and Sales Posts – Anytime you ask people to click on a link in a post, whether you’re sending them to a blog post or to an e-commerce website, your feedback rate will look low. The feedback rate only counts like and comments. Facebook does not say they count clicks on other links you add to posts. Anyway, don’t freak out that your sales posts have lower feedback rates.
Engagement just asks people to participate around shared interests. Sales formulas try to get people to give up their money. There is definitely a grey area because you can get people to engage around your products and services, and you can send people to innocent-looking informative blog posts that are surrounded by sales messages.
Whenever you’re in doubt, you can ask your fans whether they like some of your approaches better than others. Just take the feedback with a grain of salt, though, because some of your fans might never buy from you. You can phrase it more specifically like this: “If you’ve bought something from us because of our Facebook posts, tell us what you bought and why.” That way, you’ve eliminated the opinions of those who aren’t really your customers.
Source: Brian Carter: The Like Economy
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- Study: Facebook Pages Shouldn’t Post More Than 1x Every 3 hours (techcrunch.com)
- Only 9 Days Left To Learn The New Facebook Page Analytics (allfacebook.com)
- Facebook Testing “See Likes,” Updating Language for Page Insights (insidefacebook.com)
- Facebook Comments Are Four Times The Value Of Likes (allfacebook.com)