Has the ever-growing, ever-knowing, social networking site Facebook reached its peak? Well at over half a billion users to date and growing, the peak of Facebook's popularity remains to be seen. Brands and companies are flocking to the site, following in the steps of the consumer, further cementing Facebook's long-term presence.
So what does this mean to you, website owner, search engine optimizer, fellow/future social media strategist? It means we all should take a second glance at Facebook, and figure out how to make it work for us.
The first step is to get a Facebook business profile page. Set it up, make use of FBML boxes customization, add applications (try Involvers Twitter and YouTube apps), and start messaging.
How well do you know your Facebook fans? Here are several ideas to get you started on learning about them:
- Q&A: Simply ask fans questions. What did you do this weekend? Would you rather watch: 10 hours of Lifetime Movie Network or be forced to watch grass grow for two days straight? What was the last check you wrote for? Do you often check your credit history? Each of these questions can help you figure out what fans do in their leisure time, their preferred method of punishment, their spending habits, and their attention to spending. Noticing patterns in responses from fans, and figuring out what gets them to engage, can all help in targeting your messaging for the greatest impact.
- Content: Sharing content with your fans is an effective way to gain success on Facebook. If you're seen as an expert in your industry, continually "sharing and caring," and sparking discussion, then one would assume that the next time one of your fans is in the market to purchase what you sell, they'll come to you.
- Facts: Everyone loves a bit of trivia. If you know trivia about something specific in your industry, share it. Examples like those on DidYouKnow.org are interesting and can get you noticed. Did you know that the muscle that lets your eye blink is the fastest muscle in your body? Did you know, if a soup is too salty, to add raw cut potatoes and discard them after cooking to get rid of the saltiness? Did you know you can take pictures of a mirage? These factoids are perfect for an eye doctor, cooking fanatic, and photographer looking to engage with their fans.
- Statistics: Simply Googling a keyword in your industry paired with the word "statistics" will show a plethora of stats that you can share with your fans. A simple way to engage and share.
- Deals: Coupons, sweepstakes, giveaways, contests -- we all love winning something, especially if it's free. What better way to understand your customers than through a promotion? Gather data, analyze it, and notice trends.
- Humor: Some might not feel comfortable integrating humor into their messaging, but we all love a good laugh. There are thousands of humor/joke sites available on the web. Search them out, and find a few jokes for your industry to share with fans. Or heck, if you're funny enough, make up a few of your own.
- Simplicity: Sometimes, simplicity is the best way to go about your Facebook messaging. Your fans might not want to engage daily (or even monthly), or you might work in an industry that doesn't support a lot of discussion (think hemorrhoid cream product). That's when simple messaging, short and to the point, will have the greatest impact.
Any of the above messages can be sent to a select number of your fans. Customize the privacy of your message, and target to users who speak a certain language or are in a particular location.
Measuring Your Impact
Now that you've gotten your profile set up, have started messaging, and are slowly gaining fans, you have the perfect set-up for a great Friday night project: data sampling.
Have you looked at your Insights lately? If you're an admin for a business page, have more than just a couple fans, and have fans that interact on occasion, you should view your insights on a regular basis.
Don't know how? First log-in to the Facebook account that manages your business profile page, then go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/. Click on "View Insights" next to your business profile page. Facebook has changed up the way this page looks, but by clicking "View Old Page Insights" you're able to see the old dashboard, and export data to a .csv.
Insights helps you keep track of average fan interaction, page views, video plays, and more. Measuring the consistency with which your fans interact, and how you're encouraging the interaction, will help establish your messaging success.
In a few easy steps you can also add your Facebook page to Google Analytics. I've yet to test the effectiveness of this method, but it seems to capture enough useful data. Not only helping to measure traffic flow, but time on page, measuring goals, and further help you establish your messaging success.
What you should look for:
- Look for spikes or dips. What happened that day that may have caused the dip? Was it a particular type of message, tone, or piece of content? Monitor and measure the effects of changing your messaging or content.
- How many un-fanned? Always know how many subscribers/fans you have (this goes for blogging as well). Monitor and measure when fans are added or unsubscribe. Find the possible message or piece of content shared that could be attributed to the action, and measure the effects of changing your messaging to address it.
- Average interactions, quality per post, and number of likes show the engagement of your fans. Why did something receive a large number of likes and comments? Are there consistent days that your fans are active? Figure out the reason for upswings in engagement, patterns, and continue to perform this type of messaging.
Applying the Data
Once you've taken the time to thoroughly analyze the data from Facebook Insights and Google Analytics, you can use the information to make changes to your messaging strategies.
If you notice your fans are more active on a particular day, at a particular time of day, and respond to a particular type of message, then get organized: make a social media editorial calendar. Lay out in a particular month when, what, and how you're going to communicate and interact with your fans. Here are a few ideas for a social media calendar, including using this social media calendar based in Google Docs.
Have you had a chance to review your Facebook Insights? What did you find, and how has that prompted a change in your messaging strategy?