Certainly you’ve wondered why some of your friends’ posts turn up on your Facebook wall and others do not? And you’ve likely wondered why some of those company pages you decided to ‘like’ or become a ‘fan’ of are showing up but your own employer’s updates never show up? More importantly, do you want to figure out how to get your company’s Facebook posts to appear in the feed of all your ‘fans?’ Then read on.
Showing up on in the news feed on Facebook is not just random luck. It is a well-planned and often tweaked algorithm housed within the corporate walls of Facebook. Similar to how Google first used PageRank to determine the relevancy, authority and popularity of web pages on the Internet, Facebook uses what it calls EdgeRank to determine which content should appear at the top of a particular user’s news feed when he or she logins to Facebook.
The EdgeRank algorithm was discussed at length during the f8 developer conference last year. More or less, Facebook’s engineers told us that every piece of content put on Facebook is an Object and every interaction with that Object is an Edge.
There are three main parts to EdgeRank.
Relevancy is one component. For example, users will turns up on each other’s news feeds more often if users interact more frequently (by posting on walls or commenting on photos) or more intimately (perhaps through private Facebook messages or Facebook chat). Unfortunately, this is also why you have to see the Facebook updates of your ex EVERYWHERE for a few weeks after the breakup.
The next is how many EdgeRank points did the object get? While we don’t know the fine details here, we can assume that the more “likes,” comments or posts an Object gets the better.
We were also told that different interactions are weighted differently. No further details were given, but we can reasonably assume that a ‘comment’ is worth more than a ‘like’ and a wall ‘post’ is worth more than either. It’d probably be safe to say that a wall post by a user that has lots of fans versus a user with little fans would also be more powerful.
The next factor is timeliness. Facebook is aware that people care more about what someone recently said than something mentioned a week ago. Thus, it’s important to weight more heavily anything that is more recent.
Now, what can you do to make sure that you are properly Facebook News Feed Optimizing?
First, setup a content strategy for Facebook. Plan what updates you definitely want to have posted to Facebook over the next two to three days. Make sure to leave room for other interesting things as well. In essence, you are planning for only two-thirds of what you plan to eventually post to Facebook. Leave another one-third open for spontaneity. After all it is the spice of life. J
Second, encourage others to interact with your updates. Post questions. Ask them to do something interactive. There is a huge difference in the level of interaction from stating a fact versus asking an opinion (even if it is an opinion about a fact).
Third, promote it. That doesn’t mean sending an email blast with every Facebook update. It means putting social media tools on your website. Linking to your Facebook wall from Twitter to ‘have a discussion’ may also drive more interactions. Get the word out.
Fourth, keep the conversation going on Facebook. Comment back. Like comments on the Object from your friends. It’s tempting to answer all the comments at one time or in one big comment. Don’t do that. Try to answer them as they come in. It will increase the number of Edges on the Object and will actually be more engaging to your audience as well.
Fifth, keep the content fresh. You need to keep people engaged in your content. If you can’t do that, then you’ll need to post new content. Really, you want to have interactions happening every 30 minutes to an hour (at the least) if you plan to stay ‘fresh’.