May 18th, 2012.
This post is to do with Facebook and how to get seen in people’s news feeds.
The problem is that every time you log into to Facebook it has about 500-800 possible items that it could show you in your newsfeed. How on earth does it decide which are most relevant to you?
And how as a marketer on Facebook do you make sure that your company’s posts are getting in front of your so called fans?
Facebook’s Ranking Algorithm: EdgeRank
For anyone seeking to market a product or service on Facebook it’s essential you understand how this algorithm works.
In the olden days it was easy
Just like getting to the top of Google getting to appear in users’ news feed used to be a breeze. That was when there were about 100m people on Facebook. Now there are 900m. Getting your company’s posts to appear in Facebook users’ feeds has meant that marketers have to really think on their feet. No more easy money.
General rule of thumb is that if your posts are so dull that no one shares them or likes them then it’s unlikely Facebook is going to rate them as being of any interest either.
Let’s look at Edge Rank more closely
What is it: EdgeRank is Facebook’s equivalent to Google’s algorithm for ranking news feeds.
Every time you click, like, share, RSVP something on Facebook EdgeRank gives yoru behaviour a score. The higher the score the more popular the post, the more likely it is to appear in other people’s news feeds.
If only it was that simple! How does it really work?
Well it’s a secret for a start.
But we know there are 3 ingredients:
- Affinity Score
- Edge Weight ( an edge is any interaction a user has with the site such as clicking on “Like”)
- Time Decay
Affinity score means how connected a user is with someone else. The more you write on someone’s wall the more affinity you have with them. Each interaction has a different weight: commenting on something is more valuable than just liking. The more mutual friends you have with someone then the more affinity you have with them adn the more likely you are to receives their posts.
If you stop interacting with someone then your affinity score declines and you will stop hearing so much from them! Phew in some cases.
Each edge has a different weight. In order of decreasing importance you have commenting, sharing, liking. Photos have higher value than links.
Every action that a user takes creates an edge, and each of those edges, except for clicks, creates a potential story. By default, you are more likely to see a story in your newsfeed about me commenting on a fan page than a story about me liking a fan page. This is what Facebook marketers must understand
There is even a theory that actively searching for a page/person and Fanning it is more important than just Fanning it as someone else has posted it. This and may other twists and turns to the Edge weight make it very clever but at the end of the day it’s quite simple:
The more interesting you are the more Facebook will rate your posts.
Old stories are old news. So when someone logs on the newsfeed is populated with the most recent stories with the highest score at that time. Your story will not appear unless it has a higher score at that moment in time than all the other possible newsfeeds.
Time decay is also affected by how long since the user last logged into Facebook and how frequently they log in.
How can I optimise the my Fan page for Edgerank?
It’s the same advice as with search engine ranking. Don’t try to trick the search engines, just make your content interesting and informative, or funny. Funny is best!
Take your turgid press releases, turn them inside out so that they ask opinion rather than give it:
- “Click ‘like’ if you think our new product will be useful”
- “Fill-in-the-blank: I can see myself using this product in ______.”
- “Would you recommend this product if it was _____ ______.”
- “On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate the design of our new product X.”
Here are some real world examples
Here is a great example from Luv me Buddies. Funny how’s it often the small companies that get it right!
Though beware these sorts of give aways that tend to attract unengaged, professional competition enterers
The BBC Good Food Show have great content and potential to engender interactions but this post is too passive and does not engage.
Easy Jet are having a good go. Their question gets you thinking of Italy and sharing your experiences. It’s still quite a big jump to think that this might make you suddenly book a holiday but it’s all good branding I guess.
Businesses are still struggling to really derive any revenue from Facebook and personally I doubt they will unless they are big brands. But that should not stop everyone from trying. BUT whoever you please think of something interesting to post before you post it!