July 26, 2011

Will auto-posting stunt the reach of your Facebook posts?

Manually posts may give your updates more traction

Deltina HayHave you ever wondered why some of your Facebook posts make it to your fans’ news feeds and others do not?

Facebook prioritizes posts using a method they call “EdgeRank.” Similar to Google PageRank, Facebook’s EdgeRank uses an algorithm that attempts to determine what Facebook users would most like to see in their news feeds. This, in turn, determines how likely your posts will show up in a fan’s feed.

There are three main elements to EdgeRank: Affinity, Weight, and Time as shown in the “formula” provided by Facebook below:

Where Affinity is based on how popular you are with a particular user, Weight is determined mostly by the type of post (video, photos, and links are weighted higher than status updates), and Time decay is simply based on the age of the post.

Earlier this year my colleague J.D. Lasica provided one of the best, most comprehensive looks at Facebook’s EdgeRank in his series on How Facebook’s news feeds work.

Though I’m a huge proponent of streamlining and integrating one’s Social Web presence as much as possible, this formula begs the question: Does auto-posting to your Facebook page hurt your chances of getting onto your fans’ news feeds — since more weight is placed on links than on status updates?

In other words, would you get more engagement from your imported blog posts if you manually posted them as links, rather than using a third party service or plugin to post them automatically as status updates?

Well, I am not the only one asking this question. Here is an illuminating article by WPMU about how their Facebook traffic increased as a result of discontinuing auto-posting.

This may be something to consider when putting together your next integration plan.

This post originally appeared as a Social Media Tip of the Day on SocialMediaPower.com.

Related

Demystifying how Facebook’s news feeds work
15 ways to increase your Facebook stature
Cheat sheet: Key principles of social media marketing on Facebook
15 ways to increase your brand’s impact on FacebookDeltina Hay, a partner in Socialmedia.biz, is an author and educator who develops online curricula on social media and other Internet marketing topics. She also helps businesses prepare their content for semantic search and big data analysis. Contact her, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus, or leave a comment below.

  • http://www.terran.birrell.us Terran

    This is interesting. I wrote about why I don't think it's a good idea to automate everything just because you can a few months ago at http://terran.birrell.us/354/why-not-to-automate/ but it was based more on personalization and the folly of saving a few minutes on promoting something you spent many minutes (at least) or hours to write. I hadn't considered actual technical reasons that auto-sharing would hurt you.

  • http://twitter.com/bflitter @bflitter

    Auto-posting is not evil if done correctly. Facebook and consumers in general care about relevancy. Having the right content delivered at the right time is what is important in my opinion. You can do manual updates but if your content isn't relevant 'now' Edgerank in the end grades it the same. I am not hear to dispute Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm and status updates vs. manual posts as a link, at the end of the day relevancy is key.Think of it in terms of email newsletters and marketing automation. If done correctly, they can be very effective. Imagine sending your content to all your email subscribers one at a time vs. using a tool to streamline the process. You may say social media is not email and is different and that is why I say a well executed plan between auto-posting and conversations of relevant content is important. If the content isn't relevant either manually posted or auto-posted, there is no engagement. Engagement (likes, sales, shares, branding) is what we are after isn't it? Relevancy is fluid and in social change frequently.

  • http://www.socialmediapower.com Deltina Hay

    Very good points, @bflitter. I wholeheartedly agree that relevancy is key. But I also agree with Terran in that we take the time to create our (hopefully relevant) blog posts, why not take just a few minutes more to post them in a way that may give theme a little more of an “edge.”

  • http://www.debkrier.com Deb Krier

    Your example of posting blog updates is a terrific one. I use Networked Blogs and unfortunately, so do many others! That often means it gets lumped in with the others: “See x more posts from Networked Blogs.” I don't click to expand, so I'm guessing many others don't either. I still use Networked Blogs, but I also “self post” the link, too. It definitely seems to get more interaction than the automated one.

  • http://www.garious.com Aaron Eden

    I'm intrigued with what you wrote here as the whole point of automating your posts ( and using social media scheduling tools to do that ) is to free up your time so you can talk more with your peers online. I think, some fan pages resolve this by crafting catchy one-liner questions to engage their fans, so that their updates will appear more on their news feed.. I'm just assuming here.

  • http://www.socialmediapower.com Deltina Hay

    @Deb, I find it interesting that you get more interaction when posting manually – thanks for that info.

    @Aaron, that is a good approach I think – form the post as a question when possible…

  • http://www.disneyinn.com/charlie-the-lonesome-cougar-1967-disney-movie/ Charlie

    Yes, i do agree with @Aaron Eden that whole point of automating your posts ( and using social media scheduling tools to do that ) is to free up your time so you can talk more with your peers online.