An article earlier this week in The Daily Beast outlined a comprehensive study on how exactly Facebook decides what to show you from your friends’ updates in your Top News feed. These findings are especially interesting to businesses that are spending time and resources to leverage Facebook (as well as Twitter) as an integrated piece of their marketing strategy.
In short, the more you interact with your customers and the more they interact with you, the more likely you are to show up in their Top News feed. This may seem logical but I see lots of companies that spend the majority of their time updating their status but not actually interacting with their customers. So if a company has 10,000 people who have Liked them on Facebook and they send out a status update saying they are having a 20% off sale, odds are virtually no one will see this. Unlike Twitter, status updates don’t guarantee any visibility whatsoever.
The study also found that posting links show up more frequently than just posting status updates. This makes sense, as Facebook gives more weight to updates that will drive user engagement and users are more likely to click on links. A status update that includes a link to a landing page for your 20% off sale is more likely to make it into your customers’ Top News feed.
Additionally, user engagement is even higher for posting photos and videos. This means posting a photo or video related to your sale is more likely to be seen by your customers than just a link or a lonely status update.
But the best way to increase your chances of showing up in your customers’ Top News feeds is by getting them to engage with you. This means commenting on what they’re posting and trying to find creative ways to get them to comment on your posts. If you post interesting links to your blog, post them to your Facebook account as well. Those 10 customers who comment today are 10 customers who may see you’re having a sale next week. Engagement equals visibility.
Lastly, The Daily Beast found that (not surprisingly) the more friends someone has the harder it is to break through to their Top News feed. This means that targeting engagement towards your customers with 200 or less friends will be more effective than those with 500+ friends. This same strategy applies to Twitter. Your customers who are only following 50 people are more apt to notice your tweets than those customers who are following 500 people. There’s a lot less noise to get through.
The big takeaway here is that if your resources are limited and you only have a few hours a week to spend on social media, you should spend that time engaging customers that are the most likely to see the content you are posting. This means people with fewer friends and followers. You should also keep in mind that updates on Facebook may not be seen at all while on Twitter your updates are at least visible even if they get lost in the noise – this is why it’s a good idea to tie your Facebook and Twitter accounts together so whatever you post on one shows up on the other.
Author: Keith Baumwald is Director of Marketing at GroundLink, a travel startup based in Manhattan. Follow Keith on Twitter @keeftronics