How To Bring Your Team Online Without The Overwhelm – Part 3

The secret to Facebook’s News Feed Optimization

In part 2 of this series, we looked at simple strategies to get your team started on Facebook. Now that we have the basics down-pat, it’s time to take your team to the next level and give them and edge over everyone else!
Going forward into 2011, understanding how the News Feed works is absolutely critical for success on Facebook.   Let me explain…

Have you ever wondered why some people post updates that attract a tonne of activity, while others post and you can almost hear the tumbleweeds? Like it or not, it’s because Facebook has an algorithm that decides whether or not your updates are important enough to show in the News Feed. And since Facebook displays the Top News section of the News Feed by default, this is how most people catch up on all of their friends activity. So if you aren’t showing up there, you’re basically invisible! A lot of people seem to be confused as to why their friends or fans haven’t seen their latest updates. It’s not because they’re not interested in you, it’s because Facebook’s algorithm determines what it thinks you’ll find interesting! Given that many people have hundreds, if not thousands of friends, it makes sense that your unique News Feed displays content that’s deemed to be the most relevant to you.

The bad news is that new people who don’t have an online support Tribe will have a hard time gaining exposure initially. Here’s why:

  • Their interaction history is almost non existent, so the ‘affinity’ value of anything they post is going to be pretty low.
  • Since a new person has very few friends, its hard to build up your initial affinity. And since people with more friends who have been around longer will have a higher affinity score than you, the chances of showing in the News Feed of someone popular is extremely unlikely.

As a marketer on Facebook, understanding how to get into the Top News Feed could be the single most important strategy you learn

The good news is, that understanding News Feed Optimization (NFO) is pretty simple.   The secret is to take a close look at their algorithm, otherwise known as EdgeRank.

Believe it or not, that less than edgy picture of EdgeRank holds the key to successful visibility on Facebook! EdgeRank is simply an algorithm, just as Google’s PageRank is and it will rank what it deems to be important.   Before we break it down, there’s a bit of Facebook jargon to understand:

  • Object ~ This simply means content e.g.   a status update, a photo, a link or a video.
  • Edge ~ This is basically any interaction that occurs with the object e.g. Likes, comments, tagging or sharing.

Now lets have a look at EdgeRank

  • The affinity score between the viewing user and the edge/content creator. If you regularly interact and engage with another person’s objects, your affinity score with that person will rise. What this means is that their objects will be more likely to show up in your News Feed. Unfortunately constantly engaging with that person doesn’t mean that your objects will necessarily show in their news feed. There are some strategies you can implement here though which I’ll get into in a minute.
  • The weight for this type of edge. Now this is the part of the algorithm that Facebook doesn’t completely reveal. From the research I’ve done it appears comments carry more weight than likes.   All in all though, it’s the combination of all interactions that contribute to the weight.
  • Time decay factor. Unlike Google’s PageRank where authority accumulates over time, an objects authority in the News Feed gathers dust after about 48 hours.

FB also states that they factor in the of the type of object you created. Given that links videos etc create engagement, they seem to be favored over status updates with plain text. Watch this space though as I’ve noticed a trend towards favoring their newest products e.g. check in’s through places.

So how do you use this knowledge to your advantage?

If it isn’t obvious yet, making it into the Top News Feed should be an important part of your overall strategy on Facebook.

In part 2 of this series we covered strategically connecting with thought leaders and people of influence in your niche. The question is, how do you get into their News Feed?

Unfortunately all the commenting and likes that you do on their profile, won’t have you showing up in their News Feed. When you engage with their objects, this builds your affinity towards them. Put simply, this will result in them showing up in your News Feed but not the other way around. So whats the answer?

  1. Create interesting and engaging objects that make the Top News Feed in their own right due to the amount of edge they receive.
  2. Leave valuable and interesting feedback on their objects so that they become curious enough to visit your profile directly. Once you have them interacting with your content, their affinity score towards you will increase and so will your chances of showing in their News Feed.

On a final note, you want to start testing the different days and times that engagement is at it’s highest. Social Media Management company Vitrue, who analyzed Facebook Fan Page data from 2007 – 2010, came up with some interesting findings in their white paper ‘The Anatomy of a Facebook post which you can download here. Mashable did a great story on this 2 months ago highlighting the busiest time for conversations is 3pm US EST. Keep in mind that this was a study of Fan Pages. If you look a little closer, you’ll find that this includes brands that promote coupons at the time of day that people are hungry etc. It’s only through testing and tweaking your own posts, that you’ll be able to discover when your audience are most likely to give your object an edge!

If you’ve found this helpful and you think News Feed Optimization is something your friends would find valuable, make sure you share this on Facebook. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below on how understanding EdgeRank has helped your visibility.


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19 thoughts on “How To Bring Your Team Online Without The Overwhelm – Part 3”

  1. Aloha Michaele,

    You are so smart and so good. Thank you for sharing this algorithm with all of us. It’s very interesting isn’t it? I didn’t know this was the formula so thank you for educating me.

    You always share so much value! You’re absolutely amazing!

    Happy New Year dear friend!

    Much love from Hawaii,
    Kellie :)

    • Hi Kellie,

      Gosh I’m a little late back on my new year greetings aren’t I!

      Thanks for the compliment but the super smart one is the person (you) who has just launched the amazing system you did last year. Now that is what I call amazing talent!

      Glad you had some take aways from the post :)

      Love to you in Hawaii,

  2. Excellent post Michaelé! You’re absolutely right – until someone (i.e. a new recruit) can actually understand for themselves how any given effort, like being active on Facebook, will translate into results that matter to them, they won’t take it too seriously.

    Your tips were clear and to the point, and this is great information that will definitely help me while I’m growing my Facebook profile and Page.

    Thanks again, and happy New Year!

    • Hey Chris,

      I know I’m late but Happy New Year to you!
      (Pretty sure we tweeted that earlier anyway)

      Thanks for being my first commenter for 2011 :)

      I agree that it’s all about showing new people what they need to be doing in order to achieve results.
      Without some clear direction, I can totally understand why some people still think FB is somewhere to share what you had for breakfast.

      I hope totally crushes it for you guys this year!


  3. Hi Michaele,
    Wow, what a value packed post!!
    I’ve just learned a lot of interesting info, thank you :)
    This is an awesome resource for new facebook users, to fast track them to gaining exposure.

    Thanks for sharing.

    In Health and Wealth


    • Hi Toni,

      I’m glad you got something out of the post.

      I was talking to an offline friend this week who follows me on FB who made the comment that what I blog about is ‘out there’ LOL!
      What he meant was that my topics were undecipherable in his world so it’s a relief to know that’s not everyone!


  4. Michaelé, you’ve done a wonderful job researching this! And, I’m so glad you have because you’ve saved me lots of time, I had this topic down as a suggestion for me to post. Now, I’ll just refer people back to your post.

    Thank you, and Happy New Year to you and your readers!

    • Hey Julieanne,

      If I’ve saved you some time then I’ve done my job :)

      I feel the same way with a lot of the blog posts you do to.
      I get to file them as a resource to send others to, knowing they will love your well researched info!


  5. Hi Michaelé,

    Wow! Very informative indeed! It’s great to get the facts and your insight on such an important aspect of social networking. Once again, the rule is about providing real value and having integrity in the way we engage others. Although it makes it harder for anyone to purposefully turn up on other people’s feeds, it is also reassuring to know that the people who show up in my feed are not there because they frantically ‘edged’ everything I post with ulterior motives ! ;-)

    Thanks for a great post!

    • Hi Justine,

      You got it!
      Providing value with integrity and engaging, is definitely the way to build your social networking profile.

      I agree that I like the way you can’t manipulate the News Feed in terms of stalking people.
      You can make it there through being entertaining though!


  6. Michaele,
    Who would’ve thought of all the little things that can really make a difference? You’ve really done your research and have taken something that can be very complex and broken down so that we can easily understand it. Now it’s time to check it out and see how it works.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  7. Hey Don,

    Yup I had no idea the way it all worked till I started researching it.
    Glad to hear it was easy to understand.

    Awesome news to hear what your company (Arbonne) has contributed to the Australian floods. Talk about leading by example!


    • Hey Tony,

      Glad you enjoyed the post.
      Loved your latest tutorial on creating a custom header in 20/10.
      Has anyone mentioned that the intro is LOUD :)


  8. Michaele what a beautiful name and an awesome post. What a way to first make our virtual acquaintance. I definitely be coming around more. I see more useful post to read already. So thanks. I do have one quick question about the algorithm. What are they referring to when they say their objects. Do they mean their video’s or their notes?

    Again thanks for posting such quality info

    Gebrina Coutee

    • Gebrina,

      Thanks so much for the lovely compliment :)

      An object is basically any update you create on Facebook e.g. videos, notes, pics, vids etc.
      All of these are considered objects and any interaction that is created is considered an edge.
      E.g. you post a status update (an object) I come along and ‘like’ it, that in turn gives your object some edge.

      I hope this helps to clarify.


  9. Hi Brian,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the info on Edgerank as I found it fascinating to learn.

    I totally agree with you on the personal profile vs company page. I have a strong personal page and can see the challenges with building up the same level of engagement on a fan page.
    One of the keys to NFO is being able to build your affinity score with other friends/fans etc through mutual engagement. For fan page admins this presents a problem since they can only engage onpage, where as a personal profile can go scooting around the Facebooksphere building their influence.

    At least now there are some awesome apps that notify you of any activity on your fan page, which of course is going to help everyone with their ability to engage.

    Thanks for raising some great points for everyone to think about.

    P.S. Loved your last blog post!

Comments are closed.