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EdgeRank: Why Just Showing Up On Facebook Just Isn’t Enough

EdgeRank Facebook algorithm

We’ve all heard the overly-used motivation quote “80% of success is just showing up” made famous by Woody Allen. But, thanks to the complex algorithms being used by Google and Facebook, just showing up just isn’t good enough.

As a small business owner, it’s no longer enough to just “be” on Facebook or to just “be” on the web. Success is all about engagement and engagement requires a rock solid strategy, lots of tender loving care, a boatload of rich and interesting content, and some data analysis and number crunching.

Earlier today, the folks at Argyle Social, a marketing software startup located in Durham, NC, hosted a webinar titled Figuring Out Your EdgeRank.

If you’re not familiar with EdgeRank, it’s the algorithm Facebook uses to determine where, when and for how long what you post will appear on the news feeds of your followers.

It doesn’t matter if you’re quoting Buddha or launching a huge marketing campaign, every status update, picture, video, and philosophical quote must ultimately bow down before the EdgeRank algorithm. In other words--pretty important stuff.

I always find webinars like this are INCREDIBLY valuable—especially for small business owners. They’re almost always free (which was the case with Argyle’s session) and they almost always provide at least one valuable nugget of information that I can take away and use to help my business (case and point--Figuring Out Your EdgeRank was jam packed with useful insights).

Most importantly, during today’s webinar Jill Carlson and Chad Wittmann provided a handful of best practices designed to help you improve your EdgeRank. I’ve included them below along with my interpretation and/or commentary. 

  1. Provide exclusive content and deals for fans. You have to make it worth their while to check out and engage with your Facebook page. Make the benefits of being your fan obvious and rewarding.
  2. Give your brand some personality. Think about all of your close friends—the people you really enjoy hanging out with. How many of them have little or no personality? I’m guessing you hang out with people you find interesting. The same rule applies on Facebook.
  3. Feed their competitive spirit. Most people like the thrill of some friendly competition. Look for opportunities to channel and direct their energy and passion. Contests can be an effective way to build awareness and engagement in the short-term, just make sure you’re attracting people that are into your business more than they’re into the chance to win a free iPad 2.
  4. Use campaigns to drive your content strategy. Move beyond thinking about individual posts to uncover broader trends. Stronger campaigns = higher engagement = higher EdgeRank = happy you!
  5. Use a clear call to action. If you want someone to share your status update, ask them to share. Doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?
  6. Focus on engagement, not size. A lot of small businesses who are new to Facebook are hell bent on amassing a huge following but, over time, algorithms are going to be looking at level of engagement.
  7. Stir the hornets’ nest.  The riskiest of the best practices. Sometimes the best way to get attention is to be polarizing. However, if you go that route, you just need to make sure you’re being true to your brand. Personally, I have much more fun being contrarian. When a writer from asked me to comment on Yahoo firing their CEO over the phone instead of doing it face-to-face, I went against the grain.

What did I learn from today’s webinar? 1) Woody Allen is totally full of crap (I actually kind of felt that way prior to the session, but now I’m certain) and 2) you have to make every post count.


[Image: Flickr user Marco Paköeningrat]

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