Growing a Facebook page: Is it more than just content and engagement?

15 Jan

Editor’s note: If you’re interested purely in what the title outlines and not another rant by me feel free to skip the next paragraph!

I’m not gonna lie, the last hour on LinkedIn has really riled me. I love a debate, a bit of thought-provoking, a bit of “out-of-the-box” intelligence. You’d think LinkedIn would be a brilliant place for facilitating that: experts in every field from all corners of the world sharing their thoughts to other like-minded professionals. Unfortunately, it seems that group members just like to regurgitate the last thing they read in a blog post. There’s nothing wrong with blog posts, especially this gem you’ve fixated your eyes on, but I believe it is important to use many sources to form an opinion, not just echoing other thoughts. *cough*

I guess it’s best by starting from the core out. What is good community management? Not broadcasting but listening to your community? yes. 2-way engagement? Yes. Enriching a page with quality and engaging content? YES! Brilliant. Now we’ve got the fundamentals out-of-the-way let’s look a little deeper into organic growth.

All social media platforms work and function in different ways. Take the two most popular: Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is more of an open chat room that encourages everyone to get involved with conversations while Facebook acts more like a closed garden to your friends only. Also, Twitter will show all tweets from who you’re following in chronological order, while Facebook determines what you see through social relevancy. And it is on this point I propose the questions – Can we manipulate Facebook’s social relevancy to improve reach and impressions?

It’s all well and good having these great social environments, but why host a party if no one is going to know about it …that’s where Facebook’s propagation becomes interesting. Social relevancy is what determines what we see in our feeds, a combination of the profiles and pages we engage with coupled with the content your friends are engaging with. This does make complete sense which is why all of the above is crucial for a successful page but maybe there is a little bit more to the algorithms.

Look at your Facebook feed. How many of them are stand alone status updates? No links or pictures attached, purely a written status. Probably not that many. This would probably suggest videos, pictures and links are favoured and that’s probably true! I’m sure Facebook wants their users to have an exciting & engaging experience from when they first log in which is why rich diversified content should sit pretty on arrival. Now this isn’t something that Facebook would actively encourage or even have down in their best practices guide, but it does make a bit of sense I hope?

Now my last point: utilising fan interactions. Think of these as mini endorsements which tells your news feed “your friends are digging this so you will probably be interested too”. If you understand how interactions work then you will no doubt have Facebook posts nailed. The value of an interaction differs depending on what that action is. At the bottom end is an engagement with a poll, then likes and then a comment which is in order of what takes the most effort to do. The higher the engagement the more value it has. This is blindingly obvious, but the higher the number of interactions the more credible your page will become in other’s feeds. Comments hold more value but are harder to garner compared to likes and polls, that’s why most pages play it safe with a “like this”. However you shape your copy, mix it up and always give it a CTA.

Using what I am going to coin “Shea Theory” will no doubt maximise Facebook propagation given the fundamentals have been ticked off. A successful Facebook page definitely relies on engaging content and 2-way communications, but as discussed, there is other little tricks to help boost organic growth. Just don’t Facebook yeah?


4 Responses to “Growing a Facebook page: Is it more than just content and engagement?”

  1. Des. January 16, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    People like and need to be entertained.Social sites for most people are a form of entertainment. Entertainment can have little substance or thought provoking material. However, it must appeal to the people involved. There is nothing wrong with this but the expectation was that social sites and blogs would stimulate discussion about endless subject matter.Alas, although this does exist it is only a small percentage on these sites.
    If we look at magazines the largest circulations are generally the magazines that entertain even though they may have a name like “Women’s Weekly” which although does inform also has a large amount of entertainment. So, what is entertainment ? Shall leave that for another day. A teacher once said to me …”Lad… may be a new experience”. Maybe there should be more thinking than entertainment….What am I saying…I am in the entertainment business.


    • Shea Warnes April 10, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      Hi there,

      Thanks for taking time out to leave a comment. I think you hit the nail on the head with “What is Entertainment?” It could be thinking and debating about the pressing economic issues or laughing at a cat playing piano.

  2. Jade Duggan (@jadeee_d) April 25, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Engagement from most marketing perspectives is not the same as general user engagement on Facebook, as fun as most companies think it would be to share an image of their product with the community.. Not that many people will care. I’ve found engagement is at it’s highest when the user is asked a personal question, even better when offering that information about yourself (because, who doesn’t like talking about themselves?) there is an incentive.

    Point being, if you wouldn’t share it or like it as a personal user on Facebook then it probably won’t do much for your business to share uninteresting content. Marketers need to step outside their business domain when using these platforms and think about what the user wants to hear.. Not what they think the user wants to hear (& we all know tthe hard facts show in most cases they are wrong).

    Plus, if my friends were digging something as lame as a Mac Donald’s burger image, it’s more likely I will un-friend them rather than think they are so on trend.

    • Shea Warnes April 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      Hi Jade,

      Some really interesting points you bring up. I can certainly agree if a friend began endorsing McDonald’s latest range of calorie ridden junk I wouldn’t be best pleased but would this be due to the image or the product itself? Through another lense, if this was ASOS talking about a new range of apache-inspired attire do you think more reaction will be spurred from just text or text with supporting beautiful imagery?

      As you say it boils down to content and the argument should be more focused on relevance than the type of content. What I do know though is fans are fans of a brand’s Facebook page because they like the service / product they offer. Take Starbucks & Red Bull for example. Starbucks is huge through it’s product focused communications strategy; Tumblr. & Instagram publish images of in-store or cups of coffee, Facebook is very product heavy and Twitter’s most popular sponsored hashtag of all time is a Starbucks Promotion. Red Bull focus more on the attitude and personality with videos (only) on their Facebook and images of excitement and extreme sports on their photo blogs. Also, how many brands do you follow because you enjoy being bombarded with questions?

      Social Media isn’t a one size fits all model, what works for some companies / people doesn’t mean it will be the same across the board; what is hugely important though, as you rightly point out, is brands need to understand how their community thinks and feels about their brand and never assume.

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