News Feed Optimization: Get the Most from Your Facebook Content
Portent Team Oct 19 2010
Ever update your Facebook profile with the latest internet awesomeness (like a sweet NFL infographic) and find that it gets sucked into the black hole of Facebook Likes, never to be seen again?
Getting your content in front of the one-billion eyeballs on Facebook takes a little more than a single thumbs-up these days. As most Facebook users know, if you make a status update to your profile or Facebook page, the content has a brief moment of glory in the "Top News" feed of any friends or fans of the profile, only to fall into the dreary Facebook basement known as "Most Recent News" to be ignored for eternity.
In April, TechCrunch estimated that over 50 percent of users toggle between the Top News and Most Recent News tabs, but as of October, Jay Baer from Convince and Convert claims that even Facebook admits that 95 percent of users only view the Top New on their Facebook home page. This means that if you want to keep your news feed in front of the most users, optimizing your Facebook posts for the News Feed should be your first plan of attack in your battle for social marketing supremacy.
Facebook News Feed Algorithms
Just like Google’s search algorithm, Facebook has its own algorithm embedded into their news feed called EdgeRank to decide what news is really newsworthy.
EdgeRank defines any content that shows up in the News Feed (like a status update) as an Object. When other users interact with Objects in the news feed by submitting Likes or comments, Facebook calls these interactions an Edge. Hence, the EdgeRank.
Image from: http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/22/facebook-edgerank/
The EdgeRank formula works on a three-pronged approach:
1. Affinity: The relationship between the user and the item creator. Affinity scores will be higher between people that routinely share content compared to an update from that one guy… you think you met at a party… in 2005?
2. Weight: Each Edge has a value based on the content added to the original update. Photo tags and Likes might have less weight than a comment (that’s my best guess).
3. Time: The time score decay is based on how long ago the Edge was created, in relationship with the affinity and weight scores. Comments and Likes battle against the clock. The longer people comment on a post, the longer it remains on the news feed.
Where does the Optimization part come in?
To keep your status updates in the Top News feed, you’re going to need your fans and friends comment on it.
You already knew that. That’s what you’ve been trying to do this whole time!
But how do you prompt people to interact with your stuff? Here are some simple tips to generate more user feedback and keep your content at the top of the New Feed:
1. Use a call-to-action in your update: Figure out what you’re trying to accomplish and ask people to help you out. It might seem a little spammy, but sometimes it’s ok to ask people to Like or comment on your updates from time to time.
2. Include other people or pages in your status updates: When you throw an "@" before a name or Facebook page, you’ll see a dropdown menu.
Select the page or person you want to highlight, and your message will land on their wall. This is a great way to share a status update with friends, or to let fans of a different Facebook page know about your latest updates.
3. Update frequently: Frequent updates can overcome the time decay in EdgeRank, but updating too often (more than once a day) can alienate your fan base, so use this tactic sparingly (like when you need to share very important, time sensitive information).
Facebook changes every day, so let us know if you have any tips or tricks for news feed optimization.
PS: We’re not just about Facebook at Portent. Check out our search engine optimization services, too.