How to get Facebook’s EdgeRank to love your union’s Page

Getting your page’s updates in the newsfeeds of your fans and supporters on Facebook is the key to making the most of this powerful social media platform (and of course, your union has a social media strategy, right?).

On this feed, “you can see different comments, status changes, tags, likes, videos, photos, and links, which are also known as edges, made by you and your friends.” An “edge” is any form of interaction a member of Facebook takes with a similar piece of content that another member (typically a friend) shares, creates, likes or comments on.

If you’re a regular user of Facebook, you’ve no doubt noticed that some people and pages appear in your feed more often than others. And the reason for this is the Facebook algorithm, called EdgeRank, that determines who and what gets prioritised. EdgeRank is based on three main things: affinity, weight, and time decay.

Very quickly, a definition of these things:

  • Affinity” is the connection between the user and item’s creator. The closer your relationship on Facebook (e.g. the more time you interact with each other), the more their content appears in your feed.
  • Weight” is the item you’ve created and how it’s being interacted with – for example, is it a video, photo or status update? Are people leaving comments, liking it or sharing it? Comments have more weight than likes for example, so items with lots of comments are more likely to appear in the news feed.
  • Time decay” is simply how old the item is. The older it is, the less likely it will get a run in the news feed (after all, it’s not called the “old feed”).

The New Organising Institute has another great tip for progressive organisations on how to maximise their EdgeRanking:

Facebook won’t exactly tell you, “Here’s how our algorithm works,” so The Daily Beast undertook a huge study to reverse engineer Facebook’s Edge Rank. They found a lot of ways to manipulate the ranking system to your advantage. One of the easiest is to pay attention to the type of content you’re posting, and post stuff Facebook has a crush on. Here’s the order in which Facebook ranks content:

  • Videos/Photos. You already knew that multimedia is engaging. Well it turns out Facebook is totally crushing on multimedia, too. Posting photos and videos increases the odds that your content is shown to your followers.
  • Links. Not quite as good as multimedia, but Facebook does <3 links (not as boyfriend/girlfriend, but as really good friends).
  • Status updates. Facebook is totally not into your status update. If Facebook was giving out Valentines to the whole class, it wouldn’t even sign the card it gave your status update.

So what does this mean? It’s simple: if you want a good rank (which means Facebook will show your content to your fans/friends more often and longer), focus on the types of content Facebook is a little in love with. Instead of posting just a status update, find a photo, video, or link to go along with it.

If you’re after a more complex, detailed level of explanation of EdgeRank, here’s a good place to start.

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