I don’t care how many likes your fan page has.

We just got back from the Bristol race and I starting writing up a post about how race car drivers are no different than the hostess at a restaurant. We’ll get into that conversation later. For now, I want to talk about something that many don’t quite grasp; the number of Facebook Fan Page Likes. When you visit a fan page you always check to see how many fans they have. Its a common reflex and we all do it. Even me and I know better. We think that the more fans we have the more people will see what we have to say, right? No. Perception is not always reality, meaning, just because a Fan Page has a lot of Fans doesn’t mean they are better, or hip, or even give a damn. Additionally, the more fans you have doesn’t make you a better driver nor does it make you (or your team) more marketable. Boom! Someone had to say it. Enough intro …… lets get down and dirty with some details.

Although I always look to see how many fans a page has, my eyes don’t stop there. There is a much more important number to focus on. That number is the “Talking About This” number. This number far out weighs your Likes number. “Why is that,” you ask? It all comes down to Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm; there’s also the Graphrank but we will get into that later as well. The Edgerank algorithm is Facebook’s way of determining affinity, weight, and time decay for everything that is posted on Facebook. Another words, it determines what is displayed in a fan’s stream and for how long.

Affinity: refers to the user’s relationship with the item’s creator. For example, if you have an old acquaintance whose Facebook profile you haven’t visited in two years, they would have a very low affinity ranking. If you have a favorite driver whose profile/page you visited every day, they would have a very high affinity ranking. You’ll see why this is important in a second.

Weight: Combines what the item is and how it’s being interacted with. As for the “what,” videos, photos, and links are generally considered to have the highest weight. In other words, if a fan views a video on your page, this will score far more points in Facebook EdgeRank than if they simply visit your page. The other component to Facebook EdgeRank is how the item is being interacted with. A “Like,” for example, gets less weight than a comment. Additionally, updating your page from a 3rd party app (ie Twitter, HootSuite, etc) will be given less weight and more likely not to be seen.

Time decay: Refers to how recent the item is. Old news drops out of the news feed, so newer items are more likely to appear on a feed than older items. Understanding this, to increase your Facebook EdgeRank, post your links, comments, and photos at times when your users are most likely to be logged in to Facebook.

Let me ask you a question (bonus points if you thought of this clip when you read that). Have you ever posted something on Facebook and didn’t receive a single comment, or worse, not even a Like? Chances are, you have at which point you would question the loyalty of your friends and cry yourself to sleep at night because they didn’t ‘like’ you anymore. There, there, kiddo. It was merely a bad dream and certainly not you or your friends’ / fans’ fault. It was Facebook’s fault. Your fans didn’t respond to your post because they never saw it and they didn’t see it because of Edgerank. Studies show that 90% of Facebook users don’t return to a fan page once they click the Like button. They only see and interact with your content in their news feed IF they see it. “Build it and they will come” doesn’t not apply to FB. You see where Im going with this?  The more people you have Talking About This or talking about each post, the more Reach you will have. Your page and your posts will be seen by more people and seen for longer, thus growing naturally with fans who actually give a crap about what you are publishing. How many people are Talking About This on your page? Take that number and divide it by the number of Likes your page has. Once you get the answer, move the decimal point to the right two places. This will give a general idea of where your page stands. Is that number less than 2%? If so, we have a lot of work to do. Although most companies on FB have an interaction rate of 2% or less, we find that number to be too low for our standards. Your momma didn’t raise no fool and we don’t raise mediocre clients! You just have to put in the time and really think about what your posting. Does it entertain or inform your audience? Are all your updates about you-you-you? The closer you get the right answer, the higher your number will go and the more engaged your audience will become. Case in point: Our page is cruising at a consistant 19% and peaked a few weeks ago at 82%.

Only 3% To 7.5% Of Fans See Your Page’s Posts. Shocker.

“Doesn’t more fans result into more hits to my website?”
That was a question I heard recently which inspired me to write this post. The answer is yes and no. The fact of the matter is that you will receive a few website hits by those finding your Fan page. However, that is not our goal here. Let me ask you another question. What if those people do go to your website? What does that give you? Do simple website hits put money in your pocket? Unless you are an ad driven site, then no. Page views (for most sites) doesn’t sell product or services because their sites are not setup or designed properly. They don’t have landing pages that are specifically designed to keep the visiter once they have landed on the site. So chances are, those visits from Facebook just flew out the window anyway. Facebook is about connecting with your fans. Making them apart of you and your team’s day to day adventures. Thats the great thing about social media. Fans can, and are more than willing to become, a part of your daily life. Perhaps its just me, but I would much rather have a fan that is involved and dedicated to me, my team and my company on a daily basis rather than a ‘fan’ that hits my page or site once and disappears. Those ‘fans’ are useless to me and are not fans at all; merely a number. We’ve all heard the phrase “quality or quanity”. Its applies in social media as well. Social media isn’t about numbers. Its about context. You and your fans sharing stories, talking, communicating and blowing each others’ minds with a video you found.

So, you see, its not the number of Likes you have. Its the quality of fans that is your true goal. Quality fans will be die hard fans and die hard fans will support you through the ranks. Now, don’t get me wrong. The objective here is ultimately to sell a product. Whether that be a service, physical product or your personal brand. When you land that seven figure sponsorship deal, guess who’s going to buy your merch? A quality fan. Let me put it another way. You go into a bank and open a new checking account (ie A new Facebook account). You put the $20 in the account that is required to open it (ie Your FB profile picture, bio, etc). You then immediately try to withdraw $5,000 from that account. You can’t do it at a bank and you can’t do it in social media either. Before you can take money from your fans by having them buy something from you you have to put some skin in the game first. The days of pushing your message to the masses are gone. The days of pulling fans and customers in via quality content and conversation is upon us.

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