How To Stand Out In The Facebook News Feed

There are nearly 500 million users on Facebook every month. And, according to Facebook, approximately 25 billion pieces of content are also shared on the site. That's a lot of people and brands generating and sharing a lot of content.

And brands aren't just competing against other brands for attention; they are competing against all content, including posts from family and friends, everyone in a user's social online environment.

And who is spending the most time bogged down in that content? Teens. Of all the demographics, teens spend more time monitoring, reading, creating and sharing content. According to the Pew Research Center, 73% of online teens, ages 12-17, use social media, most notably Facebook. Not only are teens inundated with content but they are also extremely selective about what content/brands they chose to engage.

So what does all this mean for brand marketers trying to reach teens? Now more than ever it requires you to truly cut through the clutter and create real, honest and engaging content; communication that will lead to an ongoing, 24/7 relationship. And if you do that, the results can be tremendous for your brand and your bottom line.

Our platform has more than 72 million Facebook fans worldwide across our client base. This allows us access to an enormous amount of data to extrapolate, analyze and create best practices and strategies for optimal social media communication. It gives us tactics based on proven data and results, not shots-in-the-dark.

Here are some tips based on our aggregated data and insight.

Remember the Power of the News Feed: Why the news feed? It's where users spend the majority of their time and attention on Facebook. Our "Wall Apps" technology, part of Vitrue SRM, shows that brands achieve 110 times greater engagement when they deliver an application through a user's Wall as compared to other elements of their Facebook page, such as a tab. Think about that: 110 times more opportunity for your brand's poll, coupon or quiz to be engaged with and shared -- essentially a brand endorsement. That's ROI.

Speak Authentically: Be true to your brand. Be authentic, straight forward and open in your communication. Personalize your brand. Take Abercrombie & Fitch, for example: all its posts have that edgy tone to them, whether it's a random update or photo/video post of new clothing items. Check out its recent post fronting a boy's polo with photo: "It's my go-to Polo. Classic, and never lets her ... errr, I mean, me down." They are trying to stay true to the brand's personality and voice and using Facebook to push their persona.

Quality Posts: Send only relevant or helpful posts. Don't merely post to post. Teens can become annoyed quickly -- and don't mind telling you and everyone else, too. Vary your posts: Use polls and quizzes. Use coupons. Deliver "insider" information, making them feel in-the-know about your brand. Run contests. Give value back to them. And use photos and graphics as they are much more appealing and eye-catching. Abercrombie & Fitch does a great job of posting clothes in a "non-advertising" manner, making it easy to share new fashion news -- and usually an edgy quip. And they mix up their posts to keep their users engaged. (No one is asking me, but I'd suggest posting more "coupon apps" in the news feed, especially in today's economy. Again, depends on your brand's image.)

Post Frequency/Time: Know your audience -- don't post too frequently, or not enough. If you're a news organization, like CNN, by nature you'll be posting a lot. If you are a clothing or restaurant or soft drink brand, a general rule of thumb is two to three posts a day. Most social media management products have scheduling built into their platforms that allow you to schedule your posts. Abercrombie & Fitch doesn't post enough. During the past two weeks, it posted about nine times. Yet, their followers are extremely active with likes and comments. It has an engaged audience -- engage them more!

Determine Your ROI: Social media -- just like every other marketing tactic -- should be analyzed to determine effectiveness. Constantly review and question your communications and tactics. Are they working? What could we do better? Do we need to build our user/fan base? Are we truly engaging our users? Have we surveyed our users for their feedback? If you're curious about your Facebook page ROI, check out our free Vitrue SPE. It assigns an actual media value to your page, as well as provides a potential value and best practices to reach that potential.

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