Recently people have been talking about Facebook reach. Facebook has, at least allegedly, begun to experiment on monetizing the visibility of not only pages and groups but also the visibility of user’s posts and status updates. While using Facebook is ‘free’ and remains free, these changes imply that soon enough users are obliged for paying for visibility; if you want that your status update reaches your friends you can secure this with money. Now for pages the option to increase the reach by buying visibility has been available for a while. In addition there are also tools and statistics through which you can monitor your reach. However, for individual user the only way to monitor your reach has been by looking at the likes, recommendations and comments your post gets (filtered through EdgeRank of course). If you can buy reach, then the self-monitoring tools for Facebook are also bound to increase.
Now, the discussion of reach reminded me of a short piece that I planned for an article but that I for one reason or another rejected from the manuscript. This is a short excursion on how Facebook manifests its user engagement. It is a quick reading of Facebook’s Four Steps for Business Success site and the quotes below are from that site. I will post it here for the time being. It might find its way to somewhere someday.
The first step for business success in Facebook platform is to build a page for the business. “Your Page is the central place to grow your business, build your brand and develop relationships with your customers.” Creating a page begins from choosing a name and a category for the business. Then the profile is filled with visual and textual content: choose a profile picture and a cover photo, write a short passage describing the business. After the visual outlook for the page is selected one needs to invite users for the page. This is achieved by inviting Facebook friends and importing contacts from email addresses. After that one is ready to write a first post, which according for Facebook should be short, visual and optimized for example according to time and location of page users.
Connecting with people who are the right fit for the business is the second step for success. This is done by creating the first ad. First the promoted page is chosen, a new ad is then targeted for users that are not previously connected to the site. This ad can make the page more lucrative by for example offering discounts and coupons: ‘Like us today and receive a coupon for 50% off,’ ‘Like us to get access to exclusive sales and discounts!’ This ad can be targeted according to reach the right audience according “details such as their location, age, gender and interests so you know who you want to target them with your ad.” Moreover categories of ‘precise interests’ and ‘broad interests’ can be used to get a more specific audience. Broad interests refer to general interests and lifestyle of the user, precise interests refer to people who have expressed specific interest to a certain topic.
Now liking a page and advertising a page is not enough. The third step is to engage the audience to the page. “When you post content and have conversations on your Page, you’re building loyalty and creating opportunities to generate sales. Learn how to create content that will keep your audience interested.” This content can be promoted to users. It ensures that it will appear to their news feed and become noticed. Promoted posts reach the likers of the page and also potentially their friends. Indeed this influencing the friends of fans is the fourth step to business success. “When people interact with your Page, their friends can see it in their news feed as a story. Expand your audience by promoting stories about people engaging with your Page.” This can be done to something Facebook calls as Sponsored Stories. “Sponsored stories ensure that more people see when their friends have interacted with your business on Facebook. They can show in the news feed on desktop and mobile, and in the right hand column of Facebook.”
Now these four steps for business success will become especially interesting, if the monetization of status updates really will take place and one is to need instructions for personal success in Facebook. Self-promotion, that’s where the money is.
Photo: Money by Flickr user AMagill, used under a Creative Commons license.