Facebook vs Google in 2012– EdgeRank vs PageRank

In 3 days in Toronto, Canada, I’m excited to moderate a panel on this topic, as part of Socialize Toronto, a conference on monetizing social media.
The geeks will talk about the Don’t Be Evil Toolbar, made by Facebook and Twitter folks. Or maybe the components of EdgeRank– the relative weightings of likes, comments, and posts. No black magic, complex formulas, or more software to have to master. But here’s what really matters– more newsfeed exposure and traffic.
So here it is in plain English based on actual research we’ve used on brands large and small:
Post when your particular users are most likely to be online– not a generic rule of thumb. Hint: look in your web analytics to see, or consider when your TV shows air, stores are open, and customers are shopping. If you’re the NFL, you better be running Facebook ads when the Super Bowl is on to capture when fans are talking.
Run Sponsored Post Story ads to amplify your organic postings. Odds are that only 5% of your fans are seeing your posts (the larger the page, the lower) and then only a percent of that are engaging with you (clicking like or commenting). The newsfeed is so competitive now, jammed with so much stuff, that you have to run ads now if you want to play. Sorry.
People who are browsing Facebook are not interesting in shopping for Tide in the 150 ounce family size jug right then. But they are interested in something funny and perhaps a discount for later. So don’t spam them with your product offerings, sales, and traditional banner ads. Give them something worth sharing– look at your stats to see what is shared the most and do more of that.
Do not apply SEO methods to Facebook– any more than you’d wear swimtrunks to a wedding. Don’t try to stuff your keywords in your posts, page titles, or other content. People don’t search on Facebook, they navigate.
Actions speak louder than words– if you don’t build an open graph app that has actions (read, watch, listen, cook, etc…) you will get drowned out of the newsfeed. Posting alone carries little weight without ad amplification. Hey, Facebook is going public in June 2012 and they have to demonstrate revenue, right?
Google+ is a lame social network right now– lots of Google users, but no traffic. Forcing users to click on +1 is not a strong strategy for brands yet. Maybe that will change in 6-9 months, if Google can apply social relevancy to their products.
We have an all-star line up for our panel, who will likely disagree with what I have just said. Be ready for an interesting panel!

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