This is a continuation of our Daily Golden Nugget series on Facebook. We're still covering basic Facebook information so you can understand why Facebook has worked well for so few jewelers while most couldn't see a return on investment.
And that's the key, ROI. The only way to successfully market to a Facebook audience is to understand how EdgeRank works and how to influence it. If you influence someone's EdgeRank you also increase the chance they will visit your store or website. Facebook sets their own rules and user experience. You cannot fully control the user experience or hope to generate foot traffic and sales unless you get people to your website. You and you alone control the rules of engagement on your website.
As we began explaining yesterday, Facebook's EdgeRank is calculated with 3 apparent variables known as Affinity, Edge Weight, and Recency. We hate those names and wonder why people don't simply say "friendliness," "post type," and "post age." Those same people may be responsible for the ill-named categories used for the phone book.
We've already explained the Affinity/Friendliness factor; let's continue with the Edge Weight, or rather, the posting type.
As we write this Facebook has 6 apparent types of posts for Business Pages:
1. Text based Status update
2. Uploaded or shared photo
3. Uploaded or shared video
Depending on the application setup of your page you can also post Notes, which you can use for blog postings to shared to your Timeline. Many other applications can also feed information into your Timeline, and perhaps become part of the post type measurement of EdgeRank.
Each of these posting types has a different level of importance and weighting factor to Facebook. Measuring actual Edge Weight is beyond our capabilities here at jWAG, so we are relying on reports from others to explain it.
Research conducted by Buddy Media (see link at bottom) from January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011 showed that most Facebook users responded to simple text status updates over everything else. But then WildFire and EdgeRank Checker did another 6 month study and found all photo posts to dominate the user responses.
How could those two large studies be so different? Simple; Facebook changed the way their mobile application worked so users could both share photos and see photos more easily. Facebook woke up one morning and decided that photos speak 1000 words and they made it easier for all of us.
We don't know what the weighted values are of the different post types. After reviewing everyone else's research it seems to make sense that standard text Status updates have the least value. But according to WildFire that value will increase if the Status update has more than 141 characters. That's a clear dividing line between automated simultaneous Facebook/Twitter posts and Facebook specific posts.
Have you ever taken a good look at your own News Feed? Facebook always seems to include an array of post types so you have options. But according to Econsultancy.com they suggest Facebook also knows what type of post you like the most and will show you that type more often.
If you haven't realized it yet, and perhaps what you might find surprising, is that each of us has a personal EdgeRanking. None of us see the same News Feed. On Google Search you can use the "Incognito" feature in the Chrome browser to view a non-personalized version of search results. That doesn't exist in Facebook because it was designed for personalized experiences.
According to WildFire, the least popular post type is the Shared Link. This is sad because that's how you would expect to jump users from Facebook to your website. Many Facebook marketing experts will tell you this is because Facebook users want to stay on Facebook, and that seems to be true according to our own measurements.
Our own studies show that Business Pages who share links to their website rarely get users to click. On the other hand, one shared linking strategy that does work well happens when a user randomly shares a photo from your website along with a question. Example: "I see this ring on your website without a price. Can you tell me how much it is?" We see many people following this type of shared website links, perhaps out of curiosity.
We'll cover more specific examples when we publicize our findings in later Nuggets.
There's a little more to the Edge Weight than how we're explaining it here because it does measure more than just the post type. The equation also considers how many friends of your friends (Likers) also comment, like, or view a photo. The best you can hope for with each post is to have one of your Likers comment on it, and then one of their friends to comment on their comment. This will extend your exposure and increases your EdgeRank. If you're really lucky, people will continue to comment on the comments until a single post goes "viral."
But even viral posts die rather quickly, and that will be explained in tomorrow's Daily Golden Nugget.
Research sources for this Nugget: