Facebook brand pages get a makeover

The world of facebook continues to evolve and this time there’s imminent changes announced for brand pages.  These changes are designed to mirror the new personal time layout with a less cluttered look. I’ve yet to see this transition across any of the pages in Australia yet, but from facebook media reports the changes will be rolled out from this week.

The major changes can be found in this guide and are summarised below:


  • Revised two-column layout – this will be similar to the old version but the right hand column will now be the timeline with the left hand side information about the brand. This gives greater clarity to page posts and should help with engagement in a less cluttered format.

Implication – creating engaging content will become more important than ever. Make sure that you’ve filled in business milestones on the page and using good visual content to continue to draw attention. Gone are the days of posting meme’s (those funny cartoons) to drive interaction – you really need to be thinking about your content strategy.


  • New metrics section – Admins will be able to monitor the activity on the far right hand side and see information about post reach, ad performance and other analytics

Implication – There’s lots of powerful information in the analytics that allow you to improve page performance. Take the time to go through this information on a regular basis and use the insights to drive activity on your page.


  • Pages to watch feature – allowing you to create a list of similar competitor pages. Hopefully this will report on more than just competitor like numbers – something that Facebook uses to encourage further advertising purely on brand numbers alone and it’s not that useful without an understanding of competitor page engagement levels.

Implication – Without seeing how this functionality works it’s difficult to comment. Be aware of measuring more than fan likes, as this is a superficial metric. Facebook has a financial imperative to grow the revenue of their business and encouraging advertising is a major objective. Think strategically about how you advertise and don’t underestimate how targeted you can be to get your message to your audience.


  • App thumbnails have disappeared – the ability to create custom tabs was a big feature of the old design as the thumbnail tabs were displayed under the timeline images. These apps will still be visible, but will be hidden. Keep in mind that the majority of times you’d use these apps are when you actually use the link to drive consumers to more information (or a competition hosted there etc).

Implication – Need to think about how you can still craft relevant posts and use the unique URL of any custom apps created rather than relying on consumers clicking.


  • Creative requirements – It’s not anticipated that you’ll need to make creative changes. However, if your cover photo is light or if you have aligned your profile picture to align with the cover photo you will need to update the creative.

It’s reported that you’ll have two weeks to make any changes to the pages before it goes live to fans so there will be an opportunity to make any amendments before they are live.


Understanding Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm

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.


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:

Edgerank Algorithm


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

Time Decay

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.


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.

Edgerank Explained Simply


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.

* blog.hubspot.com/understanding-facebook-edgerank-algorithm-infographic


Marketing responsibly on Facebook: Some tips for Alcohol brands

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.



Decoding facebook’s Promotional Guidelines

We’ve all seen brands on facebook make claims on their pages “first five people to comment will win a free bottle of wine” or “share this photo to win.’

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.

Many of the custom apps automatically post this on the bottom of the custom page “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to XXXX and not to facebook. The information you provide will only be used for the XXX and will use the information provided in accordance with its privacy policy.”

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:

If you have other apps that you use and we should add to the list, post in the comments section below.

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.



Facebook introduces Page Administrator Roles

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:

  • Manager: All content creator powers, plus the ability to manage admin roles (currently everyone set to Manager level)
  • Content creator: All moderator powers, plus the abilities to create posts as the page, edit the page, and add applications.
  • Moderator: Can view insights, create ads, send messages as the page, and respond to and delete comments.
  • Advertiser: Can view insights and create ads.
  • Insights analyst: Can view insights.

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.

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