PR News Facebook Conference Wrap-Up

I had the pleasure of attending the PR News Facebook conference yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington DC. Here are some of the key takeaways from the event.

Adapt to change as it happens

Change is inevitable, and in the case of social media, change has already started to happen. B. Bonin Bough of PepsiCo encouraged PR pros to practice digital fitness – the ability to adapt to changes in the digital environment. Social media changes every day. Digital fitness is truly an ongoing activity and it is especially necessary for managing a tool such as Facebook that evolves at the speed of light.

Understand Facebook’s measurement tool Edgerank

Businesses with Facebook pages should know that on average; only 1-10% of what is posted on business pages appears on fan news feeds. More, Katie Harbath, Associate Manager for Policy at Facebook, shared that Facebook users are 40-50 times more likely to consume information on their personal news feed than anywhere else on Facebook.

Make sure your business page activity makes it to your fans

How? In short, engagement is more important than ever. Fans that talk with businesses are more likely to see fan page updates. Logically, old content will sink and new content will rise. To increase interaction with your fans, purposefully communicate in a way that encourages conversation. Ideas:
  • Ask fans what they want to talk about. In the absence of response, measure content vs. interactions.
  • Keep Facebook posts to 80-100 characters. Brevity wins.
    • To paint a picture, the sentence above was 58 characters.
  • Tag people and organizations in status updates and images to alert them directly about a post and spark engagement.
  • Ask fans to like, comment and share.
  • Ask smart questions. Anna Lingeris of The Hershey Company suggested to use words like when, would, where and should instead of why to encourage interaction.
  • Use the notes feature on Facebook.
  • Keep fans on the Facebook business page instead of linking them outside.
  • Consider posting times. Michael Jaindl of Buddy Media shared that posts on Thursday and Friday have an 18% higher engagement rate than other posts especially early in the day and late at night. Saturday mornings can be effective tool.
  • If you are trying to grow your fan base, seriously consider Facebook ads as a way to drum up relevant fans.
  • Distribute traditional press releases and conduct media outreach to announce interesting Facebook campaigns.

Coupons and giveaways

Many speakers discussed the importance of giveaways and coupons in gaining and maintaining a Facebook fan base. These tactics aren’t always appropriate for every company. Ed Moran, co-author of The Hyper-Social Organization, spoke to the success of Amazon.com that gained popularity and maintained relevancy providing personalized recommendations. Be creative and determine what solutions best fit the needs of your customers.

Measure Success

Measurement practices don’t look the same for every company and every campaign. Each company should look at their overall business goals and ensure Facebook activity supports and helps to reach those goals. Review Facebook insights often and ask yourself what is working and what needs to be changed for better results. Failure often leads to breakthroughs. – Jennifer Image: Flickr, TechCocktail, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic