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Facebook’s newest tactics exposed in Women in Ag webinar
By MICHEL ELBEN
NEWARK, Del. — Who could guess that a Facebook page with 300 fans has the potential to reach 3,000 people?
“A Facebook fan who likes and comments on a page can make your post go viral,” said University of Delaware’s professional web developer Christy Mannering during a Women in Ag ‘Facebook Strategy’ webinar on May 28.
A person’s interaction shows up in his or her profile activity, Mannering said. If that person is a ‘friend’ that has “500 friends then 500 people who were not your initial target audience now have the potential to see their friend’s interaction with your content,” she said.
Post often: “We used to be afraid to over-post,” said Mannering. “Now I’m telling you — post more.”
Mannering recommended posting at least two to three times a day, allowing at least three hours in between posts. “At least once in the evening hours,” she said.
Schedule in advance if you think you’re too busy to post, she said.
“Think ahead. We know when Ag Week or Ag Day will be,” Mannering said. “You can schedule a post six months in advance. If you have a special event coming up, schedule it ... and come up with a theme for other days, like Motivational Mondays.”
Mix media: Facebook penalizes a page for posting only direct links to the page’s own content, Mannering said.
“Use contagious content,” she said.
Not every post needs to say the farm’s name or brand. Mannering recommended including posts that also relate to the farm’s mission, keeping the audience’s interests in mind.
“People engage the most with things that provoke an emotion or share a value,” she said.
And keep the content eye catching.
“Facebook is very photo-centric,” Mannering said. She encouraged everyone to vary media and “share intelligent and useful information in a compelling way.”
Facebook has purposefully made it more challenging to reach out because users can “like” everything from a hobby to a product. It creates less space on a user’s feed for information. Everyone is competing for the update space.
“You will have cricket days,” she said. “You might post something and get no engagement. This is OK! You can repost the same content at a different time on a different day and get better engagement (Just make sure you post other things in between).”
Be social: Your Facebook page does represent your farm or business but “don’t take yourself too seriously,” said Mannering. “Even people looking for research do like to laugh every now and then — use your personality — no one likes a deadpan lecturer.”
Engaging connections across Facebook is an often forgotten component.
Mannering recommended taking the time to “like” other pages while logged in as the farm’s page.
Comment and share other pages’ content to promote partnerships and give “shout-outs.”
“When another page begins to follow your page, check out their content,” Mannering said. “Follow them back. It’s like a neighbor who waves to you on their way to work…don’t forget to wave back!”
Create community: Mannering recommended asking people to post photos of their garden, what they made with the produce from the market, their kids at the orchard — whatever connects the Facebook ‘friends’ to your page.
“Ask questions, captions or fill- in-the-blanks,” she said. “Sharing is caring.”
People love seeing ideas and inspiration from others. She said pages are notified when users comment, like, or share their content.
Other users are “far more likely to check out your content if you share theirs,” Mannering said.
Facebook’s algorithm weighs some interactions (shares) more heavily than likes and will see the post is of interest and then allow it to come up in more people’s newsfeeds.
The don’ts: “Do not neglect your page,” said Mannering. “A page that is ignored gets penalized by Facebook’s algorithm and it is very hard to bring it back to life.”
Mannering said Facebook’s system also monitors pages that only post links.
“If you mix it up the post has a better chance,” she said, suggesting your page will more likely appear on a fan’s feed it is regularly modified.
“Don’t ask for likes, comments, or shares,” Mannering said. Facebook is flagging these posts as spam. Instead, use “Spread the word!”
“Social media is like exercise – it takes patience, consistency and commitment,” said Mannering.