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The Secret to Visibility on Facebook: Interaction

Submitted by on Friday, 30 July 20103 Comments

In a recent post on TechCrunch Facebook developers revealed some of the Secret Sauce behind the algorithm that determines what shows up on the Facebook News Feed.

The News Feed is the first thing that a Facebook user sees when they log on to the site.  For businesses and individuals looking to generate attention or awareness through Facebook pages or profiles getting on the News Feed is important.  Not every update that a page or person makes on Facebook is displayed on the News Feed.  The News Feed is customized for each individual person and includes the content or updates that are most relevant to that individual based on a mathematical formula (or algorithm).  According to Facebook an average person on Facebook is connected to 130 people and 80 pages, groups and events.  An average person posts on Facebook 3 times a day, which means that you would be inundated with 390 posts per day, just from friends.

So the Facebook News Feed does not display everything posted by all of your friends.  It is optimized by something called EdgeRank, which is a mathematical formula that determines the most relevant posts for your individual news feed.

The Facebook News Feed Formula

According to TechCrunch the Facebook News Feed is based off a formula based on three factors:

  • First, there’s an affinity score between the viewing user and the item’s creator — if you send your friend a lot of Facebook messages and check their profile often, then you’ll have a higher affinity score for that user than you would, say, an old acquaintance you haven’t spoken to in years.
  • Second, there’s a weight given to each type of Edge. A comment probably has more importance than a Like, for example.
  • And finally there’s the most obvious factor — time. The older an Edge is, the less important it becomes.
  • Multiply these factors for each Edge then add the Edge scores up and you have an Object’s EdgeRank. And the higher that is, the more likely your Object is to appear in the user’s feed.

Essentially, an Object or post is more likely to show up in your News Feed if people you know have recently interacted with it.  This probably isn’t very surprising.

Implication: Post Content People Interact With

The key then, for brands and individuals hoping to generate awareness on Facebook is to create posts that people interact with.  If all of your posts have 0 interactions, it is likely that nobody is even seeing them in their News Feed.  To get real marketing value from Facebook you have to post content that gets interactions.

How to Drive Interactions with Facebook Content

The key to success is driving interactions with Facebook content, but how can companies do this?  Here are some ideas:

  • Ask Questions – Posing questions that your fans/friends will have a quick and simple answer to is a great way to encourage interaction.  Get the ball rolling by specifically asking a few of your friends to respond.
  • Run a Contest – You can use a free plug-in on your Facebook Fan Page like PollDaddy to easily run polls on your fan pages.
  • Share Ideas – Today I discovered BulbStorm, an application that is specifically designed to drive interactions and engagement on Facebook Fan Pages through idea sharing.
  • Tag People – If you reference specific people in your content tag them!  This will draw their attention to your content and increase the probability that they will comment or interact with it.
  • Be Interesting.  Really Interesting. – Some of the most commented on things that I see on Facebook are interesting or funny videos, quotes or articles.  Look for opportunities to post content that your friends/fans will really be interested in.

Any other tips on driving interactions?

Does anyone else have tips/ideas/thoughts on how to drive interactions on a Facebook Fan Page?  What kind of content or posts do you interact with on Facebook?