facebook for businessThere’s no denying that social media marketing is a necessity for any business trying to promote their company online. With search engines giving more weight to web pages whose content gets shared, liked and commented on, search engine optimization is just one reason that effective social media marketing is essential to businesses success.

Of course, with more than half a billion users, Facebook is the grand pubah of the social networks. Facebook is a social network that connects people personally, through messages, photos and video. Facebook fan pages let users – potential customers for the business that can attract them ­– interact with the brands they follow. Did you know:

  • The typical Facebook user joins 10 fan pages. [tweet this]
  • 33% are likely to do product research on Facebook. [tweet this]
  • 51% are likely to buy a product from a business whose page they follow. [tweet this]
  • 60% are likely to recommend a fan page to their friends. [tweet this]
  • 68% are likely to buy a product recommended by a friend on Facebook. [tweet this]

But have you noticed that your Facebook posts reach only a small percent of your total Facebook fans? For businesses, this means that the time and effort you spend carefully crafting your Facebook messages to effectively promote your company, goes largely unseen. What gives?

The reason is Facebook EdgeRank.

EdgeRank is an algorithm used by Facebook to determine where and what posts appear on each individual user’s newsfeed. Its purpose is to present the most relevant and wanted content to users as they browse their newsfeed.

Facebook Edgerank Explained resized 600

The Facebook EdgeRank algorithm consists of three variables. 

Affinity – How often people take some action on your posts. The more frequently people like, share or comment on your Facebook content, the more likely that they will continue to see more of your posts.

Weight – The number of times a fan engages with a particular type of content, such as text posts, photos or video, the more Facebook will display this type of content to that person.

Time Decay – Facebook will tend to display newer posts vs. older posts.

All of these variables are used together by EdgeRank to display content to a user that Facebook determines that user wants to see. For example, fans may continue to see an older post in their newsfeed if that content has been shared or commented on by many other fans.

But you’re in business to get customers, so you want your Facebook posts to reach as many people as possible – ALL your Facebook fans, right?

Hold on, not so fast. I get that you are in business, and you use social media marketing to reach new prospects and customers. But even though your posts reach fewer total fans because of EdgeRank, the fans that your content does reach are likely to be more receptive to your posts.

Five tips to increase the reach of your Facebook posts. 

1) Post a variety of different types of content to attract interaction from a higher percentage of your fans. Photos tend to get the most shares and likes on Facebook, according to research from Hubspot, while text posts get liked, but not shared as much. And text posts get more comments than either photos or video. The more engagement your posts generate in the form of likes, comments and shares will help to increase your affinity score.

2) Create a community around your brand. Ask questions to elicit a response from your fans. Respond to comments that your fans post on your wall, and thank followers who offer kind words and positive feedback. Responding and engaging in conversation yourself will put a human face on your brand and help to raise your affinity.

3) Don’t overpost. Post to your Facebook page regularly, but not too frequently. Posting too often can turn off your audience. On Facebook, posting just once or twice per day is usually enough. As with any other content you publish online, it’s better to focus on quality over quantity. It can be helpful to develop a social media content calendar to organize what, when and where you are posting.

4) Save time by scheduling your posts using a tool like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Hubspot’s Social Inbox. Facebook even has a simple scheduling tool built in that will let you write a post today, and automatically publish it in the future.

Facebook scheduler

5) Boost your posts occasionally. Let’s face it. Facebook is a business. Paying to boost your post will get it seen by more people in their newsfeeds.

Facebook boost post

It’s hard to ignore Facebook as an important part of your social media marketing strategy. For companies, initiating conversations with fans on Facebook humanizes their brand, encourages fan engagement, and can help convert Facebook fans into paying customers.