There’s something that’s been bugging me for a while, but I haven’t said anything because I thought I was just being fussy about aesthetics.
However as the weeks go by, and I see it happening more and more, I can not help but speak up; if only because I have written this blog post in my mind about a thousand times.
So what is it, this thing that’s bugging me?
Three little words.
‘Link in comments’
It hurts my feelings.
Now if you’ve been living under a rock, or for some reason don’t check Facebook every five minutes, you might have no idea what I’m talking about. For those of you, I’ll explain it quickly.
Facebook changed its algorithm and introduced this thing called an Edge Rank. Since then, it’s been progressively harder for business and blog pages to make sure that their content is reaching their entire audience. As a general rule, links to blog posts, don’t reach as many likers as a status update, or photo, so lots of people have started to post the status, and then link in the first comment. A sound theory, but one that bugs me every time I see it, because I think it’s just going to backfire.
The problem is the Edge Rank.
Facebook rates every page a person likes, based on their interaction with said page. The idea is that you should always get the information you want, and get less of the stuff you liked out of social obligation or politeness.
The Edge Rank is necessary. Most of us like hundreds of pages, and it’s completely unfeasible that we would recieve every update from every page.
It’s also been designed to penalize those who send out lots of inappropriate or spammy content. Those pages that are reported will be a lot less visible than others that do play by FaceBooks rules.
Furthermore, the Edge Rank is designed to make us think more. We have to be more creative and innovative with our content. Those who are successful at this, are rewarded with higher audience participation, and therefore, an increased reach.
So what does all this have to do with ‘link in comments?’
If your links aren’t getting out to many people, it’s because in the past they have not received a huge amount of audience engagement. People are less likely to like a link if they haven’t read it, and if it’s not a good time to read, which means less love for you.
To get around this problem, we need to be able to increase the reach of our blog links. It’s not easy but it can be done.
If you try and get around it by using a method that is getting to your audience, you might have some short term success, but less long term. The common practice of linking in the comments of a status update will work the first few times, but then start to lose its power. (Something I just saw someone on FB complaining about.) Your status will more than likely get less ‘likes’ than an average update, and will then diminish the influence you have in that area. What ends up happening is you have links not being seen, and status updates suffering the same fate.
So how to get around it?
The key is content; it has to be good, interesting and catered to your audience. It’s great to see what works for others, and give it a go, but it may not work for you. I remember seeing how Daisy would get multiple likes for pics of her kids, so I tried sharing photos of mine all the time, and it failed dismally.
So either Daisy’s kids are cuter than mine, or that’s not what my audience wants. (I’m assuming the later. :))
Great content will look different for everyone, because whilst similar, our audiences are unique. However what it comes down to is this:
Your pictures need to appeal either in content, style or humour.
Your status updates should be promoting conversation and community. Obviously a bloggers goal is to draw traffic to their website, but fair chance a lot of your likers don’t actually read blogs. You need to create such a scintillating atmosphere on your page, that they will feel compelled to click though.
Not to mention, that the more people who interact, the more FB will see your pages worth and increase your reach. Numbers aren’t anywhere near as important as engagement.
The link subtitle needs to catch attention. It should hint at the content, but also be able to stand on its own; something people could discuss at a glance. Those likes and comments are vital to the health of your page.
Finally, the Edge Rank does make life harder, but you can make it work for you. Rather than see it as threat, look at it as an opportunity to be more savvy, and creative. The main thing is knowing your audience, and learning when and what to post.
There are a few websites out there (that I’ve found), which will help you work out that all important information. Minilytics provides a concise look, and often changes the information it targets, whilst Simply Measured Is great for a much more comprehensive overview.
How has Edge Rank effected your reach?