EdgeRank and Five Simple Ways to Increase Facebook Engagement

Day in and day out, you rack your brain trying to find those perfect Facebook updates that bring in lots of comments and likes.

This is a major struggle for many page Increase Facebook Engagementadministrators, especially those trying to prove to their boss that Facebook is worth the time and money.

Even with lots of fans, it can be difficult to get them talking and sharing your content.

Luckily for us Facebook marketers, there are some easy and effective go-to methods for increasing the interaction of your fans!

But first, let’s quickly cover Facebook’s EdgeRank and understand why so much focus is placed on getting fans engaged.

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What Is EdgeRank?

EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm that determines what shows up in your news feed.  From a very elementary perspective, EdgeRank is similar to a search engine weighing specific factors on a website (keywords, backlinks, etc.), then ranking that website in search results based on those factors.  But instead of measuring keywords and backlinks, Facebook’s algorithm measures likes, comments, and shares, and then filters content based on an “EdgeRank score.”

What does this mean for page administrators? For any given Facebook update you publish, only a portion of your fans will see it in their news feed.

In other words, Facebook filters your content and sometimes keeps it from showing up in the feeds of your fans.  Of course, higher EdgeRank means more people are likely to see your update in their news feeds.

How Is EdgeRank Determined?

There are three main factors that go into this “filtering” by EdgeRank: Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay.

How Is Facebook EdgeRank Determined?

Image Credit to DigitalOrganics.com

Affinity is how well a fan is connected with your page.  For example, a fan who likes, comments on, or shares your updates multiple times a week has a higher affinity score with your page compared to a fan who interacts with your page only a couple times a month.

Facebook assumes a fan who interacts more often is more interested in your page’s content and, therefore, more frequently pushes your updates into their news feed.

Weight has two meanings.  First, it refers to the different categories of content in updates.  By default, rich-media (photos, videos, etc.) content is assumed to have a higher EdgeRank than your typical text or link update.

Second, weight refers to the different categories of interaction.  While Facebook doesn’t release the details of the algorithm, it is assumed a share is worth more than a comment and a comment is worth more than a like.

Time Decay is exactly as it sounds — newer posts have a higher EdgeRank than older posts.  Older posts “decay” as they age and are less likely to show up in a user’s news feed.

These explanations are fairly basic, but important and helpful nonetheless.  There is tons of information out there about EdgeRank.  Here are a couple blog posts that will get you started:

Why All of Your Friends Don’t See Your Facebook Posts

Facebook EdgeRank: What Marketers Need to Know

Even just an introductory understanding of EdgeRank allows you to change your Facebook strategy so more of your updates make it to fans’ news feeds.

What Simple Ways Can You Increase Your EdgeRank?

Now that we know why engagement is so important and we have an elementary understanding of EdgeRank, we can start talking about simple, easy ways to increase EdgeRank.

Below are five time-efficient methods of increasing EdgeRank, which any page administrator can implement today.

1.  Ask Simple Questions

The easiest way to get people to respond is to flat out ask them to respond.  If you manage a page for a health and wellness institution, even asking something as simple as, “What’s your favorite fruit?” can yield great results.

The key to asking questions on Facebook is to keep them simple and to keep the possible answers short.

Keep in mind a lot of people are primarily mobile Facebook users and they’re typically not going to write out a paragraph-long answer.

For example:

You could ask fans, “How much do you love your family?”

You might get a few answers on that, especially from your most loyal fans.  But honestly very few people are going to respond to such a complex question that demands a thoughtful answer.

Instead, replace that question with, “What’s one word you would use to describe your family?”

The shorter your questions are and the shorter the potential answers, the more likely you are to see many responses.

2.  Use Relevant Images Often

Between constant talks of Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook’s Timeline, it’s no secret that images are prime real estate in social media.

If you need an excuse to work images into your strategy: Facebook posts with an image have close to 3x as much engagement as a normal link update. [Click to Tweet This Stat]

Go on just about any well-managed Facebook page and you’ll see that images almost always have more likes, comments, and shares.  Take Louisville’s Valley Dairy Freeze as an example.  Make note of the engagement levels on images versus normal text/link updates.  Talking about ice cream, slushies, and milkshakes is all good.  But showing it?  That’s where the money is, so to speak.

The numbers speak for themselves…

3.  Be Inspirational and Motivational

In a world full of so much negativity, it’s no surprise that people eat up positivity on social media.  The number of motivational quotes that are tweeted daily is evidence enough.

Being inspirational and motivational is a strategy any page manager can easily adopt and implement.  It can even be tied in really well with the previous point on images.  For example, the image below took me less than ten minutes to create.

Seth Godin on Marketing

I shared this image with fans on our company Facebook page, many of which are marketing professionals, and it received way more engagement than our normal link updates.

The beauty of it?  This doesn’t take much time and you don’t have to be that creative…a win-win for many social media marketers.

4.  “Caption This” Pictures

I haven’t personally tried this strategy yet, but I’ve seen it perform really well on other Facebook pages.  The idea is to find a funny, whacky image and ask your fans to come up with their own captions.

These updates often make use of humor (the nuclear weapon of the Internet) and they’re also a fantastic way to give your fans an opportunity to create the content.

If you don’t have money to shell out for an interactive app, “Caption This” pictures can give fans a chance to show off their creativity and personalities.  And, of course, you’re guaranteed to get comments when anyone participates, so your EdgeRank is definitely going up.

5.  Fill In The Blank Updates

Much like “Caption This” pictures, Fill In The Blank updates are also a fun, easy way to let fans play a role in content creation.

Questions can get boring and stale, especially if you use them too often.

Fill In The Blank updates lighten things up a bit and give your update the feeling that it’s more playing a game and less answering a generic question.

Bonus Tip: Fill In The Blanks also work really well on Twitter!

The Takeaway

Notice the trend? All of these updates are extremely simple and easy for fans to get engaged.

  • You don’t necessarily need to create lofty, costly social media campaigns to have high levels of engagement.
  • You don’t need to bribe people with giveaways and contests to build a Facebook community.
  • You don’t need to be absurdly creative and abstract in your updates in order to get people talking.

Be normal.  Be human.  Share things you find funny and interesting, because chances are you’re not the only one.  Let fans help you create content and updates.  Converse, don’t lecture.

Your Turn!

What are some of your favorite simple strategies for getting fans involved?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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