How Far Is Your Reach?

Post written by Tia Marie Kemp

Friday, April 13, 2012

When creating content for your Brand Page on Facebook, it's a good idea to be mindful of the following questions:

  • Do the posts resonate with what we know about our fans?
  • Are the posts concise?
  • Do the posts grab attention, either intellectually, emotionally or visually?
  • How sharable is the content?
  • Did you include a call to action to “like”, comment or share the post?

These are some guidelines to help you discern how engaging your posts are. Helen's article about optimizing wall posts by using questions contains a great example of the difference between an informative, ho-hum post and a post that engages. Notice how the placement of the question differentiates engagement. The more you can get your fans interacting with content on your page, the more your will extend your reach.

Everyone is talking about content and engagement, but what exactly does it mean to have a highly engaged fan base on Facebook? Highly engaged fans are prone to generate greater reach for your brand because increased interaction with content drives your EdgeRank (Facebook's algorithm that determines what items populate your News Feed). Just because you posted something on your wall, doesn't mean your fans will see it. Each post needs to engage fans to interact with it in order for the post to obtain a higher ranking on Edgerank, which will push it into further visibility in the news feed for increased broadcasting throughout Facebook. In short, the more interaction a wall post receives, the longer it will stay in the news feed and the more people will see it, increasing opportunities for more interaction – generating more Reach – across Facebook.

Did you ever take piano lessons? Remember trying to get a chord just right for the first time, and what a stretch it was to get your fingers to the correct position in order to create musical harmony? Similar principles can be applied to increasing reach on Facebook. You will need to practice and fine tune your content to gain reach across the platform.

The People Reached Insight is included in the latest version of Facebook Insights. The “Reach” tab shows you information about who saw content about your Page (including Ads or Sponsored Stories pointing to your Page). This includes fans and non fans. Per the Pagelever blog, the new metric offers far more valuable data than before: “Facebook saw the need to clarify how people were seeing your Page’s content. Previously, the most similar measurement we had to Reach was Active Users. The problem with Active Users was that the majority of them weren’t actually “active” as you’d normally think.  In fact, over 90% of Active Users were just folks who only saw a piece of content from your Page, not actually engaged with it in any way.  That doesn’t sound too active to me.”

There are three ways Reach is broken down:

  • Organic – Content that is seen in the news feed or the ticker (most common).
  • Viral – Stories that are created through content engagement. There are a five ways these stories are created: Fan (“Liked” your page); User post (fan posted on your wall); Page post (fan interacted with a post on your wall); Mention (tagged photo or mentioned you); and, Check-Ins.
  • Paid – Your paid advertising's performance.

These metrics are critical to determine what content is working, whether you are in the process of expanding or maintaining your community.

As you use the People Reached Insight and become familiar with which content is being consumed and interacted with, there is one big key to increasing your engagement and reach.: You need to be engaged yourself!

If you want to expand your reach and community on Facebook, mirror what you have traditionally done in “real world” businesses, online. Great ways to become more connected and increase reach include:

  • “Like” other pages, such as organizations you support, community events, partner company pages, etc. Support them and they'll be more willing to support you, hence increasing the amount of users that see your content.
  • Bring the offline fans online. Spread the word to current and potential customers by including mentions of your Facebook community on your already scheduled media channels and print materials.
  • Interact with fans by including testimonials, running product ideas by them and generally involving them in what is happening at your business and in your community.
  • Employ Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories to amplify your reach. Word of mouth is generated from the news feed, and these tools will help make your content more “sticky” in the news feed, creating more interest around posts that user's friends have already  interacted with.

The fun thing about this is trying new things and using the People Reached Insight to highlight successes and cut your losses, giving you a better view of how to expand your community.

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Tia Marie Kemp

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