SM& Director of Digital Communications, Michelle Mastrobattista, spoke at PR News’ Digital Summit in San Francisco, CA on how to really use Facebook for your PR efforts.

Couldn’t attend? Here are the highlights:

Just because you post a status update on Facebook, not everyone will see it. It’s called a News Feed for a reason.

EdgeRank is dead and Facebook has a new algorithm. Though Facebook has not shared the exact formula, here are a few factors that weigh into it:

  • Relationship settings
  • Post types
  • Hide post/spam reporting
  • Clicking on ads and viewing other Timelines
  • Device and technical considerations
  • Story Bump & Last Actor

You need to have a strategy. Know your audience and analyze which types of most interest them the most. Do they respond to photo uploads? Or would they rather click on links?

You can study all the data and algorithms that you want, but at the end of the day there is no substitute for creative, original content on Facebook. Whether it’s a text status, a photo, a video, or a link to a blog or news article, always ask yourself this:

WOULD I SHARE THIS? If the answer is no, don’t waste your time posting it. Content that doesn’t get likes, shares, or comments, can actually hurt your affinity score and decrease your organic reach.

Just because you can do social media comfortably behind a screen doesn’t mean personality doesn’t shine through. Be friendly and have fun with it! Facebook is a great way to humanize your brand and show the people behind the logo.

Still have low engagement?

Getting exposure on Facebook is no longer free. In addition to having great content, you need to invest in Facebook Ads. The great thing about Facebook advertising is that you can set your own budget. Start with a small budget and experiment with targeting. You can choose different types of Ads based on your goals. For example, if your goal is to gain new fans, you might try a Page Like Ad. If your goal is to get more engagement, you might try a Post Engagement ad.

Michelle also shared tips on monitoring for a crisis on Facebook, and how best to respond by having a point person in charge and creating a system to handle the situation.

Here are Michelle’s key takeaways from the presentation:

  • The News Feed Algorithm is Facebook’s editorial department.
  • Take advantage of free tools to better understand your audience and develop a strategy.
  • Facebook Ads are your new best friend.
  • Reputation monitoring and social listening require dedicated resources.
  • Don’t panic. Any crisis can be anticipated and planned for.

Not sure if you’re optimizing your Facebook presence in the best way? Like our Facebook page to see how it’s done.

Check out Michelle’s full presentation here.