When talking about Facebook pages, bloggers and businesses obsess entirely too much about how many fans they have. But did you know that if you aren’t doing things “right,” your coveted fan may never even see your posts on Facebook? Your number of fans doesn’t mean much if you aren’t showing up in their Facebook feeds.
I don’t care about how many fans I have. I DO care about my Edgerank score though. And for the whole of 2011, here’s my score:
If you know about Edgerank, you know that anything above 20 is considered excellent. So imagine how my jaw dropped when I saw 141!
While this is for the entire year, my weekly scores are consistently in the 90-100+ range. It’s nuts. But I don’t care about the actual number. I DO care about what that number means.
It means my fans are listening and interacting… and that people who have never even heard of Momcomm are seeing my posts too.
Let me show you. As of September 12, I had 579 fans. Given the fact that Vin Diesel has over 27 MILLION fans, you are probably thinking “MEH.” But check out my post views:
In the past month, both fans and non-fans have seen my posts show up in their news feed over 47,000 times. Not bad for a chick with under 600 fans, right?
What Is an Edgerank Score and How Do You Determine Your Score?
Since this post is really about increasing your score, I’ll give you the down and dirty definition, direct from EdgeRank Checker:
EdgeRank is an algorithm that ranks objects in the Facebook News Feed. Pages with high EdgeRank Scores will be more likely to show up in the news feed, than Pages with low EdgeRank Scores.
EdgeRank is made up of 3 variables: Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay. Affinity is dependent on a user’s relationship with an object in the news feed. Weight is determined by the type of object, such as a photo/video/link/etc. The last variable is Time Decay, as an object gets older, the lower the value.
We’ve developed our own EdgeRank algorithm to help Page Admins understand how their Page interacts with the News Feed.
Everything you post on Facebook is considered an “object” and Facebook assigns every object an Edgerank score. And while it’s true that no one but Facebook knows the exact algorithm, Edgerank Checker is nothing to scoff at. Knowing your scoregive you a clue as to whether or not your post is being seen. Note that page with a really low number of fans (under 100, Edgerank says) will have a higherEdgerank score because of its smaller sample size.
And if you haven’t guessed it yet, you can check your Edgerank score on their website.
How Did I Get Such a High Edgerank Score?
Well, besides the obvious things like posting frequently since Time Decay is one of the three (I post 1-3 times a day during the week), there are five things I do on my Facebook page that affect my score by getting my fans to interact:
1. I Only Post Manually to Facebook.
BIG EDIT HERE: While this was once true, Facebook has fixed the “bug” according to Edgerank Checker and we are no longer being penalized for third-party apps. YES! Here’s the article about the third-party app update.
So what do I do now? I still manually post my new blog posts so I can write a teaser for it. However, I understand this may be hard if you post a TON.
I plan all my content in a calendar ahead of time so I still copy and paste most things but not all. I DO schedule articles through third-party apps though.
This one has nothing to do with interaction but it may very well be the most important tip. For each blog post I share or status update I make, it’s always done through Facebook MANUALLY (and it only takes a few seconds to do). There’s long been this speculation that third-party apps hurt your chances of coming up at the top of someone’s new feed. Well, Edgerank Checker recently tested that theory and found the answer was a resounding OUCH… it does hurt. In fact, according to their blog, “using a 3rd party API to update your Facebook Page decreases your likelihood of engagement per fan (on average) by about 80%.” EIGHTY PERCENT! So, what does this mean? It means stop using any app that automatically feeds your new blog posts to your Facebook wall (Networked Blogs, RSS Graffiti to name a couple). It also means to severely limit posting to your fan page through a third-party app like HootSuite. I ADORE Hootsuite but I only use it to post main status updates to Facebook when I can’t be around to post it manually. Hootsuite just added some great Facebook functionality to it, which I’ll use to respond to fans… just not for my main updates.
2. I Ask Questions.
People respond to questions… and the more people respond, the more likely your posts are getting seen. But keep it easy to answer. Try fill in the blank, “this or that” questions or other questions that people don’t have to think too hard to answer.
Don’t forget that on Facebook, you can ask questions in the form of a survey. It’s the simplest way for your Facebook fan to answer a question… all they have to do is just click a response and they’re done.
3. I Respond to Fans.
Why this may sound obvious (it IS social media, after all), take the time to thank fans, welcome fans, interact with them and answer questions.
When I ask a question on Facebook, I often comment about their answers or ask a follow-up question to learn more about their answer. This encourages dialogue and even gets more fans joining in the discussion. Plus you’re likely to get a “like” to your comment
4. I Share Links (and Tag Them).
When you share links that people click on, your affinity with that user rises (remember, affinity is one of the three things in determining your Edgerank score).
But don’t just paste a link and say “you should read this!” Give your readers a little tease as to what the link is about to encourage them to click the link. You could say something like, “I really loved what she said toward the end of the post about….” or “This is one of the best articles about ___ that I’ve read in a long time.”
If the business or blogger that you’re linking to is on Facebook (and you’re a fan of their page), try to tag them in your message. They’ll appreciate the shout out and you’ll show up on their wall too. Just note that some pages block this feature and always tag in a non-spammy way.
Also, it’s super important to know that Facebook weighs videos and pictures higher than other types of “objects.” While I don’t post as many as I should, it’s definitely a way to bump up your Edgerank Score.
5. I Give Something Back to My Fans.
While giving away a preview copy of my DIY Blog Critique eBook to new fans doesn’t help my Edgerank score at all, my Momcomm Mashups do.
Every couple of weeks, I do what I call a Momcomm Mashup. I ask a question on Facebook about blogging, gather the responses and then put together a blog post of everyone’s answers with a link to their blog. They get link juice; I get great Facebook interaction (and fabulous responses).
Give something back to your fans. Try dedicating a certain day of the week or month to letting people share their Facebook page on a thread that you start (it could also deter Facebook Comment Vomit). Or do a giveaway just for Facebook fans (using a third-party app like ShortStack since Facebook doesn’t allow giveaways by just liking your page, leaving a comment, etc). Or feature a fan on your blog. Whatever way you can give back to your fans, they’ll be grateful… and more likely to interact.
Blow Up that Edgerank Score, Baby!
So that’s five things I do on my Facebook page that’s led me to an Edgerank Score of 141. Remember, Your number of fans doesn’t mean crap if you aren’t showing up in their feeds. Work on interacting, sharing and posting manually to get those great posts of yours seen.
NOTE: My server went down on September 20 and due to a bad weekly backup file, we had to restore from a September 11 backup. I was able to get back this content from Google’s cached pages (yay!), but the 30+ comments are gone. I’d love for you to help me rebuild with some great comments!