As one of the most popular social media pioneers, Facebook is letting us in on a little Secret—Facebook EdgeRank. You can analyze data on how to get more hits on your site, or find out if your keywords are working to get you to the top of a search engine, but imagine knowing the criteria of how to get you posts to the top of Facebook’s Newsfeed before you even created a fan page. EdgeRank provides data based upon these principles and determines the effectiveness of your posts.

Facebook Newsfeed is categorized into two headings “Top News” and “ Most Recent”. EdgeRank only applies to “ Top News”. Facebook cannot display all the newsfeed, as it would be overwhelming and too hard to keep track of. EdgeRank uses these criteria to determine where you post will show up:

  1. Affinity – the relationship between the viewing user and the Edge-creator, (individual writing the post). So if you constantly check out your friends profile picture, then you’re affinity is greater in regards to the interaction between you and your friend.
  2. Weight – this is based upon the type of interaction whether it be a “ like” or comment on the post created.
  3. Timelines  – time based upon when the rank was created. The most recent the post, the more valuable.

Here’s how the algorithm looks like:

Optimizing posts for Effectiveness.

As important as it is to get your website on the fist page of a Google search result, there are also ways to help you push your Facebook content to the top of the newsfeed for your fans.

-       Upload more videos and images for people to comment instead of posting links to external information.

-       Adding questions, survey’s and running contests that require user interaction will boost your edge rank

-       Comment back on questions you’ve posted to show the user your online presence and start a dialogue about a particular topic

-       Narrow down a timeframe where you think your fans are most likely on Facebook and publish posts accordingly.

Posting content that engages people will increase your affinity and propel your edge rank. Knowing the EdgeRank Algorithm, gives you immediate insight into how to drive traffic to your fan page and get your posts to the top. Investigating the effectiveness of your posts is just one way to establish you marketing presence on Facebook. Using Facebook’s own mark-up language (FBML) to modify your fan pages is another powerful tool to communicate to others why they should “Like” your page.

Learn a new language – FBML

If you happen to be handy with a bit of design then it’s quite easy to create a home page using Facebook’s version of HTML called Facebook Markup Language (FBML). FBML enables you to build Facebook applications that deeply integrate into a user’s Facebook experience. You can manipulate what you want your fans to do as soon as they land on the page.  Take a look at Red Bull’s Fan Page:

By setting the landing page strictly to non-fans, Red Bull is requesting the user “like” their page in order to be able view their companies “Wall”. Not all pages work that way, but that is the beauty of being able to modify your companies Fan Page.  Pages like these or running a promotion or contest is a way to get users to engage and be interested in what you’re doing.

Currently, Facebook is moving away from FBML pages and encouraging users to convert their static FBML page to iFrame tabs.  These customized tabs appear to be more technical than a static FBML page, however, Facebook has created tools to help with this process. In addition to markup language, Facebook has it’s own version of JavaScript (FBJ). When used in conjunction with FBML, it can generate a full functioning website within a page. These applications are hosted separately from Facebook, but operate with a Facebook session.

Utilizing a free application to showcase your products or promote your services is part of the entire online business movement and Facebook has made this dream a reality. With over a half a billion users, who can potentially become your customers, the steps to making your Facebook profile effective have grown tremendously since its conception. Manipulating design elements and using the knowledge provided with the EdgeRank Algorithm, businesses will understand more easily what they need to do to step up their game. Make your brand a community that users are continuously engaging with so that they can a part of your Facebook story.