BuddyMedia - Facebook's Edgerank


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BuddyMedia - Facebook's Edgerank

  1. 1. Table of ContentsI Introduction…Page 4II Tip #1: Ask Questions…Page 5III Tip #2: Post Games and Trivia…Page 6IV Tip #3: Interact with Fan Engagement…Page 7V Tip #4: Incorporate Wall Sapplets…Page 8VI Tip #5: Incorporate Relevant Photos…Page 9VII Tip #6: Relate to Current Events…Page 10VIII Tip #7: Incorporate Videos…Page 11IX Tip #8: Post Content for Time-Sensitive Campaigns…Page 12X Tip #9: Include Links within Posts…Page 14XI Tip #10: Be Explicit in Your Posts…Page 14XII Conclusion…Page 15 www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 3
  2. 2. IntroductionThe Facebook News Feed has become one of the most effective digital marketing tools for brands, both bigand small. It allows companies to post branded content to a live stream of information that is constantly beingabsorbed by consumers around the world. The News Feed has the power to reach the people who might findinterest in your products and services, yet it can be easy for messaging to get lost in an ever-expanding sea ofinformation. Understanding how the News Feed works is essential to ensuring your brand’s content is seen bythe right people.The Facebook News Feed has two distinct parts: ‘Top News’ and ‘Most Recent.’ A user’s News Feed willalways default to the ‘Top News,’ which according to a blog post by Facebook “is based on an algorithm [that]uses factors such as how many friends are commenting on a Post to aggregate content that [a person] will findinteresting. It displays stories based on their relevance rather than in chronological order.”1The algorithm mentioned is called EdgeRank. It’s Facebook’s solution to determine the content that an individualuser 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 itappears on.An object’s EdgeRank is based on three factors: affinity, weight and relevancy. When multiplied together, theyhave the ability to push your content to the News Feed’s ‘Top News,’ where fans will be able to see what yourbrand has to say. For instance, an image with dozens of Comments will have a higher affinity score than a statusupdate with a few ‘Likes.’ In addition, an object’s relevancy will help to determine how high it will appear withinthe ‘Top News.’In this white paper, we’ll give you ten tips along with relevant examples and suggestions to optimize yourpresence within Facebook’s ‘Top News’ feed. Why does this matter? Here’s one reason: CNN recentlyconducted a survey and found that 75% of respondents got their news from social networking sites likeFacebook or through email campaigns. It’s clear that people are using Facebook to find content, therefore ithas become increasingly important for your brand to implement a strategy for News Feed optimization thatwill 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 EdgeRankalgorithm. It remains a closely guarded secret — much like Google’s PageRank algorithm. However, what weprovide is much like the expertise that Search Engine Optimization specialists provide clients who want to seea bump in their organic search rankings. What follows is a collection of pointers and best practices, whichwhen implemented should impact the visibility of your brand’s messaging within the top stories of Facebook’sNews 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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 4
  3. 3. Tip #1: Ask QuestionsPerhaps one of the best and most effective ways to engage with people on Facebook via the News Feed andto gather activity on your objects is by posting questions. Let’s face it, people love to talk about themselvesand offer their thoughts – even when you don’t ask for it! But what’s great is that the higher the number ofComments and ‘Likes’ you can accumulate on an object, the higher the EdgeRank will be. So if you ask forfeedback, 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 anopportunity to learn what people want to see next from your company. If you’re considering a new product, aspecial giveaway or you’re reintroducing an old item that has been discontinued, determine what will be a fanfavorite and ask people to get creative. Not only will you encourage interaction and engagements within theNews 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 willlove to talk about themselves and boast about the great ways that they use your products and services. Thisserves as an excellent tool to increase the interactions on the object, as the conversation will encourage yourfans to talk to each other. Your goal should be to publish questions that your fans will want to answer and sharefor a viral effect. STATISTICAL REVIEW: Research conducted by Buddy Media (http://forms.buddymedia.com/whitepaper- form_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, Cream of Wheat asked its fans what they asked fans to suggest a new planned to wear this spring. hot cereal flavor and was able to With an impressive amount gather 24 ‘Likes’ and 69 Com- of feedback, the brand was ments from eager fans who added able to determine which items helpful recommendations. People would be the favorites among were more likely to see the piece consumers and successfully of content in their ‘Top News’ prepare for the season. because Cream of Wheat had such an impressive amount of feedback. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 5
  4. 4. Tip #2: Post Games and TriviaIncorporating games and trivia into your Posts is an effective strategy to increase your objects’ affinity scores.Facebook users are inclined to provide answers as a way to show off their knowledge about a topic. This is agreat way to engage people in the News Feed and to get to know your fan base just as well as they know yourbrand. A great implementation that will guarantee your games and trivia generate traction in the News Feed is byposting them on a recurring schedule. Your fans will know when to check their News Feeds or your Wall for thecontent 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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 6
  5. 5. Tip #3: Interact with Fan EngagementThe ability to keep a conversation going should be a large part of your publishing strategy. This means thatwhen people write Comments on your objects or post their own content, your brand should contribute to thediscussion to maintain user engagement. Keep in mind that the longer a thread is for an object, the higher itsEdgeRank will be.Interacting with fan engagement that appears on your Wall is the easiest way to draw attention to contentseen within the News Feed. Remember, the greater the number of edges on an object results in a higheraffinity score.Some brands find that even corresponding with what some people may call “trolls” in the News Feed is anextremely effective way to boost an object’s EdgeRank. Let’s face it, not all content that is posted to Pagesis positive, yet brands can take advantage of this dilemma to put out fires and increase the number ofengagements on an object. In some extreme cases, trolls who call out typos that appear in the News Feedpresent the best-case scenarios. While they’re not necessarily putting down the brand, they are calling attentionto content that wouldn’t have been seen before. People love to see how brands interact with consumers, soregardless of whether or not the content posted to the News Feed is positive, basic curiosity will draw Facebookusers 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 disc- ussion. 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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 7
  6. 6. Tip #4: Incorporate Wall SappletsStatic News Feed Posts do not always provide enough content to attract people to your objects. Rather thansimply 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 inthe News Feed beyond the standard ‘Likes’ and Comments. The EdgeRank score will not be based on thenumber of times a poll is taken or a coupon is downloaded, however the unique nature of the content will drawmore users into your brand and encourage people to visit your Page. News Feed and Wall features, such asWall sapplets, are available through the Buddy Media Platform, which can provide your brand with the toolsnecessary 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 inthe News Feed is by posting it more than just one isolated time. It is important to keep in mind that if peopleexpect you to post specific content for particular reasons, they will be sure to check their News Feeds and yourPage to find what they are looking for.News Feed Wall sapplets also have the ability to generate engagements when they are posted in conjunctionwith questions. They are a great way for people to express their heartfelt opinions and to share results with theirfriends 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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 8
  7. 7. Tip #5: Incorporate Relevant PhotosInstead 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 andimages to potentially increase your objects’ affinity scores. Many times, Facebook users aren’t interested inreading 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 thatcan also increase the EdgeRank.Post images that introduce fans to your brand’s employees in order to relate to those who work behind thescenes. You might be surprised to find just how many of your users will want to add their Comments andindicate their affinity toward the object.Images are also a great way to get your fans excited about brand-new products or services being introducedby your company. Post photos that will give people the inside scoop to your latest and most exciting newsand 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 Furst- enberg 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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 9
  8. 8. Tip #6: Relate to Current EventsFacebook is a great hub to find information about recent news, events and trends. As a brand, it’s extremelyimportant to keep this in mind as you post content to appeal to your fans. Find a way to relate your content tocurrent events, and post questions or state your stance on pertinent issues.Brands that focus specifically on delivering the news can utilize Facebook to host ongoing discussions aboutcurrent issues. By asking people what they think about breaking news, celebrity gossip, sports or other topics,companies can ensure that a conversation will generate an impressive amount of traffic.Some brands have to get creative in order to make theirproducts and services relate to current events and recentnews. However, if done correctly and efficiently, thesecompanies have the potential to produce a significantamount of traffic and to even build a fan base out of userswho wouldn’t typically have an affinity for the brand. STATISTICAL REVIEW: Research conducted by Buddy Media (http://forms.buddymedia.com/ whitepaper-form_review-strategies-for-effective- facebook-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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 10
  9. 9. Tip #7: Incorporate VideosPeople love interactive content that appears within the News Feed, and posting videos is one of the mostintriguing strategies a brand can use to draw attention to its Posts. Videos can play directly within the NewsFeed so that users aren’t redirected away when they activate a clip. In addition, videos carry a weight score thatalone can influence EdgeRank, and with impressive affinity numbers, your fans are highly likely to see objectswith videos in the News Feed. Be sure to limit the length of your videos in order to keep people’s attention, andset 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 willbuild hype and excitement. Give people a sneak peak to items before they become available to the public andask for feedback within the News Feed.Videos are also extremely useful to show people how to utilize your products and services. Provide peoplewith a brief tutorial directly within the News Feed as both an interactive Post as well as a helpful customerrelationship 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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 11
  10. 10. Tip #8: Post Content for Time-Sensitive CampaignsFacebook provides an excellent arena to publish content for time-sensitive campaigns. A major component ofan object’s EdgeRank is timing and relevancy, therefore Posts that contain content relating to upcoming eventsor short-term campaigns will have great success in the News Feed. The Facebook News Feed is updated in realtime, therefore the ‘Top News’ section pushes the more recent content to the top of the feed. Keeping this inmind, your brand should consider posting content promoting your time-sensitive campaigns on a regular basisin order to continuously remind your fans about special events and promotions. Beware, however if you post toooften, Facebook might take that under consideration and block your updates to work against you.If your time-sensitive campaign culminates into a final event, a great way to draw attention to it is by postingcontent that counts down to the occasion. This strategy will build anticipation for the promotion and willpotentially encourage people to express their excitement within the News Feed. Every time a person ‘Likes’ orComments on a piece of content, not only does it boost the EdgeRank, but also the user will post his or herown story that advertises your objects.Another way to guarantee that your time-sensitive campaigns will see traffic in the News Feed is by posting avariation of content for a specific promotion. If your brand continuously publishes the same message, word-for-word with the exact same content, your fans will become tired of what you have to say and may ignore yourbrand 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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 12
  11. 11. Carnival Cruise Lines posted content to the News Feed to count down thedays until its chosen couple wasmarried in its “Race to the Altar”campaign. Not only did Carnival keep its fans up-to-date on thepromotion, it generated a signifi-cant affinity score with dozens of ‘Likes’ and Comments to boost the EdgeRank. www.buddymedia.com partner@buddymedia.com © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 13
  12. 12. Tip #9: Include Links within PostsFacebook has evolved into a platform meant for sharing and spreading information using basic methodssuch as links. Brands can take advantage of this by publishing links within Posts and encouraging users tointeract with them so that the content is pushed to the top of the News Feed. Links don’t carry as much weightas videos or photos, however they do have an impact on an object’s overall EdgeRank, and with a high affinityscore, they are a great way to optimize a News Feed presence. If your brand posts a link that users find valuableand interesting, they’re likely to pass it along to their Facebook friends who will send it to their friends, and soon. Not only will you be spreading your own brand content, but the more users who engage with your links andindicate an affinity, the more visible your brand will become on Facebook.Utilize links to direct traffic back to your website and encourage people to share their sentiments toward yourbrand as Comments in the News Feed. American Express links fans to its website where they can learn about top travel deals and browse through addition- al content. Link clicks are consid- ered engagements, so each user who clicks through to the AMEX website will influence the EdgeRank on the link- embedded post.Tip #10: Be Explicit in Your PostsUtilize your Posts to tell people exactly what you want them to do within the News Feed. In many cases,publishing content that you think might generate traffic isn’t always enough to get the results you want. Instead,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/whitepaper- form_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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 14
  13. 13. ConclusionUnderstanding the ins and outs of the Facebook News Feed can be confusing, but with the implementation ofan effective publishing strategy, your brand’s content can shoot to the top of people’s ‘Top News.’ Utilize thesebest 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 mindthat the type of content your brand chooses to post and the methods you choose to implement will have a hugeimpact on the way people will respond to your content. Take account of your objects’ affinity scores, weightsand 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 © 2011 Buddy Media Inc. Proprietary and Confidential 15
  14. 14. www.buddymedia.com