Facebook’s announcement that EdgeRank has been replaced by StoryBump coincided with the new more relaxed rules allowing you to run promotions on your page for good reason.
That’s because engagement is now even more important than ever before in deciding whether your Facebook fans see your content, or not.
Before you get too excited and start running promotions to boost engagement however, early page promotion tests I’ve done show apps are not disappearing anytime soon. This is why >
So if your goal is fan growth, building your email database or reaching friends of fans through shares, you’ll still need an app for that.
Here’s how StoryBump differs from EdgeRank, plus 6 easy-to-implement, yet powerful tips that will change the way you use your Facebook page to benefit your business (including a secret Facebook feature).
Why the change?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has often talked about his desire for News Feed to offer users:
“The best personalised newspaper.”
and the new StoryBump algorithm is at the heart of this focus.
If you’ve been on internet forums and message boards before, you may be having déjà vu about now. StoryBump is in fact very similar to the process of ‘bumping’ a post that’s been around for years.
A post gets ‘bumped’ each time a user interacts with it. Each interaction brings the post back up to the top of the message board. StoryBump isn’t quite this simple however.
What decides if a fan sees your pages updates?
Facebook says from the approximately 1,500 daily stories available to users, NewsFeed selects roughly 300.
Here’s the criteria for how Facebook decides what gets shown:
- How often you interact with the friend, Page, or public figure (like an actor or journalist) who posted.
- The number of likes, shares and comments a post receives from the world at large and from your friends in particular.
- How much you have interacted with this type of post in the past.
- Whether or not you and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post.
In Facebook’s official blog announcing the new StoryBump algorithm, Facebook said:
“Now organic stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top of News Feed if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments.”
In essence, Facebook’s StoryBump algorithm shows your fans updates they may not have seen when they were first published.
If you’re thinking that means the perfect timing of your updates matters far less, since older updates now have a ‘second chance’ outside the 2 hour life of Facebook post, you’d be wrong (though I do agree it is not as vital as it was in EdgeRank days gone by).
The great news for businesses with a Facebook page is that Facebook’s tests showed an 8% increase in the number of likes, comments and shares on ‘organic’ (ie: non-paid) stories from Pages after rolling out StoryBump.
StoryBumping has already been rolled out to 99% of desktop users and is still being tweaked for mobile users.
What StoryBump means for your Facebook page
There are a number of ways StoryBump changes how businesses use Facebook:
1 – Engagement matters more than ever
Thank goodness for the newly relaxed rules on running promotions on your page. You can now offer incentives in exchange for likes and comments. Here’s what you can now do (and what you now can’t do) >
I highly recommend you jump on this opportunity ASAP to boost your engagement now that EdgeRank’s been replaced by StoryBump.
Do this frequently (I recommend once a week) to keep engagement up, however there’s no need to constantly give away your products and services. The following tips will all also help you boost engagement without the cost of offering prizes.
2 – The right timing of your Facebook updates is still important
Recency, or whether your post is the most recent when someone logs on to Facebook, is still important, though not as vital a factor as it used to be. For the best times and days to post updates for your industry, check out the research here >
Why timing still matters is because fans who engaged with your last update is still a ranking factor. “How often you interact with the page…” as Facebook mentioned in their ranking criteria.
They’re now calling this ‘Last Actor’. This ranking factor uses real time signalling based on the last 50 interactions a user has had within Facebook on a rolling basis, using those interactions to rank which updates show in a person’s newfeed.
If that fan engaged with your last post, especially if it was recent, and is therefore is more likely to see your next post appear in their newsfeed when you put it live; getting your timing right to match when they’re online means they are a very valuable fan to target.
Past engagement makes them more like to engage in the future. Their continued engagement helps each post to then be seen by even more fans as StoryBump is more likely to ‘bump’ that update as it gains engagement.
Last Actor is another reason why keeping a consistent, regular frequency matters. I still recommend once every second day depending on your industry (a news service for example would have a much higher frequency expectation).
Facebook’s Last Actor is now live on both desktops and mobiles.
3 – You need to stand for something
Just like the earlier forum and message board examples, compelling, popular and controversial updates tend to attract more engagement.
So be bold. Take a stand. Be passionate. The more comments, likes and shares you get, the more fans are likely to see your update ‘bumped’ into their newsfeed, surviving the cull of over 1,200 updates that won’t see the light of day.
What makes for compelling content? Be informative, educational and persuasive. Stirring up a little controversy will work wonders too.
Bonus tip: Don’t overwhelm your fans with ways to engage. Keep it simple. For example, questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no response are a perfect way of getting easy, ‘no-brainer’ engagement from fans.
4 – Segment your updates
Here’s a little-known secret for you. Did you know you can segment your fanbase and target them by gender, location, relationship status, education and interests?
I know that sounds like I’m confusing page updates with paid advertising, but this newish feature was quietly rolled out for page posts, and for those less-inquisitive admins unlikely to just ‘click-on-anything’ it’s understandable if you missed this.
Simply click the target icon before you put your update live, then click ‘add targeting’, both shown below (click this image to view it larger):
This Facebook feature allows you to target your content to your fans who will find it the most interesting, and therefore be more likely to comment, like and share. This is great for pages that have a broad product selection for example or thousands of fans with quite varied interests.
Showing your content only to your fans most likely to engage, may actually increase your engagement as a percent of the potential reach of your post, meaning it’s more likely to rank well in the newsfeed of all fans targeted.
Either way, you’ll certainly be more likely to organically grow your fanbase, increase your audience of like-minded fans and create brand advocates. After all, you’re giving them exactly what they want.
5 – Know which types of posts work best
In the newly upgraded Facebook Insights, you can now find out what types of page updates achieve the best fan engagement, broken down into clicks, likes comments and shares, and total reach.
View your page insights (accessed from your admin panel) and click Posts then Best Post Types, shown below (click this image to view it larger):
Obviously if you’re prone to always sharing the same types of content, you’re not going to gain as much from this area of your Facebook page insights. So now’s the time to start testing different types of updates, such as photos, links and videos, to get the best data possible.
6 – Ask for social actions
With StoryBump making engagement even more important than EdgeRank did, it’s vital to do all you can to get those valuable likes, shares and comments.
Make sure you include a social call to action in around 50% of your posts. As powerful as this is, asking in every update dilutes its effectiveness.
By a social call to action I mean adding requests such as ‘What do you think?’, ‘Please share’ and ‘Like if you agree’.
It may seem pointless to you, but in my experience if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Including a social call to action, ideally at the end of your update copy, can vastly improve your engagement.
I hope you gained a lot of value learning about what StoryBump means for your Facebook strategy, and are now armed with 6 easy ways to use it to your advantage.
If you did gain a lot of value from this article, please share it now with your colleagues and network. If you prefer to email the link, just click the green Share button and select the Email option, easy! Thank you 🙂