News Feed Optimization: 14 Ideas To Get Noticed In Facebook

If you caught our last post, you’ll recall that Facebook uses an algorithm it calls EdgeRank to determine which pieces of content a user should see in his/her default News Feed. This is important to ecommerce marketers, because to maximize the visibility of your Facebook Page updates, there is a degree of News Feed Optimization (NFO) that you should perform.

This post, we explore some ideas for optimizing your Facebook “Edges” – Edges referring to anything you share on Facebook, be it a status update, a photo, a link, a Like, etc.

News Feed Optimization Ideas

Before we talk about optimizing Edges, we need to step back and look at the importance of getting Fan engagement early on in the process. Remember, the EdgeRank algorithm is influenced by an “affinity score.” The only way to earn affinity is to get a Fan to interact with your page. Your Fan is likely to forget about your page unless you’re showing up in her News Feed, so an immediate interaction with your Wall or other content should get the ball rolling.

1. Make it obvious.

Treat your Facebook “Like” button or link to your Facebook Page like any call to action – make it easy to spot.

If you’re inviting email subscribers to check you out on Facebook, romance why they should join your page with a few bullet points. Can they take polls, enter contests, and get other exclusive content? Consider placing the call to action near the top of the page, rather than the bottom.

2. Make creative use of Tabs.

Tabs are essentially content pages for your Facebook Page. Tab labels should evoke interest. Your list of tabs summarizes what fun/cool/useful stuff your Facebook presence offers and impacts the Like conversion.

Good examples include Dell, Sephora and Nike:

3. Choose a “landing tab” wisely.

You don’t have to land a visitor on your Wall! What’s important is that you select a landing tab that’s most likely to get an initial engagement. For example, Dell captures the entertainment and self discovery factor of the “quiz.” (It’s also product-related [laptop skin], so bonus points for that.)

4. Use iFrames.

Rather than Like from afar, some fans will visit your Page before deciding whether they Like you. Investing in a souped up design (Facebook now supports iFrames and CSS) can make your site look more attractive, and allow you to add more interactive functionality.

With iFrames, you can integrate your pages with your web analytics package or Google Website Optimizer to test which landing tabs perform best.

5. Have calls to action on your landing tab.

One of them should be to “Like,” and the others should entice the new Fan to interact with your page. Here are some good examples:

Amazon makes it very clear what it wants you to do here:

ASOS includes calls to action to engage or share with friends:

I recommend you don’t make your Wall your landing tab. While an active Wall may be persuasive to the new Fan to join, you really can’t control the way your Wall appears at any given moment (spam, negative comments, uninteresting post at the top, etc). Most importantly, you can’t craft a clear call to action on your Wall.

A final suggestion, avoid calls to action that link out of Facebook on your landing tab. Your landing tab’s goal is to get an initial interaction within Facebook.

6. Be strategic. Signal vs. noise.

Always ask yourself “why should I care?” when creating each Edge. Brush up on headline writing! And consider posting frequency. Posting 1 to 5 times daily is reasonable.

7. Remember the time.

Because you have just a short window of opportunity to gain traction with a Share (time decay factor), think carefully when planning frequency and content, and timing. Consider time zones – if you always post at the same time of day, Fans across the pond may never see your updates. Spread the love!

8. Go for the Share.

Write posts that encourage sharing across the network. “Viral” content like videos or funny quotes are likely to get more Shares than questions or simple announcements. And don’t be afraid to ask for the Share!

9. Bait for response.

Boost your comments by asking questions, but stay away from simple Yes/No answers. Think about what people like to brag about, what their favorite [xyz] is, or for their opinions. You may even incentivize the comment by awarding a prize for the best response (think caption contest).

10. Shake it up.

Mix it up a little between videos, photos, questions, information, etc. Don’t have your own videos? Youtube is a treasure trove of ‘em, and sharing sites like Reddit and Digg are great sources to discover stuff people like.

11. Get dirty with data.

Monitor which posts attract the most Likes and comments (eyeball), and use Insights – Facebook’s own analytics tool – for data. (Integrating your Facebook Page provides much better data).

12. Be manual.

Be careful with automated posting services like NetworkedBlogs or syncing updates through your Twitter feed. Facebook considers content composed within Facebook as higher “weight” than automated updates. It’s worth the extra couple of seconds to create the share manually.

13. Respond to comments.

Not only does this show courtesy to answer questions, etc, commenting yourself will boost your comment count, which could increase your Edge’s weight. You may also want to encourage employees to comment to get the ball rolling (or keep it going).

CROs before NFOs

While NFO can help you make the most of your Facebook page – both in content and design strategies, never take resources away from your website CRO (conversion rate optimization) to optimize Facebook. A Facebook Page, in my opinion, is a nice-to-have, not a must-have. Only if you can afford additional resources to play in this area, should you.

Looking for help with ecommerce? Contact the Elastic Path consulting team at consulting@elasticpath.com to learn how our ecommerce strategy and conversion optimization services can improve your business results.


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4 Responses to “News Feed Optimization: 14 Ideas To Get Noticed In Facebook”

  1. Susan Petracco says:

    This is a great practical guide to facebook pages-the algorithm information is invaluable. I live the design examples too . Thanks!

  2. Tim Soulo says:

    Hey Linda! That’s a nice recap of Facebook Page optimization best practices! :)

    I personally like the part where you stress that a custom landing tab is highly important for your Facebook fan page. About a year ago, I was creating a Facebook page for one of my clients (while consulting) and discovered that you can play with FBML to create some new experience for your visitors.

    That is when the idea came to me that I could create Facebook Page Templates and sell them to people who don’t have enough skill to create them on their own. And my little project was born – http://fbml-templates.net (since Facebook discontionued support for FBML we had to revamp everything to iFrames, but the domain name is still the same)

    I wanted to share a nice tip, which we do for every client that orders a custom facebook page design. Somehow I do not see the tip in your list.

    Facebook allows you not only to set a landing page for all people who are not fans, but they also allow you to show two different pages to “fans” and “non fans”.

    A great example is RedBull: http://www.facebook.com/redbull

    - Once you visit their page, you land on a huge call-to-action, and you can actually see that beneath it there’s another page.

    - Once you click “Like” the page updates and you can access it’s content.

    This trick is pretty easily done. I suggest everyone to use this nice FREE app – http://www.facebook.com/iframehost Once you add it to your page, you’ll have a tab, where you can set your landing pages for “fans” and “non fans”.

    Here are some ideas to implement this trick:

    - Hide a discount coupon and state on your landing page that only fans can see it – people really like discounts and hot offers, I bet this will work for you too;

    - Hide some exclusive video / free e-book / newsletter subscribtion – this will actually give your visitors an incentive to “like” you, as they will get something in return;

    - Just blur your page like RedBull did and people will click “like” simply because they’re curious about your page.

    From my experience I can tell that this tricks can boost your visitors-to-fans conversion up to 90%. That’s really impressive!

  3. Noa Noa says:

    Thanks for this post. Facebook is an under developed part of our strategy and this helps no end.

  4. martin says:

    Thanks for share. Thumb up. I wanted to add a few other tips if you don’t mind.
    1. shorten your profile name or page name to optimize it using http://www.facebook.com/username
    2. invite your existing clients/customers, friends and site visitors to your page. Find those who are already on facebook. they will be thrilled to follow you on facebook rather than on your site blog, forum..
    3. inter-connect your blog, forum and a site to your facebook page. Make it all-in-one source
    4. use pre-made facebook apps. Personally, I’ve found a number of decent apps for business, not just for fun.

    take care!

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