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I met someone last week who wondered if I still ran Spiderworking.com.  The reason?  She ‘Liked’ my Facebook page but hadn’t seen any updates from me in months.  Since Facebook made it’s latest changes to the newsfeed at the end of last year reports have been coming in of page updates not appearing in the stream.  Page owners also saw a significant drop in their page and post views and a new statistic appeared on our pages ‘talking about’.  All of this combined means that if we really want users to see our updates we need to encourage interaction, the ‘talking about’ stat has become the most important insight on our page.

So how can you encourage more interaction on your Facebook page?  I’ve been experimenting and here’s what I’ve found works so far.

Always look for feedback

Whenever I post something to Facebook I ask for feedback, instead of posting a link and saying what it’s about, I think about why I’m sharing it and add my thoughts and ask others for their opinions.  I try to end most posts with a question mark.  This has been a valuable tool for me and has helped me gather ideas and content for blog posts amongst other things.

Other effective tricks I’ve seen other pages use for getting feedback are posts with a missing word (see below), or asking for ‘three words to describe’.  Giving likers something simple to do will encourage more engagement than asking for a long opinion.

example from Mari Smith

Share on Twitter

If your posts are no longer appearing on the newsfeeds of all your fans you need to be reaching them elsewhere.  Posting links to Facebook posts on Twitter and asking for feedback is an effective way of widening the conversation beyond those who pick up your stories on Facebook.  Facebook users no longer need to like a page to comment on it so you may find you will get more interaction from new users this way.

I try and post one Facebook discussion a day to Twitter and have found it effective for getting new comments, all of these are hugely valuable not just for encouraging sharing but again for garnering opinion on topics that I can translate into blog posts or content in the future.

Use a variety of content

It’s widely agreed that images and videos have better edgerank than other types of content.  Images and video are also more visually attractive to users, they will catch your eye the way a status update or a simple link won’t.  When I’m posting a status update I try and find an image that illustrates my point and add it to the update. It’s important to include a variety of content types on your page and I wouldn’t recommend using the image trick for every update.  People get tired of the same content and you will discover that video and links will reach different users than images and status updates.

example from Amy Porterfield

Run a competition

Running a competition on Facebook will get lots of people talking about your page.  Use an app like ShortStack that allows you to configure sharing, this way people who enter will be prompted to tell their friends.  If you have an active user base running a photo contest that is judged by Facebook users will encourage competition entrants to share your page with all of their friends.

example from Country Hounds

Great content

This should really have been my first point.  Creating compelling content that people will want to share will always encourage interaction and shares.  I always recommend creating a content schedule for Facebook, you can download a blank schedule word document here.  Think about when you are going to post and what sort of content you are going to post on each day.  This will make it easier for you to find content to share and encourage consistent posting.

Carry a camera and a notebook with you everywhere and look out for photo opportunities that will work on your page.  I find the voice memo device on my phone invaluable and am always recording snippets of ideas when I have them.

What have I left out?  How do you encourage engagement on your Facebook page?  Let me know… leave a comment.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=791542731 Ruairi Browne

    Yeah but what is the point? What does interaction achieve apart from making you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I find it easy to get interaction on my Facebook page. I just give something away or make some mundane comment about a non business related issue and loads of people reply with an equally mundane response. It makes me feel important but it achieves nothing.

  • http://www.emeraldinteriordesign.ie/blog Karen -Emerald Interior Design

    I couldn’t disagree more Ruairi.  But I suppose it depends on what business you’re in.  Facebook
    is not the way to go for every business. It certainly seems to work better for B2C than B2B.  However, like any other marketing strategy the rewards are in proportion to the time invested.  I can only speak personally but I have procured a lot of contracts through facebook and it has also been successful in highlighting my profile and my business. While I agree that a lot of the interaction does only achieve the warm fuzzy feeling (ie, worldwide fans who will probably never use my services) but it also achieves real monetary business. The way I look at it, is no one is going to hire me or use my services because of an update I make on facebook. HOWEVER, when the time comes that they are looking for an Interior Designer, I hope they will think of me because they have interacted with my on my social network.  It works for me anyway, but as I said, it’s not for every business.

  • Foxglove Lane

    LOL! The penny just dropped about sharing facebook posts to twitter…….am a happy camper thanks yet again! 

  • http://twitter.com/JBBC Marie Ennis-O’Connor

    I already share my Facebook posts to twitter but the rest of the tips are really great and I am looking forward to trying them out. Quick question…I installed the Fan of the Week feature but haven’t really found that it caught on – any thoughts on this? 

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    I think Fan of The Week is a nice way to recognise your community but it can have variable success, some people are ‘embarrased’ to be recognised.  I also find the algorithm hard to fathom, how does it choose the winner?

    I’m looking into another app at the moment that produces a leaderboard.  Once I’ve tested it… if I like it it may become my cool tool some Monday so keep an eye on the Facebook page.

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    Delighted that I could help :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lorna.sixsmith Lorna Sixsmith

    I agree that the number of people seeing my updates have decreased hugely since Facebook made its changes. Great tips here.

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  • http://www.simplicityadmins.com/ Sarah Santacroce

    What’s interesting is that engagement depends also on people’s mentality. When you fill out the “Social Technographics Profile of Your Audience” provided by Forrester 
    http://www.forrester.com/empowered/tool_consumer.html results are very different from one country to another. I find it rather difficult to increase engagement in Switzerland :-)

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    That’s really interesting to know, it must make it very hard to market to consumers on Facebook there. 

  • Anonymous

    All good points.

    I run a page for an English language school in Thailand and it has been quite a challenge finding content that people respond to.

    I have found that questions that need only a short answer work well.

    Making someone the winner also often helps with a post, especially with young people. It seems that people need a reason to post.

    Lastly I post a cute puppy or kitten picture (adaptable to whatever your audience is) every so often (generally in the evenings or weekends) in order to generate a lot of ‘likes’ and hopefully a few ‘shares’. This often works well after a post that hasn’t been received as well as you’d like.

  • http://twitter.com/katgordon Katherine M. Gordon

    Thanks, Amanda, for this article. I have long wondered why more brands don’t use their “talking about” numbers as the most important metric they monitor. Have you heard anywhere how to evaluate that number in relation to Total Fans? I’d love to have a benchmark of what % is considered a healthy engagement.

  • http://twitter.com/katgordon Katherine M. Gordon

    The point of the article is that interaction elevates the post higher up into people’s FB feed, increasing the likelihood that more people will see your message. EdgeRank values interaction and will “reward” posts that get users to comment with more visibility.

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    Thanks Katherine.  No I haven’t seen a definitive study of what is a good or bad talking about statistic yet.  It’s still early days, lots of pages haven’t understood the importance of the new focus on engagement so most pages I visit seem to have a low percentage.  I was working with a client before Christmas who had about a 50% engagement rate but this was mid promotion, it soon dropped once the promotion was finished.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1163345406 Anonymous

    LinkedIn is another way to get more fans to your page too.

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    I love it!  You can’t beat a cute kitten pic.  I’m a bit of a cat lover and my Instagram is full of pics of my cats…  they always get the most likes. If I could just find a way to work that in to my Facebook business page :)

  • jeanette cefre

    I agree with Sarah….I find engagement a slow process here in France.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/eveshb Evesh Basnet

    http://www.facebook.com/NepaltravelExpert  i want to increase the likes in this page.What would be the best thing to do?Please suggest me?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynneconrad Lynne Bigley Conrad

    I agree with all of these expect Run a Competition.  Having fan’s “Like” to vote is against Facebook regulations and guidelines.  

    Using… Yes or no….Tag yourself if you see yourself wearing this….  “Like” this post if…   Are great starters to getting engagement.

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    Hi Lynne, It’s not against Facebook regulations to run a competition through an application as in the example I show above.  You can make liking the page part of the entry process to the competition, this is outlined in the Facebook promotional guidelines. You cannot use the ‘Like’ function to vote on a winner of a competition though.

    More here: https://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php

  • http://eSeek3r.com Craig Desmarais

    I just started using the “share on twitter” tactic with all our trade shows going on this month especially with pictures, galleries and videos, using the ow.ly link shortener and it’s having a great impact.  It is bringing people who may not frequently visit Facebook to your page and they will most likely interact once they get there. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eva-Browne-Paterson/100000689341030 Eva Browne-Paterson

    Thanks for the template Amanda. So simple yet such a good idea. :-)

  • http://blog.rickyleepotts.com rickyleepotts

    I disagree that the “talking about” is the most important stat. I don’t care how many people comment on my blog… I care about how many people read it. I don’t care how many people comment on my status updates, I care about how many people see it. Impressions are what matters. In search engine marketing, clicks are more important than impressions… but you can’t get a click without an impression. Just because I clicked it doesn’t mean I am going to engage with it.

    Again… I want people to read the content.

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    Hi Ricky,  I think we’re talking about the same thing.  The reason ‘talking about’it is so important is that if people arent’ talking about your page it doesn’t appear on newsfeeds.  T

  • http://blog.rickyleepotts.com rickyleepotts

    Yes it does. If I post something, and someone has clicked “like”, unless they hide my content, sees it in his or her feed. You have total control as a user what you see. I am promoting a brand… and if that brand is being seen, I don’t care who engages. It’s like a digital billboards.

  • Cl

    Coincidentally I just wrote an article on the same topic… I find questions are great, as are fill-in-the-blanks. A simple way to get people to respond even when there is a small fan count is to ask for the Like… “click Like if you’re looking forward to a long weekend.” (paired with something positive, that just dares people to click!)

  • http://www.zoealexanderuk.com/ Adriana

    Ricky, ppl are v busy nowadays & don’t have time 2 reply on everythig they read. The point U want to deliver is the most important!

  • http://blog.rickyleepotts.com rickyleepotts

    That just proves my point… if they see, and are too lazy to respond… they still saw it.

  • http://www.butterknife-marketing.com Avi Kaye

    All these are excellent ways of making sure that your fans come back to your Facebook page – but don’t forget that we usually want them to come to our page for a reason (beyond the initial like). Usually, we want them to see what we have to offer, in terms of content, knowledge, and services – in other words, we want them to see our website as well. Now, as you probably know, there have been plenty of studies that show that Facebook users are usually averse to clicking out of Facebook – so you need to get your website to your Facebook fans, using iFrame apps, or apps like MyWebees (which don’t require coding). 

  • http://www.bigchiefcreative.com/ Alex R.

    Very interesting on how you much feedback you get when posting with a question mark or a “fill in the black” type scenario. I am going to try to use this next time I create a FB post!

  • http://jonloomer.com/ Jon Loomer

    Great stuff! I’d also make use of built in Facebook tools like Questions, Events and Checkins. Questions are great for a quick engagement. Events for getting people excited about an upcoming launch of some sort. And simply encouraging people to checkin is a way they can engage with you and promote your page.

    Other ideas that come to mind…

    Sharing exclusive deals and content only available to fans
    Recognizing fans individually
    Encouraging user generated content

    Overall, just being human, interesting and brief goes a long way, too.

    Thanks for the knowledge!

  • http://jonloomer.com/ Jon Loomer

    Great stuff! I’d also make use of built in Facebook tools like Questions, Events and Checkins. Questions are great for a quick engagement. Events for getting people excited about an upcoming launch of some sort. And simply encouraging people to checkin is a way they can engage with you and promote your page.

    Other ideas that come to mind…

    Sharing exclusive deals and content only available to fans
    Recognizing fans individually
    Encouraging user generated content

    Overall, just being human, interesting and brief goes a long way, too.

    Thanks for the knowledge!

  • http://jonloomer.com/ Jon Loomer

    Great stuff! I’d also make use of built in Facebook tools like Questions, Events and Checkins. Questions are great for a quick engagement. Events for getting people excited about an upcoming launch of some sort. And simply encouraging people to checkin is a way they can engage with you and promote your page.

    Other ideas that come to mind…

    Sharing exclusive deals and content only available to fans
    Recognizing fans individually
    Encouraging user generated content

    Overall, just being human, interesting and brief goes a long way, too.

    Thanks for the knowledge!

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

    Thank you kindly for the mention!! Very good point – often quick and simple works great. Tonight I posted a quick poll asking my fans to share their local time and their city. Amazing response. Truly amazing – the whole world on one post! :) 

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    Great idea and great research too Mari.  Now you know exactly when your community is online… although that could mean you have to post a lot more by the sounds of it!

  • Paul Fairburn

    Exactly so – it’s possible to simply disappear from newsfeeds when a user is set on the default “Top Stories”.
    I suspect a majority of users don’t think to reset it to “Most Recent”.  Are there any figures on that Amanda?

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    Sorry Ricky you are wrong about this. I’ve done quite a lot of testing on this and not every post from every page people like appears on news feeds, even when they don’t have top news selected.  Part of this is Facebook wanting to sell more advertising, part of this is so that news feeds don’t get flooded.

    It’s interesting to note that what appears on your feed via the web app and mobile app and third party apps like Flipboard is quite different.

    We have to remember that not every user is a power Facbook users, most people dip in and out of Facebook, getting people to interact with your page increases the likelyhood of your story appearing in a news feed. 

    If in doubt look at your page impressions, do they represent the number of ‘likes’ you have?

  • http://www.spiderworking.com/ Amanda Webb

    I’ve not seen any data on this although by my own experimentation I’ve noticed even when I have my news feed set to everything I still don’t see all updates from all pages. I see far more through the mobile app… which is odd.  The ticker does show everything but also demonstrates why I don’t see all updates on Facebook, the stream would move way too fast.

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