your essential facebook page survival guide

If you look after a Facebook page you'll have seen the number of people who automatically get to see your content shrink massively. So, what to do? Quit? Not necessarily. Here are some tips to fight back.

by Adam Turnbull

So, I’ve a turbulent relationship with Facebook, haven't you? Over past few years, we’ve gone from a rock steady relationship, where I post an update and it’s get delivered to those that like the page, to a relationship where such a small amount of people see the update in an organic manner. Of course, when it comes to the Facebook revenue model, it’s not a huge surprise.

You can be left feeling that you’ve no other option but to open the coffers and pour money into ads, just to attract the attention of your existing audience, that’s even forgetting about the more expensive audience out there that doesn’t yet like your page. Posts that would regularly be seen by 15, sometimes even 20 per cent of your audience now see figures as low as 3 or 4 per cent. It seems that a like on a page no longer translates into a request by the end user to have our updates delivered to them. Instead it’s showing itself to be simply a way of grouping users together in order to advertise to them.

The great news is, you can counteract a good portion of these changes by adapting your strategy. what we have to say, at some point has to be more important to that particular end user than the status update of one of the users friends. Not more important than best “coffee every Tuesday” friend, but more important than “Just fed the cat LOL!” friend that he or she added from high school and hasn’t interacted with for year.

I wanted to share a few things I’ve learnt to get your stuff seen by your existing audience.

Mix it up

Different slices of the demographic pie will engage in different ways. A mix of posts of varying lengths with and without photos, questions and links can provide a great variety for your audience to consume. If you're finding that one type of content isn't working well at all, change the timing before you disregard it as a bad content style.

Time it right

Think about your audience. When are they most active on Facebook, and when are the peaks of companies likely to be grabbing attention in their hordes? The weekend can be really good to post longer content that requires more time for people to digest. There are still some high competition spots, so keep them in mind. To get an idea of when your audience is online try clicking the insights tab on a page you manage, then click posts.

Normally, the audience is online at the times you expect, but there can be some seriously interesting results if you work with some of the unusual peaks. One client I've consulted for in the past had some killer interaction on posts when they posted at 6 am on a Saturday, to UK audiences, so try it out.

Action, you can just ask for it.

If you want people to like your post, then don’t be afraid to ask for it, on occasion. If you have a good relationship with your audience, you can also ask for a share that’s met rarely with any negativity. Though the data may appear old (2011), it's still relevant. Dan Zarrella produced an interesting study {http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14982/New-Data-Proves-Please-ReTweet-Generates-4x-More-ReTweets-Data.aspx}on how effective asking for an RT is. The not so surprising results show that “Please RT” will get you additional retweets, however “Please ReTweet” gets even more. As a caveat, the data may have some inaccuracies, but I'm confident that it gives an indication of results, rather than firm proof.

Data

Facebook Insights can be super useful. You’ll get a good feel of the audience and you’re able to see how posts have performed. Spend some time in the posts tab in particular. Identify the spikes in activity, and get a feel of why they happened. It could be the timing, a particularly delicious link that you included or maybe it was some stellar copy crafted from a social media hero. Whichever reason a peak of interaction happened, try do the same again, was it just luck?

Fail or succeed, fast

Wait, it's not as it sounds. What I mean is that when you try new things on Facebook, you get to see the results of a post quickly. How quick depends on your audience size and behaviour. Asda are a Facebook behemoth and have a great team of super people. I've noticed that if their posts don't get plenty of interaction within a ten minute time frame, they delete the post, and try another. They do this as their audience is so big that they get an almost immediate indication of whether a post is working or not.

Adam Turnbull is a London-based freelance digital communications consultant and you can contact him here.

Picture credit.