One of the most common pieces of feedback I receive from facebook training sessions is that participants had no idea that only a small percentage of their fans are seeing their posts. It’s one of the most valuable pieces of information that they take away and for many, it changes the way they produce their content and think about their facebook interactions.
Prior to being immersed in the world of facebook, many business owners assume that their posts are seen by their entire fan or friend base, only to be horrified at the actual statistics. What would your guess be about how much content is seen by your fans? 100%, 50%, 60%?
So you’ll be stunned to discover that in many cases, only about 10% of fans will see your content….
Why? Comscore reports that 40% of all the time on facebook is in the newsfeed and only 12% is spent on profile and brand pages. To give some context, in the USA alone, people spend more time on the facebook newsfeed than the six major news sites (ABC, NSNBC, Yahoo! News, CNN, New York Times and the Huffington post) combined*. So given how much content is generated (by facebook brand pages or by your friends) there needs to be a way for facebook to filter the information.
This is where the facebook edgerank comes in.
WHAT IS EDGERANK?
Edgerank is an algorithm used by facebook to determine where and what posts appear on each individual users news feed in order to give users the most relevant content.
Each piece of activity on facebook is defined as an ‘edge’ and can potentially create a newsfeed story. This includes all likes, comments, photos, tags, comments, RSVPs – any public activity that is undertaken. Facebook looks at these ‘edges’ and utilises the information to filter the newsfeed and show the posts that they determine are the most relevant to the users.
I’m no mathematician or expert on equations, so what you need to know without all the technical details is that there are a number of variables that make up this algorithm to determine the rank:
This is measured by the relationship between users. The more you are connected and interact with them, the higher your affinity score and more likelihood that you’ll be shown the content.
Similarly, if you’ve liked and interacted with content on the page before, or you always like photos, there’s a greater likelihood that you’ll see the content being posted on the page. Remember that this is a one-way relationship, so if you’re actively posting on others pages and interacting, it does not mean that they will have a high affinity with your page.
Different types of content carry different weights. Photos, videos, links and status updates carry different weights. Generally photos and videos have shown to have higher weightings, although in recent times I’ve seen short text based posts also drive good reach and engagement.
If a user on your page comments on your page, or interacts positively, it’s given a higher weighting than if a user simply likes. This is why you’ll see many brands asking people to comment on the posts or encouraging sharing as it drives up a higher edgerank score than simply liking
The amount of time from when the post was made – old news is no longer relevant if no one interacts with it. If you’re posting content at 10am, and most of your fans are not online till after 5pm, it’s unlikely the majority of your fan base will see the content when they log-on later in the day. The vast majority of engagement will happen within minutes of a post being published.
Since September 2012, the edgerank is also impacted by negative feedback that you receive on your page. But more about that in another post.
BATMAN COMES TO THE RESCUE TO EXPLAIN
If you’re a batman fan, this simple infographic by Mike Maghsoudi from Post Rocket helps to explain simply how the concept works in plain English.
WHY IS YOUR EDGERANK SO IMPORTANT??
In essence, your edgerank determines the reach of your content. If you’re a page Administrator it’s something you need to be aware of because it’s fundamental to your success on facebook.
Trialling different types of content and working out what resonates most with your community is important to keeping them engaged and keeping people coming back for further interaction. It’s reported that brands that are leveraging the power of the News Feed reach +40% of their fans per post!
How can you determine your edgerank?
Facebook does not share a lot of information about the actual edgerank scores so in most instances you need to test out and monitor your content to work out what’s best for your brand.
A service called Edge rank checker can help to give you some insights into your page performance. Although in many cases if you have a small page, simply looking at some of the interactions on your page through the facebook analytics can give you a good guide.
If you’re the administrator of a page you can go to the bottom of the post and see how many people saw it, and then delve in deeper in the insights section for further information.
Alcohol is certainly in the spotlight at the moment and being held responsible for many social issues. An article in SMH was published today astounded me that there was such a widespread generalization by Australian Medical Association about alcohol marketing and advertising but the fuel in the debate continues to be ignited.
On 11 July the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (a non governmental organization set up to evaluate complaints against advertisers and advertisers ) ruled that Smirnoff was responsible for comments and photographs uploaded on it’s facebook page by members of the facebook community. More details. A similar ruling followed about VB and there’s now a greater responsibility for brand owners to monitor and make sure content is relevant as there are legal ramifications.
I know many of the alcohol brands are being responsible about the way they market on facebook, but incase you were not aware of some of these features here’s just a couple of tips on how you can make sure you stay out of the spotlight.
1) Set your age restriction of your page to “Alcohol Related”
This is a setting that restricts the content on your page to the minimum drinking age in each country. So whilst you may have it at 18 or over to cover Australian laws, if someone from overseas is viewing your page with a different legal drinking age then you won’t be complying.
To change this setting this you need to be the Administrator of the page, go into the admin settings, go into Manage Permissions and then on the drop down box choose “Alcohol related”.
2) Target appropriately if you’re running ads
If you are running facebook ads then think about your targeting. Having more targeted age selections will not only help you optimize your campaign results, it will save you spending money on ads that are not targeted to your right consumer group.
3) Think about the content you’re posting.
Whilst a cartoon on your page may be funny and generate some additional likes, question what message it sends out to your audience. If you think that it could be interpreted as irresponsible and if there is a complaint, you could be liable.
4) Monitor Comments daily and respond promptly.
It’s now easier than ever to monitor comments on your brand facebook page. You can download Pages Manager app for free and see what’s happening or again in the settings of your page you can choose to receive email notifications or onsite notifications by going into your settings and choosing the appropriate level.
Like it or not the anti alcohol lobby is gaining steam and it’s up to us all to make sure we’re promoting our products responsibly.
Hope these tips are of some use. If you’ve got others your are doing that might be of use to others, please leave suggestions in the comments field below.
Promotions on facebook are a great way of building engagement with fans and growing the number of people in your community. However, for many page administrators it’s also a source of confusion. Many of the competitions and giveaways being run contravene the facebook promotional guidelines, and by breaking them, you’re running the risk that your promotion or even your page can be shut down.
Whilst it’s tempting to test the boundaries, I believe that the risks are not worth the consequences and there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you comply. Take the time to think through the promotion, make it more than just a post for a day and integrate it into your marketing strategy to achieve the best results.
The full link to the facebook guidelines gives you the rundown and you should revisit it often as facebook is known to change the rules.
I’ll attempt to give you the core things to think about when running a competition below:
1) What’s considered a promotion?
If you’re going to pick a winner – then it’s considered a promotion. This means any contest, competition or sweepstakes offer
2) Where can you run your promotion?
The guidelines state that competitions must be administered within apps on facebook.com either on a canvas page or on a custom tab. This means you can POST about the promotion on the wall, but the competition must be hosted on a separate tab. You cannot run a give away by hosting on the wall and conditioning people to like or share a post to WIN.
3) What about using facebook functionality to enter?
You must not use a “like” to enter as a voting mechanism for the promotion. Some app’s on the pages can “like gate” the competition so that you need to be a fan of the page to enter (a good way of still building a community), but this is not about liking a post to be eligible to win.
4) What does facebook require you to do before running the competition?
Facebook requires each entrant to release it from obligations and for the organization conducting the promotion to state that the promotion is not in any way sponsored, endorsed or administered by the social network. They must appear on the canvas pages or page tabs.
Facebook wants to reduce its liability and make sure it’s in no way connected with the promotion.
5) How can I select a winner?
You can’t randomly select a fan and award them a prize. As the guidelines note “the act of liking a page or checking into a place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.”
You’ll need to specify how you’ll choose a winner in the terms and conditions of the promotion (that’s right you will need to write some terms and conditions so that people know what the rules are).
When a winner is selected, you must notify them via email, postal address, mobile number etc rather than just positing the winner’s details on the wall.
6) What are some apps I can use to run promotions on my page within the guidelines?
New apps are being built all the time to help companies run promotions on facebook. Many developers will also build custom pages that you can host on too. Think about what your competition is designed for and then take a look at some of the apps to work out which one best meets your objectives. Some of the apps you may want to consider are:
What else do I need to know:
Whilst there are guidelines for facebook, there’s also an obligation in many cases in Australia to obtain a permit to conduct the competition. Rules vary depending on the state that it’s being held in and the value of the prize, but you should contact your local office (NSW and ACT do require permits in many cases). Don’t forget if it’s a national promotion, you’ll need permits in each state.
If you’re the Administrator of a facebook page you may have noticed that there’s new levels of permission for posting content on your fan page. Page admins can have 5 different roles, each with different abilities:
This change will give you greater flexibility of who controls information on your page, and in many instances allow you to grant access to staff who look after the customer service aspect of Facebook, without them being able to create specific brand content.
To change the administrator permissions, you need to go into Edit Page, then click on Admin Roles on the left hand navigation and change the permissions accordingly.
This functionality has been much needed, and good to see Facebook finally responding. It’s now time to think about how you involve your staff in the page administration, particularly in being able to monitor and respond to posts by people on your page.
2011 starts a new journey for many in the world of social media. It’s a year where people will move on from just talking about why you should participate and get more active and strategic about the way you engage. Let’s face it, we can spend a lot of time engaging directly with our customers and consumers whether it be through twitter, facebook or other platforms, so it’s worthwhile to take some time out at the beginning of the year and really think about what you want to achieve.
Remember the beauty of social media is that it’s often a collaborative platform and all of us are learning, so if you don’t know how to do something or want to discover more, all you have to do is ask and people are more than willing to help out.
Here’s a few tips to get you thinking to start the year…
1) Start with a health check – remind yourself about your reason for being on social media platforms and how it integrates with your broader marketing strategies. What lessons have you learnt from the past that you can optimise and what things do you think you could do better? Now is the time to really think about your social media strategy and how you can integrate with your broader marketing initiatives. Have you done simple things like:
2) Are you truly listening? Have you set up listening devices – it can be as simple as setting up a free google alert for your brand or using sites like socialmention.com or search.twitter.com to make sure you are collecting feedback about what people are really saying. There are some more sophisticated programs to allow you to listen and monitor your brand mentions, but for many small wineries some of the free monitoring tools will allow you to pick up 80% of results.
3) Engage with your followers through extraordinary experiences- Whilst keeping your fans and followers updated on your daily activities is part of the journey, those who are doing things well provide extraordinary experiences – competitions, polls, reasons for people to stay a fan and continue to engage with your brand. If facebook is your main social media platform then have a look at some of the third party applications like Involver or Wildfire or it may be more relevant to have a customised application built for you if the campaign is big enough. Remember you can’t post a competition directly on facebook (eg become a fan and win wine) without it going through a third party application or you’ll risk your page being shut down.
4) Get involved with mobile and geo-location – many are saying this will be the biggest trend this year and it’s worthwhile testing. Many South Australian wineries are reaping the benefits from initiatives like the Great South Australian Wine Australian that SA Tourism and the Qwoff Boys initiatived – If you are choosing not to be active with platforms like Gowalla, Facebook Places or Four Square you should at least understand the opportunity you are missing. If costs you very little to trial and may be a way of attracting and incentivising a new audience with your brand.
5) Think about your influence, not the number of people you follow – There’s been some great recent posts by Brian Solis, Chris Brogan and Rick Bakas, Matthew Creamer talking about your influence on social media platforms being more critical than numbers of people who follow you. Whilst there is some correlation between influence and followers it’s worth having a look at www.klout.com or http://www.twitalyzer.com/ and understand just how influential you are.
6) Keep your Linked In Profile up to date – many underestimate the power of Linked In but it’s a powerful networking environment not just a way of gaining employment. Join relevant groups and participate in the conversations that are happening. There’s many features being developed for brands and companies so if you have not set up your Company or Brand on Linked In it’s worth doing so.