How to Optimize Your Use of the Facebook News Feed

Matt Stauffer

(Part 3 of a 5-part series: What I Learned From the Industry Experts on Using Facebook Well: An Interview with Michelle Widman of Brandglue)

A few weeks ago Michelle Widman, the Project/Community Manager at, agreed to sit for a phone interview with me. Brandglue is a social media firm that call themselves the “News Feed Optimization Agency”, and whose client lists include heavy hitters such as YouTube, Intel, Microsoft. Brandglue works with companies and organizations to help them optimize their customer interactions on Facebook. I’ve summarized what I learned from her and am posting it piece by glorious piece this week.

We’ve expanded our social media reach from just students to donors and narrowed our range to just Facebook (for the moment) and focused on Pages and interactions. Once we have decided to focus on our Pages, and more specifically, promoting interactions, how exactly do we do that? I asked Michelle, and she walked me through some of Brandglue’s pitch, which I’ll now pitch to you in my own particular way.

Challenging our thoughts about news feeds

How many Facebook fan pages are you personally a fan of? I know I’m a fan of around 20 pages, and I hear I’m right in the middle of the average Facebook user.

How many times have you ever gone back to visit those pages after you liked them? Probably never, right? The average Facebook user likes between 5 and 50 fan pages, and yet never visits them again ever after first clicking the “like” button. Because of this, spending a lot of time tweaking fan pages–especially with fancy tabs and sub-pages–can end up being a waste of time.

How to get on their news feeds

First, you need to get the initial “like”–get the students, alumni, and/or donor to “like” your page. There are plenty of ways to work on this, from putting a link to your Facebook page on flyers and your web site to adding a like button to your web site and chapter emails.

Once they’ve “liked” your page, your page’s status updates have a chance–not a guarantee–to inch onto their news feeds. There are all sorts of complicated algorithms that determine whether or not a status update hits their news feeds, and that’s the complicated science people pay Brandglue the big bucks to learn about.

How to promote interactions instead of visits

Once you have the chance to get on their news feeds, you need to get them interacting with your status updates. There are many benefits to their interaction (comments, sharing, liking) with your content: they feel more connected to your brand, their interaction signals their interest in your content (which means they’ll see your updates more and more frequently, according to Facebook’s news feed algorithms), and their interaction signals your content as interesting (which means more of their friends will see it).

So, it’s not a matter of advertising or selling your content or your organization; instead, it’s a matter of creating excellent, quality content that intrigues your students, alumni and donors and makes them want to interact with it.

How to create excellent, quality content

So, you’ve created a page, gotten them to like the page, and you’re set on creating status updates that they’ll interact with. What is the recipe for engaging content?

Unfortunately for us, again, those are the tricks that people pay Brandglue the big bucks for. As a News Feed Optimization business, the service they provide for businesses is helping them creative engaging content that drives interactions.

Michelle had a few great suggestions for us to get started, though. For example, she said, try to build a conversation. For example, post a status update that’s a question: “What do you think about _______ in Japan?” Not only do you invite your students, donors, and alumni into a conversation, you also show what you care about.

A few final tricks about using Facebook well

Michelle closed this part of our conversation with a few specific tips about using Facebook well.

  • Consider spending 1/2 hour a day on Facebook, interacting with students’ pictures, posting pictures of your own, reading about what’s going on and what people are talking about.
  • Only push one status update per day from your organization’s account; otherwise it will feel too noisy.
  • Get started with updates about:
    • Current events
    • World issues
    • Normal daily issues
    • Calls to action
  • Split your updates to about 70% general stuff (about their world, campus, etc.), 20% ministry-related (about your events, your “brand”, etc.) and 10% supporter communications and calls for donations.

Coming up next: Using Twitter As a Campus Minister (Brandglue interview part 4)

By Matt Stauffer | Posted: May 04, 2011
Category: Social Media | Tags: , , | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.

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  1. […] you should take all the time you spend (or don’t spend) developing your page, and instead work to reach your students’ news feeds. There are quite a few great tricks in the article I linked here, but if you remember one thing, […]

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