5 fundamental things you must understand about Facebook

facebookI’m not denying that Twitter is sexy. Something about those 140 characters is so alluring. Perhaps it’s the challenge of displaying wit and intellect in a soundbite.

I love Twitter, don’t get me wrong.

But I also find it interesting that during conversations I’ve had with people (journalists, politicos, public relations/communications professionals) about social media, they think Twitter first. There’s no doubt that there are some key influencers on Twitter.

The New York Times’ David Carr recently said at a Boston University recent conference on narrative:

‘Being big on Twitter is like being big in Japan. You can’t use it as a metric of your actual reach.’

Twitter may be a sexy flirt, but Facebook is a player.

Put plainly, there are more people are on Facebook. Heck, you can reach my mother on Facebook – and she still doesn’t get twitter.

Suprisingly, when I ask people their Facebook strategy, they most often say ‘we’re still working on it.’

Facebook isn’t new on the block – but I just don’t think we give it the respect it deserves. Here’s why you shouldn’t/can’t still be ignoring Facebook when it comes to connecting with your audience, and what you need to know:

1. Fish where the fish are. Facebook has more than 1-billion active users. Canadians are on Facebook in a huge way. Of the more than 28-million internet users in the country, roughly 18 million Canadians, or 63.54 per cent, were on Facebook according to Internet World Stats.

2. Know your audience. Looking at Canadian Facebook demographics, the largest growth lately has been recorded in the 45-54 age group. But the largest demographic on Facebook is much younger – 25 per cent of total users in Canada are between ages 25-34. Another 24 per cent are between 18-24, according to a May, 2012 report in Cantech Letter. Fifty-four per cent of Canadian Facebook users are female, 46 per cent male.

3. Engagement isn’t just about being liked. It’s important to have as many page likes as possible, as this extends your reach into the Facebook feeds of your ‘fans.’ However, fans aren’t the main metric to judge a Facebook page by, as it only shows how many people are subscribed to your page (think mass distribution of flyers).

A better measurement is engagements (likes, shares, comments), but each of these actions broadens the reach of a post exponentially. In this way, a strong core group of active, engaged fans who react and take action on the content you post. Facebook allows you to measure the engagement rate of your posts, providing the percentage of people who liked, commented on, or shared your facebook posts after seeing them.

thumb4. Think of your voice and format. It’s important to consider the infrastructure of facebook, inviting users to ‘like’ and ‘share’ posts. Questions work well on Facebook, inviting people to comment. Light stories do especially well, as people like to ‘like’ them.

Funny and controversial stories are best suited to a Facebook audience. Most Facebook connections are friends and relatives. That means they’re more likely to engage with stories that lead to a conversation rather than stories about a specific topic of interest.

5. A picture is worth 1,000 words. Every story posted should have an image. Images increase the visibility of the story in the Facebook timeline. To get the maximum boost to a story, upload an image directly to your Facebook page, rather than a link (facebook will make this a smaller image)

4 thoughts on “5 fundamental things you must understand about Facebook

  1. In #2, Know your audience, you forgot to mention in your stats that the largest growth on FaceBook is among adults over 55: 12.4 million new users were added from this age range, a whopping 80.4 percent growth.

    You also forgot to mention that teens are jumping the FB ship in favour of microblogging networks and messaging apps — and FaceBook-owned Instagram.

    Also keep in mind that stats are not that easy to suss out. One reason teens aren’t using FB as much is that their parents are also members, which restricts their use. I mean, who wants to be on the same site as their parents?

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