Cats are everywhere on Facebook.
My news feed is usually littered with anything to do with cats, those formulaic “What most people think” meme’s, or “Sh** ____ says” videos.
But have you ever wondered why?
Read on as this post will explain how Facebook decides what updates are displayed in peoples news feeds.
Trust, Credibility and social proof
I speak highly on how to build trust and credibility for your business.
One way to do that is through social proof.
What exactly is social proof?
Wikipedia’s definition (I always trust Wikipedia!):
Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation.
How does this work in the online world? What does this have to do with Facebook news feeds?
If people see you have testimonials on your website along lots of followers on Twitter and likes on Facebook, they’ll generally trust you more. Would you agree this is very important if they’re a first time visitor to your website?
Of course it is!
So if visitors to your website, Twitter and Facebook profiles see people like your product or service and speak highly of it, they’ll follow the crowd and trust you more.
Many small business owners know this. I’m sure you do as well.
Knowing this, how can you increase your social proof and get more likes on Facebook?
You can grow your Facebook page a few ways.
- ask friends for likes
- ask random strangers for a like
- rely on organic growth
- buy likes
I’m not even going to talk about the last idea. It’s a bad one as this post will explain why.
Growing likes organically can take some time depending on your customer base.
What happens then is that we request that our friends or strangers like our page. In exchange we’ll probably like theirs. That’s the influence of reciprocity.
It’s all in an effort to improve our social proof. The more our fan base grows on Facebook, the more our social proof increases and the more trustworthy we appear.
Recently I’ve seen the influence of reciprocity on LinkedIn. In various groups people link to their Facebook pages in hopes of receiving more likes. They would then reciprocate by “liking” others pages.
I took part of this to build my Facebook page fan base last month.
A harmless gesture right? After all we’re just trying to help each other out!
This is a big mistake though.
Let me explain.
Facebook EdgeRank aka the Gatekeeper
We need a gatekeeper so to speak when on Facebook.
That or our feeds would be jammed with updates from our friends and pages we like. Most people spend only a few minutes on Facebook and they want to the best of the best. That’s where our gatekeeper friend EdgeRank comes in.
I’ve already talked about why it’s important to earn the right be followed online as a way to ensure your status updates are seen within your fans news feeds.
So basically our news feeds aren’t really news feeds. EdgeRank determines what we see in our news feeds by using an algorithm. I’ll let Kelvin Newman explain EdgeRank at Econsultancy so read up on that.
If you don’t want to, I’ll quickly explain.
Three things are weighed into the EdgeRank algorithm:
- Affinity – Calculates how friendly you are with someone or page. The more you interact with them, the more you see their updates.
- Weight – Determines what type of content shows up more in a news feed. Videos, photos and links have a better chance to show up in a feed. Weight can improve over time as your content or status update receives more likes, comments and shares.
- Time – The fresher the content the more seen it gets. Pretty straight forward.
Does it make sense now why anything to do with cats or those “What people think” memes and those “Sh** ____ says” videos are always seen?
People are engaging with those types of posts! This means their EdgeRank is higher than your thoughtful and useful status update.
Frustrating isn’t it?
How does EdgeRank effect your updates and who sees them?
The people who have engaged with your updates in the past will see more in the future. This is the affinty score of EdgeRank. Pretty easy and obviously what we all want!
However if someone has never engaged with your updates in the past, they’re not going to see others. They’ll see a few upon liking your page. But when they don’t engage, Facebook knows this and they cut your future updates from that person’s newsfeed.
Your updates will be replaced with popular updates from their friends or other pages they’ve liked. Facebook is simply trying to give people relevant and popular updates in their newsfeed.
This is a story of quality over quantity. You shouldn’t be worried about your social proof and how many likes your Facebook page has. It’s great that you have 1000+ fans on Facebook. If you reciprocated likes to get large portion of your fans, it’s not helping you.
Obviously their not seeing your updates. Therefore they’re not sharing your updates and improving your pages awareness.
Another reason is those people who visited your page organically might wonder why you have 1000+ fans but no interaction. They’ll think you’re boring and thus not click the like button. After all, who likes boring brands?
Focus on finding raving fans. And engage with those current ones you have.
One of my favorite quotes on social media is from Gary Vaynerchuk.
“It’s not the number of followers you have or “likes” you get, it’s the strength of the bond with your followers.”
This quote applies to business in general not just social media. Its part of the out care your competition mentality I want business owners to adopt.
So how can you improve your EdgeRank score?
Turn up the foreplay on EdgeRank
- Avoid asking friends who are not emotionally invested in your business. You wan the friends will actually comment, like and share your content.
- Stay away from reciprocation likes from people you don’t know. My LinkedIn example from above is exactly what I am talking.
- Read my this post for a practical way on how to charm the Facebook gatekeeper, Edgerank.
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What do you think?
Are your Facebook updates getting a good amount of engagement?