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How Facebook’s New Changes Affect Fan Pages

 

Maybe you’ve heard the term “edgerank,” and maybe you haven’t. In either case, you’ve come to the right place to learn a little bit about how this term may be drastically affecting the results of your Facebook Fan Page. Don’t have a Facebook Fan Page set up for your blog yet? Check out the transcript from our Facebook Fan Page tweet chat.

 

So what is edgerank?

Basically, edgerank is Facebook’s version of SEO. How well you optimize your posts for search engines determines your rank on search engines, and how well you optimize your posts for Facebook determines how high your posts rank there. It used to be that anyone looking at their Facebook newsfeed had the option of clicking from “Top News” to “Most Recent.” The “Top News” tab showed what Facebook’s algorithm thought you wanted to see, whereas “Most Recent” was a lot less filtered. With the recent changes in Facebook, users no longer have this option, and only see what Facebook shows them… which is all based on edgerank.

 

So posts get a rank on Facebook? What’s that about?

You may have noticed in your own Facebook newsfeed that you don’t see everything that everybody posts. Because everyone’s time is limited, Facebook tries to show the most important (read: popular) information first. It makes Facebook similar to a traditional newspaper – the top of your newsfeed is like the front page of a newspaper, and give you all the major stuff that’s going on in your world. You can scroll down for other information, or you can go to individual pages for detail.

 

Ok, so what makes a post popular?

According to Facebook, the popularity of a post is based on a lot of different things. This includes the reader’s relationship with the person or business posting, and how much interaction the post has had from others (how many comments and likes it got). You can read this article on Facebook ranking for more about the algorithm.

 

What determines a person’s relationship with me or my page?

Great question! Basically, the more often that a person interacts with you – likes a comment or link you post, or comments on one of your posts, that establishes their relationship. The initial “like” they clicked on your page is no longer enough. They have to continue to interact with the content you post – by liking it or commenting on it, for them to continue to see your content. It is like the popular girl. Who gets invited to all the cool parties. Where she meets the star of the football team. Who she dates. Then becomes Prom Queen. And so it is with Facebook – the more popular you are, the more people notice you, and like you… and you get even more popular.

 

Can I improve my edgerank?

Yes! Post content that your fans want to engage with. Write status updates that they “like” or comment on. You can do this by sharing news (what you’re up to, things going on in your life or on your blog), or asking questions (what do they think, what are they up to, do they have an opinion on something you’re working on). Also, it has been suggested that Facebook’s algorithm has a preference towards photos and video.

 

Okay, so what is this thing I’ve heard about 3rd party apps hurting my edgerank?

Facebook decides what is “important” or “popular” in a lot of different ways. Edgerank Checker did a study, the results of which showed that you get a higher edgerank for going directly to Facebook (either at your computer or through your phone), to posting updates. It suggests that using anything other than Facebook itself can significantly reduce the edgerank of a post. You can read about it in this article which suggests that the edgerank can be reduced by as much as 80%! Here is a list of potential 3rd party posting programs.

Of course, there is some backlash to this article from 3rd party apps, like this article about Conversocial not hurting edgerank. Hootsuite released an infosheet on Facebook Best Practices which has great information, but doesn’t actually address if edgerank is diminished by using Hootsuite.

Facebook’s algorithm giving a lower edgerank to 3rd party applications makes sense, in a lot of ways. First, a post through a 3rd party is likely a scheduled post, so it is less likely to have any kind of immediacy or urgency, making it less interesting to Facebook users. Second, a post through an application is more likely to be distributed through multiple channels (like both FB and Twitter). Since the way that people interact with social media differs depending on the platform, identical updates sent to multiple platforms may not be as relevant, and again, less interesting to Facebook users. Third, it makes sense for Facebook to reward people who interact directly with their site, rather than using a third party.

 

 So, what should I take away from all of this?

Talk to your Facebook fans. Engage with them. Ask questions. Post the kind of information they’re interested in, like pictures. And whenever possible, post directly in Facebook. Just in case.

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