I don’t mean to alarm you but if you’re doing what most companies are on Facebook, then it’s quite likely only 1 in 6 of your page’s fans actually see your carefully thought out Facebook updates from your business page in their news feed. The cause? Facebook’s Edgerank.
If you don’t know what Facebook’s Edgerank is and why the time and effort you’re putting into your company’s Facebook page isn’t returning the business results you hoped for, then this article is for you; so grab a cuppa and let’s fix the 1 in 6 problem for your page right now with this easy to follow to do list (here’s the research to read later on how many fans on average see Facebook page updates by the way).
What is Edgerank?
Firstly, I thought I’d throw a bit of education your way on what Facebook’s Edgerank actually is.
You’re probably aware of Google’s algorithm that reviews in a long list of factors to decide who ranks where in search results. Well Edgerank is like Facebook’s version of that algorithm. Edgerank is the judge and jury that decides what fans will (and won’t) see in their news feed.
You’d be forgiven for thinking all your fans are seeing your updates. After all – you see them in your news feed. But once you know how Edgerank decides who sees what, you’ll realise why you are seeing your updates but your fans may not be.
Luckily there are far fewer factors Facebook’s Edgerank takes into account versus Google. The higher your Edgerank score, the more likely all of your fans will see the content you add on your company’s Facebook page.
One factor is cheating. Well, they don’t call it cheating of course, but one of the things researchers suggest will harm your Edgerank is whether you put your updates into Facebook directly (good) or you use third-party software or applications to schedule and feed your updates to your page (bad). Hence the first thing on your ‘fix the 1 in 6’ to do list:
1 – Add content to your Facebook page from within Facebook
Yep, you need to avoid using third party software, websites or applications to do it for you, sorry!
Other Facebook Edgerank factors include affinity, weight, time and possibly more. A bit like Google’s ranking algorithm, we don’t know everything Edgerank rates and what weight everything is given from an insider’s point of view, but in saying that there is quite a lot known about it that Facebook has told us and a lot of Facebook research out there that’s worked out how different factors increase or decrease your Edgerank.
Affinity means how does a particular fan and all fans relate with your page.
Weight is what the item is and what amount and types of interaction that item is getting. Things like videos and photos tends to have more weight, so when a fan views one of your photos it can be better for your Edgerank than when a fan just visits your page.
Which brings us to number 2 on our fix it list:
2 – Mix it up! Add photos, link to or upload videos, etc. Don’t focus on text-only updates all the time
Then there’s the actual engagement you’re getting.
Any engagement is a good thing but some types of engagement will increase your Edgerank more than others. A like on a photo or update helps your Edgerank less than a comment for example.
3 – Increase fan engagement
I’m not talking about impressions here, but actual genuine engagement.
bribing offering an incentive or prize to increase engagement either or you you may break Facebook’s promotional guidelines and risk having your page deleted and losing all your fans.
You can run promotions on Facebook, just be careful how you go about it. Check with us for free advice if you’re unsure if your idea is yay or nay according to the rules.
So you want to get likes, shares, comments and more on every update, from as many fans as possible (rather than from the same fans time and time again).
4 – Use your network
To start with, get word out around your staff, colleagues and business partners – like your advertising, media, PR or digital agencies – not forgetting your friends and family, to ask them all to pretty please like every update and photo you add to help improve your Edgerank. If they feel like adding a comment or sharing your updates, all the better to see you with.
Of course you have to approach this with a bit of common sense because Edgerank is not dumb.
Pretty soon your staff and partners will be seeing your updates in their news feed like clockwork, but Facebook’s Edgerank judges not just overall fan engagement but engagement by each fan individually as well, leaving some poor fans stuck out in the cold if they aren’t engaging with your updates.
So it’s time for a bit of research, bringing us to fix it number 5:
5 – Find out the right sorts of updates
If you’re admin for your page you’ll see a link to view your page insights in the admin panel at the top of your page. Click that area to view your full insights and prepare to be amazed. Well, fascinated at least, or maybe shocked and dismayed, depending on the past performance of your updates.
Once you’ve clicked Insights, you’ll see lots of eye-opening data on every update you’ve made in chronological order. Click any one of the columns to reorder your posts by most people reached, most user engagement, most talked about and most shared. It’s those measurements that factor into your Edgerank score.
Usually the same posts that score well on one of the measures, also takes out top prize for the others. So now you can see what types of updates are the ones you want to focus your efforts on moving forwards to boost your Edgerank. Maybe funny updates do best for you, or is it breaking news that grabs your fans attention?
Then there’s the factor of time. Old news is, well, old; so Edgerank prefers to show newer items. That segways nicely into fix it number 6:
6 – Get your timing right: 8am, 6pm or weekends and 1 update every 2nd day
For those fans who do see your updates, get your timing wrong and you’re reducing the chances of being seen, let alone getting engagement.
A lot of Facebook research (like this by social media scientist Dan Zarrella) agrees the best performance is gained when you post Facebook updates no more than once every second day unless you’re a daily deals site or news organisation or similar, where daily or multiple posts a day are expected – and accepted – by your fans.
After you’ve got your frequency sorted, you need to consider what time your fans are on Facebook.
Get your update out when more of your fans are on Facebook and the chance of that update receiving engagement such as shares goes up considerably. When you consider 1 share potentially exposes you to a further 124 non-fans (based on the average New Zealander averaging 124 friends on Facebook), the right timing helps you increase your Edgerank and grow your number of fans on your Facebook page.
In our experience working with brands with fans from a few hundred to over a hundred and fifty thousand Facebook fans here in New Zealand, that means you want to publish updates before work and after work on week days. Weekend updates are also powerful for getting shares and engagement, when we tend to spend more time logged in to Facebook.
Not easily done for you? Then go for as close to 8am and 6pm as possible for week day updates.
Schedule putting your Facebook update in your calendar, just like you would a conference call or meeting, to avoid doing your best zombie impression while absorbing your morning coffee and mindlessly forgetting to do your update at the right time.
But how long does an update live?
Jeff Widman published this research on Mashable which looked at not only the right frequency but also how long a post ‘lives’ and said:
“I surveyed 20 posts across five fan pages that had 2 million+ fans, and calculated an average post lifetime of 22 hours, 51 minutes. Theoretically, this implies most fan pages shouldn’t post more than once a day. I strongly recommend keeping track of your posts in real-time because post lifetimes vary widely, even across the same fan page. In my sample of twenty posts, the shortest post lasted only 10 hours, while the longest post lasted a full 50 hours!”
So there you go: 6 fixes for your 1 in 6 problem.
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