We analyzed 100m posts so you don’t have to
Mari Smith helps marketers increase their reach in this summary of Facebook questions and answers from a webinar and Facebook live session with Mari — the Queen of Facebook.
During those two sessions we were able to identify 56 questions from the audience-mostly marketers– about using Facebook. We thought that the list itself (and of course, the answers) would be a helpful resource for others.
To provide this list of Facebook questions and answers, we summarized Mari’s responses during the live presentations, browsed the Facebook comments from the live session, and added our own insight where we could. For a few we looked to other trusted sources for their input. If the question was answered by someone other than BuzzSumo or Mari, we’ve made a note of who answered the question.
If you, like us, are a fan of Lee Odden’s advice to be the best answer to your customers’ questions, you might just want a list of the questions, so that you can provide in-depth posts about them.
Embedded videos are recorded outside of Facebook, then uploaded directly to Facebook. Facebook Live videos are live broadcasts from the Facebook app itself–initially they were only possible on mobile devices, but now, third party providers like OBS Studio and Wirecast can be used to broadcast from a desktop or a laptop.
Mari says, Go for it…here’s how:
There are some times when you may want to publish recorded live broadcasts to YouTube immediately and some times when you may want to wait. The timing depends on your purpose. If you are doing a big launch, then publish immediately. If not, you will still probably want to post to YouTube eventually. Download the recorded Facebook Live video from Facebook. The location of the download button keeps changing, so here’s a workaround. Right-click the video to show the URL, then paste the URL into a new tab. Download the HD video, then upload it to YouTube. Animoto is a great option for editing and creating clips from these Facebook Live recordings.
Absolutely–I think that Blab is phenomenal and love that additional people can be pulled in. At some point Facebook Live will have the ability to do group chat, group video and invite people to join the broadcast. I also think there will be Facebook Live inside messenger for customer service.
When a video is displayed in a Facebook news feed, there is no sound unless someone clicks the video. Videos should be created to be compelling without sound, so that people are interested enough to click before they hear anything.
The best answer here is to be patient. In April 2016, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the feature would be rolled out to everyone, but some marketers have just gotten access this month. Another tip from Jenny Brennan–try updating the app in your phone.
Probably not. Mari uses GoToWebinar for all of her paid programs. But, she added that Facebook Live may replace free webinars hosted on other platforms.
Facebook recommends letting people know as a way to encourage your audience to log in and check out your broadcast.
Facebook recommends that live broadcasts be at least 10 minutes. They can be as long as 90 minutes. Longer broadcasts give people more time to discover your broadcast and share it with their friends. Videos that aren’t broadcast live should be much shorter (see next question and answer).
First of all, don’t give up. Facebook reports that 100 million hours of video are consumed on Facebook each day–it’s a huge target audience. And, a Nielson study commissioned by Facebook in 2015 indicated that videos were a powerful factor in increasing ad recall.
Secondly, keep in mind that most of that value is delivered in the first few seconds of the video–47% in the first 3 seconds and 74% in the first 10 seconds. (This is different than the advice for Live Broadcasts, which should be longer, see above).
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to feature your brand early in the video. You might consider a lower third caption that includes your web address, or something more creative like the example from Kleenex pictured below. In it, the Kleenex brand name appears at the 3 second mark.
The video also incorporates effective sound-off tactics, with captions in the first three seconds explaining that “An entire Elementary school is about to surprise an unsung hero.” (Curious about effectiveness of ads? I typed that from memory–check my accuracy.)
Jenny Brennan, JennyBrennan.me also recommends watching your ad report to see how many people watch X duration. Secondly, you can create an audience of people who viewed a video and you can retarget them with a blog post or link for example. That way if they skimmed the video you can reach them again.
It’s also a great idea to experiment with what works best for your individual audience.
BuzzSumo’s Facebook analyzer can show you the most effective videos for different topic areas. These are a great place to start looking for ideas about the types of videos that resonate with your audience.
An embedded video has been recorded outside of Facebook then uploaded into Facebook. It is different than sharing a link to a video on YouTube. When you post a video on Facebook with a link to YouTube, the link preview includes a thumbnail image of the video. In BuzzSumo’s research, uploading (embedding) videos in Facebook got more interactions than simply sharing a link to a video on YouTube.
BuzzSumo’s research did not address sharing of live videos. Our research did show that videos uploaded (embedded) in Facebook got much higher engagement than videos shared via a link to YouTube.
Mari says: MOST definitely!! Facebook has made it clear that for now, we are not allowed to place ‘ads’ in pre-roll etc… my guess is that’s because later that ‘inventory’ can be offered as ad units.
Mari says: I use super simple lighting–a table top fluorescent made by Lowel.
OBS studio and Wirecast are both options. Ian Anderson Gray does a good job of describing how to use both.
Mari says: Absolutely!
It depends. If you have content, and a way to monetize that content and integrate it into your plans, then yes, go ahead and buy. Mari said she falls into this category. She has purchased Wirecast and is outfitting a new studio in her home.
You can link your Facebook page to your Instagram account via “Settings” in your Instagram profile. Select linked accounts, then Facebook. The default is to share to your personal page, but you can change this to any page you manage by selecting “Share to,” and choosing the page. You can get more specifics at Instagram.
Our research showed that 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. of the local time for your audience is the best time to post. Sundays are the best day to post. You can combine the two for the highest average interactions. Remember though, that these are averages across Facebook. Consider them a starting point for your content and test what works for your audience. You can use the Facebook analyzer provided by BuzzSumo to find the best times to post for different individual topics and for your page, as well as for competitor or industry leading pages.
No, our research looked at a broad swath of brand and company pages. Our conclusions provide a great starting point. Try what works overall with your audience and adjust accordingly.
BuzzSumo’s research indicates that posts which were posted between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. in your audience’s local time, and posted on Sunday get more shares on average. Our research, summarized by Neil Patel, also looked at the number of posts from brands published at different times of day. We think that the decrease in competition at these times of day makes up for a smaller audience size.
BuzzSumo’s analysis of 1 billion Facebook posts showed that posts without hashtags were shared more frequently than posts with hashtags.
Our research didn’t tell us why the hashtagged posts performed poorly compared to posts without hashtags. More research is needed. However, it’s important to test this with your specific audience. We have also found some very successful Facebook pages that use hashtags on some of their content.
Yes, we did include polls in our research. For the best performance — keep in mind that question posts with images performed much more strongly than all other posts.
In a new post, deleting the link doesn’t make a difference in what your audience sees. Once the nice pretty image version is in place, you can decide if you want to leave the ugly, untidy-looking URL in place (we have no preference. 🙂 )
In an article for Marketingland.com Danny Sullivan has some great tips about setting up your links to share well. He suggested using the Facebook debugger to identify problems and solutions if the link you’d like to shared doesn’t display correctly. You can find the debugger here: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/
BuzzSumo’s research indicated that shorter posts perform far better on average than longer posts. As always, begin with conclusions from broad research, then experiment with what works best for your audience.
Facebook has opened it’s platform to publishers, so that they can upload content directly to Facebook instead of sending people to content hosted on websites other than Facebook. The tool was designed to improve load times on mobile, and seems to have delivered on the promise with Facebook reporting load times up to 10x faster on mobile. You have to load at least 50 articles into Facebook to get started with Instant Articles, and your initial batch of articles is subject to Facebook review and approval. Advertising and analytics are part of the platform. Buffer gives a great overview of how to use Instant Articles.
I wasn’t able to confirm the frequency of reduced organic each after boosting a post. However, Facebook’s help center has several similar questions, so you are definitely not alone in seeing this phenomenon.
Here’s one possible reason, provided by Facebook: “Your organic reach may decline when you boost a post if you happen to be targeting your current fans. You also have the option to exclude people who already like your Page when you create an ad. I would suggest targeting people in this way if you want to keep your organic reach high.”
Custom and lookalike audiences may be helpful for you.
Social Media Examiner has a great post describing ways to use audience targeting to reach very precise audiences.
For additional inspiration that will encourage you to think broadly about topics that might interest your audience–and add a little fun, check out GE’s Pinterest page. With boards like “Hey, girl” (tech inspired pick-up lines), “DIY with LED,” and Mind=Blown, the brand has amassed 26.3k followers.
You might also consider whether Facebook is the most important network for your target audience. BuzzSumo’s content analysis tool can show you which network gets the most shares for various topic areas.
For example, an analysis of “Big Data” shows that most of the shares on average are on LinkedIn. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have a Facebook presence–we think that Facebook’s value as a content-discovery tool makes it important social real estate. But, if you aren’t picking up a lot of shares there, you might want to pivot to a different network.
Mari says: Absolutely! To do so, simply click on the list of people who have liked your post. Facebook will display their names and let you know if they have already liked your page. You can invite people to like the page directly from the popup.
Facebook suggests that using UTM codes may make third-party tracking of conversions inaccurate.
Over 90% of Facebook users access the site via mobile; over half of those users access the site exclusively on mobile. This means that any marketing strategy must be designed with mobile users in mind.
Adobe SparkPost, Lumyer, and Ripl
Only Lumyer is currently available for Android.
Social Media Examiner recommends using post targeting and gives a great description of how to do it. “With the decline in Facebook post reach, post targeting may be a feature you need to start using regularly to get your posts in front of the right audience.”
Before you follow the instructions from Social Media Examiner, you’ll need to allow audience optimization for your posts. You can find this option in the general settings of your page. Once it’s enabled, you will have a variety of targeting possibilities to choose from–including demographics and interests.
Begin by understanding the two types of pixels available. One is for tracking conversions and the other is for tracking the audience who visits your website so that Facebook can use that information to target a Facebook audience when you advertise.
Mari recommends using case studies to show the effectiveness of campaigns done with tracking pixels. She recommends research by Mixpo, a digital advertising company, which showed an $8 difference per conversion when tracking pixels are used. Why, Mari asks, would you not want lower costs and more conversions? Another resource she recommends for case studies is Facebook’s success stories pages.
From Randy Milanovic, Kayak Online Marketing
The best way to design a CTA is to create it with the prospect in mind, along with an action you want them to take. Download, Contact, Subscribe… It should speak to them at a relevant time in a way that will acknowledge their intent. An often overlooked strategy is in deciding how to use the different CTA presentation options in your arsenal. Maximum engagement happens when the visitor is given what they need, when they feel they need it. Imagine a sales funnel… at the top is often a fairly shallow ‘give’, whereas deeper down, the prospect will find a more significant action or information request. For the team at KAYAK Online Marketing, designing sales funnels that connect with visitors’ core needs becomes the priority, with CTA prompts along the journey. Conversions being the ultimate the measure of success.
Mari suggested a tactic that is effective when people have a content map in place and are posting long-form content. First, install the Facebook tracking pixel on your site. Publish a helpful piece of tutorial content and share it on Facebook. Let that content gather some organic reach, then promote it with ads manager. Retarget the audience who comes to the first blog post with a different promotion in the newsfeed, perhaps inviting them to an event or inviting them to read an article. Don’t go for the sale immediately, build a relationship, she says.
The gray checkmark indicates that page belongs to a local business, company or organization. The blue is for public figures, sports and media companies. These sites are verifed as authentic by the business, brand or person and Facebook.
Request verification from Facebook. You will need a drivers’ license, passport, or incorporation documents. Expect some wait time before you are verified.
The process is simpler with the gray check mark. Just have your phone handy to receive a verification code.
Facebook provides these instructions:
Facebook will then review your information and issue the check mark if appropriate. Verification is not required for Facebook pages.
Verifying your page has several benefits. It increases your brand credibility, and it helps you to gain audience reach that might otherwise be lost to imitation pages.
Only blue check-mark pages have access now to a new feature called branded content, which allows businesses to co-promote content. Branded content is subject to specific content and ad policies.
A Facebook page that is focused on a specific interest, not a brand or a business (although marketers could create a page like to build a brand or business). Here are two examples: I Love the Ocean, with 863,000 likes and Beauty Addicts, with 1.7 million likes.
Facebook Questions and Answers about Ad Manangement
Mari explains: Ads manager is a hub for advertising. Power editor is for advanced users who want the capacity to split test or run multiple ad sets. Ads manager offers more advanced parameters than simpley boosting posts. If you are a beginner or intermediate user of Facebook ads, stick with ads manager.
If you have a saved audience, you can do some great boosting. Without a saved audience, boosting is similar to throwing money at the boost button.
48. In terms of getting help, small businesses often don’t have the budget to hire consultants. What would recommend they do to get quality help?
49. Where does Mari get the news of upcoming new features on Facebook?
50. When your page has very few likes, how do you increase the reach of your posts?
51. Should a Solopreneur have a separate Facebook page?
52. How can small businesses use Facebook ads to reach people on mobile devices in real time as they are doing searches?
53. Do you have suggestions for a wireless microphone to use with an iPhone or iPad to create better audio for videos?
54. Does Facebook penalize pages for reusing content?
55. Any tips for 360 video on Facebook? Can we do 360 live?
56. Do the pages you like as a page affect your reach when you use live on your page ?
Clearly marketers have a lot of questions about Facebook! These Facebook questions and answers just begin to scratch the surface, and there is certainly a lot of scope to provide more thorough answers.
Let us know what Facebook questions and answers you would add to this list.
See our post about using question lists like this to be your customers’ best answer.
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