Using Facebook to respond to your district’s patrons

On my district’s Facebook page, there is a little badge that sometimes turns green and sometimes does not, depending on how quickly we respond to questions and comments from our patrons.

response

The badge itself is not an incentive, because we don’t have the staffing to try to beat Facebook’s target of responding to each message in about 15 minutes. In addition, if you don’t get the last word in the conversation, Facebook sometimes doesn’t count your response. We don’t want to make our interactions awkward just to game this measurement.

However, we do try to get back to people within 24 hours, as the Messages tool is a great way for students, parents, community members and alumni to reach out to us. We turned off the ability for people to make public posts on our page, so they tend to use this feature to contact us.

Recently, Facebook beefed up the Messages interface, and we find it easy to use when responding.

messages

How do you use this tool?

Reactions Now Weighted More in Facebook Algorithm

Many of us have become accustomed to the Facebook reactions that began rolling out last year. In late February 2017, Facebook completed the rollout, ensuring that users worldwide could now use reactions. For those unfamiliar with reactions – Facebook users can hold their cursor over the like button and then select from like, love, haha, wow, sad or angry.

reactions-image-en_us

With the rollout worldwide, Facebook also announced that when users use a reaction rather than hitting the like button, it would be weighted more in the news feed algorithm. According to a Facebook news release:

“Initially, just as we do when someone likes a post, if someone uses a Reaction, we will infer they want to see more of that type of post. In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, “wows” or “sads” a post — we will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content. Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.”

What Does This Mean For Social Media Managers?
Page owners will now have a better understanding of how their users are interacting with the content they publish. In the past, it was sometimes difficult to decipher what a user really meant by liking the content.

Additionally, instead of asking users to “like” your content, ask them to react to the post. This will increase engagement on your page and ensure users are consistently seeing relevant content from your organization.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

By now, you have no doubt read many tips about how often you should be posting on social media, which days are best for posting, and what time of day is ideal for posts. While consistency, frequency and timing are important, I’ll suggest that content continues to be king.

Creating and posting and creating and posting is a never-ending chore. It’s great to rack up volumes of posts, but it’s even better to start growing engagement, as measured by the number of shares, likes and comments your posts receive. That kind of engagement depends on the creation of captivating content . . . thoughts, ideas, opinions and how-tos that your readers are compelled to share with their communities.

In a treasure of an article entitled “The Science Behind What Love People Love to Share on Social Media,” the folks at Kissmetrics have graciously shared some valuable insights. Be sure to take a look at the full article to get all the details.

Here are some brief nuggets that relate to Facebook:

  • Of the top million posts on Facebook in the last six months, the most popular content type was quizzes, at 51,968 total shares. The average article had 15,527 shares. The key here is to create quizzes for which the questions and answers are centered around your district or schools: historical events, current-day activities or gee-whiz numbers.
  • Should you keep your posts short? Survey says . . . not really. Posts of 2,000-2,500 words do 15-percent better than those that are 0-500 words and 24-percent better than posts of 500-1,000 words.
  • Videos need to be longer that what you might have thought – those that are between 4:00 and 4:20 do much better than short snips, such as those that are only 0-20 seconds or 40-60 seconds.

The article has similar suggestions and tips for LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest.