How to Maximize Facebook Post Exposure
Most brands assume that their updates are broadcast across the timelines of anyone who has “liked” their page. Not so. In reality, Facebook only displays your updates to those whom it thinks are most interested in your content. Even your personal updates aren’t sent to each and every one of your so-called “friends.”
Feel like Facebook is being pretty fair weather? Keep in mind that you’ll have an easier time optimizing your Facebook content if you understand what’s happening backstage.
If Facebook published every piece of content produced by every friend or page that you “liked,” your timeline would be a deluge of constantly updating, mostly irrelevant junk streaming by so fast you wouldn’t have time to absorb the half of it.
Facebook’s display algorithm, called EdgeRank, attempts to sort through the clutter and show you the posts it has deemed most interesting based on your network and past behavior. In other words, Facebook analyzes what it knows about you, then tailors your feed to best suit your interests.
How EdgeRank breaks down
Anything that happens on Facebook—an update, like, comment, or share—is called an Edge. Each Edge is ranked and prioritized based on the sum of three basic parameters:
- Affinity—how “close” a user is to the creator of the Edge. This relationship is based on how frequently and in depth a user has engaged with your page in the past.
- Weight—the relative “value” of an Edge. A more involved Edge—for example, a comment—is weighted higher than something less involved, such as a “like.” So, an update with lots of comments would receive a higher weight score than an update with the same number of likes. Also, certain content types, like photos, videos, and links, are weighted higher.
- Time decay—how old the Edge is. The fresher it is, the more highly it’s ranked, and vice versa.
The basic equation shakes down to this: The more people who are engaging with your content, the more people it will be shown to.
Making the cut
How can you give your brand’s Facebook updates the best possible chances? While nothing can substitute for creating engaging content and using ongoing community management best practices, there are a few things you should consider. Your specific tactics will depend on your brand and your audience, but the bottom line is engagement. Think of your brand’s Facebook page as a platform for interacting with your audience, not just broadcasting to them.
Here are some best practices we at Tendo have learned through managing clients’ Facebook pages:
- Post regularly. Online communities are like gardens—they require constant care and feeding. You can’t expect your community to thrive if you aren’t regularly providing new content for users to engage with.
- Photos and videos perform well. People like to look at stuff. It’s easier than reading and the human brain processes images much faster than it does text.
- Ask for engagement. Go ahead, it’s fine. Ask for likes, comments, and shares. But give them a reason to do it. Will they be entered into a drawing for liking or leaving a comment? Are you providing exclusive info that they might want to share? It’s okay to tell your audience what you want it to do, just make the reason for doing so compelling.
- Thank users by name for their comments. Everyone likes a little acknowledgment. When a user leaves a comment on your update, leave your own comment to tag them with a thank you. Who knows, you might earn a long-term fan.
- Use the poll function. Clicking a radio button is faster and easier than leaving a comment. And a poll naturally invites engagement.
- Jump on opportunities for one-on-one interaction. If a user leaves a question (or even a complaint) on your page, follow up with them immediately, both with a return comment and a private message, if possible. Personal attention earns fans (and remediates potential issues).
- Use the metrics dashboard. Facebook’s metrics tool is surprisingly robust. You can drill down to the performance of individual posts to really understand what content is working. Facebook provides a nice guide for page owners to understand how to read their metrics.
By regularly providing valuable, engaging content tailored specifically to your Facebook audience, you should see your reach gradually increase. And if that isn’t working fast enough, you could always look into sponsored posts. Turns out they’re not that expensive and the results are proven.
Specific questions about optimizing your Facebook business page? Please ask in the comments below.