If you’ve had a Facebook page for your business for some time, you may have noticed a drop in the engagement levels of your fans. This is because of the infamous newsfeed algorithm known as Facebook Edgerank.
Whereas a status update in the past may have netted you 50 likes and 20 comments, you may be finding a significant drop in likes, comments and shares.
Here’s why: In the not-too-distant past (I’m talking 2010 and earlier), when you posted a photo, link or status update on your page, every single one of your fans would see your post in their newsfeed.
Not so anymore.
Over the past couple of years, the powers-that-be at Facebook HQ have been building and tweaking an algorithm aimed at reducing newsfeed clutter.
In an over-simplified nutshell, interesting and engaging posts are shown to more fans than uninteresting or unpopular posts.
This behooves business owners to understand how Facebook Edgerank works, and to work at testing out which types of updates reach the greatest number of fans.
The Basics of Facebook Edgerank
Edgerank is made up of 3 different metrics:
Affinity: How users interact with your object (updates, photos, videos, questions, etc.).
Weight: What type of update you’re posting (photos, text-only updates, videos, etc.). As mentioned above, images tend to receive higher reach than text-only updates.
Time Decay: New posts receive more reach. The older an update gets, the less value it holds.
In other words, how many total fans see your update depends on how many users interact with your post (by liking it, commenting on it, and sharing it), what type of ‘object’ you’re posting (image, video, question, text-only post), and how new your post is (newer posts get shown more frequently).
8 Ways to Increase Your Edgerank
It’s actually pretty simple to increase your Facebook Edgerank (a.k.a. reach), if you know how. Below are 8 simple ways you can ensure the greatest number of fans see your updates.
1. Post photos.
The Facebook Edgerank algorithm has shown a clear preference for images. This is obviously not arbitrary; images are engaging in a way that a simple text-only post isn’t.
Regardless of whether you’re asking a question, posting a link to your blog, or simply posting a brief status update, be sure to incorporate a picture. Posting a video? Grab a static thumbnail image of your video and post it with your update.
Just think – What’s more likely to catch your eye when scanning your newsfeed? A white box full of content and links, or an image?
Check out this recent update from the Mike’s Hard Lemonade Facebook page:
How much more appealing would this post be with a thumbnail image of the guy doing a cannonball into the pool?
2. When including a link to your blog or website, put it in the first comment of your update, rather than in the update itself.
It makes sense: One of the reasons for Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm is to limit the amount of spam moving through users’ newsfeeds. Pages that are constantly posting links to their blogs are simply not that interesting. I can see why Facebook would favour posts that don’t include links.
The way to get around this? Simply post the link to your website or blog in the first comment of your update, rather than in the post itself.
Business Among Moms recently reported an almost 150% increase in reach when using this technique (the post on the left had a reach of 988, whereas the post on the right had a reach of 2440). I wonder how much higher their reach would have been for this particular post had they included an image as well?
3. Keep your posts interesting.
Seems so obvious, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised at how many businesses get into the habit of posting the same old thing, day after day.
Some mistakes I see businesses making all the time:
- Only posting links to their newest blog posts
- Posting blurbs of text without any images
- Never incorporating humour or personality into their posts
- Getting stuck on one specific type of post: only posting funny pictures, only announcing deals, only sending people to product or sales pages.
The Facebook page for Bonobos, a menswear company, is a great example of how to do it right.
4. Keep posts relatively short.
Social marketing company Vitrue did a study on how the size of a post impacts it’s engagement levels. They found that as the number of characters in a post increases, engagement decreases.
In other words, shorter is better.
If you don’t believe me, look at this 16 character post from Manchester United: 8488 shares, 111K+ likes.
5. Offer deals and discounts.
A study reported on by Social Media Examiner shows that 40% of users ‘like’ a business page in order to receive discounts and promotions.
People love to share a good deal; sharing increase engagement. Engagement increases Edgerank.
When posting a coupon or deal, be sure to include unique coupon codes or send your fans to dedicated landing pages so you can track how well your Facebook campaigns are working.
6. Promote your posts to your other social media followers.
For important posts that you want to get as much exposure as possible, promote them to your Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, and on Google +. You may even want to consider paying for some promotion on Facebook with a sponsored story or promoted post.
Again, the more likes, shares and comments you receive, the more likely your post will be shown to your other fans. Think snowball effect.
7. Encourage your fans to bypass Edgerank.
This tip isn’t so much about increasing Edgerank as it is about bypassing it alltogether.
According to All Facebook, some fans now have the ability to opt-in to receive notifications when page administrators create a new post. This means that users who opt-in will see every post you publish. Even better, they’ll receive a notification in the top left corner of their screen and on their mobile device.
Although the majority of your fans probably won’t bother with this, your hardcore fans may – and these are the ones who are the most likely to engage, participate and ultimately, to buy.
8. Post at the Optimal Day and Time.
Although the best day and time to post may vary slightly depending on your niche and your audience, overall, the best time to post is on the weekends (interaction is around 14% higher on weekends according to this study by Buddy Media).
The best time of day to post? You may be surprised to learn that brand posts made between 8pm and 7am receive a 14% higher engagement rate than those made during the day.
Think about when you use Facebook…likely in the evenings, after work, and while relaxing on the weekends. While people may read your posts during weekdays, they likely don’t have as much time to comment on or interact with your posts.
When it comes down to it, increasing Facebook Edgerank is simply about increasing engagement.
The more fans that are engaged with your page, the more fans that will see your posts.
I know some people are annoyed with the whole concept of Edgerank, calling it ‘just another way for Facebook to make money’. To some extent I agree.
But when you think of Edgerank as forcing you to step up your game and figure out ways to be more interesting, more helpful, and more engaging?
Not such a bad thing after all.