EdgeRank Case Study: How To Get 2500% Increase In Organic Reach For Your Facebook Fan Page Posts!

Back in 2012 Facebook announced that organic reach of Fan page posts is about 16%. This means that if you had 100 fans and you posted an update, it appeared on the Newsfeed of about 16 of your fans.

fanpost reach

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However, by February 2014 fanpage post reach plummeted further down to 2%!

Needless to say current average is much lower, may be around just 1%!

In other words, on an average, if you had 100 people liking your fanpage and you publish a post – it reaches may be just one person.

How does Facebook decide who in your fan base to show these posts?

Facebook uses an algorithm called ‘Edge Rank’ to decide this. This is some kind of secret algorithm that is not disclosed to the general public. For obvious reasons – Facebook doesn’t want people to game the system.

Which of your fans get your posts?

Think for a second, if you had a choice about giving some good information to just few people out of all of your followers – who would you give them to?

The ones who interact with you most?

Of course.

So, the premise of EdgeRank is that the more your fans engage with your posts – Like, Share and Comment – more are the chances that your post reaches their newsfeed.

edgerank-algorithm

This is part of an infographic that bufferapp published recently (infographic originally published by PostRocket). This shows some of the factors considered by the EdgeRank to determine virality of your post amongst your fans.

Why Facebook is reducing organic reach consistently?

Understanding this will lessen the pain 🙂 and helps us focus on ways of increasing the post reach amongst our fanbase.

The reason is that Facebook wants you to advertise with them to reach your own fans!

Not nice, you’d say. But Facebook doesn’t care, right?

For a moment let us see this from Facebook’s perspective.

Facebook is a social platform whose goal is to connect people with their friends and family. People come to Facebook to have a good time (at least that’s the intent).

But Facebook is also a listed company, which means it has shareholders and it has to keep them happy by earning more revenue.

How does Facebook earn more? By encouraging higher ad-spend by people and businesses on its platform.

You see what it has to do here? Facebook needs to balance the interest of its shareholders and the user experience of the platform.

So, there is no point in ruing the reduced organic reach of your posts.

What if I show you how to get your posts to reach more than 25oo% of your fan base, as compared to average reach?

Now that’s a bold claim.

And here’s the case study.

In one of my online businesses I help Project Managers prepare for a well-known industry-recognized certification exam. Apart from building the blog that creates offers plenty of resources to PMP aspirants kick-start their exam preparation, I decided to build a community on Facebook too. The other reason was to find and direct people from Facebook to the blog site.

The solution was pretty simple.

Increase fan engagement with the posts.

Here’s what we did to increase engagement.

  1. Put at least one post every day, preferably at a time when your fan base is likely to be online. If your page has been around some time you can find this peak period from your Page Insights.
  2. Put 80% useful content and 20% fun/offer (project management domain related comic strips, motivational quotes) and offer related posts.
  3. The content should typically ask a question. In our case this turned out to be simple as the main content we decided to put every day was a sample PMP question. A PMP student can’t resist but answer it.
  4. We built a contest around the content – where top 3 people giving maximum answers right in a month will get some freebie. Which means people naturally engaged with the post.
  5. We hardly ever asked people to comment, share, or like the post. If they saw value in sharing they would. And boy, sure they did. Organic reach of these posts slowly started to increase as people started interacting more within community. Each post started getting 1-5 shares, 5-25 Likes, and 20-50+ comments, which over a period averaged about 80+ comments for question-type of posts.

Here’s a composite screenshot of some of Likes and Shares some of the posts have got. The main reason here is that we are asking some sort of question and prompting people to engage with the post.

We will look at more ways to increase engagement in a second.

edgerank

These Likes, Comments and Shares make Facebook’s algorithm sit up and take notice.

It likes what it sees and it shows the posts to more of your community members in their newsfeed. This increases the interaction with these posts more, and makes Edge Rank happier!

On a side note, in few posts we did ask community members to share our blog-posts if they found them valuable – and the sharing went through the roof – we saw about 800%+ increase in Facebook shares as well as G+ shares!

The lesson here is that if even if the value of your content is good, you need to ask people to share the content. This call-to-action does produce results!

Here are some of the % reaches.

edgerank boost

You can see that given the number of people that have liked the page, the reach is comfortably more than 25%!

Note that by the time this screenshot was taken the number of people that liked the page increased as well, hence the actual % reach when post was published is a bit higher.

Update: As on March 2016, with over 9000 members some of the posts get close to 45%-50% organic reach.

What are some more ways to increase post engagement by fans?

I’m glad you asked.

We already saw that asking questions prompts people to engage more. Why? Because, our brain is wired to throw an answer when a question is asked.

Here are some more reasons –

Use highly engaging and desirable content

This is obvious, isn’t it? Still many of us don’t give enough thought to the content we produce.

One trick that works for me is to re-read the content being in the shoes of my target audience. This brings about obvious flaw in logic, hidden assumptions, incomplete thoughts and so on.

Use funny or motivational quotations with pictures

Anything that evokes emotions tends to be shared on social media. Pictures as well as quotes are part of virality equation. But exercise caution, do not post only quotations – unless you page is about quotations and funny pictures.

If possible keep the funny images related to your domain.

For instance, on my project management related Fan page I share Dilbert’s project-management related comic strips. These are a rage amongst fans and since the comic strip is contextual it tends to get shared more.

Build the right audience

Audience that is really interested in the content you are offering on your page is more likely to engage with your posts than the that does not.

Even by running Facebook ads to get fans, I have noticed that many of the fans do not have anything common with what my page has to offer. Few other Facebook marketers have noted similar trend. This leads me to believe that irrespective of how noble means you use to get your fans you tend to get people that are not interested in your information.

This only increases your fan count – and actually decreases overall engagement with the posts.

Staying away from gigs on fiver and such that promise certain number of fans as a ‘package deal’ is one good thing you can do.

Find when your fans are more likely to engage with your posts

Each fanpage might have different day/time combination when its fans engage most. The only way you can find the exact time suitable for your audience is by posting at different time and looking at Facebook analytics to analyze the suitable.

Also, posting multiple times a day might be useful because when people come to your page they have more than one piece of new information available. This increases their engagement with your page.

For my project management fan page I found the ideal time to be around GMT (= GMT+5:30 in my timezone). So I schedule my posts for a week in advance (this saves me some time too!).

Re-share old and engaging content

I like this from Jon Loomer’s post. This is a proven and sure-fire way to increase engagement! 🙂

Just make sure it is not from recent past.

Summary

I trust you’ve seen how keeping few things in mind while producing content will increase fan engagement for your posts. This reduces your advertising cost as you can exclude your own fans while targeting. Understanding how EdgeRank works sure helps!

If you have any questions about Facebook fan page or Facebook marketing feel free to write to me Shiv-at-MyPassiveIncomeEducation-dot-com

Thanks for your time, I appreciate you!

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