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Facebook Marketing, EdgeRank, and Wine

Facebook marketing is all about getting onto the News Feed. What stops you is Facebook’s own algorithm called EdgeRank. The best way around this is to have great content.


Facebook Marketing for Wine Businesses


Hello WineMarketingPros, I’m Bruce McGechan and this is Whiteboard Winesday. Today we’re talking about Facebook marketing, in an organic sense. Now, we’re going to talk about why you do it, what it is, and how you go about it.

In terms of why, it’s kind of simple. There are a billion Facebook users out there, so we want to ‘fish where the fish are.’ We want to make sure that if our fans, our Facebook wine consumers, are going somewhere… we are making sure that we’re following them to that particular little ocean.

We’ve seen with the US Wine marketing research council, so the Wine Market Counsel in the US, that 73% of Core Wine Drinkers use Facebook all the time. And a “Core Wine Drinker” is someone who drinks one glass of wine every week. So, it’s a big deal for we people in the wine industry.

In particular there are 3.4 million US Facebook users who are males between the ages of 35 to 54. Now, don’t let anyone tell you that older males don’t use Facebook. Sure it might be that not so many older males use it versus older females, and females in general. But there’s still a large group of older males who use it, who’ve got the dosh to buy our premium wine.

Everyone knows there are lots of younger Facebook users, especially 26 up to 34, that’s a good target market as well but, everyone uses Facebook. Facebook’s mainly used in terms of driving traffic and making sure that we keep our customers, our potential customers, engaged with our brands. Those are the main marketing objectives that we have.

So, what is it? There are two parts to Facebook; There is the Facebook “News Feed”, and there is the Facebook “Timeline”. The Facebook Timeline is what you put onto Facebook as a business, or as a user. What we are interested in with Facebook organic marketing is the News Feed itself.

What we’ve got here is my, yeah I’m not the best drawer I know, but it’s my attempt at drawing a Facebook News Feed, the homepage, of Facebook. Off to the left here we’ve got a column which is all the settings. Off to the right here we’ve got a bunch paid ads. And in the middle, the middle column, the central column is the News Feed.

In this Whiteboard Winesday we’re not talking about paid ads, we’re not talking about this column, and we’re not talking about the sponsored ads and other types of ads you see in the News Feed itself, in the central column. We are only talking about those so called free ads, which are your own posts going onto a fan’s News Feed. They might be in this case an organic post with just writing, they might be video with a bit of writing, they might be photos. Whatever they are, they’re not paid for, they are organic posts.

So, how do you get your posts onto your fans’, and your fans’ friends’ News Feeds? It’s something called EdgeRank. Now just before Facebook had its IPO, the chief marketing officer admitted that only 16% of fans received businesses’ posts. Only 16%. That’s caused an uproar in the Facebook marketing community. But it kind of makes sense you know, we don’t want to see all sorts of posts going onto our News Feeds, as a user. Facebook has a way to filter out what it would see as the unattractive, all the rubbish posts that a user doesn’t want to have happening on their News Feed. The News Feed has got to be usable.

What they use is something called EdgeRank. An ‘Edge’ is a post, a like, a share, a comment, a video play, a Facebook view in full image, an event join… All those little things in Facebook speak are an Edge. And that EdgeRank decides how many of your posts as a business will appear on your fans’ News Feeds.

There are three components to the Facebook algorithm. The first part is Affinity. The second part or component is Content Weight. And the third part is Time Decay.

If we look at Affinity first, what we are talking about is best described if you think of a teenage boy and a teenage girl. A teenage boy, he might have this teenage girl, maybe younger teenage girl who really likes him. And that teenage girl will like everything the teenage boy does. She’ll comment on all his posts, she’ll view his videos. Whatever the teenage boy does on Facebook, the teenage girl will have some sort of Facebook action. That’s called high Affinity.

The teenage girl has high Affinity for the teenage boy. The teenage boy might be a bit embarrassed about the younger teenage girls attention and he does nothing. He doesn’t comment on any of the teenage girl’s posts, doesn’t view any of her photos, there is no Affinity with the teenage boy for what ever the teenage girl does. And you can see the analogy I’m trying to get to there. If your fans have no Affinity for any of the posts that you’re doing on Facebook, they won’t be shown on the fans’, on the particular fans’ News Feed. So that’s the first thing, Affinity.

The second thing is Content Weight. Some fans prefer particular types of Content versus others. For example, it’s commonly accepted that most fans, not all, prefer photos. So when Facebook sees you make a photo post they’ll weight that a bit higher than perhaps a text only post. There are no hard and fast rules here, but that’s the generally accepted view on different types of content, when it comes to Content Weight in the EdgeRank algorithm, or filter. Videos do pretty well, there are links, there are events, there are also lots of different types of content, but mainly we Facebook marketers tend to think about photos, if the truth be told.

The third component of EdgeRank is Time Decay. Time Decay is all about when you post on Facebook, it slowly starts to decay in terms of the algorithm. Generally it’s decayed-out, if that’s English, it’s completely decayed-out within about three hours. It might last three days, chances are it won’t, it will last about three hours. So if the fan comes onto their News Feed a day after you’ve posted, it’s not going to do you any good when it comes to the Time Decay part of EdgeRank.

So, Facebook adds those three components together when they are looking at your post and whether it should show your posts for a particular fan.

Now, let’s think about what those particular posts should look like when it comes to wineries, wine retailers, and wine organizations. What we see, when we look at the best practice winery and wine retailer Facebook pages, is these sorts of things happened, and it reflects EdgeRank. The first thing is, if we look down here, that’s my photo, that’s why there’s a square with people in it. It’s photos of people that go to a particular winery’s tasting room… the winery takes a photo of those people… maybe they’ve got an iPad that’s connected to Facebook behind the counter in the tasting room, they take a photo… show it to the fans maybe, we don’t know, we think it’s a good idea by the way, and say “Hey, we’re going to post this photo of you, see the photo…” you want to make sure you get the right photo, I’ve made that mistake… “Here’s the photo, can we post this up on our Facebook fan page?” And they go “Yeah, put it up!” Everyone’s proud of doing a winery tour, a tasting tour… and so they put that up, they go home, they show all their friends by liking it, or sharing it onto their particular Facebook page. So it’s a good idea to include your fans’ and future fans’ photos on your Facebook page.

Another way to do this is through events. You’re at an event, do the same thing. Take some photos, put them up on your Facebook page and your fans, the people at the event, who’d heard you’re taking photos of them because you’d told them… they’ll go and check out your Facebook page and like them, share them, and you can increase your engagement with those fans and their friends, as you do more and more Affinity work… because that’s what you’re doing. You’re making sure you’re connecting with them Affinity wise. You’re building Affinity with those fans. You’re doing some good content work with photos. Let’s not forget the time factor here, you’re doing it every day. And if you can’t do it Saturday, Sunday because you’re not there, then you schedule posts ahead, using the scheduling component of the Facebook posting functionality.

Fan photos. We see some really good fan photo promotions done by many good Napa vineyards, and this is something that you can do as well. Instead of taking photos of your fans, you ask them to send great photos of them at your winery, or drinking wine with a shot of your label pointed at the camera, back at their house, in the garden, at the beach, whatever it is.

Vineyards. Sure we’re not saying don’t post photos of great shots in the vineyard, but kind of try and make them interesting you know…interesting animal’s in the vineyards, we’ve seen wild turkeys, we’ve seen seals, we’ve seen all sorts of beautiful butterflies, and great photos that are really interesting and shareable, comment-able, if that’s a word, on wineries’ Facebook pages.

The other way to do this, to build up engagement, Affinity, is to ask questions. You can ask really simple questions like, “Are you drinking Cab-Sav or Chardonnay tonight?” “Are you drinking our Merlot tonight? Or, are you preferring Sav-Blanc?” “Is it a red or white kind of night?” Just simple questions like that get amazing engagement by fans. They’re at home, it’s after 5pm., they are winding down, they’re going through their Facebook page checking out what their friends are doing, you know, they don’t want to talk about the pH levels and acid levels inside your wine… Just some simple question will be the most sensible and popular way to get engagement with your fans.

You can do comps. We’ve seen some really good photos put onto Facebook where the winery goes “This is such-and-such a vineyard, it has cloud coming in from such-and-such a bay, what terroir, what appellation do you think this is?” Or they do that without photos, they go, “This terroir is in such-and-such a place, it’s got these sort of features, where do you think it is?” It’s a quiz. It could be turned into a competition if you like. The other way, we’ve seen a great Adelaide wine retailer, I think every Friday they show a picture of a Google map and they say, “Hey, where’s this Google map?” and if you’re the first person to answer correctly, and it’s a really difficult photo or satellite photo, you win a case of wine I think it is. It’s a popular big promo that that Adelaide national Australian wine retailer does.

So we’ve looked at why do Facebook, what organic Facebook posts are, how you get onto your fans’ News Feeds, and some good examples, some good ideas for content.

If you’ve got any questions please ask them on the WineMarketingPros forums.

And that’s me for today. Ciao.

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