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Click If You Like Me: Expanding Your Reach on Facebook

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 by James Trumbly

I “Like” you. I’ll “Share” you with my friends if you impress me. If I really “Like” you, I may even “Comment” about you. No, these are not notes dug out of a middle-school girl’s locker. They’re the short version of what (hopefully) goes on in the minds of your Facebook fans every time they see your content in their newsfeed. Want to know how to engage your fans even more? First let’s talk about how you earn a spot in the newsfeed to start with, and then we’ll discuss some strategies that will increase visibility.

EdgeRank Demystified

Edgerank is the mysterious algorithm used by Facebook to determine which news stories show up in the newsfeed. Fortunately, the Facebook wizards have given us three factors that affect this all-important process:

  • Affinity—Likes, shares, and comments determine a fan’s affinity, or engagement with your brand.
  • Weight—Weight measures how popular your site is overall. It’s determined by how people engage and how often they engage with your content.
  • Time—Time refers (obviously) to how old your post is. Newer posts are deemed more important than older ones.

How to Build Your Brand With EdgeRank

Now that you know the three factors that determine your Edgerank score, you can build your Facebook strategy around maximizing their impact.

  • Create Fabulous Content

Valuable content is still the best way to earn fan engagement, and of the possible content formats, photos tend to carry the most bang for your buck. Make your content fun, upbeat, and relevant to the reader’s life.

  • Give Your Audience What They Want

People are on Facebook to interact, smile, or otherwise get a boost for the day. So give your fans what they want. Study them to find out what kinds of content they engage with most often (pictures, videos, or witty comments?) and when they’re most likely to consume that content. Then tailor your posts accordingly.

  • Practice the Three S’s

The most popular posts tend to be short, straightforward and seasonable. As people scroll through a newsfeed, they don’t generally take the time to read long posts. So keep it short. Don’t be afraid to ask for likes, shares, and comments. And be sure to include current content about breaking news, trending topics, and holiday items.

  • Follow Up

Once you’ve earned the coveted engagement, follow-up by replying with a comment yourself. Many times, your comment will earn another like, strengthening your connection with that fan even more.

Capitalize on the Edgerank process by catering your posts to your audience. As you earn their loyalty with quality content, engaging and readable posts, and reliable follow up, you’ll see a boost in your Edgerank score. And that’s the key to staying visible.

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Five Copywriting Party-Crashers

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 by James Trumbly

When was the last time you went to a website and thought to yourself, “Wow, this copywriting is really fantastic! Look at all the bullet points!” Yeah, me neither. That’s because good copywriting is like the lighting guy at a concert: invisible, but essential for showcasing the main attraction (your information). Bad copywriting crashes the party by jumping in front of the information and hollering “Look at me! I’m making it harder for you to find what you want!” Writing effective online copy is all about identifying the party-crashers and escorting them from the premises so you can showcase the main attraction.

Party Crasher #1: Complicating the Message

In any given industry, you have jargon, technical terms, and insider idioms that you use when communicating with others in the business. If you bombard you website audience with these things, however, you’re making it harder for them to understand what you mean. So don’t make them get a realtor’s license in order to understand your real estate website. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Party Crasher #2:  Grammar By the Book

I’m a firm believer in good grammar and spelling. However, with online writing you get to break a few rules—discreetly. It’s okay, and even desirable, to use sentence fragments, begin sentences with “And” or “But,” use slang, and write in first person. The goal is to be conversational, talking with your readers rather than at them.

Party Crasher #3: Disguising Your Main Points

You’ve got fabulous information that your target audience needs to know. But if you disguise it as a long, boring paragraph, they’ll never get around to reading it. Show off your main points with bullets, numbered lists, and bolding.

Party Crasher #4: Becoming a Slave to Keywords

Keywords are an essential SEO tool, and every website needs them. But when your copywriting becomes a slave to your keywords, it can sound stilted and disjointed. Effective keyword density generally hovers between 1% and 5%. Keywords should appear in titles and headings and should sound natural when used in your copy.

Party Crasher #5: Robotic Style

Remember the computer from the original Star Trek series? For any non-trekkie people out there, it spoke in monotone, sounded robotic, and communicated only the essentials. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, however, the computer had acquired a personality. Now she was feminine, warm, and personable. That’s the difference you want to achieve in your writing style: the difference between “it” and “she.” Let your personality shine through in your writing.

When you simplify your message, write conversationally, highlight your main points, use keywords effectively, and develop personality in your writing, you effectively escort the party-crashers off-stage and allow your fabulous information to enjoy the limelight. It is, after all, what the audience came to see.

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Writing So People Will Read

Posted on Jun 05, 2012 by James Trumbly

Is your writing full of jargon and technical-ese? Most writers, myself included, have been guilty of boring readers to death with a hard-to-follow style, just for the sake of sounding intelligent. Unfortunately, in the lightening-paced realm of the blogosphere, readers have become less and less forgiving of such a mistake. But the good news is that you can grab reader attention and communicate your message in a memorable way by paying attention to the new rules of writing for an online audience.

Rule #1: Be a real person.

Share experiences, talk in first person, and let readers see not only your strengths but also your mistakes—especially if you learned something from them that’s worth sharing. Think through every post and determine your message and main points before you just dash off something for the sake of having new content.

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