Monday, March 5, 2012

Blissdom 2012 Recap: 3 Things You Can Do Right Now To Grow Your Facebook Fan Page

I'm still reeling from all the information I gleaned at Blissdom a week ago. I've posted so far on blogging with legal confidence and improving your writing. Today, the focus is on the Facebook fan page session.

The Facebook session focused on three things to do right now to grow your Facebook fan page. All of them were fairly easy, and I have to admit that I need to work on my Facebook page. (You do all at least like my page, right?) And no, I haven't implemented anything since I got back from Blissdom, much to my chagrin. Unfortunately, I've been under the weather since I got back, so I'm lucky just to start getting caught up on laundry!

The Facebook session was run by Melanie Nelson from Blogging Basics 101.

Ask questions on your fan page - not big philosophical ones that will get lost in the newsfeeds but concrete ones. Then follow up and keep the conversation going. Start with a yes/no question and then ask another question to drive the conversation further.

Ask fans to share their links. It introduces members to members, lets me know what they like, and lets me know what they're interested in. My goal is for you to find each other. That way, I encourage them to leave comments, and you'll get a lot of engagement on the page. Then it's mining that page for data on what you want to talk about next time.

Analytics - tracking your success. If you're doing this well, you need to know what's working, how to do it again, and how to change it just enough that it's new but it still works. The first things you want to look at is your talking about link - how many people like it and how many people are talking about it. Two percent is the baseline; most major companies have 2% that are talking about it. Most major brands aren't getting as high a rate as they'd like. To figure out your percentage, divide talking about number by followers and multiply by 100 to get the percentage.

Check your insights page. You can change the order of the topics. Date and post are self-explanatory. The other topics are less obvious. Reach is FB's version of uniques - how many unique visitors engaged with your post. You can click on that and see the different kinds of reach - organic is people who saw in news feed, or clicked directly to it, was it paid from an ad or sponsored post, or was it viral. FB uses weird vocabulary, it means that a friend of a friend did something - they saw through that friend's actions. Engaged users are the ones who clicked on your content. Clicked link is when someone clicked on part of it to see what's going on - comments or likes – to see who did it. Stories generated is when people did something - answered your polls or commented, etc.

You can now track who is clicking through your links, including the bit.ly links – just not through Facebook. The links on FB are not real time, but if you go to bit.ly, then it is real time and you can see how many people clicked through. Did you ask them to comment on your Facebook post? When you send people away, they aren't going to come back - so keep that in mind when you post.

Create an editorial calendar for your FB. Figure out the best time of day and week to see when people are most engaged and likely to take action based on the data that you have mined.

You can geotarget your posts, as well, either by state or down to the city. It's an option in the drop down box under public. You can get a huge increase in fans when you do a promotion. How do you keep them engaged after that ends until the next one comes around?

To get better shares, instead of typing a post, upload a picture and write a comment on the photo with the link. Having a great photo increases the shares much better. Anytime you can get the focus off the text and onto the photo instead, you're much better off.

A lot of PR people will say you only have 50 likes or 2 people talking, don't think you have a good base. Your job is to tell them that when you request an action, the percent of people who do that is very high. I look at the topics they're engaged in and when they're engaged and use those stats to your advantage.

If you get multiple similar questions on your page, you may want to write a general status update that addresses it, link to where you posted about it on your blog rather than going to each individual question. You don't want audience to feel like you aren't paying attention to them, so answer it one way or the other.

For those who’ve been on FB since before fan pages, most blog readers are friends rather than liking the fan page. For someone in the audience, when she made the suggestion to like the page, they freaked out because feel like losing a friend. It's ok to ask and tell them that you're making FB a personal page just for family. You will lose people because they'll be hurt, but if you want to move them and keep your FB personal page personal, that's ok.

Whenever you ask people to leave their own stuff, ask them to leave their own link to the most trafficked article from the past year. It takes a lot of time to go through, but it's worth it and fascinating to learn about your readers.

Questions:

When people hide status updates/unlike page, is there a way to see what caused people to do it/what post?
Go into insights, click on engaged users, if someone unliked page or hid it, you will be able to see that as "negative feedback" so you can see what you did to cause that, too.

What can you tell me about the difference between the newest update where they can like your blog now instead of just the fan page?
Put widget in sidebar to like the page - link to your FB page. There is also a widget to like the article; that likes the article and shares on their page. It doesn’t like your FB fan page.

Are the analytics stored permanently, exportable?
Usually it's the last 28 days and you can export it all the time, like you back up your database.

How do you get people engaged?
Using polls and survey questions - those count as engagement or stories. It's an option for a status update, e.g., what blogging platform do you use? When they click the answer, it counts as engagement on your page and doesn't interrupt the flow of your page at all. It's a good way to get people interacting.

Is there a way to keep FB from sending things to the hidden posts page for your fans?
The more you take things out of hidden, the less stuff goes there.

How do you manage FB time versus other social media time spent?
It's really hard. When your job is to document FB, it's hard to stay off FB. Sometimes, you have to say for 5 minutes, I'm going to put blinders on and just going to do this. It's the discipline.

How do you know what will show in someone’s feed?
FB has Edgerank that decides what's important to you. If someone engages with you frequently, you show up more on their pages. If you don't engage, then you don't show up. It's based on the kind of content you're sharing. A text update doesn't count as much as a photo or video. The more visual content you share, the higher you'll be aware. Anything you post has a 2 hour window, then it's gone. If you post too often (more than that), you'll get noted as spam and put into the hidden folder.

If you figure out what gets readers engaged, then you can post more often. If the Edgerank is low, you have to network to get it higher. Start talking about really great posts in networking groups you're a part of. Only share the really good ones, not all of them. Ask them to share your FB posts with their community and vice versa. There's a fine line between cheating and not, networking where it makes sense it not cheating but gets people aware of your page.

Can you talk about affinity?
It's about how fans are interacting with your page.

How do you engage fans with your blog and not lose them from Facebook?
Tabs are great because they add functionality that you had before. People don't come back to your fan page unless you directed them there. You can keep them on FB by using a tab to have them sign up for your newsletter or feed and then they can go back to their newsfeed on FB, which is where they want to be.

The first 500 fans you may have lost because you didn't interact with them. Do you lose them because you didn't post a lot and fell off the radar? They are probably friends. If they were already reading your blog, remind them there to go back to like your FB page.

FB used to punish people who updated via Networked Blogs - they don't want people to set it and forget it. They took it back and weren't punishing anymore. Now they kind of went back to that a little where everyone who was talking about the same kind of thing get stacked and only the most recent post on that topic (Networked Blogs is a "topic"), so be careful how and when you're posting.

Ads are an amazing way to increase engagement, they can be incredibly targeted and useful.

***

Obviously, I have a lot of work in front of me to grow my Facebook page - which I do want to do. I found some of the insights that Facebook can provide to be fascinating. What tip are you most likely to implement?

5 comments:

Alicia The Snowflake March 5, 2012 at 3:47 PM  

This was a great session! And I love your recap. I am going to be more intentional about posting updates to my page throughout the day. Although I keep saying that and I haven't done it yet. One day, right?

Rachel March 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM  

Thanks so much for the recap! I so wanted to attend that session {along with all of them} and I appreciate your recap. Great ideas and I will be implementing them!

septembermom March 7, 2012 at 3:10 PM  

You give so much valuable and interesting information here, Michelle. Thanks for the recap and all the ideas!

Sandra March 12, 2012 at 3:30 PM  

I don't have a FB page for my blog. I've put off making one, and even question the need for it. But I'm weird. I'm still okay with a protected Twitter account. I know my followers won't grow that way, so it seems counter-intuitive. We shall see. But thanks for all this wonderful information, Michelle! I read it all in case I do make one in the future.

Michelle March 13, 2012 at 11:31 AM  

Alicia - It was an awesome session. That said, I just posted my first update to my page since BEFORE Blissdom. And while I'm all in favor of the photo being posted, the link doesn't link and isn't prominent, so I'm not sure how I feel about that....

Rachel - Of course! When I go, I need to capture it as much for myself as for anyone else, but I'm always happy to share. There were SO many great sessions.

Kelly - You're welcome. I hope some of it is helpful to you. I love to learn; have you noticed that yet? ;)

Sandra - And that's fine. Your blog is for you, and you need to figure out why you're writing it and what you want to get out of it. That means you get to pick and choose what works for you.

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