Once upon a time, Facebook was all about creating a social network of friends with whom you could communicate and share ideas and pictures. However, Facebook grew and grew and capitalism took over, turning it into a business. It went on the stock exchange market and businesses wanted to start making money out of it. In order to oblige these businesses, the very people who purchased the stocks, a number of changes were implemented into Facebook. The latest one is Edgerank, which is detested by real Facebook users, but absolutely loved by those who want to earn a few quick bucks.
What Is EdgeRank?
Basically, EdgeRank is an algorithm that Facebook uses in order to make sure that you can see the pages that a user is most likely to interact with.
The more users interact with a page, the more likely they are to see a new post from that page. Likewise, if there’s little interaction with a given page, the less likely users are to see new posts from that page.
The algorithm is the sum of affinity, weight and time decay. Affinity are such things as number of clicks, likes, comments, shares and friends. Weight speaks of the type of post, with posts like videos, photos, links and plain texts all having a different weight. Finally, there is time decay, which means that a post starts to lose value as it ages and matures.
What Does EdgeRank Mean for Users?
Facebook users are incredibly annoyed with this latest update. This is because an algorithm is deciding for them what they want to see or not, which is often wrong. Indeed, it is being noticed that people aren’t getting all their notifications (the algorithm will, at some point, decide that you are no longer interested) and they don’t see all of their friends’ posts anymore either. As such, they are looking for ways to stop the algorithm from working as well for them. One way they can do this is by turning on (or off) the page notifications of pages they like. However, the reality is that Facebook is now a business and that means that what they are after is money. They get their money from businesses and businesses get their money from Facebook users.
Businesses Aren’t Happy Either!
However, the reality is that businesses aren’t happy with the new algorithm either. This is because Facebook isn’t telling them what their ranking on EdgeRank is, so they don’t know whether they have to improve their tactics, be less aggressive in their postings or keep going the way they are going. Unfortunately, Facebook has decided that they will keep this to themselves. Luckily, there are things that businesses can do in order to be more likely to get a higher ranking.
The first is to use images, but to be very careful about what gets posted and how.
Discovering which images perform well and why will help you become a smarter social marketer and ultimately help drive engagement. The team at Buffer discovered that posting a stand-alone, self-explanatory image outperforms a photo that needs additional explanation in the description.
Another important point is to use hashtags. They have been used for a very long time by Twitter and allow people to see which topics are trending or not. Facebook was keen to copy this, and businesses are keen to make sure it is their information that is actually trending. The way to do this properly is to make sure you use a hashtag that is relevant to your post, and something that people are actually looking for as well. What most businesses will do, therefore, is look at trending hashtags on Twitter, and make sure they incorporate these into their Facebook posts as well.
The next important thing is that you have to be consistent. This is because of the time decay element of the algorithm. Clearly, this is an idea that Facebook has taken from Google, who will award higher page rankings to those websites that always have up to date content. Because a post will only be visible for so long, unless someone specifically looks for it, you have to make sure that you make the time decay on your posts is as long as possible.
The algorithm’s time-decay factor means that if your last Facebook post, compelling or not, was a week ago, it’s likely not being seen by anyone now. Successful brands on Facebook are posting content that drives the audience to react on a daily basis — maybe even several times each day. You’ll need to test to see if your audience will respond to more than one post a day, but posting content once daily is one way to start.
Another thing they have taken from Google is that there is a strong focus on content. You have to make sure that what you say is engaging and interesting. Your goal should be to make sure that if someone sees your post, they are immediately captivated by it. After all, this is what will get them to like, comment or share it, which will in turn increase your EdgeRank score.
However, Facebook is also keen to make sure they don’t drive businesses away. After all, now that the company has gone public, they have to make sure that they actually bring in the money. This, in turn, means they have to do a few things to keep businesses happy as well. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to really advertise what it is that you can do in order to make sure you get found. One of these options is to use the various feeds that it has to offer as well.
Facebook offers a variety of ways for brands to reach their fans, including a slew of unmediated feeds — all with deeply unintuitive and jargony names like “Pages Feed” and “Games Feed” — that sidestep Facebook’s relevancy algorithm altogether.
Also, it is likely that Facebook will soon make some changes to their reporting features, so that businesses have a greater insight into how effective their posts actually are.