The phone rang, and the voice on the other end says to me: “I gotta get me some of this social media for my business.”
“What platforms are you currently using, and who is creating content for you?”
“Well, I’ve been using XxxxxXxxxx, but I’m not really happy with it. I’ve been looking at ZzzzzZzzzz because they have some really pretty pictures that are dry cleaning related.”
Let’s stop right there and let’s get a few things addressed:
1 – Social media is not about making you happy
2 – Social Media is a lot more than just pretty pictures
Social Media is all about being social. Social, as in, cocktail party social, sit around the coffee shop social, it’s the endless banal conversations about everything and nothing at all. It’s a place where you can passionately discuss any topic, associate with like-minded folks, or disagree equally as passionate with those who don’t share your opinions, thoughts, beliefs or politics. It’s a place where communities evolve, meet and form. And, it’s a place dominated by unseen complex computer software that determines what content will be seen by you, for you.
Facebook uses an algorithm they developed called Edgerank. Edgerank is comprised of a mathematical measurement of affinity, weight and time-decay of content users post.
Affinity is the measurement of the content viewing user and the content creator (poster). The closer the relationship, the greater the affinity score. So, content posted by your brother or sister would be given a higher score than some random stranger on the other side of the planet.
Weight varies on the type of post made, be it an image or video, a link, or just a plain text post. Images and video are given more weight than a plain text post. Why? Well, you’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, well Facebook not only agrees, but assigns more weight to visuals. Weights do vary, and there are further factors that influence weight given by the algorithm to each post. For example, a plain text post combined with a lot of comments can be given more weight than an image only post with no comments.
Time-decay is the age of the post. Posts made recently are given a higher weight, but as the post ‘ages,’ it loses weight. So, posts made today and yesterday weigh more and rise to the top of your timeline while older posts lose weight and sink lower down your timeline.
Recently, there has been a meme going around stating that Facebook is limiting the organic reach of posts and content to just 25 friends. This meme recommends that your friends post a response in order to get around the Edgerank rules. Well, on the surface, this meme makes sense as most Facebook users have noticed that they are not seeing everything that their friends and family are posting. But the sad reality is, Edgerank also monitors each post and each engagement and makes an evaluation which also adds or subtracts weight. Posts that are ‘game the system’ are downgraded, and sometimes so much so that they end up with ZERO reach, meaning nobody sees the post because Facebook’s system is effectively blocking the material. Even worse, people who perpetuate gaming the system may end up in what’s known as Facebook Jail (Facebook reducing all posts from an account to a ZERO Reach score automatically until Facebook decides to remove the restriction). I know some people say, I only do this on my PERSONAL Facebook profile, never with my business profile. Well, sad fact is, Facebook and its algorithm doesn’t differentiate, gaming the system is gaming the system, and any content (and profiles) not meeting its many rules is down-graded and dies a slow silent death.
So, posting content for the sake of posting content simply is not good enough. Edgerank is there, watching and evaluating every post. Good quality content that people want to see is perpetuated. Interesting content that is reacted to with bona fide engagement is rewarded with greater and greater reach.
Why does Edgerank matter? Well, users of social media (and the providers of social media services) want a quality social media experience. People want to see, read and experience RELEVANT content because if they don’t, social media providers know users will stop using their platforms and go somewhere else. It’s about attention, and where it’s focused.
If you took the major US news stations and combined all their viewers and the time each spends consuming the news, Facebook users spend MORE time looking at the Facebook time line. 10.5 billion minutes per day are spent on Facebook. And, 27 percent of the time spent on Facebook is spent looking at the Facebook Timeline content. Those are some startling numbers. You can see why people want their content to show up and be seen in the timeline so desperately.
But, if you post it, will it be seen? Sadly, no.
Ninety-six percent of people who ‘like’ your page won’t return to your page after initially engaging your page. A like is really much more than a like, it’s the key to having your content seen where it really counts…in front of your audience’s eyes. Your posts are 40 to 150 times more likely to be seen if someone ‘likes’ or becomes a ‘fan’ of your page, so a strategy of creating interesting and engaging content that builds or increases followers, fans and likes is CRITICAL to success on social media.
If your social media is simply comprised of pretty pictures and/or projecting a narrow focus that folks are finding uninteresting and unengaging, we should talk.