What do you Want from your Facebook Page?

looking closer at Facebook PagesThinking a bit more about my last post on using Facebook ads to actively seek out new fans … Why try to get more fans in the first place?

Another way to ask that – What exactly do you want from a Facebook Page?

Here’s a list of 5 things libraries might want out of a Facebook Page. These five things are a happy convergence of stuff Facebook is good at, and stuff that libraries (and other organizations) might find useful, too. See what you think, and add to my list!

Five things a Facebook Page is good for:

  1. Visibility – the more we interact, the more we are “seen” in Facebook. Which means that more people see our posts about library stuff.
  2. Listening – we share, but we also listen to our customers. They say stuff about us on Facebook! Some good stuff, some bad stuff. It’s a place to answer questions, to field complaints, and to actively ask for input. For free.
  3. Advocacy – this one’s huge, and should be a constant. Share good stuff about the library, and point out when we see customers saying good stuff about us.
  4. Purposeful Engagement – why gather a crowd if you don’t ask them to do anything? We should be including Calls to Action in our Facebook Posts, on specific things we want our customers to actually do. That might mean Liking the page, or it might mean attending a movie at the library. We need to start asking … and then measuring results.
  5. Conversions – Doing that Purposeful Engagement thing in #4 can lead to “conversions.” What’s a conversion? Simply stated, a conversion in social media is when your ask turns into their action. For example, if you ask Facebook Page visitors to register for an event at the library (and supply a link to the registration form), and 20 people actually click the link and fill out the form, that equals 20 conversions. Conversions can be measured and improved upon. But the important point here – you WANT conversions. You want to drive your Facebook Page visitors and fans to actually DO something – to interact with and engage your library. Conversions provides a way to measure that interaction.

Those are my five things … What are yours?

Photo by Flood

Taking a Stab at Facebook Page ROI

FacebookRecently, both the CEO and the Marketing Director at my library asked about the ROI of paying for Facebook Page ads. They asked because we recently ran two months worth of a Facebook ad, and wanted to know what the ad actually accomplished.

First of all, a bit of background on that ad. We created a simple ad that focused on getting more Likes on our library’s Facebook Page (Ben Bizzle at Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library helped us with that as part of his research on Facebook Page ads). The ad was shown to people with Facebook accounts who had friends that had already Liked us.

So now, back to the question – What was the ROI of our experiment? There are two ways to look at ROI in this case. There’s the simple “Did it work” ROI, and there’s the “What’s really going on here” way to look at it. Let’s look at both:

Facebook Ads ROI – the simple version:

Goal – Our goal with this ad was to gain more Facebook fans. did we achieve that at a good price?

Spent – $591 ($10 a day for approx 2 months)
Gained – 2642 fans – averaged about 40 fans a day.
ROI – $0.22 per fan. Pretty cheap!

Facebook ads ROI – the “what’s really going on” version:

Ok, so we spent spent about $600 and gained 2642 more fans. Big deal. What’s the real ROI for that? What can you do with 2642 more Facebook fans? Here’s my thinking on that:

More eyeballs – this is important because of how Facebook works. On average, about 16% of your Facebook fans see a single post. So more Facebook fans = more people seeing your post (even if the average stays the same).

If national statistics are an ok guide, about 54% of our community, age 13 and up, have a Facebook account. That means we have the potential to reach over half of our community through Facebook … for free or cheap. That’s huge, so paying $0.22 per fan to get there seems to be a small price to pay for the added benefit of being able to share the good stuff of the library with more people in our community.

Better listening tools – Also important. Consistent interaction gets us active fans willing to talk back. Having more fans gets us the potential to have more interaction and feedback, since we are engaging a larger audience.

Better advocacy channel – this one’s simple. People say good stuff about the library. In Facebook, those posts spread. Again, more people (hopefully) equals more people saying good stuff about us.

So that’s what I’m thinking anyway. Eyeballs, listening, and advocacy. More fans = more of each (or at least the potential to have more of each).

Help me out – what am I missing?

FB Hand image by birgerking

Create Better Content to Create Better Engagement

I’ve been seeing quite a few posts the last few weeks talking about the horror of Facebook’s changes to their Edgerank algorithm for Pages. For example, here’s a post about Mark Cuban’s complaints about the recent changes.

In the article, a company named Pagelever disagrees with Cuban’s analysis, saying this (among other things):

Facebook has been putting posts with low or negative engagement toward the bottom of its algorithm, while allowing highly engaged posts that don’t attract negative feedback to be seen in more news feeds.

So. Simply stated, to fix this supposedly huge Facebook Page problem … just create good content. Create content that is engagement-worthy, that your followers and fans want to Like, Share, and comment on. Focus on that, and your organization’s Facebook posts will start to appear in your Fan’s newsfeeds.

Problem solved. Now go get busy.

Pic by iabuk

Facebook Page Best Practices

FacebookLast Saturday, I gave a Facebook Page session at Podcamp Topeka 2012. Part of that presentation included current best practices for posting content to a Facebook Page. Here are those best practices in bullet points:

  • Call to action – you need to tell people to do things like comment, like, and share. Include the call to action in the first 90 characters of your post.
  • Get to the point – 250 characters or less is best. Shorter posts get 60% more interaction than longer posts.
  • Ask for short responses, fill-in-the-blank responses, etc – i.e., “Who’s your favorite author?” This type of question post gets 90% more interaction than other types of text-based posts.
  • Pin important posts, so it stays at the top of your Page longer
  • Be casual (and appropriate). A conversational tone will attract more interaction.
  • Use images. More people comment, Like, and Share posts with images.
  • Post consistently. At least five times a week to stay on top-of-mind for fans.
  • Post the same types of content on the same day of the week. Example – book review Mondays. This helps fans know what to expect from you.
  • Give fans access to exclusive information or content. Yet another way to drive interest and engagement to a Facebook Page.
  • Find your optimal time to post. This will vary by organization.

Want to know more about current Facebook best practices? Check out Best Practices for your Page and Media Strategy by Facebook.

photo by Simon Q

Answering some Questions about Social Media

Once in awhile, some of you guys ask me questions via email. Usually, I just answer back in another email. This time, I thought I’d also answer via a blog post – you might find something useful here, too.

The question was about social media – how does your library do it, how is it used, who manages it, etc. Here are the questions and my answers:

1. Should social media responsibilities fall within the scope of public relations and marketing? Who in your library has the responsibility?

In Topeka, our Digital Services Director (that’s me) has oversight of social media. He acts as our library’s digital branch manager. That said, social media is a shared responsibility. Usually, a social media push starts in our Creative Group – a team made up of web, marketing, and public services staff. This team gets a feel for a new service, sets some preliminary goals, and sets up the service for the library. The next step for us is to create a pilot project team made up of public services staff (and the digital services director and possibly a marketing staff member too).

Then we expand as needed. For example, our Facebook team includes 12-15 staff members, mostly public services staff.

2. Is your website managed within your IT department?

Our IT department is part of our digital branch. IT is under the direction of the digital services director. Our web developer and web designer are both part of the IT department, and also part of the Creative Group. They do all the back end development of the site. Most of the content on our website is developed and maintained by other staff in the library (usually public services staff). The digital services director sometimes edits content, and meets with staff to help provide general suggestions and direction for library content. Marketing also helps with this.

3. How do you use social media and your website to engage with your communities?

We use social media to connect with our community by sharing library stuff and staff. “Stuff” includes our materials, events, and services. “Staff” means just what it sounds like – our staff involved in social media work to engage our community. For example, on our Facebook Page, our Facebook team focuses on these areas: readers advisory, current events and trends, and library materials, events, and services. In every post, our goal is to connect and engage with customers (in Facebook, the more engagement you get, the more eyes see your post), to point back to the library, to answer questions as they occur, and to share the library with our online community.

4. How much control of message and brand is important, in contrast with community engagement on the part of many staff throughout your library system?

I can’t say this strongly enough – in social media, you simply cannot control the message. Your customers do. Most modern marketing books, websites, blogs, etc. say that social media is all about engagement. It is probably 90% customer engagement and conversation, and only 10% marketing. If you flip that ratio to 100% marketing, your followers will simply tune you out.

Think about social media like this – who sits at your reference desk? Who runs your programs, classes, and events? The marketing department, or front-line public services staff? Does your marketing department control and edit the conversations taking place at the reference desk? I’m guessing not.

Social media is the same – it’s customer conversations and engagement, just like in your physical buildings. It’s just happening in your “digital building” – on your website and in your social media accounts.

photo by Mixy