Facebook’s “Secret Sauce” for Engagement Unveiled
In yesterday’s post Is Facebook Losing Its Effectiveness for Businesses, Nonprofits & Churches? we looked at how Facebook has made changes that are now causing only a small percentage of the people who like a Facebook page to see the updates posted by that organization (unless you want to pay Facebook to promote each post).
It is worth noting that the number of people who see each update varies greatly. In the examples cited in yesterday’s post, the most viewed updates were seen by about 3 times as many people as the least viewed updates. That begs the question…
Why are some updates seen more than others? And what if anything can we do to increase the number of people who see each update?
Facebook decides who sees what updates based on an algorithm called EdgeRank.
The company Wildfire recently analyized over 60,000 Facebook brand pages and 1 million posts and published their analysis in a whitepaper titled EdgeRank and Your Brand. United Methodist Communications took that whitepaper and boiled it down to an extremely insightful blog post.
Here’s how the UMComm post explains EdgeRank…
The EdgeRank algorithm consists of three main factors: affinity, weight and time decay (read Facebook Timeline: Explained and debunked for a better definition). Briefly, when you post content that “weighs” more (i.e. photos), your “affinity” score (based on your page’s popularity) goes up. Time decay scores continually decrease, but if people “share” your post, then it has a longer shelf life. Each “share” resets the “time decay” meter for that specific “share” and creates more engagement.
It’s also important to note that Wildfire found photos to be the most engaging type of content followed by videos and then status updates and finally links. Including more than one kind of content in an update improved engagement.
There’s lots more great info in the blog post and whitepaper, which I highly recommend reading, but I want to keep this post short and wrap it up with some very practical advice…
7 Tactics for Getting your Facebook Content Seen by More People
1) Post photos and videos from organization events. When you do, tag the people in the photo/video. That will encourage them to like, comment & share the media.
2) When posting an announcement, include an image and a link to where a person can take action.
3) Ask questions. This encourages comments and discussions, and the more comments the higher the EdgeRank and the more people who will see it.
4) Include calls to action with your updates like “Please like and share this post with your friends!”
5) Post at optimal times. Chances are if you post to Facebook at 2 AM few people are going to see the update. But when do most of your folks view Facebook? First thing in the morning? During business hours? Evenings? It depends on your organization, so experiment and measure results.
6) Organize and email/text your virtual street team. Put together a core group of 5-10 people who love your organization, are engaged in social media and want to promote your content. Then immediately after you post something to Facebook, email or text the team and ask them to like/comment/share. Their engagement will increase an update’s EdgeRank causing other people to see it.
7) Tailor your content for each social media platform. People engage with content differently on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t simply copy and paste a tweet into Facebook (or use a tool like Hootsuite to post to several social media sites at once.)
- What are your thoughts on EdgeRank and these suggestions for getting content seen by more people?
- Are you going to start implementing any of them?
- Got any other suggestions?