Nov 09, 2012

Back to Basics: Facebook

You’ve got to walk before you can run.

You have to learn how to count before you do calculus.

Sometimes, you need to get back to the basics in order to excel at the expert.

And that’s why at LEAP, we’re helping you drill down to what really matters in social media marketing: the tried-and-true-road-tested basics.

 

Our first contender? None other than the mega network….Facebook.

For those of you who don’t know (and if you don’t, where have you been?), Facebook is the first mega social network of our time. With the ability to post status updates, upload photo albums, send messages, connect with strangers and brands, and more, Facebook is a great place to not only share your life, but connect with others.

Facebook, though, is much more than a personal networking channel. Even back in 2007 (when Facebook users “Fanned” rather than “Liked” pages), brands saw the huge potential that Facebook offered to connect with their consumer. And today, more than 5 million businesses have a presence on this social media giant.

The true power of this network lies in the sheer numbers. Today, one out of every seven people on EARTH is on Facebook. Yes…on the entire planet. And with that kind of potential reach, it’s a brand’s dream spot for connecting with all kinds of people.

But for brands, it’s important to understand Facebook in and out, forwards and backwards, the good, the bad, and the social. From creating engaging content to maximizing your network reach (despite Facebook’s Edgerank), it’s about so much more than just status updates these days.

So, what do we consider Facebook’s basics? Here’s our take.

 

 

Facebook Basic #1: Learn how to maximize your timeline.

Since Facebook’s advent of its new profile structure, the way we post has changed. What once used to be just words on a screen is now a dynamic opportunity to creative a visual experience for your audience. Time and time again, we’ve seen that images are now among the most “sharable” content with video coming in second, links in third. Words on the page will no longer cut it, and your strategy needs to change. Plus, when your content is sharable, it can help you reach a broader audience and outwit Facebook’s Edgerank.

Other basic lessons: Learn how to highlight and pin content to the top of your page. It’s simple. In the post, click on the star icon to highlight and make the post span the width of your timeline; to pin a post to the top, click on the pencil icon, and select “Pin to Top”. Bada-Boom, you’ve just highlighted your most sharable content.

 

Facebook Basic #2: Study your audience to maximize reach and influence.

What is your optimal time to post? Which messages get the highest interaction? Why should you care about the previous two questions? Because they matter. A lot.

The way the Facebook Edgerank works is by placing content users deem relevant in their newsfeed. But if a fan of your page hasn’t “liked”, shared, or commented on your content in their recent fandom history, that user only has a 10% chance they will see your content in the news feed (and that’s only if they are viewing content by “Most Recent” and just happen to be rolling through their newsfeed when your content is posted). Yeah…it’s that difficult to reach a non-participating fan.

So what can you do? First, do some research on the best time for your brand to post. Facebook’s insights or your personal SMMS platform can help you easily see what posts (and times) are optimal for your audience. It may take a bit of testing, but the results are work the effort.

In addition to determining the right time to post, test to find which content is the most engaging for your audience. Do they really love links to your site? Photos? How-to videos? Give ‘em what they want…and when you do (and they interact with your content), you may just move to from a once timeline ghost to a relevant topic on your fans’ newsfeeds.

Other basic lessons: Don’t let Facebook Edgerank rule all of your decisions. Just because people interact best with photos doesn’t mean the occasional link back to your site or promotion will ruin your progress. Once people are hooked on your brand, they’ll come back for more content.

 

Facebook Basic #3: Get a voice.

Social media should be just that….social. If you Facebook page is devoid of personality, interactions, and relationships, why try? The brands people connect and interact with most are the brands that have a little pizzaz on their page. Take, for example, Grey Poupon. In a previous LEAP blog, we discussed the recent “Society of Good Taste” campaign the tried-and-true brand used to grow its Facebook fan base by 75% in just a few weeks. Why? Because the voice and message was unlike anything most had ever seen on Facebook. Their unique take that being a fan of Grey Poupon was a title worth earning turned the typical model on its head…and got major attention.

Even if you don’t want to break the barrier of what is “typical”, your page still needs a voice. Some call Facebook the “backyard barbecue” of social networks, because the tone should be friendly, warm, open, and not salesy (much like the vibe at a family cookout). Keep it light. Keep it engaging. Keep it…well, you.

Other basic lessons: Don’t be afraid to be different. Some of the most successful brand campaigns, like Grey Poupon’s or Oreo’s “Celebrate like a kid” campaign are well known because they’ve broken the barrier on “typical” content. On Facebook, being a little different, a little open, and a lot engaging is a winning formula for a winning page.

So there you have it. What LEAP deems the most essential basics of Facebook. Let’s try to get back to them. Shall we?