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5 Ways to Gain an Edge & Be Seen in Facebook News Feed

Most discussions regarding best practices for a successful Facebook marketing strategy consider the importance of various factors (audience growth, the efficacy of Facebook ads, how to make the appearance of your page attractive to users, and various techniques to persuade them to ‘like’ you, etc), but one crucial marketing tool within the Facebook platform is often overlooked: The Facebook News Feed.

90% of Fans Don’t Come Back After ‘Like’

A blog post on the Social Media Examiner recently revealed that an overwhelming percentage (close to 90%!) of users don’t return to a fan page after they click ‘like’, meaning their interaction with you comes mostly from what shows up on their home page once they’ve logged in. Now, considering that a user has the ability to like up to 5,000 different pages, it’s never been more important that your posts are engaging enough to break through the clutter.

Have you ever noticed how you may have 2,000 friends, but the same people show up in your news feed on a daily basis? Not exactly a coincidence. Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine which posts will interest you the most, and displays them under the default tab view ‘Top News’. In other words, the higher your EdgeRank, the more likely you are to show up in your fans’ ‘Top News’. Of course, increased visibility leads to more engagement which, in turn, makes your page all the more valuable as a marketing tool.

How EdgeRank Works

EdgeRank considers everything posted on Facebook an ‘object’, whether it is an image, video or simply a status update. Every object is given a ranking, determined by the combination of 3 different factors:

1. Affinity- This score is determined by the relationship between the post creator (you) and a user (your fans). Since it’s determined by the level of interaction each fan has with your content, this score can be different for every fan of your page. In other words, a user who interacts more frequently with your updates is more likely to see you in their news feed as opposed to someone who hasn’t interacted since they ‘liked’ your page.

2. Weight- Every object is given a different weight, determined by how engaged a user has to be to interact with it. We know, for instance, that photos are given a higher weight since commenting on them requires more effort from a user than simply clicking ‘like’ on a status update. An object with a higher weight score is more likely to show up in a news feed.

3. Relevancy- Facebook updates the news feed in real time, so the longer it’s been since you’ve posted, the less likely it is for the post to show up in a fan’s news feed.

5 Tips To Raise Your EdgeRank Score

Facebook won’t divulge all its secrets, so a specific understanding of the EdgeRank algorithm is not for us to know, but following are a few examples of ways you may be able to raise your score.

1. Ask Questions!- According to Buddy Media, fans equate the ‘like’ button to reply in the affirmative, so using the word ‘would’ generates a lot of interactions when used in posts. Yes or No questions work great for quick interactions, but asking fans for their opinions not only garners a response, but engages fans more since you are showing them that what they have to say matters to your brand.

2. Post Photos & Videos– Photos and videos have more weight than other objects in terms of EdgeRank and provide a great way to interact with fans. At Pertnear, we often post a picture of a famous landmark or favorite dinner item from a local restaurant on our destination pages and ask fans ‘where are we?’. Playing these types of games is not only fun (for both the fans and for us!), but reminds them why they are fans and encourages them to share their experiences. In the example below, we posted a picture of the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse on our Hilton Head Island – TravelTell page and received a great response from fans telling us how they wished they were there and reminiscing about the great times they’ve had at the Harbour Town Marina.

3. Interact with Engagement- Remember that the conversation you’re having with your fans goes both ways. When they ask questions, respond. If they say something negative about your business under a status update, try to fix it by asking them what you can do to rectify the situation. The more interaction there is on an object, the higher your affinity score and the more likely your posts are to show up in the news feed.

4. Include a Call to Action- We preach a lot to our clients about not posting ‘pushy’ promotions too often on their pages, since it can undermine the relationship you’re trying to establish on such a social platform. Just like in general business when you’re trying to make a sale, you want to let the potential customer do most of the talking. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t be explicit in letting your fans know exactly what you want them to do. Ask for ‘likes’ and comments about new product/service ideas you may have, or direct them to an exclusive offer they can only find on a tab on your page. This can often drive much more interaction, which of course, raises your EdgeRank score at the same time and gives you a higher probability of being visible on your fans’ feed.

5. Relate to Current Events- We mentioned before that the news feed is constantly updated in real time. The more recent your post, the more likely it is that it will have a place there. Additionally, social media has been an important resource for people seeking the most up to date information about breaking news (See how Twitter broke a record after Osama bin Laden’s death here), so incorporating current events only encourages more interaction, and also a place in your fans’ news feeds.

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