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Uncommon Ways to Increase Facebook Engagement

Stephen Biernacki

One of most interesting, yet simple, infographics I’ve seen lately is the one below titled The Anatomy of a Fan.

The first part of he infographic by Moontoast guides you through the different ways a user can ‘Like’ your page and how it affects activity. As you’ll see, all ‘Likes’ are not created equal.

But I digress. More importantly, the inforgraphic below illustrates that there are a few relatively uncommon ways of increasing engagement. However, I will go into more of this after you’ve had a chance to review the infographic.

Click the infographic to make it larger:

Infographic via Moontoast. Their original post is here.

So what conclusions can be drawn from the infographic that can be of benefit to the higher ed social media administrator? From top to bottom, the main idea this infographic brings to light is that there are a few relatively uncommon ways of increasing engagement, beyond characteristics such as what and when you’re posting. Here are a couple ideas:

If You Can Acquire Data Permissions, Great, But Don’t Force It

A lot of us think and talk about the importance of receiving ‘Likes’ on your Facebook Page(s) and what the ROI of such actions could be. But the truth is, we might not be paying close enough attention to the path a user takes to ‘Liking’ your Page, and how that tells you something about their level of engagement.

Via Facebook Connect and Facebook Apps, your Page can gain access to information within users’ profiles and you can even send them emails. In this instance, the user is at a level of heavy engagement, and according to the infographic, a brand advocate. Facebook Connect is an extremely popular way for third-party websites to offer a login option. In fact, in December of 2010 (the most recent data I could find), more than 250 million people were using Facebook Connect on third-party websites. Eight months later, that number is certainly much, much larger. There are a plethora of opportunities for colleges and universities to use Facebook Connect, and many are. A well-known example is Colgate Connect, an online portal focused on Colgate University alumni and parents. Here are the permissions they request (not much):

One of the smartest things Colgate has done is create a page solely focused on anything and everything Facebook Connect. Illustrated through the use of all caps and underlined text, one of the most important pieces of information they want users to know is that, while donations are shared to their Facebook Page, the amount is not! But Colgate isn’t the only one including these apparently standard Facebook Connect frequently asked questions pages on their website. Regent University, University of Maryland, Norwich University, Mansfield University, and Miami University are just a few other institutions making use of it.

It’s important to note that using Facebook Connect comes with a little bit of risk, which Greg Smith, Chief Information Officer at George Fox University, nicely outlines in this blog post. Regardless, think hard about using this tactic to not only increase engagement on Facebook, but create advocates who will help get the word out.

Want Your Updates Seen? They Must Show Up In ‘Top News’
EdgeRank is an algorithm that Facebook uses to determine what content they think you want to see, or at least what content you’re most likely to engage with. Based on factors of affinity, weight, and time, Facebook determines if your update makes it into the default ‘Top News’ tab or is relegated to the ‘Most Recent’ tab. Having said that, it’s not difficult to see why optimizing your EdgeRank is important when it comes to encouraging engagement. Thankfully, there are no shortage of tactics for increasing your EdgeRank. I’ve collected a few resources to check out:

And, as many know, Facebook is the social network where prospective students are, more than anywhere else. So, you’re likely better off optimizing what you’re already doing on Facebook than searching for and experimenting with new services – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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