On March 15, 2013, OutlawSoaps.com launched.
At 9:08 AM, we sold out of Unicorn Poop Soap. Within a week, most of the rest of our inventory was sold. Two weeks later, Laughing Squid, one of the best lifestyle and culture blogs around, wrote about us. In part this had to do with Facebook Insights, but I’ll come back to that.
Mostly, it was because of Unicorn Poop.
Even after we sold out, people were sharing it across Facebook and Twitter. We decided to allow backorders (which was pretty scary, since we have a hard time consistently producing Unicorn Poop—it’s a little difficult). For the first few weeks after we launched, Unicorn Poop was one of our most popular (poopular) webpages.
It came from my friend’s daughter. As soon as she sent it to me, I needed to wipe coffee off my monitor. I knew we had something special. It’s our Willy Wonka soap, really. The bar is a rainbow, and each layer is a different sweet and fruity scent. And then we top it off with glitter—“a metric buttload of glitter” is what the ingredients say.
Yep, Unicorn Poop is great, but it isn’t our entire product catalog. It’s not even that related to our brand, since Unicorn Poop is really fruity and most of our soaps smell like the rugged outdoors. I wasn’t sure if we should even make it, but after looking at the sharing stats in Google and watching the post sharing go up and up and up, using Facebook’s Insights tool, we decided we had to keep it.
I’ve already written about using Google analytics to boost your sales, but what about Facebook Insights? Facebook Insights tracks how compelled people are to share your content on Facebook. There are two kinds of Facebook Insights: Insights that you can get about posts on pages you manage (like mine), or Insights that you can get about your own website.
Facebook Insights about your Facebook page:
You can get to your page Insights from your company’s Facebook page, in the admin panel, or the Insights dashboard. If you have a Facebook page for your business (and I hope you do—if not, I’ll cover that in a future post), you can track the number of “Likes” your page receives, as well as the popularity (aka “virality”) of your individual posts. This can help you craft your Facebook messages to get the best response from your fans.
Trying to go viral just for the sake of going viral will dilute your brand and make your message phony.
When I posted about Unicorn Poop, I just sat there slack-jawed as the “share” count clicked up and up over the course of the day. One post seen and shared by dozens of people. Very exciting!
But some of my posts just don’t get anywhere. No one comments, no one likes… a big fat nothin’. So, we live and learn.
It’s easy to get caught up in posting just to get people to share your stuff. Lots of things get shared just because they are funny, but never result in website clicks or sales. If you’re going to post stuff, post it because it’s uniquely you, and not because you hope it will go viral. Trying to go viral just for the sake of going viral will dilute your brand and make your message phony.
So, with that in mind, I share with you two of our most popular posts:
Facebook Insights about your website:
You can also track how your pages are being shared across Facebook, even if you didn’t post them! You’ll need to add some code to the header of your home page, and that kind of thing is outside the scope of this post. At the time of publication, this is a good, straightforward explanation.
A word about Facebook EdgeRank.
Have you noticed that sometimes posts show up out of chronological order in your newsfeed, or that some posts are hidden from your newsfeed, even though you know the person posted? This is because of a feature called “EdgeRank.” Facebook tries to show you the posts you’ll find most interesting, based on a combination of posts you’ve liked and shared in the past, and whether people whose statuses you like or comment on have liked or commented on other posts.
It might seem Facebook does this to be annoying (it sometimes seems that way to me), but they have evaluated many people’s usage and determined that we only have a capacity to absorb a certain amount of information before losing interest. They really don’t want you to lose interest (because of ads), so they’re motivated to find the sweet spot—exactly how much you want to read.
If you have seen those “Name a band with the letter ‘O’ in it. It’s harder than you think!” posts, you’ve found someone trying to beat Facebook. By getting as many people as possible to comment on the photo, they trick EdgeRank into thinking it should be shown in more newsfeeds. By extension, the page that originated the image is ranked highly. This is a bad practice and will hurt everyone’s reputation. Please don’t comment or share those posts. They are spam and perpetuate spam.
On the flipside, if you like a brand (for example, Outlaw Soaps, ahem) and want to support it (because you like this blog post, for example), you should “Like,” comment on and share that company’s posts. This legitimately increases their EdgeRank exposure, and is a great way to support friends with businesses.
Photos by Outlaw Soaps.