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News Feed Optimization (NFO) Maximizes Brand Opportunities

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Published: January 5, 2012

In Part I of this article, Digital EYE Media wrote about Facebook’s Edge Rank algorithm and how it affects brand marketing on the giant social networking site. In this post, we discuss the Facebook News Feed.

Is the World Wide Web (WWW) destined to become the World Wide Social Web (WWSW)?

For marketers trying to get key brand messages out in front of customers and prospects, the answer to that question could not be more critical to long term business success.

The reason for this is that far more consumers engage in social media interaction and networking than will ever visit any Web page. Therefore, marketers ignore this vast potential audience at their peril. The challenge facing them is: how to properly engage with such a huge market?

The primary tool for this all-important interaction is not a brand’s Facebook page, it’s the fan News Feed–the constantly updating list of stories from people and Pages that people follow on Facebook.

In most cases, communication and interaction happens in fan News Feeds. This makes the News Feed the Number One communication and connection tool for brands on Facebook. According to Facebook, 85 percent of fans interact with brands via the News Feed. That means when fans read updates, comment or like them, the fan is doing so without visiting the brand’s fan page.

Enter News Feed Optimization (NFO)

Much like SEO (search engine optimization), NFO is an optimization process to get the first spots on a News Feed like Facebook’s. NFO will undoubtedly expand to other platforms as social media proliferates.

As the WWW evolves into the WWSW, many marketers believe NFO will replace SEO.

In the meantime, there’s still much brand marketers can do right now. Businesses with Facebook fan pages must constantly explore ways to have their content show up on a regular basis in their fans’ News Feeds. Doing so gives brands marketing “pull” by providing an effective way to have fans organically promote and advertise for a brand instead of marketers themselves having to constantly “push” content.

Before a brand message can show up in a fan’s News Feed, the brand fan page admin needs to be friends with them or fans of their page. This means targeting specific individuals and businesses to friend and fan. Even if you’ve friended your top clients, you should pay attention to who their friends are and who they interact with on a regular basis. The more you interact with their friends, the more likely you are to show up on their News Feeds.

On Facebook, the term “Edges” refers to anything users share on the site, including a status update, a photo, a link, a Like, etc. EdgeRank is the name used for Facebook’s algorithm that decides what will be shown on a News Feed after the user logs in. Pages with high EdgeRank scores are more likely than Pages with low EdgeRank scores to show up in a News Feed.

EdgeRank is made up of three variables: Affinity, Weight and Time Decay.

— Affinity is dependent on a user’s relationship with an object in the News Feed.
— Weight is determined by the type of object, such as a photo/video/link/etc.
— Time Decay means that the older an object gets, the lower becomes its value.

Brand fan pages get their “edge” from frequent visitors checking out the page and staying to peruse always fresh content.

In addition, to get people to interact with your Facebook fan page, you need to treat your posts as part of a conversation. This entails asking questions of your followers and friends. Put question firsts, rather than last.

And make your questions relatable–don’t overwhelm readers with industry jargon that the greater Facebook community won’t understand, let alone interact with.

Most importantly, News Feed Optimization (NFO) is a never-ending process and someone in the organization has to “own” the process and keep at it on a daily basis.

See Part I of this post “News Feed Optimization (NFO) Maximizes Brand Opportunities”

Contact Digital Eye Media for information on how to Create and Manage your Social Media Marketing Campaigns: P: (714) 556-0576; sales@digitaleyemedia.com.