When planning and scheduling social media content, you’ve surely heard the advice, “Post content regarding timely events, holidays, and news to keep relevant with fans and readers.”
Generally, I’ve followed this strategy, as delivery of timely information demonstrates an active involvement with fans and the larger community. But, is it always the best idea? I’ve begun to think not…
Let me explain why I started thinking that posting about common holidays, events, or other news might actually be a bad idea when creating Facebook content. Not that I think it’s always a bad idea, but there are clearly some advantages and disadvantages to doing so.
Take a look at the screen-shot above. I captured it the Monday following Mother’s Day 2012. In fact, it’s the reason I felt compelled to write this blog post, and I think it supports my argument rather nicely.
What does the screen-shot show us? We see that both Tosh.O and the YMCA of DC posted about Mother’s day. But wait…what’s that? TEN others also posted about Mother’s day? Where are their posts? They’re buried “below the fold” of another link, “conveniently” created by Facebook to categorize and group posts on similar topics in the news feed. And this is where the trouble appears to me.
We have no control of how Facebook categorizes these similar posts, and even worse, when your post gets chosen as a “related post,” you have no control as to whether or not it’s even shown or whether it’s hidden behind a small link. How likely are users to even click the small link to “see others” that posted about a certain topic? So, by posting regarding a timely topic such as Mother’s Day, you might actually be burying your post in a heap of other related posts.
With this in mind, I’ve thought of a few solutions to this exposure problem, and have already experimented with a few of them in my own postings.
1. Change the key words of your message to exclude the “trigger word.”
This is the simplest change you can make to avoid having your posts lumped into the related posts section, just avoid using the “trigger word” of the day. For example, just the other week it was National Star Wars Day, a day when people around the world celebrate the famous movie series. Instead of saying “Happy Star Wars Day!” which I had seen in my news feed (grouped together with other similar posts), I assumed many others had seen similar posts and instead just said, “Nerds and Geeks around the world are celebrating their favorite movie series of all time today…” to avoid the trigger word “star wars.” People understood my message was about Star Wars without having to explicitly say “Star Wars,” and to be sure it was understood, I included a picture of one of Star Wars’ most notable characters, Yoda. Which leads me to my next piece of advice…
2. If you want to include a relevant “trigger word,” use a graphic to do so.
Say you wanted to wish your fans Happy Holidays, but wanted to avoid the odds of being hidden in the pile of similar posts that Facebook would create in the news feed. How could you say “Happy Holidays!” and still differentiate your post from the others saying the same thing? Use an image or graphic. By expressing your sentiments in an image, Facebook has no idea how to categorize your post, yet you can still get your relevant and timely message out to your fans! In this example, you could introduce the graphic with a small bit of text that says something like, “From Us to You…” and then let the image speak for itself, using the key words you desire.
3. Post your message slightly off-schedule.
With this technique you do risk the chances of seeming either “out of it” or “over-eager,” but posting slightly early or late regarding a timely topic could make your post stand out from other similar on-topic posts. For example, you could speak to your fans about Earth Day on the day of the event, or you could stand out by creating a series of posts leading up to the event. By making your fans aware of a timely topic before the actual event, not only will your post stand out, but it will decrease the odds of it being hidden with other related posts on the day of the event.
Of course, the benefit of posting on time and on topic is that your fans have evidence that your brand is “with it” and in touch with what’s happening in the world. In some instances, not mentioning a relevant topic might make your brand seem robotic and lacking personality. Part of building a personal connection with fans is interacting and engaging with them when appropriate. If posting timely and relevant news is part of that engagement, then make sure you’re keeping these above tips in mind when posting. Your fans will appreciate your creativity and the fact that your post wasn’t buried in a pile of “similar posts.”
Do you have any other techniques to make your posts stand out from all the others?
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