Written by former LiveWorld employee, @BryanPerson
Will optimizing content for the Facebook News Feed (NFO) emerge as a critical skill for marketers in 2011?
Here’s why Paul is right on the money with his prediction:
- There are lots and LOTS of people on Facebook.
- Businesses and brands have made a major expansion into Facebook over the last two years.
- After setting up shop with a Facebook Page, brands want to maximize their presence. That often means increased spending on advertising to drive customer acquisition, creative copy and development to power interactivity and calls to action on custom tabs, and Facebook management and moderation to lead and support fan and customer engagement.
- With that full-scale financial and resource commitment to Facebook marketing, brands also need to ensure their content actually gets seen. And because fans/likers seldom return to an actual Facebook Page on their own accord (.2% or less, according to a stat passed along in Paul’s post), they typically only respond to brand posts that a) show up in their News Feed b) are compelling enough to warrant a Like or comment.
- Enter NFO, the art and science of using Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm to reach and inspire the maximum number of fans.
How EdgeRank works
As a Facebook user, you may be connected to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of friends, along with scores of Pages for brands, causes, and other businesses. EdgeRank is Facebook’s formula for determining which content items from all of those friends and Pages are most relevant to you at any one time. Those posts will then display in your News Feed.
The algorithm consists of three factors:
- The user’s affinity, or relationship, to the friend or Facebook Page that published the content. Users build affinity to friends and brands by interacting more frequently on their Walls with comments, Likes, shares, and tagging.
- The weight for any piece of content. The more comments and Likes to a post from other friends and fans, the higher its weight. Content type — status updates, links, photos, videos, etc. –is also part of the equation.
- The timeliness of the post. A more recent piece of content will have a stronger EdgeRank than an older post.
How Facebook marketing will evolve in 2011
As we head into a new year, marketers on Facebook should learn the intricacies of NFO and EdgeRank backwards and forwards. They should continue to test and tweak how and when to publish posts that will crack through the Facebook News Feed, while also creating content that will match the real interests of their fans and drive ongoing engagement.