What does it mean and why do I want it?
Following on from our previous blogs of why websites are important and how we need social media, we are now discussing some of the interactions that we want on Facebook. These are Follow, Like, Share and Comment – BUT …
What do they mean?
Why do we want them?
How do we know if we’ve had any?
What do they mean?
Following a person allows you to see activities that that person has performed according to their security settings. At the very least, you will see what is flagged as ‘public’.
- You can only ‘Follow’ real people.
- Adding as a friend automatically ‘follows’ them, and they follow you – so you see each other’s posts in your news feeds.
- Following a person who is not your friend means you see their public posts in your news feed, but they don’t see yours.
The Follow feature of Facebook is the activity that defines the power of social media. It is what determines how information is distributed and what is delivered to everyone’s individually tailored news feed.
- You can like posts and pages.
- If you like a page or post your friends will see that you’ve liked it on their activity stream, their news feed and their notifications.
- For a Page, a ‘like’ can be thought of as a vote of how popular or even influential your brand is.
- Liking the page makes you a ‘fan’ of the page and you will receive updates of pictures and posts that are made to that page.
- A share will post to your timeline, a friend’s timeline or a group, and appear in your friends’ news feeds, it allows you to control the audience to which you will share it, and also allow you to comment on the post.
- It is an endorsement of how interesting and engaging your content is to other people.
- Because a share will be shown more clearly on your own timeline compared to a ‘like’, it could be argued that shares are more valuable. But because the news feed (which both appear in) is highly complex and constantly updated, the jury is out on which is the more favourable.
- As it says, this is where you leave a comment on someone else’s post.
- Your friends will see in their newsfeed that you have commented on a post, and the post itself. This gives them the opportunity to also respond.
Why do we want them?
The key thing that is common with all of these activities is that Facebook tells your friends what you’ve done. If your friends view the post and then follow up with a like/share/comment, then their friends are also told about their activity and so the cycle goes on with Facebook telling friends of friends of friends….. about your post.
This is how some posts are said to become viral spreading through potentially millions of people like a virus.
All of this is FREE advertising on a level that you can’t get via any other means. People with like interests are reading, liking, sharing and/or commenting on your posts and by just doing that they are telling all their friends about you. Of course many of their friends will have the same interests!
How do we make it work for us?
As we discussed in ‘Why do we need social media?‘, social media should be seen as an interconnected ecosystem channelling visitors back to your website. Your goal should not be to write interesting posts on Facebook, that defeats the object of what we’re trying to achieve. You should write your interesting posts on your website! You then share your post to Facebook. Why? because when people view your post, they will click the link and be brought back to your website.
Now we are starting to connect the ecosystem.
How do we know if we’ve had any or if it’s working?
Facebook provide an interface into their inner workings which allow developers like Wire Wheels Webbers access to information. We can provide add-on modules to all our websites that will give analytics on likes, shares and comments that will enable you to judge what works well and what doesn’t.
Let’s take a look at an example, in this case we have examined the FBHVC.
Here we can clearly see that The National Historic Vehicle Survey carried out in April 2016 was very popular with 182 people liking it, 97 people shared the URL (or a Facebook post containing the link) and 91 people commented on the original post or a shared instance of the post on Facebook! This is information that you could never find by searching Facebook.
These are very powerful metrics that will help your club understand what is happening with your website’s pages and posts being shared on Facebook. You can perform further analysis to work out what works well and what doesn’t for your own posts. The important thing to remember here is that your goal is to bring people back to your website to spread the word of your existence. The days of people actively searching you out on Google are diminishing, you need to give them a reason to find you, and to come back.
These metrics do come with a caveat. The interface into Facebook to collect them is under the total control of Facebook and can vary at any time. The interface that we are using to collect these metrics is actually deprecated, and at some point in the near future it will be removed. The latest version of the interface will only give the ‘Total’ column. But even with just the ‘Total’, it is still very valuable information as regardles of whether we are measuring likes, shares or comments, they are all still valuable mechanisms for sharing information across Facebook.
Besides the fact that sharing your website URLs is very helpful to spreading the word about your club and helping people to find you, there is an additional positive effect. The search engines such as Google also take a great deal of notice of them. They are called ‘social signals’. The greater the activity on social media that your website has, the more notice the search engines are going to take which will earn you valuable ‘points’ that can help place you higher up the search page.
Like, Share and Comment on Facebook are valuable ‘social currency’. They are free ways to advertise your club because the power of the social community is doing it for you. Use your social metrics to understand what works well and what doesn’t, and adapt your future posts accordingly. Doing so will help you to engage increasing numbers of people, bringing with it a greater awareness and new members to your club.
Bringing new visitors to your website is always our goal. Their first impression will be a lasting one, so make sure that your website doesn’t fall foul to the common club website mistakes we covered in a previous blog. Facebook users are largely mobile users, if they click through to your website … will it work properly on a small device?