Much like Google, Facebook works very hard to provide its users with the most relevant content. Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. It’s truly all about connecting us—our planet, industries, and interests.
Now, you could argue that you don’t always care about what shows up on your News Feed (like your high school teacher’s latest casserole). However, if you thought about it, you’ve probably seen that Facebook truly customizes its ads and News Feed from your recent activity.
All Facebook rants aside (which I’m sure this post will inspire), this customization is a good thing. It’s responsible for the proliferation and success of Facebook. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so addictive. It’d become annoying if Facebook didn’t work so hard to connect you with the people and things they think you care about.
EdgeRank was the name of the algorithm used to determine what content gets shown in your News Feed. In 2011, Facebook stopped using that word internally—but it’s still social media vernacular. As of 2013, Facebook used more than 100,000 factors in a now untitled calculation. Its News Feed algorithm is constantly changing—intentionally. It keeps marketers on their toes and helps Facebook control quality for you.
So…how can you use Facebook to your advantage as an artist wanting to be seen and heard? Here are five keys.
1. Be a profile, not a page
Facebook has pretty much taken away all organic reach for pages. They’re meant for businesses. Until you have thousands of engaged fans, you’ll have much more reach (a.k.a. power) by leveraging your profile. If you go public with your profile and allow followers, an unlimited amount of fans can get customized access to your profile—including only the content you deem “public.” It’s much simpler and effective than separating yourself between a “personal” profile and “professional” fan page. Professional is personal—and vice versa.
2. Connect with mutual friends
Every business is built on relationships. Decisions are made based on trust and credibility. Utilize Facebook friendships to your advantage. As you network up on Facebook, your “mutual friend” count will rise, as well as the frequency in which you show up under the appropriate “people you may know.” You’re simply taking away degrees of separation, making it an easier yes for VIP industry contacts to accept your friend request (when the right time comes along to make that “bold” move).
3. Time it
It’s been said that Thursday at 3 p.m. is the best time to post on Facebook…until everyone posts on Thursday at 3 p.m. The best time to post on Facebook is when your ideal audience is not only awake, but likely checking their Facebook accounts. That could be first thing in the morning, at lunch, midday, or end of day! Beyond timing your post, you should be timely. Be current. It’s not as effective to talk about the Oscars or your Broadway debut a week after they’ve happened!
4. Shape it
This is the biggest key. Social media is an art and a science. Much like any composition, sometimes the first impulse is the best choice. However, sometimes refining reveals better choices. Here are some mainstays of effective and engaging posts.
Exciting: What positive thing just happened?
Emotional: Whether you make me happy, angry, or sad—if you trigger my emotions, I’m more likely to engage.
Exclusive: Give your audience access to special moments. Perhaps that’s an exclusive selfie? I’d also recommend native posts to each social platform.
Experiential: If you share a photo, video, Web link (or just write a great story), I’m more likely to engage.
5. Place it
Getting seen and heard on Facebook is not limited to the News Feed. Don’t forget about private and group messages, private and public events, private and public groups, and the ability to segment posts from “only me” to “public" updates! Facebook gives us all (perhaps way too many) options.
What are your favorite posts to see on Facebook? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.