How To: Use EdgeRank to Improve Facebook Page Views and Fans

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Maybe it’s me. But the word algorithm makes me itchy. And yet, it’s behind one of the most fascinating and important features for Facebook Pages: EdgeRank.

What’s an EdgeRank?

There’s a complicated formula behind it, but Facebook is keeping mum about the exact way they calculate EdgeRank. The basic idea centers around engagement. Obviously, the more fans you have, the better. But Facebook is also looking for quality of fans. How often do they take part on your Page, interacting with your content? Do they post pictures, like comments, leave their own wall posts?

Have you ever noticed that you see some friends in your Newsfeed all the time, while others seem to shun Facebook? It’s not exactly true, but your perception of their Facebook activity comes from previous Facebook interactions (or lack thereof). If you commented on Friend A’s photos a few times and they posted back on your wall, and now you click through to keep seeing their new albums in your Newsfeed, you’ll continue to see the content they post. But if you missed a bunch of updates from Friend B and never engaged with their posts, Facebook will remove them from your Newsfeed.

Don’t believe me? Try it out. You can change the default setting to “see all posts” by scrolling to the bottom of your Newsfeed and selecting “Show posts from: All your friends and pages.”

Focus on Engagement to Boost Page Ranking

The same is true for Facebook Pages. A bad friend will never comment on your updates or tag you in photos; a bad fan will never respond to questions or enter a contest. Facebook categorizes all the types of content you can interact with, including Status Updates, Photos, Videos, Links and more. Liking content is good, but posting a comment or photo is even better. Viewing an album in the Newsfeed is nice, but clicking through a whole photo album is gold.

Basically, the more engaged a fan is with content, and the more effort it requires of them, the higher you drive the EdgeRank for your Page. Why? Because more engagement means more time on Facebook itself. And time on the site means more money for Facebook, so there’s a distinct advantage for them to show only content from friends and brands that makes users stick around longer.

5 Tips to Improve Your EdgeRank

EdgeRank may be a somewhat mysterious formula, but we know enough to take basic steps to improving your Facebook Page’s score. Focus on interactivity and engagement. It makes sense, even without the EdgeRank algorithm: the more people interact with your content, the more they remember your brand. This makes them more likely to return to your Facebook Page, buy your product or visit your website.

Ask Questions

The most obvious way to get what you want is to ask for it. Add a question at the end of your status update to get people talking, or use the Questions application. Mix in trivia and fill in the blank posts to your content calendar, and don’t be afraid to try more interactive challenges like a caption contest or knock-knock joke competition.

Promote Posting

Just because you allow fans to post photos and videos to your Page doesn’t mean they will. You’ve got to remind them, and give them a reason to go the extra mile. Answering a trivia question is easy and immediate, but posting a photo means they have to see the prompt, take a picture and remember to come back to post it. Think about some type of “Fan of the Week” promotion where you shout out or display shots of your best fans. The recognition isn’t a real prize, so you don’t break any Facebook rules, and you have a built in way to remind fans to post new content every week.

Host Exclusives

Exclusive Facebook content works in a lot of ways. For EdgeRank, it encourages clicks, video plays, photo views and shares because there is nowhere else your fans can get this content. Try giving Facebook fans the scoop on new information, or creating newsworthy, shareable content that is only available through your Page. You can even tease by telling fans to look for a secret code or discount hidden somewhere in the video.

Include Links

Facebook updates should be short. After 50 words, Facebook makes readers click “view more” to read your entire post. So keep it under 50 words and provide only the most pertinent and shareable information. It may help to create a character limit for yourself, kind of like Twitter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t provide longer form content as well. Include links back to your site, blog or other web property to keep fans clicking.

Post Everyday

The more you post, the more your fans see your content and have a chance to interact with it. The most popular Facebook Pages post about once a day, but many have seen great success with multiple posts per day, or a combination of national and regional posts. Try out different post volumes, making sure to track likes/unlikes and gauge the reactions of fans. And don’t forget to include calls to interact!

Bottom line: when you’re brainstorming content, think of ways to get fans more involved.

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