If you’re noticing a drop in traffic to and from your Facebook fan page you’re not alone. Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm limits what your fans see in their news streams based on their level of engagement with your content. If you want more people to see your updates you can pay Facebook’s promotional fee, but a better solution would be to learn how to work with EdgeRank.
Is Facebook limiting the number of people who see your updates? Yes and no. Facebook does limit your reach with their EdgeRank algorithm but they’re doing it in response to user demands for more control over what comes across their page. If you want to improve your reach without paying those promotion fees then it’s up to you to learn how EdgeRank works.
What is EdgeRank and how does it work?
Kelvin Newman of Econsultancy.com wrote an excellent article on Facebook Edgerank and I’m just going to touch on a few key points here.
EdgeRank is an algorithm created by Facebook to control the content users see in their news stream. At the most basic level, EdgeRank uses reader engagement to determine what type of content users want to see and ranks it accordingly. Higher ranking content appears in the news stream and lower ranking content doesn’t.
EdgeRank looks at three factors to rank content: Affinity, Weight and Time Decay.
Affinity: Your affinity score is based on how friendly you are with your fans. You’ve probably seen this in action on your own page. Comment on a friend’s picture and suddenly it seems like that friend is appearing in your feed more often.
In reality, they’re not. It’s just that all those other friends whose pictures you didn’t comment on are being left out of your feed because you’re apparently not interested in what they have to say. The same thing happens with your content – if a fan doesn’t comment, share or like it, then your updates start disappearing from his stream.
Improving your own affinity score is important so your content will appear on more of your fans’ news streams, and it can only be done through engagement.
Weight: Weight is a basic formula that determines what types of content are more likely to be shared and appear in news feeds than others. Three types of content are known to have a high weight rating: Videos, photos and links.
Time Decay: Time decay basically means that newer, fresher content will be given priority over content that’s been circulating for a while.
You can see, by looking at the ranking factors in EdgeRank, that reader engagement is the key to extending your reach on Facebook. Once your fans stop interacting with your content, it disappears from the stream, to be replaced by more of the content they are engaging with. Once you’re gone from their stream, it’s “out of sight, out of mind.”
You can also see that certain types of content will rank higher than others. While a video gets high points, an old video that’s been around the block a few times, will drop to the bottom of the stack.
Facebook fan page promotion fees
One way to extend your reach quickly is to use Facebook’s new fan page promotion feature which, for a fee, allows you page into the news streams of all your fans and their friends. This fee is not mandatory. You can still post updates to your fan page without paying the fee but they’ll only be seen by a limited number of your fans who are already engaging with your posts.
How to increase your reach on Facebook without paying for promotion
First, it’s important to understand that that 16% reach is just an estimate.
Second, it’s important to understand just how many fake Facebook accounts there are. Mark Zuckerberg admits that at least 5% of those accounts are fake. I think that number is much higher but wouldn’t dare to hazard a guess at just how much higher.
So, if you think you’re only reaching 20% of your fans, you may very well be reaching 30%, 40% or more, on the average, which means with a good post you could be reaching up to 75% or more of your fans. The numbers are not as bleak as they look at first glance.
Now, what can you do to increase your reach even more, without paying those hefty promotion fees Facebook’s asking for?
Target your audience: The first step is targeting your audience and this isn’t as simple as it sounds. In the past we’ve all been told to “make friends first” and “build a community” and “develop a relationship” but that’s kind of misleading. You know you’re not out to make friends, you’re promoting your business. And after just a few updates your followers know it, too. And that’s when they stop engaging with your updates.
Instead of setting up a profile that makes you look like any other Friendly Joe, let people know right off the bat that you’re promoting your business. If they’re interested, they can follow. If not, they can go on their merry way and you’ll go yours. You’ll probably have a lot fewer followers but it’s a more honest, targeted relationship and these followers are more likely to engage with your updates.
Engage your audience: Yes, you still need to get in their and do your share of liking, sharing and commenting. That’s all part of being sociable.
But now, because you have an honest relationship with your followers, you don’t have to feel guilty about posting your links, and because of that relationship, more people will like, share and comment on your links.
This audience engagement is what keeps your Affinity score up there, assuring that your content goes out to a larger percentage of your fans.
The only problem now is you need to create the type of content that EdgeRank says encourages engagement – sharing, liking and commenting. Statistics show that images are the number one most heavily weighted content. And not those thumbnail images that accompany your blog posts and articles. They mean real, uploaded images.
The best way to get people to click on your links is to include an image in your update. Put your link in the status box, as usual, and click on the button to upload an image. Then, when your status update is posted, the link will be there right above the attention-grabbing image.
Try doing the same thing when you post videos. Instead of using the video thumbnail that comes up, after you’ve added the link for the video, click over to upload an image.
Only you can decided if it’s worth it to your business to work toward increasing your reach on Facebook. Maybe you feel you’re already doing everything you can do.
But before you get all panic stricken over these fan page promotion fees and start thinking that Facebook is out to get you, understand that EdgeRank was simply initiated in response to user concerns about what they were seeing pop up in the news stream. All EdgeRank does is eliminate content that users themselves aren’t engaging with. If you want to extend your Facebook reach you’ll need to engage your fans.
More Internet Business news:
- Dukeo announces blogging contest with $1,000 prize pool
- Why all the fuss about Facebook fan page promotion fees?
- Facebook charging promotional fees allows advertisers to extend their reach
- Debunking the top five myths about guest blogging
- Why the Obama and Romney fake Twitter accounts are important
- Facebook investors in vulnerable position as share values pass 40% loss
Donna Anderson is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Follow her on Twitter or send her an email and tell her what’s on your mind.