There are 2 “Facebooks.” The first is the Facebook we click onto when we need to zone out for a few minutes and relax. It connects us with our friends and has become the world’s most popular time waster. That’s the feel-good, free side of Facebook.
The other Facebook makes the money. It’s one of the most profitable businesses in history and, like any other business wanting to make money from you, it’s dangerous to treat it as a friend. Relax with the feel-good Facebook all you want, but when it comes to the business of Facebook, keep your wits and your skepticism about you.
How to be More Visible:
The average Facebook user has about 300 friends and “likes” dozens of businesses, brands, musical groups, politicians, actors, etc. When that user logs on, she typically has about 2000 unseen posts waiting for her on her Newsfeed (the page’s main feed).
Edgerank is the algorithm that tries to make her Facebook experience as enjoyable as possible (so she comes back for more). It controls what she sees by anticipating what she’s inclined to see, elevating the posts she’s more likely to enjoy and sinking the posts most likely to annoy her. To put it another way, you’re the toddler and Facebook is the parent deciding what to show you and what to hide from you.
Here is the Edgerank Formula, decoded step by step:
Rank: this is how prioritized your post will be (i.e., the more likely your fan will be to see it).
Affinity: The affinity score is why you’ll always see posts from your spouse, best friend, and the guy you haven’t seen in 10 years, on whose posts you always comment—your virtual friend. Businesses can better understand why fans that engage with their posts once are more likely to see them next time based on this kind of relationship.
This is why every post matters. If a post bombs and no one engages with it, the next one will be seen less. Your reputation is a tide that lifts and sinks all the posts in the harbor.
Weight: Facebook has a hierarchy of everything, including post types and how your fans interact. Think of it like poker hands. A text-based post loses to a link, which loses to an image, which loses to a video. Most recently, a video loses to a live video.
In terms of interactions, a Share beats a Tag, which beats a Comment, which beats a Like, which beats a view (i.e. hooking them enough to slow down their scrolling) so a few shares beat a lot of likes, and the winner raises the tide for all posts.
Time Decay: Be fresh. Facebook prioritizes news and trends in its newsfeed. Try to speak to what’s happening in your industry right now. Your post will suffer “time-decay” as it gets older, so time them carefully.
What Not to Do:
Along with the “dos”, there are definite “do-nots.” Here are a few of the most dangerous:
Click-Bait: Remember the posts you used to see asking you explicitly to like, comment, or share? Have you noticed a lack of them lately? A series of algorithm updates, with the latest being August, 2016, have targeted “click-bait” and penalized businesses practicing it. If someone tells you to cheat the algorithm by begging for Likes, walk away. Facebook will clamp an anchor on your entire page.
Hard-Sells: Informing your peeps about a sale or product is one thing. Bashing them on the head with a “Limited Time Offer” or “Buy Now” will cost you. Every red-flag phrase and “hide” button click tells Facebook that you’re an inept poster at best and a spammer at worst, and your organic reach will plummet.
Hashtags: Some people love them; most of us don’t. Filling your post with hashtags tells Facebook that you’re cross-posting with Twitter (Facebook doesn’t share well). Too many hashtags invite a red-flag for spamming, and your organic reach will drop the more hashtags you add.