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The Art of Being Seen (on Facebook)

Thursday, February 16, 2012 | Posted by to Social Media Marketing

You might remember this Monty Python sketch on “how NOT to be seen”. The players are working very hard to play the game but unknowingly make decisions that blow up in their face. Managing a Facebook Business Page is a bit like that, yes?

You may be investing a lot of marketing time and attention to managing your Facebook page and unknowingly making decisions that don’t get the results you intended. For example, I came across a forum question today from a fellow member who has 60 Facebook fans but, according to his Facebook Insights report, a recent post had a reach of only 29. His question was a common one, if I have 60 fans, why isn’t my reach at least 60? Answer: Facebook Edge Rank.

Facebook has “Edge Rank” which in a basic sense is like how Google decides if your webpage should appear in a list of results or not. On Facebook, Edge Rank is an algorithm that looks at a combination of factors including:

  • Time. How long ago did you post and how was it initially received.
  • Affinity. How interactive is a fan with your page, and
  • Weight. The type of post made, i.e., is there a photo, is there a video, is it a text-only update, is there an app like a poll.

Your Facebook Edge Rank decides if your update should appear in your fans’ feed. Just because a person likes your page, doesn’t mean that he or she will see your post. Visibility in your fans’ feeds is not a guarantee, it’s a rewarded based on the level of engagement you have with those fans.

Borrowing a page from Monty Python, here are some Edge Rank lessons on HOW TO BE SEEN on Facebook:

The Obvious.
Popularity here counts. Find ways to get more clicks, likes and comments. Ask questions like the Monty Python narrator, “Will you please stand up?” i.e., Ask for Likes. “Like this if you ...”

The Cunning.
Relevance matters. How interactive have your fans been with your past status updates? Like in the sketch, Facebook knows that past actions influence current actions. Use an editorial calendar to create a topic series that will get repeat attention.

The Informant.
Recency plays a role. New info is more valuable than old info. How recently did you post and how fast was reaction? Try talking about the news. Current events and slightly controversial topics get attention, just don’t be offensive.

Watch this tip or find other marketing advice on the Boxcar Marketing YouTube channel

Related Articles:

Edge Rank and Graph Rank Defined
Understanding Facebook Insights


Monique Sherrett

Little-known fact: Monique knows a lot about Harry Potter. So much so that she was a keynote speaker at Portus, a Harry Potter Symposium. See more posts by Monique Sherrett. You can also find her marketing tips on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

Tod says:

Great article and excellent points, though I’m seeing some companies (I’m looking at you, Domino’s Pizza Canada!”) really abuse the “Like us” kind of posts. IMHO, Facebook’s Edgerank calculation should penalize posts that keep using phrases like “Like this if you…” over and over.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Monique Sherrett says:

Totally agree with you Tod! I like the 4-1-1 approach, 4 posts about things your community finds interesting or sharing of others, 1 request (Edge Rank play), 1 pitch/promo.

The “Like us” is just a tad desperate if used too often. I recommend switching it up at least:

* Asking a Yes or No question

* Fill in the Blank

And for those of you who don’t know Tod, check out his 30 Days to Social Media Marketing Awesomeness:


One of his tips provides a ton of insight into Edge Rank and the best way to optimize your Facebook posts.

Thanks for taking time to comment Tod!

Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Monique Sherrett says:

I kid you not. Now you can be penalized for interacting too much.


Monty Python couldn’t make this up.

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