With all the noise on Facebook these days, it is becoming more and more difficult to be seen and noticed. Even if a Facebook user likes your business page, there is a strong possibility they will not see all, or in some cases any, of your posts in their news feed.
It is widely accepted in the digital marketing world that most Facebook page posts will only ever be seen organically by a maximum of 16% of the people who like that page. So how do you combat the increasing clutter and get more people to see your content? Simple, you need to understand Facebook's system and use it to your advantage.
To determine what each user sees in their news feed, Facebook uses a somewhat mysterious, somewhat complicated algorithm called EdgeRank. There are certain aspects of the EdgeRank that are unknown to the marketing world, but optimizing the parts of the equation that we do know (Engagement, Type and Timing) should increase your page's exposure.
- Engagement: It seems that the more a Facebook user engages with a page, the more likely they are to see future posts from the page in their news feed. Users that share/comment/like a page post or that post their own message on a page's wall are considered by Facebook to be more interested in that page's updates than the pages they just liked and ignored.
- Type of Post: Certain types of page content tend to receive preferential treatment in EdgeRank. Generally speaking, Photos tend to receive the best chance of feed placement with video, link and text falling in line (in order) behind them. It remains to be seen how offers fit into the pecking order. Offers are relatively new and almost always advertised in some fashion, so the sample size is somewhat small so far.
- Timing: Simply put, the newer the post, the more likely it is to show up in a user's news feed. Yes, you may see some of the more popular and engaged Facebook posts show up in your feed hours after they were posted, but generally speaking, a Facebook post has about 3 hours of shelf life before it starts to lose traction in news feeds.
So how do you use Engagement, Type and Timing to your advantage??? Read on...
- Build an engaged community on your page. If you are going the advertising route to build your base, make sure you target groups and demographics that are aligned with your content and are likely to find your content entertaining and educational. If you are giving away something to attract new fans, make the prize something that is closely related to your product or at least your industry. Being smart about how you build your community and qualifying who you target for likes should yield you a more engaged page than most. Always remember that past post success does play a role in future post success!
- Include captivating imagery in your posts as much as humanly possible. Not only do photos show up more in news feeds, they show up better. A good photo will attract eyes to your post and encourage more engagement, so you have a win/win: you are building engagement and helping EdgeRank by including a picture.
- Post when you know your fans are most likely to be online. Knowing your audience and understanding when the optimal time is to post takes some time, but it is well worth the effort. You should try posting at different times of the day and then analyze your page's post-level insights. See which posts had the most reach and which had the most engagement. Also, take a look at other businesses in your industry and when they get the most post engagement. This should all give you a decent idea of when your community is most likely to be online.
- Use advertising creatively to work within and around EdgeRank to get your content seen. This tip is worthy of its own blog post, and conveniently, will be my next blog post. With all of the advertising options Facebook now throws at businesses, there are some really cool tricks you can do to manipulate EdgeRank for relatively few advertising dollars.
There is a lot about EdgeRank that we don't know, but there are very valuable tidbits that we have figured out along the way. If you use this knowledge to your advantage and do the 4 simple things laid out above, you should see a nice little increase in post reach in the future.