In this social age everyone wants anything that can go “Viral.” Like the mad gold rush in California Viral reaction whether it be a video or on Twitter or Facebook, is what all us social media marketing people seek. And the new “Viral Rush” has created as many fools as it has success stories. And a few months ago Facebook actually implemented some tools that let us measure the “Viral” impact of our status updates. But before we can look at that tool lets understand what makes Fan Page growth difficult.
Facebook like any good platform and much like Google is constantly changing the game. Some changes are to keep us social media consultants on our feet and others are to improve the platform. Edgerank is a Facebook algorithm that was designed, among other things, to keep people from gaming the system. The problem is that it also makes it hard to accomplish some key tasks to increase your community on Facebook.
The thing about EdgeRank is that it determines how many of your fans see your updates… and how often. Taking its cues from Google again Facebook wants to serve you, its client, the most relevant content it can. EdgeRank is an algorithm designed to sniff out what content is important to you. The problem is that business pages (fan pages) rely on those fans and want to grow their base. So EdgeRank makes it hard when you consider the fact your updates are not getting to all of your base.
So what you need to know is how EdgeRank determines who see’s your updates. Lets take a look see:
Exactly as it sounds this metric for EdgeRank determines a particular users “Affinity” for your content. It is determined by the amount of engagement that particular user has had with your pages. How often they’ve interacted with your updates using comments, likes and shares. One thing to keep in mind is this does not work in the reverse. No matter how often you as a “Page” interact with a user it will have no effect on “Affinity”. That was smart, can you imagine the spam?
Facebook see’s everything you publish as and individual event. Each event has a certain weight and each comment, like and share adds additional weight to that event. The more weight an event has the more feeds it appears in. This in turns increases the chance of more comments, likes and shares. it becomes a Viral cycle.
Post have a certain life. No matter how popular or “Weighted” eventually all post go to the grave yard. The consensus is that the expiration is about 4 hours after the original posting event. Once 4 hours have past your post (event) has reached the maximum number of feeds that is going to reach. So within that 4 hour time frame you can do a lot of work to get your post to show in feeds but after that, its over.
How you Can Beat the System? Increase your EdgeRank! Go Viral
Engage your audience. If your not getting engagement your not getting seen either. Here is how.
Videos and Photos – It’s still amazing to me how hard it is for people/businesses to understand. Rich media is always, always, always more engaging than text. Use a video or a picture to engage your audience. It’s simple, its engaging and it works. Couple rich media with a great question or a contests and your well on your way to social media gold.
Encourage Engagement – Ask a question of your fans. Don’t just make a statement actually ask for their participation. But ask for simple answers like “in 3 words” or ” in 1 adjective”. These are easy short responses that allow your audience not only to interact but to read what others have said quickly.
Seed Your Content – I know this seems like a bit of a trick but it really is a great way to get comments, likes and shares. You can do this by sending some private messages to your best fans or some companies actually have employees engage with the content. Not only is the perfectly acceptable but it should be encouraged. And it has great effects in a viral sense.
Post Regularly – But don’t go overboard. Posting more than every 4 hours can actually do damage. It’s kind of like having link companies put thousands of links a day out there for you to increase visibility in the SERP’s. But you do need to post frequently.
Use the Tools provided by Facebook to analyze you own page. A few months ago Facebook put out an update for business pages called “talking about this”. This tool tells you how many people are engaging with your content.
This tool actually lets you take a look at what is working and what isn’t. Look for patterns in the data. What type of posts are working? What time of day seems to be most effective and gets most engagement? Take a look at the chart that “talking about this” provides.
Using this tool you can tell what has had the most effect on your fans by day. So you can really get a sense of what was working. If you want to define the hours that are most effective simply make post at different times of day and then measure the effect base on the reaction. If you don’t have any times to go on that you can derive from your data then go with the Facebook Standard. Early Morning, generally 7-9am, end of work around 5pm and late at night 11pm to 1am.
At the end of the day, just like SEO staying up to date with the changes on Facebook is simply by staying engaging. While the algorithms may change, while the tactics may change, Facebook is never ever going to penalize natural engagement. So stay natural and engage. It takes effort, there is not simple answer but it’s not brain surgery. It’s simply ditch digging.