Maintaining an awesome Facebook page:
5 simple hacks for tour operators
Once you cross the first hurdle of building your audience and getting some decent number of likes, the next step is to figure out how to maintain that momentum and cast your net wider.
1. Be active and responsive
This is perhaps the simplest and the easiest thing to get right. Respond to all comments without fail and delay. Queries and concerns about your tours, praise, complaints, address them all, pronto.
So when your customers ask you a few questions or have a couple of opinions thrown up for discussion, be quick to respond. Make sure you do not overlook comments. Another matter of concern is how you respond. Needless to say that you must be courteous, calm and respectful no matter how heated a discussion gets. Remember your page is public and the world is watching.
Here’s an interesting interaction on the Starbucks page. Notice the speedy replies from Starbucks.
2. Understand the “News Feed Algorithm” and make it work in your favor?
The news feed algorithm, a chip off the old block EdgeRank, decides exactly what appears on a user’s News Feed, by ranking posts based on certain factors. Facebook says that it uses this ranking method rather than chronological listing ‘because every time someone visits News Feed, there are, on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and Pages for them to see and most people don’t have enough time to see them all.’ (read about it here).
The News Feed now shows what it believes the user would be interested in, rather than just showing random posts. So the spotlight is of course on the quality and how engaging a post is. The rather worrying bit however is that your posts won’t be seen by all your page fans. According to Facebook only 16% of your fans see your latest stories. So if a user likes your page, it is no guarantee that everything that happens on your page will appear in the user’s News Feed. This in a way is great for the Facebook user, but proving to be a steep climb for social media marketers, that is you.
No, you do not need divine intervention to influence the algorithm. All you need to do is, to understand a little about how it works and how to tame it. Some influencing factors:
- Engagement rate of your post. How many likes, comments and shares does a post gets as against the number of people who viewed the post. This clearly reiterates the fact that your content has to be engaging, exclusive and of high quality. Nothing less.
- What were the last 50 pages or people, the user interacted with? These stories will have a slight upper hand over others. So post frequently and regularly. Don’t even think about taking a few days off. Or you lose out.
- If the user hides or reports your post as spam, then it reflects poorly against your post. The more negative the feedback the worse it gets and it significantly affects your engagement rate. Hence, spamming is a strict no. Do not even think of repeating because you don’t want to be blacklisted by your audience.
- Story bumping is another feature that influences the News Feed. Old posts that the user has missed while scrolling, but still finds quite a bit of likes and comments, can re-appear on user’s timeline. Facebook says that in case of such re-posts, there is an ‘8% increase in likes, comments and shares on such organic stories from Pages’.
3. Take your page to the next level with Page Insights
Facebook is not just a great marketing medium but also allows you to measure how well you engage and market your tours & activities. Page Insights is a goldmine of information. How many likes, views & shares for your posts, engagement rate for each post and much more.
When and how frequently to post
Keep up your slew of amazing posts, some of which we discussed in the last blog-post. You must know that when you post something on your page, there is a good chance that users who are online at around the same time will see your post. So when do you post? When most of your target users are online. People will naturally log into Facebook at different time frames; some during lunch break, in the evening after work, you could not be all that sure.
Facebook comes to the rescue here. Go to insights and then posts. ‘When your fans are online’ is a very handy tool that will help you pace your posts to appear at strategic intervals in a day and determine when is the best time to put up your most important post.
No re-posting and no compromising on your content quality. So don’t hesitate to start off with three to four posts a day, as and when you have great content.
Active Travel Asia almost always posts three times a day. While Intrepid Travel, generally have two posts.
Is your content working its magic?
How good is your content? Do your fans find themselves drawn to your page or do they just scroll past your post? Do some posts work better than others?
Insights has some handy tools to let you analyze how well your posts are working; how many people have viewed your posts be it fans or non-fans and how engaging they are through likes, shares and comments.
‘Likes’ lets you know your page likes as of today, unlikes and Net Likes.
Under ‘Posts’, you will find a list of posts published and how they’ve performed, in terms of reach and engagement. Reach can be obtained in terms of fans/non-fans or organic/paid. Similarly you can examine the engagement in terms of likes, comments, shares or spams, hides, unlikes or engagement rate itself, by clicking on the arrow next to ‘Engagement Rate’.
‘Post Types’ shows the average rate of engagement with each post type whether it is a status, photo, video or link.
‘Reach’ gives you post reach that is the number of people who have seen your post and also the total reach of your entire page and everything in it.
What type of content works?
Keep varying the type of content you put up. See what clicks the best with your fans – interesting links you shared or offers & deals or images of scenery and exotic food that left people drooling. ‘Post Types’ under Posts, helps you gauge each post type by average rate of reach and engagement. Understand what type of posts people like the best.
Who is your audience?
The best part about Facebook’s page insights, is gauging your audience. ‘People’ provides age, gender, geographic and language demographic data w.r.t your fan base, people reached and engaged. This of course helps you identify, construct and focus on your target segments.
4. Get a grip of Facebook Terms and Policies
Familiarize yourselves with Facebook’s terms and policies.
Earlier, promotions could only be administered through apps and not through posts or likes, to collect entries from participants. However last year they got rid of it, with one restriction still in place, “Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions”. Another tip you would need to know – your cover photo should not contain more than 20% of text. So tread carefully when you’re trying to advertise on your cover.
Not complying with their rules may have repercussions like having your page shutdown. So run a constant check on what is changing. Play safe. Don’t end up on the wrong side of Facebook and you’ll be fine.
5. Keep pace with constantly evolving Facebook ecosystem
Stay updated on what is happening in and around Facebook and what you can use to your advantage. Visit Facebook for Business page frequently.
Facebook has over a billion users. All you have to do is reach out to them. Yes, paid advertising means a more guaranteed reach. But that’s not to say, you don’t have a shot at going viral the organic way.
In fact it would be most prudent to first get the foundations of your page right. Establish a steady frequency of posting, consistent good quality content, and keep an eye out on how people are responding. This way you will know who your audience is, what draws attention (read likes), and how best to approach them. It is vital that you get your bearings straight before you even think of paid advertising.