Thursday, 16 May 2013

Things I never knew about running a Facebook page

I am our School's social media marketing enthusiast and very proud of our Facebook page and blog. I am also a complete amateur in this game. Most of my time goes into finding content to share, or writing up the new stuff colleagues are busy with, and not enough effort goes into learning more about the tools. I learned a lot recently about promoting Facebook posts (with a hat tip to Jaco van der Merwe who pointed me in the right direction).

When you have page with 963 likes, I thought that means that all of them see your posts. This is not the case. There are two things at work here: first, most people do not return to a page very often once they have "liked" it and second, Facebook uses a so-called Edgerank alogrithm to determine who see what in their timeline. For our 900 plus likes we get an average of 300 views of a post.

The Edgerank algorith considers three elements: affinity, weight and time decay, in determining who sees a post. I don't want to go into the details here, but if you are interested there is a nice explanation with infographic at Hubspot. And then there are different ways to boost your posts:
  • You cannot do much about time decay - posts grow old.
  • You can increase the weigthing of your posts by mixing up what you post: text, links, photos, video.
  • You can try ways to trick the algorith into thinking that people have a greater affinity for your page that they might actually  have. Here are a few ideas about posting pictures of cute kittens or kids.
The alternative is to just pay Facebook to push your post. And that is what the graph at the top shows. The twin peaks are two promoted posts for the School's open day. Around 4000 people saw each of the posts and we got 15 new likes during that period. I took the cheaper options and the two promotions cost about R300 in total.

Is it worth it? You certainly get the views, but I don't know if that translated into anything more. And if I want the new likes to keep seeing our posts I'd better keep up a steady cash infusion for promotion or start posting those cute pictures. Meet Haruki, the Econ hound:

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