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Why is Engagement Better than Followers?

Don't worry so much about how many followers you have, but instead, how much value to you add and are you getting engagement? This is where the value is!

Why you should care more about engagement, than total Likes

Why is Engagement Better than Followers?

This notion is true whether you’re on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ or pretty much any other network; but it is especially true for Facebook, so let’s focus on Facebook for the purpose of this example.

The reason for this is the use of algorithms (a series of equations) that crunch lots of pieces of data (signals) together to come up with a decision – in this case, the decision is where, when and even whether to show your content.

Note: This is a picture of me at my desk. I see all social in the same style as The Matrix.

When people choose to follow you (‘Like’ your Facebook Page), they’re subscribing to your updates – they’re saying “Yeah, I like this Page, I’d like to see its posts in my timeline”. But life is not that simple, at least, not on Facebook. Facebook takes a look at what you post (plain text, links, images or video) and how people respond to seeing that in their timeline (like/react, comment, share) and how old the post is.

Once it’s crunched this together, it decides where each post will be shown and in who’s timeline.

Why is Engagement Better than Followers?

This seems really unfair! Why does Facebook refuse to show my posts?

Is it though? Look at it this way – the average Facebook user has around 300 friends and Likes around 40 Pages. Facebook says the average user has access to about 1,500 posts per day but only looks at 300 – that’s a lot of content for folks to absorb.

[Tweet “Facebook says the average user has access to about 1,500 posts per day but only looks at 300”]

Left to just see everything, we would be exposed to an overwhelming amount of posts. And we may not have the same positive experience on Facebook – and then we may not spend as much time on it…and then Facebook has a much bigger problem.

Isn’t there some way to filter it, so I only see what I’m interested in?

Yeah. That’s what Facebook does That’s what Facebook tries to do.

It takes a look at the type of content that seems to resonate with you. How? Based on what type of post you respond to. It tries to gauge how much you like something (to rank it). How? Based on how you choose to respond to. And it tries to tell whether the content is still relevant. How? Based on how old the post is.

It’s very much in Facebook’s interest to ensure that what we see, what we’re exposed to, is the most engaging, most interesting content. How can it do that? Well, it can listen to what people are engaging with, and how much they like it.

As you can see, as a Facebook Page owner, you have direct control over one of these signals – age. Posting once a month just isn’t going to cut it. You need to stop thinking of it as a monologue and start having a dialogue with your online community.

And you can start to impact the other signals. The methods of response (like/react, comment, share) are sometimes as easily influenced by request. Salesforce notes that

Tweets that specifically ask followers to “Retweet” or “RT” receive 12 times higher Retweet rates than those that do not use this call to action.

Why is Engagement Better than Followers?

But asking your online community to Like your post will only get you so far, but it’s not having that rich, essential, vibrant conversation that your brand should value.

What about asking questions? Now we’re onto something! If we ask what our audience thinks, what they like, what they need…..what they want from us…..now that’s market research that you just can’t put a price on AND it’s engagement. It’s feedback. It’s CONVERSATION.

Stop worrying so much about how many Likes you have on your Page or how many followers you have on Twitter.

Start thinking about what kind of value are you adding to your online community’s timeline. How well are you engaging with them? This will have a much better, organic, long-term benefit to your social than building an army of folks who may not be listening.

Bare in mind that as it’s all about engagement, you want to have followers who are really interested and engaged with your content. And if you have a huge audience of fake followers (or even well-meaning folks who want to Like your Page, but won’t ever engage with your posts…I’m looking at you, Mum!), you are ultimately making a rod for your own back, because these folks are going to make it appear that while you have plenty of followers, they don’t seem to care about what you’re saying.

This is what we sometimes refer to as “Social Proof” (the idea that the collective community helps us to decide what’s useful). So if you’re ever, ever…..ever, recommended by an online marketer to buy followers or Likes, walk away…just, walk away.

I would like to invite you to Like HypeStar’s Facebook Page (facebook.com/HypeStarUK) – check us out, if you see posts that resonate with you, let us know by leaving a comment – if you see something that others will find useful, please feel free to share.

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about anything we’re talked about here, you can either leave a comment below or send a private message to our Facebook Page.

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