Tech Talk: Advice for Building Engagement on Facebook

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November 19, 2012 ‐ By Kimberly Maul

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Lately, there has been a lot of talk about Facebook’s value for advertising and marketing. Businesses small and large, as well as individuals, leverage the social network to connect with fans and customers, but when it comes to how users engage with brand pages, reach and engagement vary.

According to new data from Group M, a WPP media-buying agency, the reach is down for organic Facebook posts from brands (those posts written for the Facebook page but not promoted or used in advertisements). As of September 20, 2012, the average brand post reached 15.56 percent of its fans, and five weeks later, the average post dipped to 9.62 percent.

The difference was the updated algorithm that Facebook put in place to determine what users see in their news feeds. However, Group M’s data also found that, when users do see a post, they are more likely to engage with it. The average post engagement was 0.76 percent prior to the algorithm change, and was 1.49 percent after. This supports Facebook’s view of the algorithm change. By tweaking the algorithm so that only the most relevant posts make it through to a user’s news feed, then those users are the best and most relevant audience for a post—and will engage with it.

Facebook is also currently working on tools to help marketers track and measure how their ads perform, and will be introducing conversion metrics around the holidays. This may also ease some of the tension between Facebook and advertisers — if brands can see exactly how Facebook outreach converts to sales.

Here are some quick tips for how to make the most out of a Facebook post:

Optimize the best days and times to post organic content. Buddy Media has done several studies looking into what days and times during the day when users are most active and engaged. Weekends and evenings are more popular, which can be unfortunate for Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 companies. Luckily, in May, Facebook introduced administrative tools that allow brands to schedule posts for later publishing.

Keep it short. Additionally, Buddy Media found that shorter posts, fewer than 80 characters, also see more engagement. Additionally, asking questions or providing fill-in-the-blank status updates often encourages users to engage.

Incorporate videos and photos in your Facebook strategy. According to a cross-platform study from Nielsen, black consumers spend 6.19 hours per month watching video on the internet, second only to Asian Americans, with 8.43 hours per month.

Experiment with Facebook’s new targeting tools. In July, Facebook started allowing brands to target organic posts by criteria including age, relationship status, workplace, and education.

Do you have any advice for building engagement on Facebook pages?

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