If you’re the average Facebook user, you have 130 friends, are connected with 80 groups, events, and fan pages and most importantly spend 27% of your Facebook time browsing the newsfeed.
That 27% represents the largest share of time spent on Facebook by the average user, making the Newsfeed the most popular single content section on Facebook. To put the popularity of the Newsfeed in a larger perspective, Newsfeed interaction and consumption represents 4% of a ALL time spent online in the US.
Based on these statistics, one of the priorities for any brand leveraging Facebook should be getting their content into the Newsfeed.
A “Like” doesn’t equal a “See”
An important ingredient to the popularity of the Newsfeed is the method that Facebook uses to determine what content shows up in your Newsfeed, called Edgerank. Behind the scenes, this process is in essence a competition where all of that content is vying for coveted Newsfeed space. The simple fact is, when a user “likes” your Fan Page, their is no guarantee that they’ll see your content.
In their July 2011 whitepaper titled “The Power of Like“, comScore gives and idea of the typical reach of a Fan Page in the Newsfeed. According to their research, amongst the top 100 Fan Pages on Facebook, the cumulative reach for pages posting five posts a week is about 16% of their fans. If you increase that post frequency to seven days a week, the cumulative reach is only 22% of their fans.
Facebook rewards engagement
This notion of competing content is a dynamic that isn’t completely understood by many marketers. The key to giving your content a competitive edge and increasing it’s reach into the Newsfeed is by driving engagement in the form of sharing, commenting, and/or liking. As users increasingly engage with your content, Facebook rewards you by increasing the frequency that your content makes it into the Newsfeed (Newsfeed Impressions); giving your brand greater reach.
Using giveways to seed engagement
One effective tactic for driving the engagement on Facebook is through the use of giveaways. Consider giving away products or if you don’t sell tangible items, consider simple options such as a coupon, gift card or iPod Nano. Ultimately, what you give away is entirely up to you; provided it has value to your fans. However, the key to using giveaways is to structure them in a way that meets your objectives, in this case soliciting likes, comments and shares.
Before diving into the method that MindComet employs, it’s important to understand that a giveaway is by Facebook’s definition a “promotion” and therefore is governed by very specific Facebook guidelines. It’s highly recommend that you read and understand these guidelines.
Example: MindComet’s simple giveaway method
MindComet runs a monthly giveaway for one of it’s clients, a national manufacturer of bathroom and kitchen faucets and fixtures.
Each month, users are asked to take a survey on Polldaddy and provide valuable consumer insights. As part of the survey, users are required to provide their name and email address. In exchange for taking the survey they are awarded an entry into a drawing for a free faucet. While the entry process, drawing and winner notification are all happening outside of Facebook, the giveaway is leveraged on Facebook to drive engagement and increase Newsfeed impressions.
The first way of leveraging Facebook is by asking the community to take an action in exchange for a reward. In MindComet’s case, they are asked for a minimum number of comments to unlock another faucet for the monthly drawing. Example: If 50 separate fans add a humorous caption in the photo’s comments, we’ll add a 2nd faucet to our Mother’s Day Giveaway. At MindComet this is called a “tipping point” post. On average, the engagement rate to these challenge posts are typically higher than other posts.
In addition to tipping point posts, try asking general questions related to the giveaway, either as a wall post or using the questions feature of Facebook. While there is not a direct reward for engaging with the post, engagement rates for these posts on average are also higher than other posts.
So the question is, does this tactic increase your reach into the Newsfeed and help to better convert “likes” into “sees”? Based on the metrics, yes. They show that for each tipping point post or giveaway related post, overall Newsfeed impressions increase, so long as people are continuing to engage with the post. The most successful posts had engagement lifespans that ranged anywhere from 6 hours to 24 hours.
How are you using giveaways or promotions to increase engagement on Facebook?
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