In the first part of my post I explained how Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to help users see the posts they are most connected too. While intended to help end users, this system can kill as much as 70% of the visibility of a page, I even mentioned a client I’m working with who has seen their views go down despite a 5x growth in fans. So now that we’re agreed on the importance of having a good EdgeRank score, it’s time to discuss the Do’s & Don’ts to get there.
Now in all fairness you can’t escape EdgeRank as you grow; not even the top musicians and celebrities engage enough to escape unscathed. The core that follows your business on day one is only so big and in time you will get less interested fans coming in but there are things you can do to insure you don’t take a plunge like the company that contacted me did.
1. Target your fan acquisition efforts.
Whether it’s a sign on your restaurant tables, product insert or an ad on Facebook [which can be very good at getting relevant fans], ask yourself: is this message about acquiring someone who may be interested in my business or am I buying someone’s participation. Coupons, freebies all have to be measured – are they loyalty related [good as the customer has to actually like you to want to come back] or something a person may just find personally motivating like getting a onetime deal.
2. Avoid cheap tricks, tools and overnight systems.
Whether it’s the promise from a so-called social agency to add a 100,000 fans through their “network” or having people become fans to help their favorite charity but then ending up uninterested in your brand which they now follow, tricks are bad. Even seemingly useful programs like a joint contest with a huge partner that fangates the entry system, can pile in people who just don’t care, don’t engage and pull you down. Anything that forces a LIKE should be questioned twice.
3. Closely monitor your post engagement and adjust.
Modern strategy says the customer now controls your brand perception and EdgeRank says they do own your Facebook success so while you have to get certain post types out there to drive your business, learn what format is working best in the nearly instantaneous testing ground that is your page. Focus on the post types that get responses – whether it’s a request for fans to upload a photo engaged with the brand, to vote on a new flavor, a cameo on a TV show, or a great coverage story that people like seeing you mentioned in.
4. Don’t overpost. Don’t overpost’ Don’t overpost.
Sure it’s exciting to have a huge event or perhaps you just have 5 different requests from different product teams in the same day but that’s no excuse to make updates right and left. People don’t want to be spammed. One message is ideal; two is ok, three if you have something great to share and never two within the same two hours. That means if you have an event cover the start and the end. Space them out, limit to 3, period.
5. Do respond to posts for pre-sales, support, and brand affirmation.
One of the factors people overlook in EdgeRank is page-owner participation. Facebook wants to see that you don’t simply post out but rather that you reply back to updates you generate and the comments your fans make. Be engaged; it’s what your fans expect anyways.
6. Do use geotargetting.
If you have an offer that excludes a state, don’t have users there see it – if they ignore it you lose relevancy, if they engage with it they’ll be negative – there’s no win to showing it to them. Facebook had fantastic targeting-in [if only they would add exclusion areas] which can apply to every regional offer, discount, or location specific event so use it liberally to limit posts, make localized versions and be as specific as time and your business allow for.
7. Stop thinking 9-5. Think your fan’s hours.
Studies have shown that brands that post “after hours” get as much as 20% higher engagement rates and if you know your audience, this can be much higher. When are your Fans on Facebook? When are they likely to be around your product? When are they bored with their phones [mobile is huge for commenting]? I’ve seen weekends, evenings, even Christmas have HUGE returns. Use time to your advantage to increase engagement.
8. Do give people a reason to view your page, share it and contribute beyond a LIKE.
From apps to open ended questions to new updates shown through your page, there’s weight in views and even more in participation. The more reasons people have to leave the news feed and view, the more they write comments or post photos versus just “liking”, the more they are showing their interest in the page. Give them opportunities and reasons to speak up.
9. Do encourage fans to tag your brand in photos.
No telling what this new feature will do to EdgeRank scores yet but it’s engagement, it’s brand focused, it’s something you can potentially get a lot of people doing easily with a clever post and that can’t hurt.
10. Use the data given to you to monitor success.
Facebook’s is an end user site first but their business offering is growing daily so be mindful of the new tools they come out with and pay close attention to your insights tab – the numbers from views to engagements to active users matter – know them and use them to your advantage.
At the end of the day EdgeRank is an attempt to replicate a human using each individual’s actions along with the collective fan base of a page, the actions of the page owner, and time to determine what “they” would most likely want to see first, second, or not at all. You have the benefit of being able to access the humans [your fans]– engagement is a two way street. If numbers slip, review your campaigns, your content strategy, throw in a few more engaging post types and don’t be afraid to ask – sometimes the most obvious issue is right there, waiting to be told to you.
And once you’ve got the score up, go walk into your manager’s room and explain how you’re readdressing your fan strategy to insure your brand is seen more by good fans rather than worrying about having more uninterested ones.
6 Tips to Increase Your Facebook EdgeRank and Exposure - Social Media Examiner
What Does It Mean for Brands? – Social Media Today