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So How Does a Small Business's Fan Page Get Noticed Anyway?

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Todd Bailey
October 23, 2012

Todd Bailey

Todd Bailey is Vice President of Digital Strategy at WebiMax, a leading SEO company with 500+ clients and 150+ employees as well as Lead Contributor at SEOservices.com

Todd Bailey has written 21 articles for WebKnowHow.
View all articles by Todd Bailey...

If you're one of the billion users of Facebook, you may have noticed that you tend to see posts from some people or pages more often than others. For example, I Liked the Mark Twain fan page because I'm a huge Huck Finn fan and see posts about upcoming events or new images on my Newsfeed all of the time. However, in my Likes, you'll also see a pizza place upstate that makes a great tomato pie; I go there every time I'm travelling that way. For some reason, they never make my Newsfeed even though I discovered that they post just as often as the Mark Twain fan page. 

Now if you're a small business, this could be troubling news if you're unsure of how to use Facebook to promote your business.  Facebook has said that only 16% of a company's fans will see every one of its posts. Those who see the posts are determined by a secret algorithm called EdgeRank.  So how can you use EdgeRank to increase your exposure?

How EdgeRank Determines What You See and What You Don't

Many of us have hundreds or even thousands of friends and pages that we like, so to have every post go on your Newsfeed would simply be exhausting and overwhelming. In order to determine what posts to include on a user's Newsfeed, Facebook assigns a value to a post based off the EdgeRank algorithm. This value is determined by three components: affinity, weight and time.

Affinity takes a look at the relationship between the user and the page or friend who made the post. The more important the relationship or more often the user interacts with a page, the higher the affinity. The weight is the type of content posted. A post that encourages engagement will be weighted more heavily than a spam post or irrelevant content. Finally, time is pretty self-explanatory. Recent posts will have a greater chance of reaching a user's newsfeed.

So in the case of the pizza place, there are several reasons why it never made my Newsfeed. I Liked the page once on a whim because I was in the area and wanted to see if they had any coupons on their Facebook page – they didn't. Additionally, they never posted anything that could be considered strong content – no coupons for Liking the page, no questions, contests or surveys or anything that would encourage engagement.

So How Should a Small Business Proceed in How It Posts?

If you're a small business, you need to examine your clientele. Are your customers on Facebook often, and if so, what are they looking for? The only way you're going to get more hits and make more Newsfeeds is if you know what your customers want and deliver on that. This means frequent updates, posts that encourage active participation and posts with different types of content – including text, multimedia content, deals and contests – that will drive users to your page often.

Other avenues to explore include page post targeting – which allows small businesses to target specific users based off gender, location and more – and promotional posting, a feature rolled out last May where companies pay for greater exposure. If you have the budget, you could see increased visibility with promotional posting. The guys over at SEOmoz do a great job of breaking down promotional posts and how they work with other ad tools.

The trend for relevant and engaging posts is not going anywhere anytime soon. Some have even suggested that Facebook has changed the algorithm to trim the spam fat even further. You'll need to know who your audience is, target them and create content that encourages them to come to your page. If you're unable to do this or want help from experienced professionals, there are social media companies that can help as well. 

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