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How brands can maximise Facebook Edgerank

Christel Quek

Hi fellow fluffyheads! I’m Christel, and you can tweet me at @ladyxtel on Twitter. I’m currently a Social Media Strategist at Havas Media, and I’m based in Asia – you can read more on what I’ve written/done on my site here. I am excited by fluffy topics like strategy, digital influence marketing, Guinness, and Content Curation. As someone who loves fluffy creatives, I was more than delighted to guest post for The Creative Slave. Oh and here’s my blog here.

Social Media Morning Addiction

It’s 9am in the morning. You’re awake and on the way to work. You open up Facebook on your iPhone or Laptop and start scrolling through your news feed on Facebook. You notice content from your friends on Facebook. You start liking their status updates on the new Toffee Nut Latte they’re drinking from Starbucks. You comment on a photo of a crazy party you had last weekend.

All this content did not appear on your News Feed by chance. There is a science to it which Facebook has called the Facebook Edgerank. More importantly than ever, the Facebook Edgerank will determine how much of your content you post would be seen by other people.

3 Ways Sneaky Brands can Maximise Facebook Edgerank

If you’re a brand, here are the next questions you have to ask:

  1. How much of my content on Facebook is relevant to my audience?
  2. How do I make sure that the content I publish on Facebook will be seen by as wide a variety of people as possible?
  3. How do I get my content to be amplified to a maximum on Facebook- or in favourite client-speak, viral?

Let us attempt to address these questions.

What is Facebook Edgerank?

According to official statistics released by Facebook, the average Facebook user has 130 friends. The News Feed is the first page that users will see upon logging into the site. Thus, it is important to optimise the objects -status updates, photos, videos, links- which users will find more relevant to their interests, and encourage greater interactivity and time spent on Facebook. Facebook has ensured that the News Feed only displays a set of updates generated from certain friends or pages. Furthermore, these News Feed updates only seem to be generated from the same circle each day.

The algorithm which displays the relevant content from users and pages is called Edgerank.

To explain it, here are some initial definitions.

What’s An Object?

Any content which is generated on your News Feed is called an Object. An Object can be a status update, an external link shared by your friend or a Page, a photo, and so on.

What’s An Edge?

Whenever a user interacts with an Object with comments, likes, and tags, an “Edge” is created. The Rank of the “Edge”, i.e. the Edgerank, is thus determined by the interaction frequency that a user has with a friend’s Object.

What is Interaction Frequency determined by?

 

 

This interaction frequency comprises of three components –

  • an affinity score between a viewing user and the edge creator,
  • the weight given to a particular edge, and
  • the time decay factor based on how long ago was the edge created.

 

 

The affinity score between the user and the creator of the object will naturally be higher if the user interacts with the creator’s profile often. This includes checking the creator’s profile, leaving comments and likes, and sending Facebook messages.

 

There is a measured “weight” of each Edge- for example, a comment carries more weight compared to a Like.

 

Lastly, the older an Edge is, the less important this Edge will become.

In short, an Object from a friend or a page is more likely to show up on your News Feed if a user has been interacting with them often recently. 

Furthermore, “popular” objects which many of your friends have been interacting with recently will also show up on your News Feed.

4 Strategic Observations about the Facebook Edgerank

The Facebook Edgerank clearly indicates the importance of bringing Facebook users to a brand page regularly to increase visibility and consequently, the affinity score. Moreover, as Facebook favours interactivity, it is important to engage and encourage conversations on objects to increase visibility on the News Feed. This highlights to Facebook that your Object is important when there are multiple interactions with it.

Another strategic observation is that “stalking” a particular profile or page does improve the affinity score in the Facebook Edgerank. The more your profile gets visited, the higher the Edgerank performance of your profile, which subsequently increases the propensity of your affinity score and ensure that your updates hit the “Top News” stories in the Facebook News Feed.

Furthermore, to increase exposure to Facebook users, the weight of the Edge needs to be taken into serious consideration. Media such as Photos and Videos are preferred to Links, and Links are preferred to Status Updates. Comments trump over Likes as well, and all these will significantly increase the weight of an Edge.

Furthermore, times and dates matter to Facebook. The most recent updates will get more “prime time” on a News Feed compared to updates that happened in the past.

All right, we know the 4 Strategic Observations about Edgerank – how do I make sure my content gets there?

  • Quality of Fans
  • Quality of Content
  • Timing

(i) Quality of Fans

While some brands view the numbers of “fans” that their brand’s fan page gets as of an absolute importance, a more precise indicator would be the quality of fan interactions that a Brand’s fan page has on Facebook. There are sites which offer “Fan-buying” services for Facebook Fan Pages, but it is more important to attract quality fans ; rather than just the mere quantity of them.

To ensure a continued quality of fans and a strong fan base even if the fan page was to disappear one day is to ensure that the Page will continue to deliver upon the fan’s expectations of the Brand on the page, and to continually engage with them.

In a way, the Edgerank is built upon a certain “Word-of-Mouth” component – with more organic likes and comments on Objects, the objects would have a higher propensity to appear on top of the News Feed, and subsequently attracting more quality fans to participate and engage with the brand in a multiplier effect. 

(ii) Quality of Content

No matter the original objective of establishing a brand’s presence on Facebook, every brand would want to ensure that their updates would receive maximum exposure and coverage.

To do that, the said brand needs to stay on top of the News Feed and have a constantly high Edgerank with their fans.

A Brand’s strategy on Facebook is to consider every single fan interaction as an opportunity to get insights from their potential customers and learning more about them.

Thus, to achieve a high Edgerank and after taking the formula into consideration, the goal is to post content, polls, and questions that would constantly engage with the fans connected to the brand.

With a greater variety and engagement with fans, fans would leave more “likes” and comments on your brand’s Objects and thus, your brand’s fan page will get increased visibility and exposure on the News Feed. There would be a greater effect for Social Amplification as the News Feed will be more likely to show a popular Object which has been commented upon multiple times by mutual friends.

I will cover more on improving the quality of content you can post on Facebook in another post.

(iii) Timing

It is also clear that timing plays a crucial role in determining the maximum exposure for your Brand’s object on the News Feed. There should be a clear content strategy with a regular schedule which allows the brand to post content, such as status updates and photos, at least once or twice a day. Posting back-to-back updates too often will definitely hinder the ability to get certain content noticed by your fans, and the distribution of fans to post ratio will be uneven.

In my next post, I will cover how you can use certain tools to check the best timings to post on Facebook.

Conclusion:

To fully understand and maximise the Facebook Edgerank, brands must return to the objectives for establishing a presence on Facebook. One of the key ideas is to encourage fans to build a buzz around the brand’s page, share it with their peers, enhance the value of the brand’s presence on Facebook, and pushing it to be a talking point on top of the News Feeds. The presence of the Facebook Edgerank is thus a clear indication that the power in making or breaking a brand’s popularity and success on Facebook lies in the hands of the consumers, and not solely the brand itself.

Goodies:

You can view and download my presentation on the Facebook Edgerank here on Slideshare.

In addition, I’ve prepared a paper detailing the main points of this Post on the Facebook Edgerank, which is also available on Slideshare.

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