Facebook's EdgeRank: How To Make Sure You're in the News Feed

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  • 1. Table of Contents I Introduction …Page 2 II Tip #1: Ask Questions…Page 3 III Tip #2: Post Games and Trivia…Page 4 IV Tip #3: Interact with Fan Engagement…Page 5 V Tip #4: Incorporate Wall Sapplets…Page 6 VI Tip #5: Incorporate Relevant Photos…Page 7 VII Tip #6: Relate to Current Events…Page 8 VIII Tip #7: Incorporate Videos…Page 9 IX Tip #8: Post Content for Time-Sensitive Campaigns…Page 10 X Tip #9: Include Links within Posts…Page 12 XI Tip #10: Be Explicit in Your Posts…Page 12 XII Conclusion …Page 13 www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 1
  • 2. Introduction The Facebook News Feed has become one of the most effective digital marketing tools for brands, both big and small. It allows companies to post branded content to a live stream of information that is constantly being interest in your products and services, yet it can be easy for messaging to get lost in an ever-expanding sea of information. Understanding how the News Feed works is essential to ensuring your brand’s content is seen by the right people. The Facebook News Feed has two distinct parts: ‘Top News’ and ‘Most Recent.’ A user’s News Feed will always default to the ‘Top News,’ which according to a blog post by Facebook “is based on an algorithm [that] interesting. It displays stories based on their relevance rather than in chronological order.”1 The algorithm mentioned is called EdgeRank. It’s Facebook’s solution to determine the content that an individual user will see in the ‘Top News’ portion of his or her News Feed. Any item that appears within the News Feed — such as a status update or video — is called an object, and any action taken on the object — such as a ‘Like’ or Comment — is called an edge. Each edge carries a different weight value, as does the type of object it appears on. have the ability to push your content to the News Feed’s ‘Top News,’ where fans will be able to see what your update with a few ‘Likes.’ In addition, an object’s relevancy will help to determine how high it will appear within the ‘Top News.’ In this white paper, we’ll give you ten tips along with relevant examples and suggestions to optimize your presence within Facebook’s ‘Top News’ feed. Why does this matter? Here’s one reason: CNN recently conducted a survey and found that 75% of respondents got their news from social networking sites like has become increasingly important for your brand to implement a strategy for News Feed optimization that will increase the chances that fans will see the content you post. As in any publication like this, it’s important to include a disclaimer. We did not crack Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. It remains a closely guarded secret — much like Google’s PageRank algorithm. However, what we provide is much like the expertise that Search Engine Optimization specialists provide clients who want to see a bump in their organic search rankings. What follows is a collection of pointers and best practices, which when implemented should impact the visibility of your brand’s messaging within the top stories of Facebook’s News Feed. 1 Quintana, Melody. “Facebook Tips: What’s the Difference between Top News and Most Recent?”. Facebook. 6 August 2010. 25 April 2011. <http://www.facebook.com/blog.php?post=414305122130> www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 2
  • 3. Tip #1: Ask Questions Perhaps one of the best and most effective ways to engage with people on Facebook via the News Feed and to gather activity on your objects is by posting questions. Let’s face it, people love to talk about themselves and offer their thoughts – even when you don’t ask for it! But what’s great is that the higher the number of Comments and ‘Likes’ you can accumulate on an object, the higher the EdgeRank will be. So if you ask for feedback, the amount of users that will see your content has the potential to skyrocket. Brands can see great results when they ask for consumer opinions on new products or services. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn what people want to see next from your company. If you’re considering a new product, a special giveaway or you’re reintroducing an old item that has been discontinued, determine what will be a fan favorite and ask people to get creative. Not only will you encourage interaction and engagements within the News Feed, but you just might also surface a few valuable suggestions. In addition, ask questions that encourage your fans to share personal stories related to your brand. People will love to talk about themselves and boast about the great ways that they use your products and services. This serves as an excellent tool to increase the interactions on the object, as the conversation will encourage your fans to talk to each other. Your goal should be to publish questions that your fans will want to answer and share for a viral effect. STATISTICAL REVIEW: Research conducted by Buddy Media (http://forms.buddymedia.com/whitepaperform_review-strategies-for-effective-facebook-wall-posts.html) found that when a brand utilizes keywords such as “where,” “when,” “would” and “should,” the objects will see a higher number of engagements from fans. The word “would” drives the highest spike in ‘Likes’ due to fans using ‘like’ as a way to vote “yes” on the question rather than posting “yes” to a Wall. Gilt Group, a popular online destination for members-only specials on high-end and luxury goods, asked its fans what they planned to wear this spring. With an impressive amount of feedback, the brand was able to determine which items would be the favorites among consumers and successfully prepare for the season. Cream of Wheat asked fans to suggest a new hot cereal flavor and was able to gather 24 ‘Likes’ and 69 Comments from eager fans who added helpful recommendations. People were more likely to see the piece of content in their ‘Top News’ because Cream of Wheat had such an impressive amount of feedback. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 3
  • 4. Tip #2: Post Games and Trivia Facebook users are inclined to provide answers as a way to show off their knowledge about a topic. This is a great way to engage people in the News Feed and to get to know your fan base just as well as they know your brand. A great implementation that will guarantee your games and trivia generate traction in the News Feed is by posting them on a recurring schedule. Your fans will know when to check their News Feeds or your Wall for the content that they want to see. Brooks Brothers combined relevant content with a trivia question unrelated to its products. After a handful of responses, Brooks Brothers answered the question within the thread, which prompted even more responses from users. Scrabble posts a series of jumbled words on its custom tab and encourages users to unscramble them to uncover the word of the week. To encourage fan engagements, Scrabble publishes call-outs within the News Feed and has people write their guesses as a Comment. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 4
  • 5. Tip #3: Interact with Fan Engagement The ability to keep a conversation going should be a large part of your publishing strategy. This means that when people write Comments on your objects or post their own content, your brand should contribute to the discussion to maintain user engagement. Keep in mind that the longer a thread is for an object, the higher its EdgeRank will be. Interacting with fan engagement that appears on your Wall is the easiest way to draw attention to content seen within the News Feed. Remember, the greater the number of edges on an object results in a higher extremely effective way to boost an object’s EdgeRank. Let’s face it, not all content that is posted to Pages engagements on an object. In some extreme cases, trolls who call out typos that appear in the News Feed present the best-case scenarios. While they’re not necessarily putting down the brand, they are calling attention to content that wouldn’t have been seen before. People love to see how brands interact with consumers, so regardless of whether or not the content posted to the News Feed is positive, basic curiosity will draw Facebook users into your objects. A happy customer expressed her gratitude toward a product on Stila’s Facebook Wall. When Stila responded, a conversation began and multiple fans joined the discussion. By encouraging Comments and applying a personal touch on its approach to user engagement, Stila increased the amount of interactions on the Post. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 5
  • 6. Tip #4: Incorporate Wall Sapplets Static News Feed Posts do not always provide enough content to attract people to your objects. Rather than simply posting items with text, vary the material and incorporate interactive components such as Wall sapplets. These might include polls or coupons that prompt your fans to engage with your status updates directly in the News Feed beyond the standard ‘Likes’ and Comments. The EdgeRank score will not be based on the number of times a poll is taken or a coupon is downloaded, however the unique nature of the content will draw more users into your brand and encourage people to visit your Page. News Feed and Wall features, such as Wall sapplets, are available through the Buddy Media Platform, which can provide your brand with the tools necessary to manage any Facebook campaign both long and short term. Similar to games and trivia Posts, a great way to ensure that your fans will interact with Wall sapplet content in the News Feed is by posting it more than just one isolated time. It is important to keep in mind that if people News Feed Wall sapplets also have the ability to generate engagements when they are posted in conjunction with questions. They are a great way for people to express their heartfelt opinions and to share results with their friends and fellow Facebook fans. Bloomingdale’s posts coupons within the News Feed every time it has a major sales event. Not only does the department store attract people to its content and prompt ‘Likes’ and Comments, but it also creates a trust in people that they will be able to access special promo codes when the time comes. The New England Patriots use Wall sapplets to get fans excited about the season to come. The poll question references a topic that naturally arouses passion among fans, creating a stream of votes, Comments and ‘Likes’ to improve the EdgeRank of a Post that might not have made it otherwise onto the ‘Top News’ playing field. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 6
  • 7. Tip #5: Incorporate Relevant Photos Instead of telling your fans about your products and services, show them why you’re so proud of your brand. Attract people to your Posts as soon as they access the News Feed by incorporating relevant photos and reading through lengthy text updates and would prefer to be introduced to immediate content such as photos.. Facebook has assigned a higher weight value to photos than to other objects, and it’s this weight factor that can also increase the EdgeRank. Post images that introduce fans to your brand’s employees in order to relate to those who work behind the Images are also a great way to get your fans excited about brand-new products or services being introduced by your company. Post photos that will give people the inside scoop to your latest and most exciting news and merchandise. When the spring season arrived, Michaels Stores published a picture of a new décor and floral line. The image’s high weight value was paired with a question and spurred hundreds of ‘Likes’ and dozens of Comments. Diane von Furstenberg posted an image of two employees who came to work wearing the same Diane von Furstenberg sweater. The luxury clothing utilized this coincidence to introduce people to its well-dressed employees while also finding out if fans would want to wear the item, too. People flocked to the object and Diane von Furstenberg gained insight to what fans want to wear. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 7
  • 8. Tip #6: Relate to Current Events important to keep this in mind as you post content to appeal to your fans. Find a way to relate your content to current events, and post questions or state your stance on pertinent issues. current issues. By asking people what they think about breaking news, celebrity gossip, sports or other topics, Some brands have to get creative in order to make their products and services relate to current events and recent STATISTICAL REVIEW: Research conducted by Buddy Media (http://forms.buddymedia.com/ whitepaper-form_review-strategies-for-effectivefacebook-wall-posts.html) found that fans are more likely to engage with current events. According to a study conducted by Buddy Media, engagement rates peaked for holiday posts, such as Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. Wish your fans well during the holidays (rather than just passively mentioning the holiday). “TODAY” on NBC posts program recaps every day after it airs. Fans respond to the Posts by adding their opinions and having open discussions directly within the News Feed. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 8
  • 9. Tip #7: Incorporate Videos People love interactive content that appears within the News Feed, and posting videos is one of the most intriguing strategies a brand can use to draw attention to its Posts. Videos can play directly within the News Feed so that users aren’t redirected away when they activate a clip. In addition, videos carry a weight score that with videos in the News Feed. Be sure to limit the length of your videos in order to keep people’s attention, and set expectations within the text to tell your fans what the clip is all about. Videos are a great way to introduce your fans to new products or services by posting teaser content that will build hype and excitement. Give people a sneak peak to items before they become available to the public and ask for feedback within the News Feed. Videos are also extremely useful to show people how to utilize your products and services. Provide people with a brief tutorial directly within the News Feed as both an interactive Post as well as a helpful customer relationship management tool. Omaha Steaks publishes how-to videos directly within the News Feed. With a heaping of ‘Likes’ and Comments, Omaha Steak fans discuss what they love about the food products and what they want to see next from the company. Build-A-Bear Workshop posted a video about its new website. The brand built anticipation for its new product, and in the message, told fans exactly what the video would display. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 9
  • 10. Tip #8: Post Content for Time-Sensitive Campaigns Facebook provides an excellent arena to publish content for time-sensitive campaigns. A major component of an object’s EdgeRank is timing and relevancy, therefore Posts that contain content relating to upcoming events or short-term campaigns will have great success in the News Feed. The Facebook News Feed is updated in real time, therefore the ‘Top News’ section pushes the more recent content to the top of the feed. Keeping this in mind, your brand should consider posting content promoting your time-sensitive campaigns on a regular basis in order to continuously remind your fans about special events and promotions. Beware, however if you post too often, Facebook might take that under consideration and block your updates to work against you. content that counts down to the occasion. This strategy will build anticipation for the promotion and will potentially encourage people to express their excitement within the News Feed. Every time a person ‘Likes’ or Comments on a piece of content, not only does it boost the EdgeRank, but also the user will post his or her own story that advertises your objects. word with the exact same content, your fans will become tired of what you have to say and may ignore your brand altogether. Tory Burch displayed content promoting its private online sale by posting the same image but with different language to remind fans about the event. The Posts generated an impressive amount of traffic that boosted the objects’ EdgeRanks with affinity scores, item weights and relevancy factors. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 10
  • 11. Carnival Cruise Lines posted content to the News Feed to count down the days until its chosen couple was married in its “Race to the Altar” campaign. Not only did Carnival keep its fans up-to-date on the promotion, it generated a significant affinity score with dozens of ‘Likes’ and Comments to boost the EdgeRank. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 11
  • 12. Tip #9: Include Links within Posts Facebook has evolved into a platform meant for sharing and spreading information using basic methods such as links. Brands can take advantage of this by publishing links within Posts and encouraging users to interact with them so that the content is pushed to the top of the News Feed. Links don’t carry as much weight and interesting, they’re likely to pass it along to their Facebook friends who will send it to their friends, and so on. Not only will you be spreading your own brand content, but the more users who engage with your links and brand as Comments in the News Feed. American Express links fans to its website where they can learn about top travel deals and browse through additional content. Link clicks are considered engagements, so each user who clicks through to the AMEX website will influence the EdgeRank on the linkembedded post. Tip #10: Be Explicit in Your Posts Utilize your Posts to tell people exactly what you want them to do within the News Feed. In many cases, be explicit and publish call-outs that will explain to your users exactly what action you want them to take. STATISTICAL REVIEW: Research conducted by Buddy Media (http://forms.buddymedia.com/whitepaperform_review-strategies-for-effective-facebook-wall-posts.html) found that fans follow instructions well. The simpler, the better! In order to drive ‘Likes,’ be direct in asking for it. In order to drive Comments, ask direct questions to solicit fan responses. Ask fans to post, comment or tell you something. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company published a Post asking fans a question within the News Feed that directed them to the exclusive content on its tab. People flocked to the custom tab to post additional content on their own Walls and spread the brand messaging throughout Facebook with the object’s high EdgeRank score. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 12
  • 13. Conclusion Understanding the ins and outs of the Facebook News Feed can be confusing, but with the implementation of an effective publishing strategy, your brand’s content can shoot to the top of people’s ‘Top News.’ Utilize these best practices to propel your content and to gather a strong following of fans. Any business can leverage the power of EdgeRank to have its content seen in the News Feed. Keep in mind that the type of content your brand chooses to post and the methods you choose to implement will have a huge and relevancy, and the rest will take care of itself. To make Facebook work, contact Buddy Media today. Any questions? Contact us at partner@buddymedia.com, or follow us on: facebook.com/buddymedia twitter.com/buddymedia buddymedia.com www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com 13