Does your business have a Facebook page? If so, are you using it to its full advantage? A Facebook business page can be a valuable tool for marketing over the Internet. But to boost sales, you need to engage and promote interaction between your customers and your brand.
Maintaining a presence on Facebook can generate leads for your indie business, help you acquire new customers, and help you get discovered by potential customers on the web looking for the product you sell or service you provide.
What is Edgerank, and How Can It Help You?
Before we get to specifics, there are a few things you should know about Facebook. First is the term “Edgerank”. This is the algorithm Facebook invented to determine what posts will show up in a person’s news feed (what you see when you view your Facebook page). If your Edgerank is high, then more of the people who've liked your page will see your posts. A low Edgerank might mean that many of your fans will NOT see your posts, even though they've liked your page.
The Edgerank algorithm uses three components Facebook has labeled “Affinity,” “Weight,” and “Time Decay”. Don’t worry, these are easy to understand!
Affinity: The amount of interaction between any two Facebook users. For example, you and your best friend on Facebook have a high affinity. By interacting with a particular fan on your business page, your posts will be more likely to show up in that person’s news feed because of your higher affinity. Typically, fewer than 20% of a business page’s posts show up in a fan’s news feed.
Weight: Shares, likes, comments, and clicks on a post all carry different weights, determined by Facebook. These are also used in the calculation of the Edgerank — the more shares, likes, comments and clicks that you receive from people who've seen your posts, the higher your rank.
Time Decay: As a post ages, it becomes less likely to appear in newsfeeds, and therefore less relevant and less important. Sad but true!
There are ways to keep track of your Edgerank. One of them is Edgeranker, which is worth checking out for those of you who want to keep a close eye on your rank over time.
How To Build an Artist Website
Sign up for our newsletter and get the book How to Build an Artist Website for free!
How to Increase Your Edgerank
So now that we know about Edgerank, how do we increase it?
Ask questions: Tell readers what you are up to, and ask them a question about what they are doing. Asking questions is a great way to increase interaction because it invites a response. I once posted a picture of my white-painted house (shown below), and asked readers what colors they would paint it, along with the shutters and door. I got some interesting and creative responses!
Ask for images: You might ask readers to show you what they did with the item they bought from you. If you sell art, you could say “I like to know where my art ends up living!” and hopefully readers will oblige by posting pictures of your works hanging in their homes. If you make jewelry, wouldn’t it be great to see customers wearing your creations? Ask them to show you!
Set up a challenge: Ask readers to join you in a “Spring cleaning challenge” or “Office organizing challenge.” Don’t forget to have them submit their “before” and “after” pictures!
Get personal: Your Facebook business page might be a good place to show “behind the scenes” images that you might not show on your blog. Make readers feel like they are getting a special view of your life that others can’t see. Family pictures, pet pictures, and other fun candid images belong here.
Get more “Likes”: Tell readers you are on a mission to get more “Likes” on your business page and set up an incentive. Perhaps you’ll donate one dollar for each “Like” to a local charity. You might consider calling the local animal shelter and asking what they need. If they agree to accept dog treats, put a treat in a glass jar each time you get a Like. Then you can show pictures on your page as the jar fills up. Eventually you can post a picture of yourself taking the jar of dog treats to the animal shelter. Fun!
Have a contest: Facebook has specific rules for having a contest, so be sure to follow them. You'll find all their rules here. You can get help with contests, sweepstakes, videos, and custom forms for free by visiting Shortstack, which should help immensely and give you some ideas.
Caption contests: I have lots of vintage photos and have asked readers to create captions for odd photos, like the one shown below. This invites interaction and generates some fun without you trying to sell anything. Something similar would be a naming contest, like “help me name my new studio mascot” or the like.
Post share-able content: Create content that will prompt others to share. Often, this involves a lovely image with words of wisdom, humor, or encouragement. Sometimes stating “please share” is appropriate, just to drop a hint.
A Few More Things to Keep in Mind
If you're using IndieMade for your site, there are many tools built in to help you share your work on Facebook and other social media platforms. Check out our handbook page, Website Promotion and Social Sharing, to find out how to use those features to your best advantage to drive traffic to your IndieMade store.
Perhaps because there are so many Twitter users out there, people tend to avoid wordy posts. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters, so try to keep your Facebook posts under 140 as well.
Attractive images hold the most interest for casual readers, research has shown, just like attractive window displays capture the interest of passers-by on a busy street.
There are optimal times to post, and optimal days. The after-lunch weekday lull, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. is a more active time on Facebook than earlier in the morning. On Thursdays and Fridays people become more engaged than earlier in the week.
But the optimal time to post on Facebook is Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., according to Dan Zarrella, who has researched these matters. The weekend is optimal for posting, getting interaction and getting “Likes”, especially Sunday night.
When your fans make comments on your posts, use their names when you thank them after the post. This will increase your affinity with them, making your posts more likely to show up in their newsfeeds in the future.
For more about this and all other Facebook related information, try Facebook All in One for Dummies by Melanie Nelson, a writer whose newsletters I subscribe to and who writes in an easy to understand manner. Whether you read Melanie’s book or subscribe to her newsletters, by following some of her tips and the ones mentioned here, you should be able to increase your Facebook fan interaction and engagement significantly and have fun doing so!
Want more ideas on how to market yourself online? Check out IndieMade's library of Marketing resource articles here!