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I’ve spent the past year lecturing in Social Media in The Digital Marketing Institute and providing training to corporate clients and the same question crops up time and again:

“How do I improve my Facebook marketing?”

When I enquire what exactly the hope to achieve many times the real question is how do I get more impression on Facebook. The simple answer I provide is “Understand Facebook’s rules before you play the Facebook game”.  And where are the Facebook rules? In the algorithim which decides what appears in peoples newsfeeds, more commonly known as Edgerank.

Facebook's Edgerank

Facebook’s Edgerank algorithim decides what appears in a Facebook users newsfeed. Why does such an algorithim exist? Well Facebook wants you to continuously use Facebook so they want your newsfeed to be full of content that appeals to you. They judge what appeals to you by taking into consideration:

1)   Time: The time decay between the time they post and when they’re online. Facebook wants to give you recent content not something that happened last week!

2)   Weight: How much effort did they put into their post e.g. A picture or a video is weighted more heavily than a status update or link.

3)   Affinity: The amount of times you’ve interacted with a person or a Brand

Cast your mind back to your own Newsfeed, does this sound familiar? It really made sense to me when I presumed a friend of mine was very quiet on Facebook but when I went to his page there was a lot of content there. And it made sense:

1) He’s now living in LA (so he’s posting at times when I’m not online)

2) He usually only posts status updates (so the weighting is quite low)

3) I haven’t commented or liked any of his content in a long while (so the affinity between us is very low).

The Edgerank between us was very low which was quickly remedied by commenting on and liking his content. Low and behold, he was suddenly back in my Newsfeed!

Similarly, this algorithm decides what business page content is shown in a newsfeed also.

In July 2012 Comscore released a whitepaper called “The Power of Like: How Brands Reach and Influence Fans Through Social Media Marketing” (a must-read for any Social Media Marketer). This insightful report revealed that users were 218% more likely to consume branded content in their newsfeeds than the brand page itself. Makes sense really: if I become a fan of Carlsberg on Facebook I’m not going to be sitting at home wondering how Carlsberg is doing and go visit their page. It’s up to Carlsberg to make it into my newsfeed to communicate with me. By posting at the right time, with the right content (weight) and enticing me to like or comment on their posts (affinity) their Edegrank will be higher ensuring a place in my Newsfeed.

Comscore's The Power of Like

So what practical tips could I give readers looking to master Edgerank?

1)   Use EdgerankChecker.com to see what your current Edgerank is. The free Edgerankchecker account will tell you what your business page’s Edgerank is and the days of the week when your Edgerank is highest and lowest. The pro account will rate multiple pages and give you access to expert white papers on how to improve your Facebook Marketing.

Edgerankchecker.com

2)   Do your Facebook marketing in Facebook. Despite the convenience of tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer App for scheduling Facebook messaging, using external tools lowers your Facebook Edgerank. Essentially, what you gain in convenience you lose in Newsfeed exposure.

3)   Post photographs and videos with your statuses. Edgerank’s weighting system dictates that content with photographs, videos will appear in more newsfeeds than status updates alone.

4)   Aim for a reaction to increase Affinity: With every item you post on Social Media the aim should be to start a conversation. If it’s a picture you’re posting then it should be accompanied with an engaging question: “What do you guys think of our new Facebook App?” as opposed to “Here’s our new Facebook App” which does not really give an opportunity to reply.

By following these tips, marketers will find:

  • Their content will appear in more fan’s newsfeeds, earning more impressions
  • Their fans will become more engaged
  • The number of fans will begin to increase as friends of fans are exposed to their content.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any thoughts or comments on Facebook’s Edgerank I’d be very happy to hear your comments below or tweet me at @Cian_Corbett.

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