Common Ground Initiative

Focus on More Engagement Before More Fans

January 14, 2011

Interaction Quality Over Quantity

What’s the most important metric to measure the success of your Facebook page? Total Fans? Wrong, although having thousands or millions of users as fans or “likes” on your page represents vast potential (just ask President Obama), it doesn’t automatically spell success. Bottom line: Your fans are only as valuable as how engaged they are. Don’t get too caught up in the raw numbers of total fans, if your fans are not being activated to become involved with the content of your organization or campaign, then they’re simply just a number, not yet a valuable asset.

Create an Environment for Noisy Fans!

Sports fans know that the loudest football stadiums are not always the biggest. I can personally attest this. I’ve been to football games at both small and large stadiums such as the Rose Bowl where 100,000 fans are in attendance and our very own, Autzen Stadium, where the capacity is about 58,000.

Which is louder? It’s not even close, Autzen is way louder! Despite only having a capacity of 58,000, substantially less than most BCS college football stadiums, Autzen is continually ranked among the loudest stadiums in the nation because the fans are extremely engaged in the game and their beloved Ducks. Facebook pages are not unlike Football stadiums, where it’s not all about the number of total fans, but rather how noisy and engaged they are.

Measuring Engagement

Before you move forward with trying to get more users to like your page, think about how you improve the overall engagement of your existing fans. The is place to start for this is Facebook Insights, the free analytical software that comes with your Facebook page. Insights enable you to continually measure the interaction levels and success of your engagement strategies by month, week and even down to an individual post. The ultimate goal is to get as many of your lifetime Likes or fans to convert to active users in any given month.

Insights Overview

In the Insights example below, 1,279 out of 2,153 (60%) total fans are listed as “Active” because they’ve either made a comment, “liked” a post or viewed a post in the last month, in other words they’re actively interacting with the content. The green arrow under ‘Monthly Active Users’ with the 4.9% represents the increase in Monthly active fans from the previous month. If this number is going down, then you’ll want to see why and evaluate your page content. You can also drill down into interaction levels for individuals post when go into ‘details’ section within Insights.

For a comprehensive guide to using Facebook Insights, check out this Mashable blog post.

Testing Engagement

To achieve better user engagement with your posts try testing various strategies to what works best. Based the results of the performance metrics from Insights, you can then quantify and continually refine what works better through A/B testing of your strategies. Here are some messaging strategies and tactics that you can test to increase overall engagement:

  • Pose a Question and Encourage Discussion: Based on the content of your post, ask users what they think. For example; if you’re posting a news article, insert a question about it and ask for feedback from your fans.
  • Create Two Way Dialogue: Respond and thank fans who interact with posts and provide feedback. This will send a message to other page members that interaction is valued and encouraged.
  • Ask For Tips and Advice: Ask your fans for advice and tips on a current issue, policy position or problem your campaign or organization may be experiencing. Facebook users like to help and offer insight when they’re asked, plus it makes them feel valued.
  • Be a Resource: When you come across helpful or insightful content related your campaign or industry, go ahead and post it to your Facebook page because it’s likely your fans would also find it interesting. Don’t assume everybody already saw the content or article, pass it along.
  • Timing: Play around with what time of day you post and test what results in better interaction. Is it best to post during the day? Early morning? Late night? Depends on the demographics of your audience; teenagers will be up late on Facebook, while older adults may be on at 5:00am.
  • Let the Audience Choose: After you post a photo album, ask fans which is their favorite photo or post an opened question, like what’s the best part about being a Republican…
  • Mix It Up: Don’t be afraid to post content that’s not related to your industry or message. Remember, not everyone wants all politics all the time, use relevant current events to put a human face on your Facebook page. If the Civil War game is this weekend, ask your fans who going to win the game.

What did I miss? What are some strategies that you found that work for your organization? Please share and ask.

4 Ways to Integrate Your Website with Facebook

November 22, 2010

How do people know we have a Facebook page? How do they find us?

I often get this question or variation of it from someone who just created a Facebook page for their organization. They’re trying to grow the number of fans on their page and bring better exposure to it, but are not sure where to start.

It’s a Long Answer, but Start with Your Website

A complete answer to this question involves multiple components and facets, so for this post I am going to solely focus on how to integrate your Facebook page into your website to help garner more fans and better integration. Your website is the best place to start to promote your social media channels. Last week’s post, How to Build Online Communities Through Offline Efforts is another great resource that will help your team promote your social media.

4 Ways to Integrate Facebook Into Your Site

These 4 steps are very simple and will go along way to pull your engaged audiences from your website into your Facebook page. Remember that over 40 % of Oregonians have a Facebook profile, so if 1,000 people visit your site, statistically, 400 of them are on Facebook.

  • Insert a Facebook Like Box in Your Home Page and/or Blog: This widget is a great to way to both provide a glimpse into the activity of your page and to boost your fans. People see what the latest posts are and, more importantly can click the like button within the widget and instantly become fans without having to actually go to your Facebook page. To insert a “Like Box” all you have to do is go to the edit page section of page and select marketing, then click the ‘Add a Like Box to My Website’ and type in the URL of Facebook page. After that, you’ll have the code you need to insert it in your page. Click here for instructions from Facebook.

  • Use Like Buttons on Your Back Pages: Another cool and free widget Facebook provides is the ‘Like Button,’ which you can see at the top of this entry. This button allows a person to ‘Like’ a page of your website, such as a press release. This action by an individual will show up on their personal profile and news feed, allowing their friends to see it and click on their update, which is linked to the press release on your website. Like buttons if used can really help drive additional traffic to your website or blog. Click here for instructions from Facebook on how to use ‘Like” buttons on your site.

  • Put a Prominent Facebook Icon on Your Homepage: A really simple thing to do on your homepage is to put a Facebook icon that links to your page on your header or under your e-newsletter sign up. You’ve probably seen other websites do this by putting all of their social media icons together, like we’ve done on our homepage. Putting copy like, ‘Join Us on Facebook’ or ‘Connect and Comment’ by the icon help bring attention to it. Hopefully within seconds of someone visiting your site, they will see the icon and at least know your on Facebook.
  • Link Back to Facebook in Your Web Content: When posting content on your website, think about if there is an opportunity to link back your Facebook page for something. For example if your posting content about an recent event or rally and there are photos on Facebook, then insert a hyperlink in the web content that clicks through to the Facebook photos. Or you can reference a comment from one of your Facebook fans (with their permission of course) that’s relevant to your web content. This illustrates that your organization recognizes and appreciates your fans feedback and input.

Building Online Communities Through Offline Efforts

November 16, 2010

When organizations are trying to boost their social media audiences they often forget about using offline approaches to reinforce their online tactics and strategies. Putting Facebook, YouTube and Twitter icons with URL addresses on direct mail, campaign fliers and business cards may be seem like a small thing, but can have a significant impact on the exposure and engagement of your social media platforms.  Representative Kevin Cameron wore his Facebook page in his sleeve (literally), making his Facebook the focus of his campaign t-shirts.

Small Steps to Promoting Your Social Media Offline

Here are some more steps your organization can take to promote participation in your social media channels:

  • During speeches or media interviews, plug your social media channels. Throwing in, “Find us on Facebook,” or “Follow us on Twitter” doesn’t take much effort and provides your audience an avenue to connect to your organization.
  • Where you would typically put your organization’s contact information like email, phone and address, also put your social media information. Look at social media as another avenue for voters and supporters to reach your campaign or organization.
  • Running a newspaper or radio ad? Promote your social media in the ad with a charge of engagement. Tell the readers or listeners to tell you what they think about the ad’s message.
  • When talking to a supporter or voter with a smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry) about your organization or campaign. Be proactive and tell them to join your Facebook page or Twitter profile on their mobile device while you talk to them.

Learn More…

Mashable, one of our favorite social media blogs recently posted an article about using offline opportunities to enhance your social media efforts. The article highlights 5 ways to approach this topic, and although it’s catered more towards business and retail, political groups and non-profits can certainly learn some valuable lessons from the post.  Click here to read the full article from our friends at Mashable.

What steps or tactics have you applied or seen used to promote social media offline?