Just like a search engine (SE), Facebook (FB) runs on algorithms. Think about it, you could have 2,000 friends on Facebook and if you had to see all 2,000 friends uploads, your news stream would be flying faster than your eyes could handle it. So what does Facebook have to do, create ranking signals just like Google or Bing have to. I feel weird not saying Yahoo and replacing it with Bing right now. Wow the SEs have shifted. Anyways, in order to begin to optimize for more free Facebook traffic, you have to think about the ranking signals that are important to FB and how you can trigger more of them in a positive way. Lets coin this Facebook Optimization or FO. Here are three ways that you can help to make the ranking signals or FBSs happy and in return provide you with more exposure, traffic and sales.
1. Share things that aren’t about yourself or your company.
One thing that many companies do is just have contests, talk about themselves and share news that is directly related to them and their industry. That is only interesting to the company and people obsessed with your company. Doing this and only holding contests will not impress all of your fans or potential fans and future customers. By thinking about what got your fans to want to like your fanpage or become friends with you, you can then create a list of un-directly related products or topics and begin sharing those as well. If you know you had an additional 500 friends or fans because they like fish hotels, keep an update every once in a while about fish, boarding fish or even the new fish hotel that actually just opened. (I’m completely obsessed with it right now.)
2. Get people to interact with you and check out your profile.
One ranking signal which should be pretty obvious is if you have regular interactions with your friends or if your friends check you out regularly. The more you interact or get checked out and the more your friend’s friends also check you out, the more it will tell Facebook they have an interest in you or your company. By showing that the person who checked you out and their connections or friends checked you out and may be interested in you, it tells the Facebook algorithm that you are relevant for them and their friends or people with similar Facebook usage patterns and it may want to show your posts and shares more often to their feeds and recommend you to their friends and other people with similar habits.
3. Encourage sharing, liking and views and pay attention to analytics.
Facebook provides you with their own analytics. It shows likes, views, impressions, shares, video views, picture views, etc… They don’t just give this to you with charts for fun. They give it to you because they are indicators on if you are relevant to your audience and to help you evaluate the time of day, the topics and the things that cause your fans and friends to react and interact with you, your shares and your pages. By having more likes or less likes it tells Facebook what to share with who and how often to share it. By using the analytics and the tools that Facebook gives you and by using what you know your shopping and sharing audience likes, you can better plan the topics to share as well as find extensions of those topics that they may find interesting.
To get more exposure in Facebook, think about what would make Facebook better. Why would they want to show what you want to share or your updates to everyone on your list and how can you make it so that Facebook would assume that your posts are the right ones to share with your friends and followers. It is very similar to SEO in that you have to make the SEs ranking factors happy. In this case you are dealing with a social algorithm so you have to figure out what would gain interest and cause more socialization and sharing. By doing that you can create a list of Facebook ranking signals and begin to develop your own Facebook Optimization plan.