Rules of Engagement

So you’ve just created your best cake yet.  You really nailed the design, and your photography could shame Harper’s Bazaar. You post it on your Facebook Business page and…. 5 people see it. Resist the urge to punch your computer screen, and let’s talk about what just happened.

Facebook is not out to get you. Let’s just get that straight from the get go.  Facebook is a MASSIVE company, with over 500 Million users, all sharing their best work, all hoping for a slice of the pie.  That’s A LOT of traffic! Millions of posts a day, some of it spam, all coming at ya at once; unless someone directs the traffic. So how do you get a slice, instead of the crumbs? That’s where Facebook’s “Feed Algorithm” comes in.

What is a Feed Algorithm?

Basically speaking, a feed algorithm decides what the biggest number of people are likely to enjoy, based on how people react to posts. For example, when you post a picture of your cake, Facebook delivers that post to a small number of your followers, to see how they like it.  Based on how well that post does, Facebook then sends it to some more of your followers, in varying numbers, depending on how ‘engaging’ it was.

Engagement can take the form of a like, a share, or a comment, but basically if people are interacting with what you have posted, then they are engaging.

So what carries more ‘weight’ as it were? Likes, comments, or shares? There’s no way to know EXACTLY what the algorithm contains (boy would you be popular if you knew that!), but we can make educated guesses by observing how well different types of posts circulate.

Quality Content

Quality contentSounds obvious, but having quality content is the single best thing you can do for your social media presence.  Whether its video, photography, or print; quality content will ALWAYS engage more people.

That means it is worth spending time photographing your cakes well, in good light, with a clean backdrop. Observe the other popular videos on Facebook, what do they have in common? While you don’t want to copy anyone (a big no-no, and not a good way to make friends!), you need to be aware of what your intended audience is interested in.

Know your Audience

There’s no point being a viral hit in Belgium, if you are planning to sell children’s birthday cakes in Boston. Page Likes are useful for only two things; bragging rights (nothing wrong with that ;-), and to increase your profile outside of your local area. If you have no intention of ever traveling to far flung places to sell your cakes, don’t waste your energy trying to be the next big thing on Instagram. Figure out where your audience is, and they will come to you, or possible consider moving to Belgium (they have great chocolate).

Page ‘Unlikes’ can be a GOOD thing

Unless you are heinously offending your followers, page unlikes can actually help your engagement rate.  If that original post was sent to say 20 people, and 10 of those people check Facebook every time the White Sox wins the World Series, Facebook is going to think that 50% of your followers don’t like your stuff.  These are the people you WANT to unfollow your page, so the super keen followers don’t miss out.

Business WomanThere was a great fuss about a year ago, that Facebook was deleting likes to make you pay more somehow. Well fear not, because it’s actually much less sinister.  Facebook essentially ‘unfriended’ the inactive Facebook accounts, clearing out their closet a little, and removing the un-engaging followers from your page. This has actually done you a big favor, and will only see your engagement rates improve. Thanks Facebook, have a cookie on me.

So should you pay to boost your posts?

Generally, no. If your page is interesting, and you are targeting the people you should be targeting, you should have a good engagement rate (which is about 10% of followers). Great content will always be shared forward, which increases your rate again (legend tells of 20% engagement rates, but only blurry photos exist).

You can boost an occasional post, maybe if you have a giveaway happening, or you are announcing a new product, these are things that you don’t want customers to miss out on, and you have a chance at making money from the money you spent boosting your post.  This is called a Return on Investment (ROI). If you don’t think you can make actual money from boosting a post, instead of “but it might bring in more customers”, then don’t boost it.

So what can we take from all this?

  • Facebook doesn’t hate you. Facebook WANTS you to make great content, because that brings people to Facebook, which makes Facebook happy inside.
  • Make GREAT content. People will judge your business by how you present yourself and your work, so make it good.
  • Know YOUR audience. Don’t waste your time trying to entertain someone else’s followers, look after yours. And page numbers are for Book Club, not for keeping you up at night.
  • DON’T boost a post unless you think it will make you money back (Return on Investment, ROI)

Remember, no one but Mark Zuckerberg will retire from Facebook earnings, so don’t spend all your business time on Facebook, spend it on your business, and maybe eat some Nutella, that’s never bad advice 😉

Kerrie Wyer x


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