This isn’t going to be a long post (I know a lot of mine have been too long, lately) but that doesn’t make it any less important. It’s short because the concept is simple. Unfortunately, many are missing out on this easy technique.
There are plenty of types of content that you can post on Facebook, but they invariably fall into one of two categories – conversation and conversion. You’re either posting to help spark conversations that are on topic with your industry or you’re posting content designed to drive conversions of some sort to increase business. In some cases, a post can fall under both categories, those these types of posts are normally not as effective at achieving either goal.
The point of conversational posts is simply to earn the right to post conversion content. You have to earn this right from two different entities. The first is Facebook itself. The EdgeRank algorithm is very fickle. Because people are less likely to interact with content that is pushing the big sale this weekend than if they’re seeing an image of a concept Hyundai crossover, too many conversion posts can hurt you in the algorithm. Facebook knows the activities that happen on their site including a lack of activity. In other words, it’s not just those unavoidable occasions when people will hide or report your content. Your EdgeRank is hurt when people simply do nothing, when it appears in their news feed but they scroll right passed it without engaging.
The second entity for which you have to earn the right to post conversion content is the user base itself. People get fatigued. If they see post after post of “sale-sale-sale” appear on their news feed, they will eventually block you. They are much less likely to do that when the conversion posts are spread out, when there’s real conversational posts hitting their news feed and drawing their attention. Then, when they see the conversion posts, they’re less inclined to offer negative feedback because they get it. That’s one of the toughest things for businesses and marketers to accept. People get it. They know that you’re running a business and they’re accepting of the occasional conversion post as long as they hold a good sentiment towards your company and social media presence because you’ve earned their trust through strong conversational posts.
The conversion posts are the easiest to grasp but are much harder to deliver properly. It isn’t about advertising the big sale or the oil change or the individual vehicle that you just took in on trade. It’s about presenting the big sale, the oil change, or the unique vehicle you just took in on trade in a way that is engaging to them.
The example above is not ideal. It’s not a super rare find or a killer manager’s special. It’s just a car, but there’s personality in the way that it was presented. That’s one of the keys. The second key is that the conversation that ensued as a result of the post included very responsive action. Someone in the local area inquired further about it. That’s good. It’s better that the response came with instructions on how to proceed.
These types of posts would not work if that’s all that ever got posted by the dealership. Most people passed this post up because they weren’t in the market at that particular moment for a used Honda Pilot. Even those who aren’t buying today will eventually need something, but more importantly you’ll want to get engagement from those people because of EdgeRank. Someone might not be in the market, but one of their friends might be. When the person not in the market likes, shares, or comments on your posts, there’s an increased likelihood that their friend who is in the market will now see the proper posts as a result.
Mix it up. There’s no magic formula. If I were cornered with a knife to my throat and forced to answer the question about the proper mix of content I would say something like 6:1 – six conversational posts for every conversion post, but I’d be guessing and generalizing. The reality is that it’s different for every page, every market, every demographic. Some can get away with 3:1. Some can only muster 10:1. Whatever is right for your page and your business is the way to go. It’s not a copout response. We spend a lot of time determining the personality and limitations of each individual client and the ratios listed above are real-world ranges that we’ve seen and applied. The key is finding what works best for you.
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This article originally appeared on Social News Watch.