Explode Your Social Media Engagement
If your business isn’t on Facebook, it might as well just pack its bags and head on home. The latest data indicates that 90% of small businesses are using the platform to connect with prospects and brand advocates. Maintaining an active presence on the world’s favorite social media network is an invitation for your fans to connect with your brand. Advertising, content promotion, and customer service opportunities are just a click away.
However, the EdgeRank algorithm may be standing in the way of your brand being noticed in the first place. Facebook engineers are sharp enough to realize that your disengaged fans might not want to see your content in their feed. More than 30 billion pieces of content are posted on Facebook each week, and the algorithm is Facebook’s way of determining what’s worth seeing and what isn’t.
For the uninitiated, EdgeRank is the algorithm that controls the information shared in a Facebook feed. It’s the network’s way of predicting the information those who “Like” you care about. And unlike creating content for your company website, where quality arguably matters more than knowing the ins and outs of the Google search algorithm, you need to develop an understanding of how it works so you can crush it. It’s no secret that marketers hate EdgeRank; as a result of the recent updates, probably only 10–12% of your connections even see your content. In the amusing words of social media marketer Chris Warden, “This means I’ve used up approximately 2-bazillion...hours cultivating hordes of fans to client pages so that Facebook could decide that only...16-percent of them could see my posts at any given time. “ Depressing, but true. Are you ready to learn how to destroy EdgeRank?
What Determines EdgeRank?
There are three primary components to your brand’s EdgeRank score on Facebook:
Affinity: Affinity is a computer-generated measure of how much your fans really like you. This is essentially measured by how often they interact with your content. If a fan and several of their friends like your same page and interact with each other regularly, it can boost your EdgeRank.
Time Decay: The earlier a social media update was published, the further down your fans’ timeline it will move. If they have 2,500 Facebook friends, their individual time decay will be much more rapid than if they only have 60 friends. Each update in their network pushes your content further down their feed.
Weight: This measure determines how likely your fans are to interact with the content. Facebook places a greater weight on visual content and experts estimate that the value of content is weighted as follows:
Photos and Videos
Weight can be affected by your overall engagement rate. If you typically generate hundreds of comments per plain text post, all of your content is more likely to appear in your fans’ feeds since Facebook assumes you’re fascinating.
EdgeRank is obviously much more complex than can be explained in a few paragraphs, and we recommend that marketers check-out Warden’s in-depth explanation for more insight.
How Do I Obliterate EdgeRank Already?
1. Be Really Visually Oriented
Photos are twice as effective at driving engagement on Facebook as plain text. Videos reign supreme, driving 12 times the engagement of links. No video camera or film editing skills? That’s okay—this is where content curation should enter your social media strategy. When you’re sharing your blog content on Facebook, take the time to upload images separately to ensure your posts really stand out in fast-moving news feeds.
2. Be Charismatic
Your Facebook page should be filled to the brim with fascinating, humorous, and informative content. Social media experts estimate that the average life of a Facebook post is around three hours, and that photos and video live far longer than pure text. With the help of HubSpot or another social media scheduling tool, make sure your page never goes quiet.
3. Promote Your Facebook Content Shamelessly
Content marketer Jamie Cartwright recommends cross-pollinating your social media to “work the EdgeRank.” Pin glowing feedback from brand advocates on Pinterest, and promote dialogue through Twitter or Google Plus. If you have an active discussion about the relative deliciousness of Krispy Kreme versus Dunkin Donuts taking place on your Facebook page, it’s worth mentioning on your company’s blog or Twitter account.
4. Don’t Be Too Wordy
You don’t need to go into extensive detail on Facebook. That’s what your business blog is for! Content strategist Sarah Pierce advises brands to let their “images do the talking,” and focus on content that’s short enough to thrive on Twitter. In fact, research indicates that posts consisting of 100 characters or less may be the most effective at driving engagement.
5. Don’t Act Like It’s Twitter
Turns out, avid Facebook users might be less trusting than your Tweeps. Don’t obscure your links with a shortening tool like bit.ly, even though it’s definitely a best practice for Twitter. Research by Buddy Media indicates that full links drive 3 times more engagement than shortened links.
6. Don’t Think 9 to 5
A principle of great social media management is posting content at times that work well for your fans and followers. If you needed any more compelling evidence that your company should be scheduling Tweets and Facebook posts, it’s an established fact that having content ready to drop after-hours will likely boost your Edgerank. Research indicates that brands who post outside the hours of 9 to 5 have 20% higher engagement.
7. Fill in the Blank
“I think Mondays are like (fill in the blank).” This simple technique of engaging your followers is apparently really effective—they typically receive 900% more Facebook comments than other posts. Less than 1% of brands are currently using the tactic. Be one of them, and you may gain an edge over your competition.
8. Use Active Language
Sometimes, the best way to encourage engagement on social media is to just ask your fans to boost your EdgeRank a little. The words “post”, “comment,” “take,” “submit,” “like,” or “tell us” have been proven the most effective at generating comments, shares, and "Likes."
9. Do Your Own Research
At the end of the day, data is just data and only you and your social media manager can determine what resonates the best among your fans and followers. Researchers may find that most people spend time on Facebook on the weekends and sneak in mobile Facebook access during Wednesday and Friday at work. But are those findings relevant to your customers? Do your prospects even work 9 to 5? Test and improve.
How Have You Outsmarted Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm?