Social media cliché speeches always point to the importance of being authentic, to refrain from auto-posting, and to craft content that works for each tool. But just like dieting, we are constantly looking for ways to cut corners or to *gulp* “cheat” and still win. Linking your social media accounts together via API is one annoying way to “cheat” – a clear industry taboo, but who would have thought that Facebook would declare that using a third party app to help you manage all of your social accounts would be against the rules too?
Facebook EdgeRank – Not All Content is Equal, some is more Equal Than Others
Let’s take a step back first and take a magnifying glass to Facebook. The majority of interaction on Facebook comes from friends and fans reading their news feed. Have you ever noticed the two separate feeds “Top News” +”Recent News.” The default “Top News” is where the majority of users spend their time on Facebook – most do not even know that they can switch their feed to display “Most Recent. Just like Google, Facebook also has an algorithm that helps to identify what is important to you.
Have you ever noticed that content appears in your feed from the people you interact with most? Those people whom you met for 5 minutes at a party while drinking, or your former childhood classmates information never shows up. This is Facebook’s way of “helping you” sift through the noise – and its done through what is called “EdgeRank.”
EdgeRank is composed of three primary components; Affinity, Weight, and Time. The more often you like, view, comment, or click on a friend’s object, the higher your Affinity score towards this relationship increases. Facebook views all status updates, videos, photos and links as “objects” – but not all objects are equal. Videos and Photos are more likely to reach a user’s feed than links, and links are more likely to reach the feed than a simple status update. Finally, the time of the post plays a key role; after-all, this is “real time” media. Click here to learn more about EdgeRank.
Post a lot of pictures, get your fans to engage with your content by posting good questions, and post frequently. Easy Peasy right? Heh. But wait! That’s not it. Facebook wants to make it even harder for you. The social media tools you use to make your life easier allowing you to post to different social channels from one interface? Yeah… those are bad according to Facebook.
Recently, EdgeRank Checker conducted a study that has revealed that messages posted on Facebook from third party API’s are being punished via the EdgeRank. The average 3rd party auto-post is receiving 70% less user engagement than manual posts, meaning – their EdgeRank is being hit and potentially treated similarly to annoying social gaming (Farmville) posts. So by saving time you are also hurting your efforts. Below are some stats from some popular social tools:
Image Credit: InsideFacebook.com
InsideFacebook dug a little deeper and found that its not all third party apps that are being penalized, and that there is a “top secret whitelist” of Page Management tools that are getting an advantage over competitors and having their posts treated “differently.” This is not all of FaceBooks ‘preferred partners’ (their are currently 90 of them); just a select few. Some of these companies are: Buddy Media, Vitrue, Involver, Context Optional and Syncapse. I wonder why these companies get an advantage?!
At the end of the day, this long post full of social media politics and confusing math is just one more long-winded reminder to stop “cheating” and post manually. Social Media is time consuming and manual posting is like the ‘non-diet’ diet of going to the gym and eating healthy – it sucks, but it works.