…unless you adopt these new strategies.
For years I’ve used Facebook to attract clients and earn a lot of money.
But to make Facebook work for your business, you have to get your posts displayed on the network…and that’s not as easy as you think.
Most of your messages are NOT shown to your Facebook “friends.”
Facebook uses a top secret algorithm to dictate what your friends see.
I’ve spent years reverse engineering their platform and today we’re going to hack that secret formula and your business is going to grow because of it.
Before we start cracking codes, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.
Everything in this article applies to my system that uses FREE Facebook marketing strategies—not paid advertising. In case you’re new my community, the big picture of my Facebook system entails three goals:
- Spark curiosity / create interest
- Help people get to know, like and trust you
- Bring prospects to the first step of your marketing funnel
I covered those in great detail in The Social Media Marketing Toolkit. I still use these same principles, but Facebook has become more complicated, so now you must focus on tiny details to fully benefit from the system.
The Facebook algorithm interfering with your marketing is called EdgeRank, which is not exactly a complete secret. It uses a formula of “Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay” to predict whether your friends will like your posts and determines whether to display them or not.
You have to defeat this formula, but it’s worth your effort.
Did you know the average user logs onto Facebook for 6 hours and 49 minutes each month? Those are a lot of potential customers and it’s worth getting it right if you want your business to grow.
EdgeRank uses “engagement” to score your status updates. User engagement is primarily: likes, comments, and shares. Status updates with high scores are shown in the feed—the rest disappear.
With that in mind, you want people to engage with your posts to increase the score, and then be displayed to more people. That is the reason behind the plethora of stupid posts like the one below:
Isn’t that ridiculous? I mean C’mon, I’m sure the devil loves pizza too.
These posts are absurd, but believe it or not, they serve a marketing purpose. By getting you to click “like” on this picture, the score goes up—then more people see it—and more people click like. It’s a self-fulfilling event.
But why does getting “likes” on this picture help?
If you can get engagement on one post, your next status update is more likely to be displayed to the user who previously clicked like. That next thing may be your promotion.
Don’t worry, I won’t make you post pizza pictures. I do have some other “tricks” to show you, that work even better, without making you look like a fool.
Let’s break this down. To implement the three marketing goals above, first your status updates must be seen. In order for your stuff to be seen, you need to regularly increase user engagement.
It helps to understand the Facebook users’ psychology so you can influence them to engage.
Facebook visitors are not seeking information. They are not looking for a doctor, plumber or contractor as they might on Google. They are not looking for you, so your approach must be different.
Facebook visitors want a distraction from life. They want to be entertained and connect with others. That’s a tough environment to promote your business, so you have to be subtle.
If you only post business related updates, you will get little engagement. Instead, here are some strategies I’ve tested and proven will raise user engagement and get your business message in front of more people.
Here is a breakdown by status update type.
Photos are the most effective Facebook marketing tool today. There are multiple aspects to using photos properly.
People do business with those they know, like and trust. By sharing interesting aspects of your life through photos, you become more likable and help others to get to know you.
Photos tend to elicit more user engagement than any other status update. People are visual and enjoy attractive photos. Pictures are easy to view when compared to text or video. Remember, people are on Facebook to play. Anything requiring work gets ignored.
Long ago, marketers infiltrated Facebook, but the bulk of advertisers are not using photos as well as they could. This has left a gold mine of opportunity wide open for you.
When you post a photo in Facebook, not only does the photo show in the news feed, but so does your typed photo description. The incredible part is that you can include an active hyperlink to your website in the description box. Don’t overlook how incredibly valuable that is.
But wait, there’s more.
The really amazing “secret” is that when someone shares your photo, the description, with the link to your website, is shared on their wall too.
That’s a marketer’s dream.
Pictures to Share
People want to be entertained and feel good, so pictures of beautiful scenery, kids, or inspiring quotes are easy winners. If you don’t have your own pictures, borrow some from the Internet. There are enough photos shared on the internet that you can easily find something worthy of a like, comment or share.
Here is a really sneaky tip that will attract a lot of likes, comments and shares, but use is sparingly. Find a really good picture that you’re certain a lot of people will like. Post the photo in Facebook and tag as many people as you can. Be sure those people won’t mind being tagged and do this with caution, because some may complain to Facebook, which will hurt your EdgeRank score.
If you follow this strategy, with a good post, most of the people you tag will click like, comment and/or share the post. You will see engagement from their online friends as it spreads. Again, use this strategy, but don’t abuse it or you will get complaints.
I have mixed feeling about video on Facebook. If your goal is engagement, do not post videos in Facebook that sell or teach. These style videos will attract few likes and will disappear from the feed.
Short, inspiring or funny videos can get traction, but there are so many drawbacks that I rarely post videos. Most Facebook users are on their phone, often in public places. Mobile users do not want to wait for slow video to load, nor will they raise the volume if they are in public.
I’ve experimented enough to figure out that YouTube or external videos rarely show up in the feed, compared with videos directly uploaded to Facebook. I suspect Facebook videos receive a higher EdgeRank score because they want to keep you inside their system, exposing you to advertising, rather than sending you to an outside site.
Days / Time of the Week
The time and day of your post is very important. To get maximum engagement, you have to post updates when the majority of your friends are online.
Regardless how interesting your status update is, at 3:00 AM, on Sunday morning, it will receive few likes, and Facebook will quickly stop displaying posts with no engagement.
If you post during peak hours, your update will receive more likes, then be shown to more people, and get even more engagement. It is a self-fulfilling event.
There is no best time or day that applies to every market. You have to experiment to learn when your market is online. Tuesdays between 8 — 9:00 AM Pacific are active times for my market. Early in the week between 7 — 9:00 PM seems to work well too, but don’t assume these will work for you.
It’s difficult to accurately test because each post is different—it’s not exactly scientific testing. That said, if you experiment enough, you will get a rough idea what works best for your market.
You can also measure peak hours by checking in at various time and looking at the Facebook chat window. It displays who is online at that moment and you can count the number of users at various times to find the peak.
I’ve got two more tips, and then we’ll wrap it up for today.
Part of the EdgeRank formula is Time Decay. The older the post, the lower the score.
Each time you comment on your own post, it pops back up into the feed. Once I figured this out, I realized I could squeak a little more life out of an older, but important post. Instead of immediately replying to comments on your posts, wait another day and reply during peak hours. You’ll be surprised to see your dead post come back to life.
I’m reluctant to share the final tip because I hate email. I don’t actually hate it, but I’m ruthless about time management and email can waste a lot of time if not properly managed.
When you receive a private message inside Facebook, your status updates begin to jump very high in the sender’s feed. It does not help if you send a message. It only matters that they reply or send you a private message.
I’m not sure I’d recommend you do this in mass quantity, but you could encourage your followers to private message you to increase your visibility in their feed.
I think this strategy would work better if you took the sniper approach and sought out key people you want to strengthen your relationship with. That might be a key potential client, media person or potential employer.
Well, that’s a lot of info for one day.
The key is to keep testing. Remain visible on Facebook and do things that will help your “friends” get to know, like and trust you enough to move them into your marketing funnel.
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