Today I woke up an hour earlier than usual - hungry and ready to kick today's ass. As I read through the daily blogs I peruse, reviewed the various online media outlets I frequent and ventured over to YouTube for my daily dose of an inspirational TEDx video, I started to get pissed. Not inspired. Not fired up and excited and ready to take on the world. Deflated and pissed.
Why? Because of overload. I know that technically I'm adding to it right now (which is not improving my mood any) but I'm just frustrated that there is such information overload out there...and so much is crap, fluff and downright, incorrect.
Facebook is NOT a mystery. There are no crazy ass formulas you should follow - one personal post by 10am, one professional post around noon followed by a funny meme or cat video... Seriously, people ask us all the time for the Facebook Formula and I was recently interrupted by a woman during a speaking engagement who told me that she posts no fewer than 8 times a day (see above crazy ass formula) or her EdgeRank will drop and she'll lose her followers.
Facebook - all social media, really - is simply a communications tool. And a damned effective one because you get to LISTEN which is always more important that sharing 8 cat videos followed up with a plea to buy your book. Social media is a way for you to build credible, genuine, authentic relationships with your customers. And listen to them and interact with them and learn from them.
So, does this mysterious EdgeRank really exist. Yup. Is it scary? Nope. EdgeRank was created as a way to ensure you're doing exactly what I recommend above...be a part of the conversation in a credible way. It's called social media for a reason.
Here are some very basic (and tested) ways to improve your EdgeRank:
1) Create and share awesome content.
This includes eliminating the ridiculous "formulas" above. Listen to feedback and monitor what causes people to like or interact with your posts. Do you have a crowd that are a bunch of night owls? Then posts and interact at night. Wanting to pull people in for your awesome lunch specials? Don't start posting at 11am....tease them with recipes and pictures all morning. Now who's hungry? It's about them, not you.
2) Get more people to "like" you.
Run a simple give-away. Invest in a few days' worth of Facebook ads. The bigger your universe, the more opportunity you have for more engagement. But then immediately refer back to Tip #1 so you don't lose them by posting stuff no one (except you) cares about.
3) Respond, interact, answer questions - aka PARTICIPATE
Unlike a tv spot that you produce and run, social media allows you to interact. And Facebook EdgeRank rewards you for that very thing. You have the opportunity to find out what your customers are saying to and about you AND you get to reward/thank them or fix it. How cool is that? This is a golden opportunity, not a burden.
4) A picture (or video) is worth 1000 words.
Bet you wish I'd just posted a big photo about now and left all these pesky words off the screen. Facebook is very visual. Look at Pinterest, it's all visual. People respond more to visual content - 80% more, in fact. I blame the picture books from when we were toddlers.
5) Lather, rinse, repeat.
Consistency is the key to all good marketing strategy. There's no magic panacea out there. Integrate your social media strategies with your umbrella marketing plans. Allow several things to intersect and reinforce your messaging. But most importantly, listen and watch for the responses of others and adjust accordingly. It's just like picking up on social cues at a party.
Need further proof? Take a look:
The page on the left has about 1,100 fans. This company is engaged and participates regularly in conversations. The administrators on the page frequently check and update the page with information that often has nothing to do with the company but about the community they serve.
The company on the right also has about 1,100 fans. They, however, make one generic post per day - usually an article about themselves or their industry.