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Understanding Facebook EdgeRank for Jewelers (Part 3)

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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 gave up after trying different things for a few months.

We're on a quest to explain how Facebook measures the importance of every status post and how they are organized in your personal News Feed. As we explained earlier, Facebook's EdgeRank is calculated with 3 apparent variables known as Affinity, Edge Weight, and Recency. We prefer to use more sensible names that are easier to understand like "Friendliness Factor," "Post Type," and "Post Age."

No matter how popular your posts are, they will eventually fade away through age. Age is not simply measured by the minute or seconds hand on the clock, it could be based on how frequently you are posting, and it could be based on how many friends someone has.

"Recency" is the official terms used in the equation for EdgeRank, some people also call it "Decay" in order to explain how a post's popularity decays/declines over time. We'd like to refer to this simply as "Post Age."

To understand how Facebook uses age to organize your News Feed we first need to have a little discussion about how many friends the average person has. For this data we're going to refer to recently published research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project (link below). According to their report, here's how the average Facebook friend count stacked up by generations:

Millennial Generation (born 1981 - 2000) average of 318.5 FB friends (this generation is between the ages of 12-31)
Generation X (born 1966 - 1980) average of 197.6 FB friends (this generation is between the ages of 32-46)
Young Boomers (born 1956 - 1965) average of 155.7 FB friends (this generation is between the ages of 47-56)
Older Boomers (born 1947 - 1955) average of 85.1 FB friends (this generation is between the ages of 57-65)
Silent Generation (born 1938 - 1946) average of 78.4 FB friends (this generation is between the ages of 66-74)
G.I. Generation (born before 1937) average of 42 FB friends (this generation is 75 and older)

From those averages you should be able to pick out what generation most of your jewelry buyers are from. The reason this information is important should become apparent in a moment; keep reading.

The older a post is the less likely it will appear in your News Feed. It doesn't matter how many people engaged in the post, old news just fades away and is replaced with new news from your all of your friends. Naturally if you have more friends you also have more exposure to new news more rapidly. This rabid new exposure will also shorten the life span of each post.

Notice the average friends for the G.I. Generation says 42. Unfortunately we couldn't find any new data telling us how often someone logs into Facebook, but we're going to assume that older generations log in less frequently. When they do log in their News Feed shows the most recent updates from their friends. Since their friends are fewer they will have fewer numbers of updates. If their friends don't update often then they might actually see all the posts since the last time they logged in.

On the other hand, the Millennial Generation can't go more than an hour without checking in on Facebook. High school popularity is nothing compared to the average 318 friends these people have on Facebook. Those 318 are posting several times a day from their smartphones or from their computer.

This flow of new information shortens the lifespan of every post in that generation's News Feed. If this is your target then you need to post a few times every day in hopes of getting their attention.

In the past two days we explained how a "Friendliness Factor" and "Post Type" could increase the popularity of a post. You can increase your Friendliness Factor and increase the lifespan of your post if you can figure out a good time of the day to post when your audience is watching but few other people or Pages are posting. With fewer updates are hitting the News Feed your readers have more of a chance to read, Like, and comment on your post. Those additional interactions will increase the chances of your post handing around a little longer.

As you can see, the post age factor of EdgeRank will be different based on the generation simply because of the average number of friends each generation has. Designing traditional media ads to target different age groups might be second nature to you already. Hopefully this Nugget give you a few good ideas on how to target age groups through post updates.

When you're targeting the people with 155 average friends or more you need to assume your post only has a lifespan of 3 hours. Those 3 hours can be critical for you. If your post is successful at generating interest you need to make sure your website is active and employees are on hand to answer questions. Don't let users Like and leave, or comment and run. You should pay attention to your own Timeline and reply back immediately. Your immediate reply will probably beget a secondary comment which is when the person's friends might take notice.

Putting the last 3 days together we've now explained the 3 factors of Facebook's EdgeRank methods which we hope will help you improve your marketing skills for Facebook. To understand the exact success or failure rates of your Facebook Business Pages you will need to learn to read your page's Insights. Like Google Analytics, these Insights that tell you how far your messages are reaching to others and how your posts are performing overall.

Pew Research Source:
http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2262/facebook-ipo-friends-profile-social-networking-habits-privacy-online-behavior
AT: 05/24/2012 11:54:24 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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