Businesses managing an online social media campaign know how hard it can be to properly engage with their market. This is especially true with the social network Facebook, which is generally a very personal network. And even if users do ‘Like’ your brand, and you are essentially in their spectrum, there’s no reason for them to pay attention to you.

The best way to connect and engage is with your posts. You need to stay high in their News Feeds (the updates on the ‘Home’ tab of profiles). The ranking algorithm Facebook use for this is called EdgeRank. The ranking factors are:

• Affinity – The history you and the respective user share
• Weight – How many likes, shares, comment, etc. are connected to the post
• Time decay – How old the post is

Below we examine some factors which can improve your EdgeRank organically, by making the posts more visible and interesting. These should, however, be used in moderation.

Scheduling

You have to consider when during the day your target market is usually on Facebook and post then. This can’t be directly tested as you can’t just post the same status at different times of the day and see when it gets the most activity. That would seem strange. Rather it requires a combination of intuition, marketing information and common sense.

Just below the posting textbox is a small button which has a clock symbol. This will allow you to schedule posts far ahead of time. So you won’t be held back by the fact that your target market surfs Facebook after hours.

Tags

With the old Facebook system, when you tagged a profile, page or event in your post it came up on that page’s timeline. Of course, pages took advantage of this so it’s no longer a feature. But you can still make post seems more interesting by tagging pages which users identify with more than your brand.

Make sure it’s relevant though, and don’t just tag arbitrarily. By tagging events, you could invite activity from your followers who are attending.

To tag a page, you have to ’like’ it first then use the ‘at’ prefix (‘@’) before typing the page name. This will prompt a drop down menu of all your friends and pages. You can select the page from there, or type the rest out.

Locations

Tagging your location in a post doesn’t have any EdgeRank benefits but the little map which comes attached makes your post more visually engaging. It will also make your brand more of personal physical entity rather than just a voice on the web.

The location tagging button is right next to the scheduling button, it looks like a map marker. You can pick both actual and address locations.

Location and Language Targeting

For companies targeting either a specific language market or only operating in a certain region, posting only to profiles that fit these criteria, can increase user engagement. Unfortunately the only available South African language is Afrikaans, but this will increase with time.

To target, click on the Earth symbol button below the post text box. The one that says ‘Public’ by default. Then select the target by Language/Location option.

Visual Media

As with normal SEO and human insight, we know that people are generally more interested in pictures and videos than words. Posting these with a little short promotional message, will make your posts more visually obvious in the News Feed and serve a similar role as link-bait. Consider an infographic, as these are known to generate traffic.

To add a photo or video just click the Photo/Video button above the posting box.

Emphasis

Highlighting your more important posts will expand it so it stretches across both columns of your timeline. Anyone viewing your page won’t be able to miss the post. Alternatively you can also pin your updates to the top so that they stay there, regardless of how old they are. These don’t have EdgeRank benefits but they make your more engaging content visible for longer.

Highlighting or pinning an update to the top can only be done after posting. To highlight, just click on the little star icon on the top right of your post. To pin to the top, click the pencil icon just next the star and select the option. These can’t be done simultaneously.