Everything You Wanted to Know about Facebook EdgeRank
–by Romain Vezirian, commnity manager, MSLGROUP Paris
What is EdgeRank exactly? Other articles have explained it very well and at length (read the TechCrunch explanations, for instance). To put it shortly, EdgeRank determines what is being shown in the newsfeed of your fans. Three primary factors determine a high or low EdgeRank: affinity, or the relationship between the creator and user ; interaction with the content (likes, comments, etc.) ; and timelines (age of the post).
As you know, news-feed content comes in two categories: “Most recent”, which shows what people (and brands) have posted in chronological order, and “Top news”, which only shows the “best” posts, based on – you guessed it – EdgeRank. However, according to a study published by The Daily Beast last October, posts with a really low EdgeRank are so weak that they may not even shop up under “Most Recent”.
If you are a brand looking to get noticed on Facebook, EdgeRank is the principle metric to keep in mind. Let us give you three reasons why: engagement, engagement, engagement.
1. The more fans the merrier?
We often hear “less is more”, and this also applies to Facebook. Community managers around the world have always known that a small but strongly engaged community is better than a big, passive group of followers. Always remember that no matter how big your community gets, it is the feedback generated by each of your posts that is the deal breaker or maker: no feedback, and your message will remain invisible on people’s newsfeeds. Despite what you may have been told about needing as many fans as possible, on Facebook 1,000 engaged fans are worth more 10,000 fans who do not care.
2. Will work for fans!
Even though Facebook ads can be useful in certain cases, marketers should put them in perspective. Is it really better to buy new fans through ads, or to let your community grow organically, and earn fans the hard way?
Bought fans are, more often than not, not invested in your community: they stumbled on an ad, clicked on it to enter a contest or watch a video, and may not interact with your brand ever again. On the other hand, “earned” fans, the people who joined your community because they are genuinely interested in your stories, are more likely to interact with you and improve your EdgeRank.
Once again, when you think about it, bigger is not necessarily better on Facebook.
The bigger your reach, the less relevant you get?
(diagram courtesy of Michael Wu)
3. Build tabs and they will come… Or will they?
No matter how you want to twist things, the core of a brand’s Facebook strategy remains the same: the relevant, useful and meaningful updates you send to your community. Based on preliminary data analysis, Facebook reports that average users spend 22 minutes per day on the platform, and 19 of those minutes are spent looking at their homepage newsfeed. They rarely go to brand pages themselves. Despite that, companies spend a lot of time and money building so-called tabs, the links on the left-hand side of a Facebook page that take people to yet another Facebook page—which even fewer people will see.
Don’t get us wrong: tabs and the additional information that come with them can help improve your EdgeRank if they are part of a community management strategy. For example, if you have a contest on Facebook, you will promote it via the newsfeed and then direct people to more information about the contest on a tab on your Facebook page. Here again, the content for the news stream is king. The tabs are just a support tool.
Getting a positive EdgeRank score is a tricky but essential component of Facebook, and it all comes down to engagement. As Facebook users start following a growing number of pages (even if they do not visit them), standing out will become increasingly difficult. You cannot do so by buying ads, and simply adding the number of fans, if they are not engaged, does not help, either.
So stay tuned for part 2 of this article, as we will give tips on how to improve your page’s EdgeRank. And if you want to start the conversation early, feel free to share your advice in the (Facebook-connected) comments section below!