Social Media and Facebook
Casinos For Dummies! So what the hell am I doing here, talking about Social Media? Like it or not, it’s become a part of most of your everyday lives. If it isn’t already, it should be a part of how your business promotes or just engages with it’s guests or customers. I say this in EVERY social media meeting –
“Just because your brand isn’t using social media, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t talking about your brand online”
Wouldn’t it be nice to see what they were saying? Engage with them? Get the REAL story of your brand in the eyes of the consumer? Fact is, if you’re not using social media as a part of your business, you are the equivalent of the three monkeys – See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil. It’s time to get involved, get out there and get engaged in the conversations that are happening every day. In my posts, I’ll be shedding a little light on the mysteries and (often) misconceptions of social media. Don’t fear, I’ll be speaking in plain English and not dropping in too much science. I’ll also be highlighting some of the traps of social media by ‘calling bullshit’ on scams and pitfalls.
Social Media Facebook Algorithms
“What?! I thought you said, no science?” Simmer down, this isn’t complicated, but if you are a user of Facebook for business, it’s something that you will have wondered.
“Why Doesn’t Anyone See My Posts?”
A great question that last year, Mark Cuban – Owner of The Dallas Mavericks NBA team asked too. In fact, he didn’t word it as politely as that initially. He then ranted on a blog because Facebook were favouring paid content. Let’s be honest, Facebook is now huge business and the ability to take advantage of favouring posts in this way is worth millions of dollars, daily. It just makes (infuriating) sense. However, all posts are (in the beginning) rated equal and have viral potential. When you click that ‘post’ button, Facebook uses something called EdgeRank to determine what happens next. EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm and is used to find it’s place (or not) on the timelines of others. To put this in to perspective, in 2007, a Facebook engineer said in an interview that only about 0.2% of eligible stories make it into a user’s newsfeed. That means that your status update is competing with 499 other stories for a single slot in a user’s newsfeed. THAT was 2007, things have grown a little from then.
So What Is EdgeRank?
EdgeRank is the Facebook algorithm that decides which stories appear in each user’s newsfeed. The algorithm hides boring stories, so if your story doesn’t score well, no one will see it. The first thing someone sees when they log into Facebook is the newsfeed. This is a summary of what’s been happening recently among their friends on Facebook.
Every action their friends take is a potential newsfeed story. Facebook calls these actions “Edges.” That means whenever a friend posts a status update, comments on another status update, tags a photo, joins a fan page, or RSVP’s to an event it generates an “Edge,” and a story about that Edge might show up in the user’s personal newsfeed. It’d be completely overwhelming if the newsfeed showed all of the possible stories from your friends. So Facebook created an algorithm to predict how interesting each story will be to each user. Facebook calls this algorithm “EdgeRank” because it ranks the edges. Then they filter each user’s newsfeed to only show the top-ranked stories for that particular user.
EdgeRank is like a credit rating: it’s invisible, it’s important, it’s unique to each user, and no one other than Facebook knows exactly how it works. If a company tells you that they can measure your EdgeRank… ‘Call Bullshit’ immediately! You can see how well posts have performed (in a round-about way) as you can see on your Facebook page, each post’s reach. There are programs out there (one that I use) that can break down posts and help me determine how to create better content and analyse posts that performed well, but optimisation is something that needs work. Every post is different!
There are three key ingredients of the EdgeRank algorithm:
- Affinity Score
- Edge Weight
- Time Decay
Affinity Score – Between viewing user and Edge creator
Remember, an ‘Edge’ is simply a post or bit of content. Affinity score measures not only my actions, but also my friends’ actions, and their friends’ actions. For example, if I commented on a fan page, it’s worth more than if my friend commented, which is worth more than if a friend of a friend commented. Not all friends’ actions are treated equally. If I click on someone’s status updates and write on their wall regularly, that person’s actions influence my affinity score significantly more than another friend who I tend to ignore. Actions include clicking, liking, commenting, tagging and sharing. Each of these interactions has a different weight that reflects the effort required for the action–more effort from the user demonstrates more interest in the content. Commenting on something is worth more than merely liking it, which is worth more than merely clicking on it. Passively viewing a status update in your newsfeed does not count toward affinity score unless you interact with it.
Edge Weight – Weight for this Edge type (Create, Comment, Like, Tag etc…)
Very simply, every action has a consequence and will determine how your Edge (post) performs on a timeline. This part of the algorithm has been created so that the VEIWER gets a better on-line experience. It’s not all about your business, who’d have thought 😉 In easy terms, we all are on Facebook and look for different things. This part of EdgeRank identifies what the Facebook user looks for and INTERACTS with most. For example, If I tend to interact with (like of comment) on pictures, but ignore statuses and links. Presto!! My timeline will include more pictures, because they have a higher likelihood of me interacting with them. This Edge Weight is the same with any style of post. Pictures, Links, Statuses and even Events are optimised for the Facebook consumer. Though this is not an exact science, it would seem on the surface that this is how Facebook controls such data. So, in short… More interactions = Higher Edge Weight (higher visibility)
Time Decay – Based On How Long Ago The Edge Was Created
This is an easy one. Basically, no one likes ‘Old News’… As your post gets older, it loses traction. When a user logs into Facebook, their newsfeed is populated with edges that have the highest score at that very moment. Your status update will only hit the newsfeed if it has a higher score (at that moment in time) than the other possible newsfeed stories. For a brief time still, Facebook allows you to view posts by ‘Highest Rated’ (Edge Weight) or ‘Most Recent’. Most recent is many people’s default for viewing Facebook so it is KEY to keep your content fresh.
Simple ways to get ‘The Edge’
If you’re using Facebook for business, it’s great to ask questions or create content that people are more likely to engage with.
“It’s Monday morning, click ‘LIKE’ if you’ve got the back to work blues”
“Fill in the blank – All I want for Christmas is: _______________ “
Ask questions, create competitions and give-a-ways (great if you’re business is with the general public)
Just post fresh, exciting content… OFTEN!
But the bottom line is – FACEBOOK IS A BUSINESS Back to the Mark Cuban rant. He actually has plenty of valid points ( read his blog HERE ) but there are smart ways to make their BUSINESS, work in your favour. It’s Story Time!!
A while back, I was working in a venue that used Live Entertainment as a draw. Saturday nights were a great success, but Fridays were struggling. The entire venue had a footfall of around 700 on a Friday, but the entertainment area was pretty empty. I pleaded to upper management to allow me to take one Friday and promote it however I liked. They agreed.
I went on to book a moderate tribute act, but this time, instead of the poster and leaflet promoting around the venue, (that clearly wasn’t working) I decided to play to my strengths and incorporated social media. You see, Facebook will allow you to buck the EdgeRank system, but you’ve got to pay for the privilege. It’s ok to have fans of your Facebook page, but by paying to promote a post or event, you also have access to the friends of your page fans. To me, this is no different to buying a newspaper, radio or TV ad. However, the only difference is, Facebook (with all that data they collect from you daily) can help you target your posts. Now, because I’m shrewd and wasn’t going to let my posts be optimized 24/7, I controlled the following
* Age Demographics
* People’s Specific Interests (do they match the entertainment on offer)
* People’s Location (no point promoting to the USA when we’re in the UK)
Actually, on a side note… Are you one of these people who invite EVERYONE to an event you’ve posted? Please use some common sense and only invite those that have actually got a physical
chance of being able you go. It pisses everyone off when you invite without putting thought in to it… Rant over.
Now of course, I paid for this… BUT I was smart enough to not let it spiral out of control. So how much did I pay for a month of marketing an event on Facebook? Believe it or not, I paid a grand total of £24.17 (or $36.19 for our American cousins)
The results spoke for itself, lots of post ‘likes’ lots of people I hadn’t invited initially, now on the “Attending” list and a venue footfall on the night of 1,400 (which was a 100% increase on Friday footfall) Now this was done by being savvy. Of course there was also man hours, plus back and forth engagement involved too. But they all form part of a total package. It’s silly to rant about how evil Facebook are for making their business work for them. It would be even sillier to discount these tools on offer. Like it or not, social media is here to stay. It will continue to evolve and it’s up to business operators to get on board, get involved in the conversation or be left behind. If you made it this far, thanks for reading.