Why you should not share others pages

By: Ian Pattison, 26 April, 2016

In this article, I will explain how social media marketing fits in with the traditional sales funnel, what you need to do in order to make full use of this amazing new tool, and why you should only share your own content. I explain the principals of the funnel and its relationship to social media, I explain how Facebook determines who is seen, and how you should optimise your posts to ensure maximum coverage, and I explain briefly how your website plays a part in this process.

The FUNNEL refresher

If you are not familiar with ’the funnel’ there is plenty of information out there on how it works but, basically, the sales funnel is the theoretical customer journey from first awareness of your product or service, through to the purchase. It is described as a funnel because it usually starts with a large number of people who become aware of your product or service and, as each stage of the journey is completed, it is expected that more and more people will drop out of the system, until you are left with the people who eventually purchase, or take whatever action it is you want them to.

The new funnel

Traditionally, funnels have started with very wide openings and were very expensive because they had to hit a large number of people in order to increase the number of people who were likely to stick around and buy the thing. Social media marketing has changed all that because you now have a funnel that starts with a smaller number of prospects who are more likely to take action with you.

A good way to think about it is like this: advertisements are supposed to be a public benefit, a way of informing people of something that they might be interested in like a sale or an event. Now, just imagine if every television advertisement you saw was for something you wanted. You’d go to the shops straight away and buy everything they sold. Everybody is happy. The problem with television and traditional media is that for every ’good’ advert, there are 100 ’bad’ adverts for things that are not relevant to you and are pretty annoying. Plus, television advertising is expensive.

Just imagine if television only displayed advertisements that you liked and that you were guaranteed to take the action advocated in them. Advertising would become much more bearable, you might even look forward to the adverts (considering the quality of television programming these days!)

That is what Facebook have done. You click ’like’ on Air New Zealand and posts from them appear that inform you of the latest deals and destinations they have available. You click ’like’ on KFC and they send you info on the latest offerings from KFC. You are in more control than ever. And this is super for business owners because now you are part of that endless stream of advertisements that views actually want to receive.

Facebook have provided a funnel where the leads going in at the top are much more likely to take the action you would like them to.

But you can’t just go about it willy-nilly.

The problem with Facebook is that the average user has access to around 1,500 posts per day from other pages that they have subscribed to, but only looks at 300 of them. This means their feeds are clogged with articles from friends, companies and all sorts. In fact, they reckon that the average user sees only around 20% of all posts made by all pages they subscribe to.

How Facebook determines who gets seen

EdgeRank is the programme Facebook uses to determine what articles should be displayed in a user’s news feed, and what order they appear. It’s a little bit like Google’s ’PageRank’, except tweaked more towards the newsfeed. The other similarity is that the factors that the EdgeRank programme takes into account when ranking posts are a closely-guarded secret. While there are roughly 100,000 factors that the program looks at when determining the post’s rank on a user’s newsfeed, the most influential factors are, by their very nature, easy to divine; some of which have been confirmed by the Company. They are:

  • Interest, which is the interest of the user in the page that made the post, as determined by how many ’likes’ ’comments’ or ’shares’ (interactions) they have had with the page.
  • The post’s performance against other users, which is measured by the amount of interactions the other users have had with the post.
  • The performance of the page’s previous posts with users, once again in terms of interactions,
  • The type of post, such as video, photo or text, and
  • How recently the post was made.

The first four are made up of the number of times people have interacted with either the page’s posts or the post in question. The ’type’ of post is more straight-forward and is simply that the highest ’weighting’ is given to video content, next is images, and bottom is a simple text update.

Based on that info, it pays to post things that people are more likely to share and like and interact with. It is best to post videos and links to your website (we will get onto that in a bit).

Post things that people will share and become analytical about it

This is the best way to increase both the number of people who subscribe to your social media channels, and to increase your posts prominence in their feeds but be careful, there is a simple rule with Facebook, that you should not directly incentivize people to share your page.

What people will share will really be up to your and your audience and what may be appropriate for one audience may not be so appropriate for another. So it pays to take a scientific approach to it. Facebook has a set of free and very interesting tools to help you with that.

Here you can see the posts section of the Facebook Insights tool:

Starting from the top, you can see there is a graph that shows you when the majority of your subscribers are online. They will not nessecarily be on your page, but they will be on facebook. With this page, you can see there is a lull with a trough around 5am, and it picks up to over 2,000 just after 9am and the peak time is at 9pm when there is 2671 people online. This would be the ideal time to post.

Below that you can see a list of the pages posts. It contains the post date, the post text (if any) the type of post (link video image, notice how there are no text posts here?), the targeting, the ’reach’ of the post, the post’s engagement, and the option to boost the post.

You can use this information to determine which posts perform best for you and which don’t.

How your website plays a part in all of this?

If you are running an e-Commerce site, there is nothing more counter-productive than to develop a subscriber base on social media, plan your posts, and which content works best for your subscribers, and then post a link to somebody else’s website and funnel your customers away from you. Unless you have some sort of arrangement with the owner of the website you are linking to, you should NEVER, link away from your own sites. Why is that? Well, the reason you are building audiences is to have a wider pool of people to advertise to. So advertise to them. All (good) web pages have a call to action, a way of getting the user to perform the action you want, be it to browse the products section, select products, check out, sign up to a newsletter, phone you, email you.

It is also important to note that your page should be optmised for mobile also. This is for two reasons, firstly Google gives priority to mobile optimized pages, but also, the dominance of Facebook is caused in large part by its pivot towards mobile rather than desktop. In fact, a person is more likely to be browsing Facebook on their mobile phone than not. This means that, if you link to a page that is not mobile optimized, you are presenting the prospect with an awkward, hard-to-view page that is unlikely to generate revenue.

A properly set-up landing page for a FB post comes in two parts, the meta-info and the visible content. The meta-info is built into the code and is made up of instructions and content which Facebook uses to determine its ranking position. There are seven tags to use ranging from the basic title and description tags, down to the more advanced app id tags and locale tags. This is also where you insert the content that will show up in the Facebook post. Twitter has a similar system that is known as ’twitter cards’.

If you don’t set the meta-info, Facebook will automatically select content based on its interpretation of the site but don’t rely on it, it almost never drags through the right picture and text.The second part of the page is made up of the visible content. The visible content should reflect the meta-info because a user is less likely to ’like’ a post that does not reflect what its data says, and there are no prizes for displaying an advertisement to a user who is not interested.

The main thing with visible content is that we are moving into the realm of general SEO. With general SEO, we are optimizing the page to appear higher in search engine results, as well as in people’s Facebook and social media feeds and I will cover these concepts in the next article. We are also writing an article that instils a feeling of need in the user. You want them to need to find out more, you want them to be thinking ’how do I go about getting the benefits of this product’. You want to click on the link below to find out more information about how social media could benefit your business (see what I did there?)

Which means you need a way to make customers do the thing you want them to do. This is usually known as a ’call-to-action’ or CTA. A CTA is usually a button on your page surrounded by text that is designed to let viewers know that they can fulfil the need you created by click on the button. If you have created a need for them to buy flowers off you, you’d have a CTA button that lets users buy your flowers. If you created a need for them to make a booking on your site, you’d have a CTA button that linked to the booking section.

You can have multiple CTAs on your page, for instance you could have a CTA that signs the user up to your newsletter, but also a button that allows the user to ’like’ your business on social media, or ’share’ the page on social media. As long as there is no conflict between them (you don’t want two buttons that lead to different stages of the sales funnel), there is no limit to the number of CTAs. Next time you are looking at a web page, have a look at how many elements there are on the page that you can interact with that prompt you to take action towards the goal of the website.

Keen on having a more in-depth discussion on how your social media can turbo-charge your website sales?

2016 © Ian Pattison Web Developer