Social media update: Pay attention to Facebook enhancements, gamification

Publish Date: 
Oct 26, 2012
By Cynthia Furey

CARSON, Calif.-- At Inroads to the Future, this year’s installment of the MIC’s annual Communications Symposium, Patricia Dao of Dominion Powersports Social Ventures offered up her list of social media trends, along with a few tips to keep in mind while easing into (or continuing to navigate) the social media landscape.

Facebook. It’s no surprise that this social media juggernaut has topped lists since its public launch seven years ago. To give you the scope of its reach, there are currently 2.5 billion Internet users worldwide. Facebook, Dao says, has more than 1 billion members — which equals to about 1/7th of the world’s population.

So how does one garner the attention of potential customers on Facebook? For one, thinking more strategically about your Facebook posts will help. Though you may have quite an impressive number of Facebook fans, the reality is that 96 percent of them won’t go back to a business’s Facebook page to stay updated. Rather, fans rely on their Facebook news feeds for these updates. Facebook also employs EdgeRank, an algorithm that chooses which posts will show up in these newsfeeds — so the more interesting the post, the better chance it will have of showing up in your Fans’ newsfeeds.

Though it’s true that because of EdgeRank, only 16 percent of people who have “Liked” your Facebook page will see your Facebook posts, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of popping up in newsfeeds. One can pay for Facebook Promoted Posts, a feature just recently launched, which allows users to pay a fee to increase the percentage of fans that will see your post.

Some other tips Dao offers include keeping each Facebook post under 250 characters (this will increase engagement by 60 percent, Dao says), as well as adding a photo or video to the text. Posts with photos generate 120 percent more interest, comments and likes.

One also can garner interest in your business by offering coupons and other perks— 45 percent of people polled said they will “Like” a business just to take advantage of a special offer.

Facebook also has a few changes on the horizon, most notably an initiative similar to Pinterest. Still in its testing phase, it will allow businesses with product photos to have a “Want” or “Collect” button on each photo. Users click on these buttons, which will “collect” the photos into a user’s personal gallery that the user’s friends and extended network can view.

Aside from strategic Facebook marketing, gamification is another effective way to engage your customers through social and digital media by adding game-like elements to a marketing plan (think of MyCokeRewards.com, where customers who’ve purchase Coca-Cola products can log in online to redeem prizes via a code under their bottle caps).

Dao illustrated the gamification concept with a video on “The Fun Theory” (watch the video by clicking on this link), where “fun” was used to persuade people to obey the speed limit.