Did you know that most of your Facebook Page followers will never see your status updates?
There are currently over 950 million Facebook users! The potential for connection and sharing ideas is therefore enormous. As a business, organization, brand, artist, author or other entrepreneur, it is almost essential to have a Facebook Page in addition to a personal profile. Whereas only friends can view your personal profile posts (depending on your settings), your Facebook Page is public. However, it is important to know that just because someone ‘liked’ your Page does not mean that they will see any of your updates in their news feed! And herein lies point of this post.
How does Facebook rank the importance of posts and who gets to see them?
I have briefly mentioned the algorithm called EdgeRank that Facebook uses to determine the rank of status updates and posts. Why is this important? Because the higher your posts score on Edgerank, the more likely it is that they will appear on your followers’ news feeds. If EdgeRank predicts a person will not be interested in your status update, then it will never even be shown to that person. Getting your posts more highly ranked by Edgerank is of paramount importance in order for you to have a higher reach.
Edgerank uses three criteria: relationship or affinity, post type, and post timing. In short, relationship is ranked by the amount of interaction between two people (through likes, comments, tags, and sharing), how connected you are, and interest. The more your fans interact with your Page, the more likely it is that they’ll see your posts in the future. Post type is the rank that is given to the different kinds of content. For example, comments are given more rank than likes, and posts that earn the highest rank are videos, photos, and links. Post timing is more obvious. As a story gets older, it loses rank because it is old news. The way to gauge the effects of EdgeRank is by seeing how many people you reached. This is stated as a number under each update on your Facebook Page.
For anyone hoping to spread an idea about a product or service on Facebook it’s essential that you know how to use the algorithm to your benefit.
If, for instance, you have an important announcement to make on Facebook, like an upcoming product, launch or event, you will want to first increase the affinity of as many followers as possible ahead of your announcement so that it will be more likely to show up in as many of your fans’ news feeds as possible when the time comes. The more times you interact with others (about anything), the better the chance that when you do post an offer or special deal, it will show up in their top news feed.
Here are some ideas to make your posts more highly ranked and therefore more visible on feeds.
Incorporate objects such as videos, photos, and links which have a higher rank to communicate with your audience whenever possible. A quote is great, but when you add the quote inside an image your post immediately stands out in feeds and gains more attention. Posting peculiar, funny or inspiring images can offer the opportunity for more interest and engagement. Nothing gets shared and liked faster than an inspirational quote, humorous saying , or clever content inserted over an eye-catching graphic. Even better, add a comment above the image, calling for some kind of response.
Here is a post I saw on Facebook that illustrates this-
Create interaction. Ask a question, call for action or encourage feedback to create a reason for people to comment rather than simply ‘like’ your update. This can have a dramatic affect on increasing affinity which in turn influences the reach of any future messages. Never overuse a question though, and always try to be real and original.
An example is to share a project that you are thinking of starting and ask your readers whether or not they would be interested in the idea. Anything you can do to encourage people to write a response will increase, not only your affinity with those people, but affect how many people may see your post. When someone likes or comments on something you post to your Page, their friends may also see a story about in their news feeds.
Lastly, always be authentic! Know your audience and care about their interests. Don’t just post blatant ads. Go for personal interaction and building connections, even if it is not business related. Create fresh, unique and interesting posts that entice engagement. Grow your audience by posting regularly. And produce content that’s worth sharing!
UPDATE: Please note that Facebook changes their policies and practices regularly and some of the information in this article may no longer be relevant when you read it!
UPDATE April 2014 – Read this article on the latest Facebook tweaks to its news feed algorithm.