Tips Every Marketer Should Know Regarding Facebook's Evolution
For the past seven years, Facebook has morphed into a lifeline for connecting with consumers and extending brands. But just when many marketers felt they had mastered using Facebook to their advantage, the social network threw them a curveball last September with its biggest overhaul to date. Processing, understanding and acting on Facebook's recent changes can be challenging. Here’s a quick guide to give you a valuable head start:
Tip No. 1: Understand Facebook’s EdgeRank to help you get noticed. Much the same way that Google’s PageRank helps determine the order of search results, EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm for sorting which stories appear in your news feed. Understanding Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm can help you increase the likelihood that your content gets noticed and triggers consumer engagement. There are three key components to understanding EdgeRank:
- Affinity: Think of this as engagement. The more interactions (e.g., comments and "Likes") that your fans have with your content, the more likely your content will appear in their news feed.
- Weight: This is all about the type of content (e.g., photo, video) you post. As a marketer, you can attempt to maximize content weight with your audience by determining which types of posts engage them most.
- Recency: This is all about the time you post content. If you post something at 10:00 a.m. but your fans don't check the site until 5:00 p.m., it's very unlikely that your content will have enough recency to appear in fans’ news feeds.
Businesses that understand how Facebook prioritizes content in the news feed can optimize what and when they post. Understanding this will drive better visibility and, more importantly, better engagement.
Tip No. 2: Use the Open Graph to extend reach. Facebook launched the Like button in 2010 for users to promote and share websites of interest with their connections. Users can now share a lot more, especially activity more related to businesses. Instead of just clicking "Like" for a web page, users can “Read” a book or “Watch” a movie. With these new actions, adding proper Open Graph tags to web pages is more important than ever. The accompanying pictures illustrate the Open Graph and what information is included in the tags.
Businesses that take advantage of the Open Graph bring consumers closer to them than ever, capturing their habits, preferences and behaviors. This data sets the foundation for more effective customer interactions.
Tip No. 3: New Facebook apps revolutionize sharing. As part of the recent changes, Facebook launched a simple way to build applications and create more robust sharing experiences (here are some tutorials).
If someone likes a certain product or feature pertaining to your business, it becomes more visible to their connections. Companies like Spotify are already taking advantage of this feature. In the example below, a friend has installed the Spotify Facebook app. I can see the song he's listening to and play it myself.
With the expansion of the Open Graph and a new framework for Facebook applications, Facebook has reduced the barriers for people to share those connections with others while extending brands in a more powerful way.
Tip No. 4: Facebook Insights helps you track and measure. Facebook Insights has been around for a while, but its recently seen significant improvements. The metrics it tracks provide deeper understanding, measurement and analysis into the impact of Facebook campaigns for the following:
- Websites: Identify how much of your website’s traffic was generated from Likes, shares and comments.
- Facebook page: Track the amount of Likes, comments and unsubscribes a page has received.
- Facebook app: Measure the number of users interacting with an app and how much additional referral traffic an app has generated.
Facebook Insights help marketers better gauge the value of their Facebook and other social media campaigns. It reveals what works and what doesn’t to ensure more effective campaigns on an ongoing basis.
Marketers who have a deeper understanding of how Facebook works can optimize how they use the social network to drive business results. Even though some of these recent changes can initially be challenging to understand and implement, the long-term implications are clear: Facebook continues to be a great opportunity for businesses to broaden their reach and create meaningful, long-lasting relationships with prospects and customers.