Engagement is Facebook's magic word

Posted by Hedley Swann on 24 February, 2014 in Facebook , How-To's , Social Media , Small Business Strategy

Facebook has recently made some changes to how it chooses what content to deliver to Page fans. Let's take a look at how we can maximise the number of people who see your Page's posts.

What is "engagement"?

The success of your Facebook efforts is all based on engagement. Facebook defines engagement as the level of interaction your fans have with your page. The key actions a fan can perform are:

  • Liking: A fan clicks the “Like” button at the base of your post.
  • Commenting: A fan has clicked the “Comment” button on your post and left a comment.
  • Sharing: A fan clicks the “Share” button on your post and shares it with their network of Facebook friends.

There are other actions that count towards engagement (such as RSVPing to an event on your page, or following a posted link) but these three make up the bulk of the picture. By the way, each of these actions is not equal in value. Sharing is the most valuable action a fan can perform (followed by commenting and then liking) to boost their engagement level with your content.

Who cares about engagement if my fans still see my content?

The simple answer? If they are not engaged fans, Facebook will not show them your content. All things being equal, about 16% of your fans will have your content displayed in their news feed.

Now, before you curse Zuckerberg and his determination to destroy your small business, there is good news. It’s all done for a good reason, and will actually help your business to create a high quality audience.

The surefire way to get your content in front of as many of your fans as possible is to publish useful, engaging content that your fans will find valuable. Put another way, just publish good stuff and leave the memes for your personal profile.

The do's and don'ts of engagement

Cool, so we know we need to be consistently publishing high quality content to our small business Facebook Page. Here’s some of the things we should, and shouldn’t, be doing.

  • DO post timely and relevant content. Has there been a new development in your industry that everyone’s talking about? Tell your Facebook Fans.
  • DO post relevant images with supporting text. People are (largely) visual creatures, give them something to look at. Of course, making sure it’s relevant and useful. Provide a bit of supporting text in the post as well to give context.
  • DO post video. Facebook loves video. Loves it. Out on the job and run into something your fans might enjoy? Take a short video and post it to your page.
  • DO respond to your fan’s comments. Social media is social. Every comment is an opportunity for a conversation. Strike one up with your fans, ask questions and keep it moving. Facebook will love it, and your fans will too.
  • DON'T ask for likes, comments or shares. If you’re doing this it doesn’t say much about how valuable you think your content is. Facebook is also smart enough to detect this type of post as well and will put you in the naughty corner for it.
  • DON'T post silly memes of cats or Sean Bean. “One does not simply gain engagement by spamming memes.” Didn’t get that? Good! You likely don’t have a meme problem on your business page.

In tweaking the what, when and how of content being displayed in news feeds, Facebook asked it’s users the following questions about posts they saw.

  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g. asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low-quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

It makes sense doesn’t it? Think about the things you like, comment on, and share when you’re using Facebook. Chances are that if it’s timely, relevant, trustworthy, genuinely interesting and not annoying, that you’ll be far more likely to engage with it.

So, when you’re posting content to your business’s Facebook Page, ask yourself these questions on behalf of your fans and you’ll be on the right track.