Facebook, the best known and most widely adopted social network, is a crowded place. So crowded, that the average fan page status update only reaches 7.5% of it’s fan base. 70-90% of your fans will never see your status updates because Facebook categorises content with an algorithm to hide content that it assumes users won’t want to see. If a user has never visited your fan page or interacted with you, he or she won’t see any new content you publish. If a fan has commented once or twice, they might see one third of your new status updates. However, to get the most out of Facebook, you want all, or at least most of your status updates to be visible in your fan’s streams. In this blog, we’ll break down Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm to show you how to beat it.
Let’s start with some definitions
The EdgeRank Algorithm is relatively straight foward. A status update is called an Object. When a user interacts with an Object, they create an Edge (i.e. like, comment, share). To find an object’s EdgeRank (a.k.a importance to a user), three variables are considered: Affinity, Weight and Time Decay.
Multiply these variables, and you get an Object’s EdgeRank. The higher the score, the more likely the Object will appear in a user’s news feed. The lower the score, the more obscure your content becomes. Essentially, it’s one big popularity contest.
So, how do I get on Facebook’s popular list?
Forget fancy Facebook tabs, an effective SM strategy focuses on the news feed, not the fan page. Much like SEO, News Feed Optimization (NFO) is an optimization process to position you in the top spot in the news feed, and keep you there. Here’s how to do it:
- Post photos and videos over links and simple text updates, and think “viral”. Where appropriate, tag other pages and people in your posts to maximise it’s visibility;
- Treat your status updates as a conversation. Ask questions to elicit comments. Respond to comments quickly to show your account is responsive, while boosting your comment count and Edge’s weight;
- Post 1-2 times a day to increase your chances of being seen. Think carefully about timing - you may need to test out different times and track responses to find a solution that works best for your brand page;
- You want your fans to visit your page from time to time. Give them an incentive with a sweepstake, giveaway or promotion (within Facebook’s guidelines, naturally);
- Focus on attracting genuine fans who are interested in engaging with your content. Target appropriately with your ads, and don't get caught up with numbers. The "people talking about this" figure is the important one;
- Limit use of automated publishing services like NetworxedBlogs or scheduling tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck. The algorithm prefers content composed within Facebook;
- Get dirty with data. Monitor Facebook Insights to analyse which posts are effective, and what time people are interacting with your posts or page. Make changes where necessary.