Tips for Designing a Successful Facebook Content Strategy
A funny thing happened on the way to this blog post. What started out as a post that would examine third party APIs for auto-posting to your Facebook fan page, suddenly took a slightly different turn.
That was after reading Josh Constine’s September 6th post on Inside Facebook, “Study: Auto-Posting to Facebook Decreases Likes and Comments by 70%,” about the recent study by Applum, which claims that the difference is likely due to Facebook reducing the prominence of posts by third-party APIs, and Facebook collapsing updates from the same API from across a user’s friends and Liked Pages.”
Needless to say, Applum’s study threw many people into a tailspin. Marketers were starting to think that maybe they should avoid third party APIs at all costs and literally throw the baby out with the bath water. Management from third party APIs started publishing responses to the study. And then, to make matters even more complicated, Josh Constine published a follow-up piece on September 9th, stating they learned that “Facebook maintains a secret whitelist of companies that are exempt from having content posted through their publisher consolidated across different Pages and clients. This protects them from a reduction in news feed impressions.” Josh continues to say, “Facebook has confirmed with us that ‘trusted partners’ are having their posts treated differently.”
And if that wasn’t enough to keep up with, Josh reports: “Executives of Page management companies tell us they don’t believe Facebook was intending to penalize any publishing tool developers with the consolidation system, and rather it was a holdover from a spam prevention effort that Facebook has since handled by limiting how much game content appears in the news feed.”
And finally, this conclusion from Josh: “Though Facebook calls this a ‘test,’ the exemption of certain tools from post consolidation has been going on for many months. The whitelist could therefore be interpreted as favoritism rather than just an attempt to gather data to improve the user experience.”
What’s a Marketer To Do?
I think it’s fair to say that while all the involved parties sort out the issue of whose Facebook posts are getting consolidated and whose aren’t, we should turn our attention to where it truly matters for most of us–content and how we’re publishing it.
We’d like to suggest that marketers keep their eyes on the prize by utilizing and optimizing a Facebook Page Content Publishing Strategy.
To begin with, let’s go back to the primary reasons why a brand may decide to be on Facebook in the first place: To Engage and Interact. And to do that, the focus should always be on the content. Sharing what matters and what people are going to find most interesting and useful from you. And we also advocate for striking a balance between manual and auto updates and adopting a well-thought out strategy of when to use each type.
Below are helpful tips we’ve curated from a number of experts well-versed in Facebook and third-party APIs.
Tips to help you design a successful Facebook content publishing strategy
1. 7 Ways to Get Noticed on Facebook with News Feed Optimization
Mari Smith, social media thought leader and author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, and Social Media Examiner prepared this very helpful short video, “7 Ways to Get Noticed on Facebook with News Feed Optimization.” This is really the crux of a fan page content publishing strategy and includes suggestion for types of posts, number of characters in the message, time of date and day of week for posts, and a discussion too on approach for manual/auto updates.
2. Buddy Media’s, “Facebook’s EdgeRank: How to Make Sure You’re in the Newsfeed”
The White Paper, “Facebook’s EdgeRank: How to Make Sure You’re In the Newsfeed” from Buddy Media provides these ten helpful hints:
- ask questions
- post games and trivia
- interact with fan engagement
- incorporate wall sapplets
- incorporate relevant photos
- relate to current events
- incorporate videos
- post content for time-sensitive campaigns
- include links within posts
- be explicit in your posts
3. Bill Flitter, CEO/Founder of Dlvr.it says:
Managing Facebook is a balancing act. A business needs to strike a balance between scheduled content and one-on-one conversations. That balance is unique per audience. Below are a few suggestions to keep in mind. Some are very basic and if a business has been doing newsletter marketing, some of the same principles apply with Facebook.
- Learn when your audience is most engaged and time your content delivery around those windows. This is time of day and day-of-week delivery schedules.
- Understand what your followers are interested in by looking at your click stream data and create more content around those topics.
- Strike a balance between scheduled content and one-on-one conversations. There’s no magic formula. You will need to study the tea leaves – clicks, reach data, share through, and follower increase/decrease, to determine how engagement fluctuates.
Scheduling content delivery to Facebook doesn’t determine engagement levels. If you have zero content on Facebook, how engaged will your fans be? Not very. If you are delivering valued-content to your customers, they will read and share the content. Each business has to decide their level of commitment and ROI metrics. Ask yourself, what is your goal for Facebook and build a strategy around it.
Again, there is no magic formula and one size doesn’t fit all. Some dlvr.it customers only schedule updates to Facebook while others have more conversations and less content but their engagement is the same.
4. Gavin Hammar, CEO and Founder of Sendible.com
Gavin Hammar, CEO and Founder of Sendible.com recently posted “6 Ways To Get Noticed On Facebook.”
He writes, “These days, it’s harder than ever to get your updates noticed on Facebook. Due to the sheer volume of posts hitting the news feed, there’s a good chance that your updates will be missed or simply overlooked due to all the other noise. For this reason, it’s now more important than ever to make sure your updates are noticed and acted upon. In this post, I’ll demonstrate how with 6 simple tricks, you can increase your exposure on Facebook and generate more click-throughs to your website.”
- Attribution Links
- Branded Facebook Posts
- Link Previews
- Facebook Photo Albums
To learn more about these suggestions, you can read the full post.
Gavin also referred us to an interesting post by Maggie McGary, “Do the Benefits of Using a 3rd Party API to Post to Facebook Outweigh the Cons?
5. Mari Smith’s Recommendations– for an effective fan page content publishing strategy.
The extra bonus in this post is hearing Mari Smith’s advice on this whole auto-post discussion which she was very generous to share with us here on GigCoin.
Mari says: “In my own experience managing an active Facebook page with close to 50,000 fans, posts that I make manually do tend to receive a slightly higher number of impressions and feedback percent (likes and comments) than posts made through a third party app.
“However, there is much more to this conversation than meets the eye. It’s not a matter of ditching all third party apps in favor of manual posts and voila, you’ll suddenly see a massive boost in post visibility and fan engagement. First, publishing posts manually only is just not practical for most business owners. Second, there are many more variables at play. For instance, post frequency and how regularly the page admin interacts with their fans – commenting on fan posts and responding to comments on page posts. Plus, the purpose of the page is a big factor. My own page is an active community of Facebook for business enthusiasts seeking help and giving help. A page such as Mashable is mostly a news channel. A page like Starbucks has raving fans of the product and high engagement.
“Going forward, as an effective fan page content publishing strategy, I recommend this:
- Using an app such as HootSuite, schedule posts to your fan page for those irregular hours that you are not able to be in front of your computer or access your page via your mobile device.
- The rest of the time, post manually.
- Test optimal post frequency; you may find less is more. (My range is only one to three posts per day max).
- Experiment with post types to see what works best for your page. Weight for best News Feed visibility tends to be in this order: photos, videos, questions (Facebook app), links, then status updates.
- And, for sure, use an excellent tool such as Crowdbooster or Pagelever to provide greater insights as to what works and what doesn’t on your fan page.
- For automated posts, by all means, set up both the Networked Blogs app and Facebook’s Notes app to import your blog’s RSS feed and populate the app tab. But here’s the secret: turn off auto posting to your wall and instead manually share your blog posts on your wall.”
How important is a Facebook Content Strategy to you? What tips would you add to the list?