If you still think that the brand with the most number of Facebook Fans wins, think again. You can have a million fans, but if your posts do not show up in their news feeds, you may become all but invisible to them.
How do you get into their news feeds? Learn more about EdgeRank, Facebook's news feed algorithm.
Essentially, every piece of content or interaction on Facebook is known as an “Edge”. A status update is an Edge; liking a status update is an Edge; uploading a photo is an Edge, etc. So, the news feed is really a stream of the most ‘important’ Edges as determined by the EdgeRank Algorithm, which gives emphasis to these Edges based on three factors: Affinity, Weight and Recency.
AFFINITY is a measure of the previous interaction a user has had with another user on Facebook. In other words, the more "Likes," "Comments," or "Shares" you have from a specific user, the more your posts show up in that person’s news feed. That's why if you spy on someone's Facebook page, they’re in your news feed all the time. What's important to marketers, however, is that the more often a Fan visits your page the more likely your are to show up in their news feed?
WEIGHT is a formula that decides which pieces of content are more relevant to the user. The three types of content which are believed to have the highest Weight are Videos, Photos, and Links. But this weight is also relevant to the type of object in which that particular user has shown interest. So while Photos tend to have a higher Weight than a "Like," this may not always be the case for a user who regularly shows no interest in photos. Posts can also accumulate Weight in news feeds. The more "Likes," "Comments," or "Shares" a post has, the more Weight that post will retain. This Weight tells Facebook that a post is more relevant than a post with only a few Likes or Comments.
RECENCY basically means that the newer a post is, the more exposure it has. So, regardless of Affinity and Weight, the older an item is, the less likely it is to appear in a user's news feed. So depending on the time of day and the number of competing posts, your post will suffer the effects of time decay. This is different to Twitter which relies only on chronological order. This suggests two scenarios: to post at times when your audience is most likely to be using Facebook -- thereby decreasing the time decay and increasing the chance of your content reaching their news feed; or, to post at times when your audience is less likely to be using Facebook -- thereby avoiding competition for spots in the news feed. Practically speaking, to slow the effect of time decay, your posts must be frequent enough to engage your audience.
How often should you post?
Posting a minimum of once per day is probably enough to keep your content fresh. But it is just as vital to make your posts highly relevant.
Here are a few pointers:
- Make your posts interesting/provocative/entertaining to your Fans. (It's not all about YOU)
- Use Video, Photos and Links often
- Encourage Interaction (use questioning words like Where? When? Why? and Would? to prompts Likes and Comments)
- Respond individually to ALL comments in an engaging manner (again use questioning words to encourage follow-up Comments/Responses)
- Post frequently, consistently and strategically at key times of day when your Fans are most often to see it