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Playing the Facebook Edge Rank Game

Did you know that less than 1% of your Facebook fans will ever return to you wall? That means that if you have 1000 fans then on average only 10 of them will ever see your wall. In the All Facebook article, The 7 Biggest Fan Page Marketing Mistakes, Ben Carter reported this staggering statistic and that one of the biggest fan page mistakes is thinking that people return to your wall.

 

What does that mean for your fan page? It means that your fans are mostly engaging with you through the content that you post—the posts they see in their news feed, right next to their friends and family. The posts with the highest edge rank will be on the top of the feed, and stay there longer.

 
What is edge rank and why is it important?

If people are mostly engaging with you through your content, it’s important to know a little something about Facebook’s edge rank. There is a lot about Facebook’s edge rank that is known, but to a lot of people it remains a mystery.

I recently shared a post by Mari Smith that reminded me of the importance of understanding edge rank. In that post she shared an incredibly useful infographic by Copypressed, along with a great point:

A well-designed and implemented Facebook marketing strategy based around content can yield tremendous ROI.

You can see the full infographic and article here.

Edge rank determines whether your content is seen in a fan’s home feed and is comprised of three variables: affinity, weight and recency.

Affinity measures how often someone interacts with your page. The more history someone has with your page (past comments, likes or shares) the more your content will show up on their home feed. The dilemma for fan pages is that affinity is mostly a one-way street. Pages cannot post or comment on a fan’s wall, so in the case of fan pages affinity mostly comes from the fan (with the exception that is described below).

Weight measures the importance of a post—how much engagement it receives. Naturally some posts will get more of a reaction than others. Photos typically get the most engagement, next to videos and links, and regular status updates (just text) fall to the bottom of the weight scale.

Recency simply measures how long ago the post was made. Posts will typically fall off a feed after 1-3 days, depending upon how popular it is. The more popular a post is (weight), the longer it may stay in the feed. A post has a better chance of having a higher recency score the more recent the post was made.

 

How should edge rank inform your content?
Even if you don’t know the mechanics of edge rank inside and out, you should always have quality content top of mind. With every post you have a unique opportunity to gain more fans, increase visibility, and convert fans into customers.

Pictures, pictures, pictures. You’ve heard it before but I cannot stress it enough. Now that everyone’s caught on to pictures on Facebook, it’s not enough to post just any picture. The picture should be compelling and relevant, but you also need to be strategic in how you post a photo. A carefully designed picture can turn a simple marketing message into something much more interesting that will yield a higher engagement rate, thus more weight.

Notice in the example below Hubspot has included a link into their website in the description of the photograph. This is a trick that is often overlooked. Normally one would think if they want to link into their website they make a link update. But link updates get lost in the home feed next to all the pictures people are posting.

Lighten up a little. If all you are posting are carefully crafted marketing messages, discounts and deals, and promotions, then your fans are going to get bored fast. People have affinity for a business page because they show their human side—they have a good personality and have unexpected characteristics. Post about your company culture or employees having fun, post photos of your dog, post a silly video just to make your fans laugh. People are drawn to people, not marketing messages.

Another way to boost your affinity score is to always “tag” fans when responding to their comments. Many fan page owners don’t know this little known feature on Facebook. If a fan makes a comment on your post, you can “@” tag their name while responding. This not only sends them a notification that you’ve tagged them, but it’s a great way to personalize the fan experience on your page.

 

Consistency is key. The best way to stay top of mind is to post consistently on Facebook. Your fans will forget about you quick if you don’t post on a regular basis. Posting regularly also prevents your content from expiring and increases your recency score. If you can’t commit to going on Facebook every day, then don’t be afraid to schedule posts on Facebook—with moderation. If you are going to schedule on Facebook, you may want to use the schedule option in Facebook, not from a 3rd party service. The Facebook schedule feature is that little clock icon in the bottom left of the update box. I know Hootsuite is the go-to social media management tool, but the main advantage to using the Facebook schedule feature is that any tags you use will be preserved.

Playing the Facebook edge rank game can seem a little overwhelming, but one of the keys to Facebook edge rank success is strategic posting and killer content. Sometimes even textbook edge rank needs a little boost. In my next post I’ll talk about how you can get that added boost using promoted posts.

This post was originally posted on Digital Ethos here.

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About Gwen Woltz

Gwen Woltz is co-founder of Wahine Media, a local social media agency specializing in strategically building thriving and engaged online communities for businesses. Gwen is President of Social Media Club Hawaii, was a finalist for Pacific Edge Magazine's Young Professional of the Year, and is an instructor of social media at Pacific New Media Outreach College at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.