How do you leverage the inbuilt viral nature of Facebook pages to significantly increase your likes, reach, engagement and – ultimately – qualified traffic to your website?
Today I’d like to reveal exactly how I have been doing viral marketing for Facebook pages recently, but before I do I’d like to show you a screenshot of my Facebook Insights just so you can see how explosive the results can really be when you get it right…
That one single status update led to greater reach, more likes and more shares than anything I’ve ever done before and it’s all down to a very simple concept surrounding viral marketing for Facebook pages. Even more impressively this Facebook viral marketing strategy is great fun to implement, costs nothing and can be done in a few minutes while watching TV. Interested? Then let’s get cracking…
Understanding The EdgeRank Algorithm
Facebook wants it’s millions of users to use their site as often as possible. In doing so they’ll have more opportunities to display advertising and so will earn more money as a result. One key tactic they use is known as “EdgeRank” – in essence an algorithm that shows users only content that Facebook views as likely to be very interesting to that user.
So what drives EdgeRank? Primarily the answer is “engagement”. The more “likes”, shares and comments that a status update gets the more Facebook will display it to others who have become a fan of your page. So the first key ingredient in viral marketing for Facebook pages is that we need something that is going to encourage our audience to take some kind of action.
How To Create Engaging Facebook Content
So if we need engaging content, what does the research tell us works well? Firstly it seems that text-only status updates and shared links don’t tend to perform very well. In contrast images stand out from the page and are far more likely to lead to comments or likes.
However what works even better than a plain-old image is an image with a conversation point. The image grabs attention and encourages likes and shares while the conversation point encourages comments. Combine those two elements of an image and a conversation point and we start to get closer to viral Facebook marketing heaven.
Examples Of Conversation Points
At this point it will probably pay to take just a minute to consider some examples of conversation points that you may be able to apply in your own niche. One of the best examples are questions, particularly the open-ended variety. Questions such as “what do you like about…” or “what are your opinions on…” all encourage the fans of your Facebook page to take a moment to give their feedback. And every comment takes the virality of your message further.
There are of course other examples of conversation points. To increase engagement on Facebook try using quotes, interesting facts, jokes or controversial subjects. When I say controversy I mean the kind of emotional topics that causes people to sign petitions such as taxation, animal cruelty, fracking and suchlike. In this way paying close attention to your niche and spotting areas with strong, passionate opinions can be a great way to elicit a response.
The Facebook Marketing “Power Tool”
Incase you haven’t guessed it yet there is one viral marketing tool in particular that stands out as offering all the Facebook benefits we want – namely “memes”. Incase the word is new to you, a meme is simply an image with related text overlaid to create a (supposedly) funny, clever or interesting message.
How To Create A Meme
So now the real “work” begins – you need to create one or more memes to publish on your Facebook page in the hope that they go viral. The question right now is how do we create a meme? Fortunately while there are companies out there creating them for clients and there are professionals making them in Photoshop the whole point of a meme is that they have a “home-made” quality to them. Which means they don’t necessarily have to be works of art.
There are three things you’re going to need to create your meme. The first is an image. Personally I used iStockphoto for my image but there are also websites offering royalty-free images without charge such as Sxc.hu. Just ensure that the image you choose is relevant to your niche and is in some way noteworthy – whether that’s beautiful, funny or inspiring.
Secondly you’re going to need your text that you’ll add to the image. Personally I brainstormed a whole load of text and then made a dozen or so memes in one go using the same photo, then came back the next day to pick the one that I thought would be most powerful.
If you’re looking for inspiration then consider looking at some of the popular meme databases or even ask your own audience on Facebook what is annoying them right now, or interesting them, or what they like about a certain subject. Look for those themes that come up time and again as they are probably ripe for turning into a meme.
Lastly you’re going to need a tool to combine your image and text to produce the finished meme. Luckily there are a number of free tools that will let you quickly create a meme without *any* kind of skills in graphic design. Examples I have used myself include Keep Calm-O-Matic and Meme Generator though there are even free iphone apps to help you create your own memes.
Publishing Your Viral Meme
Once you’ve created your meme ready to upload it’s simply a matter of adding it to your Facebook page with some kind of related engaging question. The image will then draw the eye of your visitors. The “clever” text will elicit an emotional response in your fans – whether that is humour, disgust, excitement or whatever else you can come up with – and the related question you ask will encourage your fans to leave their responses.
When you combine the people who will answer your question with the number of people who will “like” and share your meme you should be able to quite clearly see a “bump” in your Facebook results as shown in images at the beginning of this article.
Some authorities even suggest adding leading text to help your viral marketing meme like:
- Click “like” if you agree with this image
- Please share this with your friends if you know the feeling!
- Click “like” if you agree or “share” if you disagree
Many companies spend huge amounts of time and money on building viral marketing campaigns for their Facebook pages but in many instances this simply isn’t necessary. As I am finding consistently viral marketing for Facebook pages doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.
A cleverly-created meme that tugs at the emotions of your fans combined with an open-ended question can be more than enough to leverage the viral nature of Facebook and to help spread your message far and wide.
So what’s your favorite viral marketing technique for Facebook? Please leave your comment below…
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