Facebook Friends: Not a Numbers Game?

Most companies are under the misguided assumption that Facebook is a numbers game. It should be common sense, right? The more followers or fans you have, the more popular you are. More popular means more visibility for your product, which means more revenue, right?
Wrong!
Facebook employs a ranking system called “EdgeRank”, which doesn’t only take your follower numbers into account: it also checks how many times these followers interact with your posts by liking, sharing, and commenting on them, measuring your affinity with each person that comes into contact with your content.
What this means is that Facebook measures relevance as being directly proportional to how many people you’ve managed to hook with interesting content. Put even simpler, it means that a page can have up to tens of thousands of followers, but if none of them share, like, or comment on the fan page’s posts, Facebook doesn’t put it on the news feed because it logically follows that the content isn’t “worth” sharing. It’s not “interesting”.
The essence of marketing in social media relies on the fact that a brand needs to be social in order to create a presence or generate some buzz. Focusing on getting fans is a good way to start, but it doesn’t ensure a brand’s staying power, and it certainly doesn’t assure social media marketing success. In order to really succeed in the new frontier of Facebook, your posts shouldn’t be limited to the news feeds of your base audience – you want them to share it with people who have never heard of you. Expand the kingdom, if you will. A valuable fan base is one that does the legwork for you, and for this, you are going to need well-written, relevant content.
Content is king. This is something I’m willing to repeat over and over, because there is no better, more foolproof, more successful marketing venture out there. It really pays to find ways to encourage people to comment on your posts, be likeable and more engaging. Try starting lively discussions and keep track of what the people are saying. Once they start sharing your posts with their friends, you can watch your follower count grow higher, too, which hits two birds with one stone.
Post pictures, jokes, or maybe an infograph, just to mix it up a bit. A boring page is as good as a dead page, but even a meme is bound to get you shared to someone. Going viral is generally an accidental occurrence, but you could get lucky. Don’t try too hard, though. Make sure you have relevant, targeted content along with the occasional goof.
In addition, featuring users is a great way to engage your audience and let them feel like they’re part of the team. Single out a user who contributes to the page often, or is particularly funny or interesting to you. Instilling a tiny sense of competition generally spurs people into action, even if the prize to be won is just being featured on the front page of your website. If you can spare it, go a step further and offer actual prizes or launch an official Facebook contest.
While it’s nice to have a lot of friends (Facebook friends, in this case), you have to make sure that they’re really your friends in the truest sense of the word. After all, a good online community is measured with the amount of activity that happens between its individual members. So if you think having a thousand Facebook friends count for something, think again.
Until then,
Andy