Giving your Social Media the Edge(Rank)

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The Facebook search allows you to connect with people who share edges with you. Through Facebook search, I was able to find all other users who liked Taylor Swift. The search feature allows you to take the search a step further by searching for users’ who like Taylor Swift’s employer, current city, etc.

Facebook is no longer a site intended for posting arbitrary daily updates, creeping on exes and playing Candy Crush; it’s a tool for making connections. According to Shel Israel, Facebook’s social graph allows you to find people, places, photos and interests based on who you’re friends with. Every time you like something on Facebook, you create a connection to other users who also like that brand, photo or status. These connections are called edges. Edges are critical for marketing because they determine what information is seen.

Facebook has developed an algorithm that governs what posts show up on a news feed, and how high on the news feed the posts are displayed. As a brand, it’s crucial to get your posts on a news feed because 88 percent of Facebook users won’t return to a fan page once they’ve hit the like button.

The algorithm is based on the sum of edges. EdgeRank is determined by an edge’s affinity, weight and time decay. The more involved interactions a user has with a brand, the higher EdgeRank the brand will have. This is why it is crucial for brands to post engaging content on a consistent basis. The more your fans comment on your posts, the higher your posts will show up in their news feed.

Kurt Wagner said the EdgeRank algorithm has led to a 13 percent increase in user engagement and a 5 percent increase in interactions on Facebook. This increase shows that Facebook users want to interact more and be informed by brands that are relevant to them, as opposed to seeing all of their connections’ ranked solely by the time they posted, like Twitter. Do you think Twitter will develop a similar algorithm to keep users engaged?

If you want more ways to improve your EdgeRank besides posting relevant content daily, Amy Porterfield and Broadsword Communications suggest posting images and videos, or just straight forwardly asking for what you want. Posting a photo on Facebook will get you 120 percent more engagement, and asking opinion-driven questions will bring you 90 percent more engagement. Most of the time I spend on Facebook is spent looking at pictures. I get far more likes and comments on photos I post, than I get on statuses I post. People feel more engaged by visuals.  

Last week when I posted that I needed responses for class and asked my Facebook friends which social media site they liked to receive content on, I was shocked by the amount of responses I received. Just by asking people to comment, they felt more engaged and wanted to share their opinions.

Facebook’s improvements were sparked by the advancements of Google Plus. The content you create on Google Plus is indexed by Google, and it will show up in Google search results. Steve Rayson said over half of the searches performed in the U.S. occur on Google, so it’s essential that your content can be found on the site. 

Google Plus authorship also provides you with a higher visual profile in search results. Rayson said that Google likes to give a higher priority to the content that is created on their own site. This led me to wonder about a question that was asked in a post by Brian Clark: Isn’t the point of search engines to point you to the most useful information, no matter what site it’s on? Is Google’s site less helpful or legitimate because it gives higher priority to those who use Google Plus?

Whether Google is hurting itself in the long-run or not, it’s evident that currently having a presence on Google Plus is critical for a brand.

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13 thoughts on “Giving your Social Media the Edge(Rank)

  1. What I like about Twitter is that it doesn’t mess with my feed of tweets. I get to see them all. I doubt Twitter would go down the algorithm path and for my own sake I really hope they don’t. I hate that Facebook gets to choose what I see and don’t see. Just because I haven’t interacted with someone, doesn’t mean I don’t want to see their posts.

    I don’t think it is fair that Google+ posts help ones search ranking. It’s an unfair reward. It forces companies into a social space that might not be right for them.

    • I agree that sometimes Facebook’s algorithm can seem like a nuisance. Like you said, just because I don’t interact with someone, doesn’t mean I don’t want to see what they have to say. But, that’s why it’s critical for brands to post engaging content, so they do remain relevant and visible to consumers. In defense of the algorithm, it does make content more manageable to get through for users. I always look at what’s in my Facebook news feed, I scroll over a significant amount of tweets just to be up-to-date on my Twitter feed.

  2. Hi Lauren,

    Twitter might come up with an algorithm, but at the same time they may have enough buzz on their own that they don’t need to. Twitter has come so far so quickly and has created such a different way to engage with people that they may be fine on their own. To answer your second question, I think that Google is just as legitimate even though it gives a higher ranking to those who use Google+. Google is still a highly used search engine and I think if anything it will just have more brands use the platform. This is a great way to ensure more people use their site and it is also a great way to have more content available for many different searches. Great post!

    • Thanks Amanda! I agree that Google giving a higher search rank to authors or brands who use Google Plus almost forces companies to use the network. It’s essential to have your content appear higher on search engine results. If your competition is using the network and you’re not, you will be losing money. As valuable as Google Plus is, there’s something about a search engine prioritizing content that’s created on the brand’s site that rubs me the wrong way! Search engines gain trust with users by pointing them to the best results. I’m sure some of the content published on Google Plus is valuable advice, but it’s hard to believe that in every case it is.

  3. I wouldn’t call Google “less helpful” because you can still control whether you want your Google+ connections to influence your search results. Google’s problem is more with transparency, both in good and bad ways. Most people don’t know the benefits of that social network (they think it’s another Facebook), and at the same time, they’re not aware of it’s oftentimes stealthy influence on what you’re searching for. As transparency makes it’s way into the mainstream, it will be interesting to see how and if Google+ adjusts their strategy.

    • Until this week’s lecture, I was unaware that you could choose whether or not your Google+ connections influence your search results. Like you said, I don’t think most people really understand Google+, so they don’t know that the default setting is that your connections do effect your search results. When I use a search engine I want the best results out there, not the best results created on Google+. It just seems almost sneaky to me that the default setting focuses on Google+ content.

  4. I think part of the allure of Twitter is its role in breaking news. If it introduced an algorithm that took away the time element, there would be no more watching news unfold chronologically or following live tweets from an event. So, don’t change, Twitter!

    I think what Stacy said about forcing companies into a social space that might not be right for them is a good point. But I think as more people join and come to understand Google+, the playing field will be leveled. I see where Google was trying to go with integrating social into search — they want to show you what your friends are interested in because chances are you’ll be interested, too. But it does seem a little force-y of Google to all but require use of its social network in order to do well in search.

    • Great point about an algorithm ruining the news-breaking nature of Twitter! From everything I’ve heard about Google+, I definitely think the network’s biggest problem is that people don’t really understand it. Once more people and brands are using Google+ and understand how it works, maybe it won’t seem so sneaky to me!

  5. Great post! Until this lecture, I did not realize much about Google+ and its ability to help your brand. Most people do not have the knowledge of Google+ since there are not as many active users as Facebook or Twitter. To answer your first question, I don’t think that Twitter will create an algorithm (at least I hope they don’t). I feel as though that would change the strategy of many brands Twitter posts. I also think that it is easier to scroll through Twitter and see more posts than it is to scroll through Facebook. Twitter generally has less content/characters and the pictures are links to click on.

  6. Lauren,

    I don’t believe that by utilizing Google + to increase the ranking of your page you are decreasing the value of Google search results. If you are on Google + it will return more results that your friends may have used and provide suggestions. Also Google + is not limiting or restricting anyone from using it’s service to boost your page, and there are many other aspects of SEO that govern a pages ranking. Overall I believe that Google is trying to build an integrated system that is beneficial to the user. Whether it turns out that way is another question.

    Janis

    • Janis,

      Recommendations from people you know are extremely powerful on social media networks, so you would think Google Plus would have more users. I think it all just comes back to people not having as much knowledge about what Google Plus does. We’ll see if people ever catch on!

      Lauren

  7. Pingback: What's New In Social Media? - HeyGoTo Marketing & Social Media : HeyGoTo Marketing & Social Media

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