When most people create a Facebook page, their immediate focus is on getting more likes. The more people who like your Facebook page, the more people will see the updates you publish to your Facebook page. Right?
Yes, that is right to some degree. More likes in general will lead to more post views. But not all of your fans will see all of your page updates. In fact, an average of only 10-15% of your fans will see any given update.
So why is this? This reason is EdgeRank, Facebook’s algorithm for determining how often a story will appear in your audience’s news feeds.
This is why a page with more than 2,000 likes…
…might have a post with only 1,000 views or less — you can see how many views each of your posts received at the bottom of your post.
And a 50% view rate is actually pretty good; it’s usually more like 16%. It can be frustrating that after all the effort you’ve invested to get more likes on your page, not all of those fans even see your content. If you want a higher percentage of your fans to see your posts, it’s important to understand how EdgeRank works, and what kind of content has the best EdgeRank score.
What is EdgeRank?
EdgeRank is in place to ensure users don’t get overwhelmed by content, and also protects them from spammy content. A typical Facebook user will only see 1% of her network’s activity on Facebook — that means she doesn’t see 99% of the content her friends and pages share.
EdgeRank for each story you publish consists of three primary elements:
Definition: The number of times two entities (whether a person or a page) have interacted.
What this means: Your content is more likely to appear in the news feeds of people who have already interacted with your page at some point. Actions including commenting, liking, sharing, clicking, and sending a message will influence affinity.
Definition: The number of times users have interacted with this specific story. Different actions have different weights:
- Share – high weight
- Comment – medium-high weight
- Like – medium weight
- Click – low weight
What this means: The more people who like or comment on your story, the more often your story will show up in people’s news feeds. When calculating weight, comments are more valuable than a like because a comment requires more effort on your fans’ part.
3. Time Decay
Definition: How much time has passed since the story was published.
What this means: Old news is less valuable than recent news. As a story ages, it loses its EdgeRank value. This helps Facebook keep its news feed content fresh.
The folks at What Is Edgerank? created this chart showing the values of each type of activity. Note how for brand pages, comments and shares have a higher EdgeRank than likes.
How should you optimize for EdgeRank?
Your Facebook Page’s EdgeRank will be determined by your ability to get your fans to interact with you. This is why it is imperative to prioritize engagement over self-promotion.
Overly self-promoting your own brand is one of the top Facebook marketing mistakes people mak. Not only will these types of posts not be interacted with, but it will lower your overall EdgeRank, which will have a negative effect on your future posts. So you should make sure your fans are part of the conversation.
Ideas for how to increase your EdgeRank
1. Ask questions.
This is a great way to encourage your fans to interact with your content, and show them that you care about their opinion.
2. Publish more photos.
Visual content gets interacted with and shared more than plain text content. If you were planning on posting a text-only update, find a picture that is abstractly related to the content of your text post. Making the effort to make your content more visual will pay off. Refer to the Facebook photo size cheat sheet to know what size these photos should be.
3. Keep your content short and concise.
Text updates that are too long don’t get interacted with as often. Try to create posts that are less than 80 characters in length, as these get the most engagement.
4. Post off-hours.
Most fan pages post between 9-5, when their social media coordinators are in the office. So schedule your posts for early in the morning or in the evening when there’s less competition.
5. Share positive and funny content.
People don’t like negative Nancy’s. Aim to delight your Facebook fans with clever, funny, and unique content that will make them smile. They want to make their friends smile, too, so they’ll be likely to share this kind of content.
6. Ask fans to share your content.
Encourage fans to share your content by literally asking them to. Position this favor as something like, “Share this post to spread the word about XYZ!” or “If you liked this post, pay it forward by sharing this with your friends.”
7. Ask fans to share their own content.
Create a post asking fans to share a picture, a URL, or a video. You can then turn this into a contest in which you share your favorite piece of fan content, or a weekly “fan content of the week” feature.