If you’re in charge of social media for your business, you know it can be time consuming and confusing. Especially for a beginner, knowing how it all works and why can be overwhelming. If you take the time to get yourself up to speed and develop good habits and practices, you will thank yourself in the long run.
Facebook is the main network that most businesses like to use, and it also presents many challenges, so I will focus on it as an example.
Taking the time to understand how each social media network works is imperative in creating and maintaining a successful presence.
Facebook organises its News Feed by an algorithm called EdgeRank. EdgeRank determines what posts users see based on Affinity, Weight and Time Decay.
Affinity is the connection between users – the more interaction you have with a user, the more likely you are to see their posts. Affinity is a one-way score calculated on your interactions, not the other person’s, and it can increase or decay over time. Therefore, it is imperative that you encourage fans to interact with your page to they can see your updates in their news feed.
Weight refers to the type of post and the kind of interactions it has received. Facebook wants to present to users the content it thinks will be the most engaging. Traditionally, more engaging content like photos and videos will rank higher than just plain text statuses. Similarly, shares and comments rank higher than likes. Basically, Facebook will give the most weight to the most engaging content – which can be a text status if it has lots of shares and comments, because Facebook has recognised that it has a lot of interactions and would be interesting to users.
Time Decay is simple in that old stories drop in rank because they are less current and relevant to the user, whom Facebook has determined, wants to see new stories.
Monitor and correct
It is important that while you are working hard to create the most engaging and relevant content, you monitor your insights to see what works for your fans. Do your fans like watching videos, how well to they respond to photos? While the traditional EdgeRank algorithm still stands, it is constantly evolving. More often now, EdgeRank will take into account any negative feedback on your posts, such as when a user ‘hides’ a post.
Over the last few months I was watching and reporting on SLAM’s insights and noticed that while we were gaining more fans and seeing more engagement, our reach was declining. By noting the amount of “people saw this” for each post on the Page, I could see that text-only posts had greater reach. Therefore I changed my tactic, posting more text based posts in addition to regular posts which I knew were effective, such as videos and Top Tip Tuesday images.
Keeping an eye on what’s going on with your page will allow you to make changes quickly so you can maintain good brand exposure.
Read, read, read
To make the most of each social media network, you need to understand how they work and how to use them to your advantage. If you are running your own social media, I recommend reading blog posts, signing up for email lists, and watching videos on all facets of social media.
As mentioned before, Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm, privacy terms and rules for Pages are constantly changing. You need to know the ins and outs of the networks to avoid being penalised by Facebook or missing out on key features and best practices on Pinterest. Do you know what the rules are for running a promotion or competition on your Page? Do you know how to make the most out of LinkedIn? Do you know where to get insights and analytics for your social media networks?
It does take time to keep up with all that is happening in the ever evolving social media world. If you feel like you don’t understand everything or simply don’t have the time to do it, you have the option of outsourcing the work to a professional who has a more in-depth understanding of social media.
Do yourself a favour
Use technology to make your social media responsibilities a lot easier. Apps like HootSuite and Buffer allow you to load up posts to be automatically uploaded at a time of your choosing. You can load up a week’s worth of posts for multiple accounts to save time throughout the week (but make sure you upload some posts directly to Facebook to give them a better ranking). Some sites will show you the best times for posting, and others provide detailed page or profile insights – use these to find the best times and ways to connect with fans and potential customers.
Remember, social media is not 9-5; often the most effective posts are ones that are uploaded outside of regular office hours. Social media does take time, but like with traditional forms of marketing, planning and reviewing your actions are the keys to success. If you get stuck, we’re always happy to help. 🙂