Getting Exposure on Facebook in an Edgerank World

With the news from allfacebook.com that only 17% of fans are reached on average by brands’ posts, marketers are taking a closer look at their Facebook activities and investment.  The solution that’s been offered by almost everyone (and especially Facebook) is to drive more engagement — particularly at the post level — and reach will take care of itself.  

But even for those who have been following this advice since the launch of Edgerank, it is hard not to get the feeling that reach isn’t going up as much as it should.  It is not yet clear why this may be happening.  We’ve noticed what seems to be a delay in reach numbers, so the data being reported by Insights may be off; others have speculated that there may have been a change in the algorithm since late November that gives brand posts less reach no matter what the level of engagement.

Regardless of what’s behind low reach numbers, it is clear that the concepts of reach and engagement are fundamentally intertwined on Facebook and will continue to be in the future.  And while it is important to get to the bottom of the reach question, there is no harm – and in reality, a lot to gain beyond reach – to doing more on Facebook that engages fans.   

Here are three engagement tips (gleaned from FB Insights data) that seem to generate reach, but often get overlooked in the standard Edgerank advice:

  • It might be tempting to forget about the page like completely.  But as much as FB would lead us to believe that interactions (mainly comments and share) at the post level are the way to maximize for Edgerank, there is still power in the page like.  When someone likes your page, it generates a story, which definitely impacts that viral reach number reported by Facebook Insights.   True, this is a one-time exposure, but unless you hit a huge home run with one of your posts, you may find that you get more viral reach out of a page like than from interactions with your posts.  This means that contests designed to incentivize your fans to share your page are still valuable – especially if you take advantage of the momentum by posting updates and photos, and by introducing engagement opportunities to the folks who come to your page because of the contest (who will likely be there once and leave if they are not engaged).

 

  • Much of the standard Edgerank advice focuses on generating comments or shares, but Insights data suggests that clicking on a link is just as valuable, if not more so, than these activities.  So…give users something enticing enough to click on.

 

  • Here’s a shocker:  If you really want to see that viral reach number go up  – run ads.  Wouldn’t that appear in Facebook Insights as paid reach?  Not completely.  When a user is exposed to an ad, that person is counted in the paid reach number.  If that person likes the ad, their friends will get an item in their feed showing the like.  All of those friends are counted as viral reach.

Despite the limitations of Insights data( and marketers’ frustration with the lack of information being provided by Facebook about it), tracking Insights data closely is still the best way to get a handle on what types of activities generate the most reach (organic and viral) and engagement.

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