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Are Publishing Tools Harming Facebooks Edgerank or is it Smoke & Mirrors?

5 Sep


Often I am asked that if by using a 3rd party publishing tool to schedule and publish posts to Facebook will it decrease the overall reach of the published post? Some users are saying that they have data that suggests that they get better reach and engagement by publishing directly from the Facebook platform and that the edgerank (Facebooks newsfeed algorithm for displaying content) is harmed if using an outside tool.  In other words, is Facebook punishing me for using something other than Facebook for publishing my posts? 

Lets dive into what the magical Facebook “edgerank” means to you.  

When we speak of edgerank we are really referring to the newsfeed algorithm that Facebook uses in determining what content appears in their users news feeds. Your news feed is prime real estate for brands wishing to share their message with you and the newsfeed algorithm is what determines what content makes it to your feed. The key takeaway here is that this algorithm helps determine what you are most likely to find useful and relevant specifically to you. If this algorithm didn’t exist then your news feed would consist of nothing but marketing noise from all those pages you haphazardly liked.

There are three factors that play into how edgerank is determined but first lets identify what is considered an “edge”.

Every status update, like, share, comment, tagging of a post, uploading an image and basically any type of content or interaction is considered an “edge”.  Facebook looks at all of these edges in a users news feed and uses the algorithm to determine which edges are the most important to you. 

This newsfeed algorithm uses a combination of three magical items in determining what content is of utmost importance to you.  

  1. Affinity – The score between the viewing user and edge creator, in other words the relationship between you and the creator of a piece of content.
  2. Edge Weight – The types of edges have varying weights to them or importance. For instance all photos, videos and links seem to garner the most engagement and therefore carry a greater weight in determining an edgerank score. Simply put these published items are more likely to be interacted when compared to a basic status update.  Edge weight also seems to have a snowball effect, meaning that as a post grows in comments, likes and shares it becomes more weighted and more likely to appear higher in the news feed.
  3. Time Decay  – Time decay factor is based on how long ago the edge was created. Basically, something newer is more likely to appear in a newsfeed then something older.

Something to remember is that while we do our best to analyze and identify the governing factors regarding this newsfeed algorithm the simple fact is that this is proprietary to Facebook and they really keep all of this behind the curtain. Facebook can choose to push something higher in a users newsfeeds for no other reason then them wanting to do so.  I warned you that this stuff was magical.

Smoke and Mirrors

So on to the question at hand, are the posts you make via a 3rd party publishing tool being punished by Facebook? The answer is, well, magical as well.

 These publishing tools are designed to help streamline publishing efforts within your organization across a multitude of social networks. Many of these tools allow you to creating engaging fan content such as custom tab design and contests, allow for better scheduling and publishing of updates, uploading content in bulk, repurposing older content and even measuring your social analytics beyond what the network offers you natively.

Looking at the following scenario you are using a publishing tool to schedule and publish status updates to your Facebook page(s) about a special event that you are having in roughly a months time. Thankfully you have purchased a tool that allows you to easily create a post and schedule it to go out on every Friday at 2pm leading up to your big event. 

Week 1 – You find that your post is successful you have great fan engagement and your post reach is very high.

Week 2 – You have some engagement but not nearly as much reach as the previous week. 

Week 3 – The results are pathetic you have no engagement or reach from your post. This causes you to take to Facebook and create another post about your event and like magic, your reach is better then what you received from weeks two and three combined. You immediately call your vendor and exclaim that the tool sucks and Facebook penalizes posts from it.

Week 4 – You forget you have this one scheduled and it goes out further diminishing how the newsfeed algorithm sees posts from this particular 3rd party tool.

So What Gives?

The edgerank algorithm over time saw your posts becoming less engaging to fans so it learned that when it sees a post that has been published via (insert any 3rd party publisher) to your Facebook page it figures that the content isn’t going to be very engaging to fans so it shows it to a lesser audience. Reach is diminished.

This is just one of many scenarios that could be effecting how Facebook is seeing your posts. We are quick to blame the technology when something goes awry but often it is the short cuts that technology affords us that causes us to be careless and lazy with our content.

 Features such as scheduling content in bulk, publishing to many pages and networks at once and repurposing old posts are all features that can be helpful when utilized properly but harmful if your not taking the time to craft your messages appropriately.  

 The moral of the story, technology tools allow you to move quickly and be more efficient with your social marketing efforts but you might just shoot yourself in the foot if your not careful. Create original, genuine and helpful content for your fans to engage with each and every time. Learn how to use these tools effectively and do not just look for the shortcuts that some may provide within their feature set. It may take you a bit longer to plan your content but the benefits will far outweigh the negatives in the long run. 

By – Adam Lazzara

How Does Your Company Handle Change in Social Media?

11 May

Cross Roads of Social Media

The concept of social media remains the same; leverage your networks to introduce content that creates engagement and encourages sharing of that content. It’s a basic premise but often gets complicated due to the changes that happen in this fast paced and ever changing landscape of social media.

How does your company handle and react to change?

At the crossroads where business and social media intersect, change happens fast. Technology changes, social networks change and new platforms emerge that all change how fans interact with their favorite brands online.

How quickly a company can adapt and integrate these changes are paramount to their long-term social media marketing success. Companies both large and small who are actively engaging in social media must find a way keep pace with this change curve.  

As companies navigate these social media waters industry leaders emerge but it’s often the companies who can quickly adapt and integrate with new changes that allow them to stay nimble and keep pace with change.

Here are some examples of change:

Established and existing platforms will change.

Facebook recently made changes to the entire way businesses present themselves and how they interact with their fans via the new timeline functionality.  

New and emerging platforms emerge, quickly. 

Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are such a huge success that companies must now incorporate new ideas using these platforms into their current social media strategy.

The technology you use change

As social networks change so do the technology vendors that empower you to get the most out of all your social channels.  These social media management systems often have to quickly adapt to these changes and implement new and innovative ways for brands to utilize these system and leverage these social media networks to their advantage.

Its human nature to become comfortable in a routine and any change that gets introduced immediately is viewed as a negative. Instead of viewing these as a negative, learn and try to understand what these new changes bring to the table. By embracing change, your company can adapt quickly and learn to use any changes to your advantage. 

By – Adam Lazzara

The Upside to the New Timeline Changes to Facebook Pages

20 Apr

April 1st 2012 was the day the entire landscape of how Facebook pages were presented to fans changed.  Several months prior personal profile pages switched to what is called a timeline view allowing users to create milestones or life events for things such as engagements, weddings and even those little additions to the family.  Many speculated for some time that this change was coming to business pages but what they didn’t see coming was Facebook removing the ability to send a potential new fan to a default landing tab that often prompted the user to click the “like” button to access some sort of exclusive content. Such a small sacrifice for huge benefits.

We can now build and engage a true and genuine fan base

How many likes could you get was the name of the game but seemingly nobody paid attention to the type of fan that was clicking “like”. Let’s go old school for a moment, you wouldn’t send a piece of mail that was meant for athletes to folks over the age of 60 would you? Yet, brands grabbed as many likes as they could regardless of the demographic resulting with lots of fans but no engagement.

To further this think of this example:

Congrats you just got a new fan but that new fan just happens to be my mom and you happen to be an outdoor sporting goods company. Trust me when I tell you that this is not the demographic you are looking for, she never has nor ever will buy any sort of sporting good item but she found your fan page and clicked “like” because you said if she did she might win an iPad.

You may not realize it yet but Facebook has done us all the favor of eliminating the gimmicky landing tab used to gain fans. The type of fan you are looking for is an honest and genuine fan that is using or could potentially be using your product or service.

Deepen the Facebook experience for our fans with technology

Timeline allows you to turn your fans experience on your page from something that was very one dimensional and narrow to an engaging multifaceted experience. To pull it all together it is going to take bit of technology, a proper communication strategy and some paid Facebook ads.

Now that the size of “web apps” (formally known as tabs) moved from the narrow canvas of 520 to the extended canvas of 810, brands can now truly develop a micro site for fans to interact with that will function very much like a regular website.

Social media management systems (SMMS) can provide the technology to make this an easy experience for your social media teams. Gone are the painstaking days of needing a development team to custom code pages by hand. These SMMS technology platforms will now allow a brand manager to create engaging content easily through a drag and drop experience to quickly publish content to their Facebook pages.  By creating web apps for fans to interact with they will be able to capture valuable information on the type of fan that is engaging with their page. Capturing such data will allow them to create specific fan segments for them to re-market to later.

Have a proper communication strategy

Facebook has now created a “link to this tab” URL for us to use to direct fans to this custom content.

Utilizing this URL in your communication strategy across all of your social channels and not just Facebook will be key in driving people to that custom content you have created. Proper communication will play a much larger role now in getting fans and potential fans to these pieces of content for them to engage in.

Capture fan data and use it effectively with technology

Some social media management systems will allow you to collect and retain data on your fans through social CRM. Brands will now be able to organize fans and create “segments” based upon the specific data that is collected.  Data collection can be gathered through building web apps and having fans engage with them.

Example of a custom sign up web app:

Looking at a simple example of using data like this, picture an automobile dealership that sold both Toyota and Honda cars and they used a social media management system that allowed them to create a web app asking their fans what kind of car they preferred, Honda or Toyota.

By collecting this data, the dealership would now be able to create a fan segment that separated the Honda drivers from the Toyota drivers complete with all of their contact information. Having this segmented data they can now remarket to these fans via Facebook ads and even through specific web apps that cater specifically to each segment. It would make sense to display Honda related content to the Honda fans wouldn’t it?

Embrace change

Facebook continues to evolve and it made a natural progression with timeline for business pages and gave brand managers even more tools for building and developing relationships with fans and potential customers.  Collectively we have moved far beyond simply getting a “Like” from a fan and have moved into a world of data, engagement and customer service through social media.

By – Adam Lazzara



Running Facebook Contests? Want a Higher Entry Rate?

5 Jul

Facebook Requesting Permissions

Chances are if you are reading this then you are either running a contest on Facebook or thinking about running one. Sweepstakes, contests and giveaways are all great ways to attract fans to your brand providing that you are doing the appropriate promotion that caters to the audience you are looking to cultivate. Now that Facebook requires you to run your contests through the use of a 3rd party application there are a couple of items that you need to take into consideration. The first item is selecting the technology or application that you will use to run this contest and the second one is the manner in which contest entries are handled.

These days’ countless companies and individuals are developing applications and technology platforms for usage within Facebook. Some platforms and applications offer extremely robust tools for you to easily create a contest and deliver to your fans. You will have to choose the right technology offering that suits the contest you are looking to run.  Some applications have the ability to allow fans to upload pictures and even videos so that others can vote and select a winner while other applications are much more simplistic only offering the most basic means of contest entry. Whatever the contest may be you need to take one specific factor into consideration: to have your contests require permissions to be authorized or not.

Depending on the technology provider you may not even have this option.

The biggest problem you will see is the drop off when a fan sees that you are asking to “authorize permissions” in order to enter, they will simply back out and choose not to enter the contest at all if they feel their data is being shared. Authorizing permissions is the screen that tells you they data that they will have access to and asks you to “Allow” or “Deny” this access.  If an application is pulling user data through usage of that application then they must disclose the data that they have access to and give you an option to “Allow” or “Deny” this access.

Ever get an email out of the blue and wonder how that particular brand added you to their newsletter since you never signed up for it? There is a good chance that you engaged with that brand on Facebook and authorized permissions through some sort of application that they presented you with.  If you clicked “allow” they may now have your details.

In an age where privacy is a priority, people are paying closer attention to what and whom they are allowing access to online. Many users are becoming more educated on prying eyes and denying these types of 3rd party requests. Your contest entry and engagement will suffer from this as many feel that giving you access to that level of data is unnecessary.

By making sure you select a technology provider that does not require fans to authorize permissions to enter your contest you will get a much higher entry rate into your contests. If you want to collect data from your fans then ask them for it, don’t use a clever app to pull in data from those unsuspecting. Nobody likes receiving things such as newsletters they didn’t ask for. Don’t be a data snake. 

Do You Have a Proper Social Messaging Strategy?

29 Jun

Social Media Communications

The conversation is always about the super cool technology that allows us to do some amazing things in the social media world but all too often we forget to talk about  the appropriate messaging to our fans and followers. You can have the most amazing social media presence but without the proper communications strategy your technology investment will quickly turn itself into an expense.

Let’s look at some of the channels for communication:


With the Facebook Edgerank system (Facebook Edgerank and What it Means) it is important to have your fans actively engage with the content that you post.  There is a fine line you have to walk with messaging to your Facebook fans and there is no “one size fits all” type of communication strategy.  But do know this, if you become a trusted advisor to your fans the sales will come. Becoming a trusted advisor is all about becoming a resource for your fan base and that is created with good quality content that others will find valuable.  It is important not to spam your Facebook fans at the risk of turning them off, my preference is for two good quality Facebook updates per day.


Many people ask why? Some even say that their business doesn’t need it. I say your missing an opportunity to share with potential customers why you are the expert in your field. Every business can have a blog and use it to their advantage. Selling concrete? Blog about the different types of concrete, share with people information about what makes concrete different. Be informative, after all someone out there is looking for information about concrete and this is your chance to stand out and share your expertise with those people.  


Harnessed properly it can be very advantageous for your brand. Before you even begin sending tweets search for mentions about your business. Search for mentions about your competition or keywords that are relevant to your industry. Doing so might allow you opportunities to jump into a conversation and provide value. Re-tweet other interesting tweets and share informative content such as blog posts and news articles that you think your followers will find valuable. Reply to people who ask questions about things that are related to your industry or area of expertise but whatever you do don’t jump into a conversation and try selling someone. You want to be a trusted advisor to people and not some used car salesmen, they will appreciate your valuable insight and chances are they will follow your brand.

Proper social messaging is key if you are going to truly harness the power of social media. Remember, even if you have the best social media technology platform to help you the one thing it cannot control is your message, only you can do that. 

Involver & Klout for Cool Kids Only?

27 Jun
Involver, Klout, Audi

Last week Klout and Involver partnered together to do something very interesting on Facebook.

First, you should know what Klout is about. Klout is a tool that measures social influence across the web. The higher the Klout score, the higher the social influence, at least to according to the people at Klout. 

Involver is a social media management system that allows brands to publish, monitor, measure and manage social media content across multiple social networks in one dashboard.

Now that the formal introductions are out of the way here is what they have done.

Klout and Involver have allowed brands to deliver specific content to fans with a specific Klout score. The greater your “Klout” score the more exclusive content from the brand will become available to you. In theory this seems like it could be a rather interesting way to deliver specific content to a fan with a larger social reach than other fans with a smaller social reach.  While the two companies should be applauded for opening this proverbial door of social reach potential there are still some major fundamental problems with it.

Problem #1

The announcement of this partnership came with an example. If you visited the Audi USA Facebook page you were greeted with a message prompting you to “Get your Klout Score and download your Audi Le Mans desktop graphic.” Clicking on this image will prompt you to authorize access to your Klout Score and thus allow you to download the Le Mans graphic image. I wasn’t a fan of Audi before I authorized access and despite allowing Audi access to my Klout Score I wasn’t prompted to “like” the Audi page so I took my Le Mans graphic and ran. Since Audi doesn’t even gain a fan from me authorizing my Klout score there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of value here especially after just giving me an image to download.

Problem #2  

Having a higher Klout score will give me access to “more exclusive” content. So if I am not constantly working on increasing my Klout Score am I not worth it to the brand to give me access to something exclusive? According to Involver “the Klout Coupon App is an innovated way to engage users while targeting your most valuable promotions to your most influential fans.” Again, I guess since I do not spend 12 hours a day tweeting and increasing my Klout score I am not worth receiving that special promotion.  Cool kids only I guess. 

Right now there just doesn’t seem to be much value to this interesting play from Involver and Klout but that doesn’t mean that there wont be.  On one hand the brand really isn’t giving anything away of any value and on the other hand the brand makes itself seem like they will only cater to the really “popular kids.” There is a fine line here that needs to be balanced but I believe with a bit more thought and strategy surrounding it, things can be rather beneficial for both the brand and the fan. Kudos to Involver and Klout for opening this door of social influence now we just have to see if it makes sense for us to step through it.  

Running a Facebook Contest? Don’t Break the 1st Rule

21 Jun

Facebook Ghost Town

Many of you still are putting your company at risk despite the new Facebook policy change regarding contests and sweepstakes.

Many of you reading this are saying, what policy change? Well on May 11th there was a policy change that Facebook announced regarding how contests and sweepstakes are to be run through Facebook. 

How do I know that you have no idea about this policy change you ask? It’s because every day I see a new page that is asking its fans to “Like” or “Leave a Comment” to enter themselves to win something. Shockingly some of them are even major national brands. It’s almost as if your trying to draw the ire of Facebook to see what will happen.  I assure you bad things will happen, things that you are going to have to explain to your boss such as to why your Facebook page with 30k fans has been frozen as Facebook investigates things further.  After all you are breaking the first rule.

1. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on, either on a Canvas Page or an app on a Page Tab.

This means that you must use an application to run your contest. It’s a pretty simple premise that either you are not familiar with or just flat out don’t care about. Either way you are putting your company in jeopardy by violating this rule.

I strongly advise that you follow ALL of the promotional requirements that Facebook has established as of May 11th 2011 otherwise your dream job as a community manager may end up not having any community to manage after all. I think you all know what happens to a community manager that has no community to manage, don’t ya? 

Find the new promotions and guidelines change from Facebook here:

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