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May I introduce to you Facebook’s Edgerank formula:

The above is a nifty little algorithm which determines the likelihood of a post you make on Facebook appearing on your friends or your fans news feeds. It looks a bit complicated, so let’s discuss.

There are three elements which contribute to determining where your post appears and how many impressions it receives, each of which are given a relative importance.

The first most important factor is d for time decay, this means that the more recent a post is, the higher chance it has of appearing on your news feed, as no one wants to see week old updates when they log in!

The second is w for weight, and this refers to how important Facebook determines each type of post is. For example, recently you may have been seeing lots of questions appearing on your feed, this is because Facebook has made them the most important type of post. Similarly, you rarely if ever see on your news feed that someone has liked someone else’s status, so these sorts of posts have a low weighting from Facebook.

The exact weighting of each update is determined by Facebook and is a closely guarded secret; however, from experience of using Facebook you can make a best guess. Photo albums, events, questions and tagging appear fairly frequently, whereas new friends, comments on statuses and likes of statuses don’t.

The third is u for affinity. Have you ever wondered why certain people’s status updates don’t appear on your feed very often, whereas other people’s appear all the time? That’s because those Facebook friends you have the closest affinity with, thought the amount of wall to wall conversations you have, the amount of photos you’re tagged in together and how often you comment on each other’s statuses, determines how likely their statuses are to appear on your feed.

So how can you use Edgerank to your advantage?

So how can a brand use the Facebook Edgerank formula to make sure their posts are receiving the maximum amount of impressions and being seen by as many people as possible? Here are my top tips!

1. Use the highest ranked objects

At the moment we’ve seen that questions, photos and events receive a high weighting, so use them!

2. Avoid using the lowest ranked objects

Status updates with contain links to external sites aren’t given a high priority, as they direct people off Facebook and onto a different web site. That’s not to say you should never post them if they’re valuable to your fans, but use them sparingly and don’t expect to get the highest number of impressions from them.

3. Avoid scheduling updates though third party apps

It can be handy to use apps like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite to update your page’s status, but as you haven’t visited Facebook.com why would Facebook give these updates the highest priority when you haven’t visited the site and viewed their advertising? Where possible, do your updates from facebook.com to get the highest number of impressions.

4. Ask questions

And keep them as simple as possible. One of the most successful posts I’ve done asked fans what word came to mind when they thought of the brand. It got a bunch of comments, and this therefore built the affinity between them and the page, meaning that in the future our posts would score higher on their news feeds.

Even the simplest updates, like “Like this status if you’re looking forward to seeing Toy Story 3 this weekend?” or “Who is your favourite character from Toy Story 3” all invite comments and likes, and further build affinity between the user and the brand page.

5. Post regularly

Time is the most important factor in determining your edgerank, so if you want the best chance to float to the top of the feed posting regularly is a must. Each page has a different level of posts that their fans will stand before they hide you, but by posting regular, relevant updates you’ll have the best chance of being seen as the more time that elapses since an update is posted, the further it sinks to the bottom!

Any questions or comments leave them below!

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For the past two weeks I’ve been doing work experience in the Debenhams Press office. It was a complete change of pace for me, to go from working from home on my own to having to ask “Is there anything do to?” every 5 minutes. The hour commute was also a bit of a shock to the system, as was talking to actual people, all day! But I did learn a lot about how the press office in a global company like Debenhams operates.

There was a massive range in the things I was asked to do. As it was between seasons (the end of autumn/winter and the start of spring/summer) lots of samples which had been sent to press needed to be sorted and returned to their agency who deal with product placement.

There’s a special programme designed for managing where all the samples are at any given time called Augure which I was using alot. Journalists will e-mail the press office telling them the types of pieces they’re looking to feature and then the press office will pick out pieces which fit the brief and send them over, not before I checked them out on Augure so we can keep track of them. People from magazines and TV programmes will also go into the Oxford Street store to pick things out and I’d also check them out on Augure. After a few trips back and forth to the store it didn’t seem quite as fascinating as the first time but carrying the heavy bags definately kept me fit!

Julien MacDonald at the launch of his Diamond line at Debenhams, taken from the Debenhams Facebook page

One of the most interesting parts of my two weeks was possibly going to the press event for the launch of Diamond, Julien Macdonald’s youth range to go along with his other slightly older range in Debenhams, Star. The event was organised by another agency Debenhams use and involved letting journalists know about the launch of the range, a swanky bar, giving them cocktails (which were very nice btw!) and a goodie bag . There were a few models wearing the items and Julien Macdonald made an appearance and had his photo taken so all in all it was very interesting.

The press office is primarily concerned with news generation as opposed to product placement (an agency does this), media monitoring (an agency sends across all coverage) or social media (another agency) so the press assistants were always looking for ways they can get interesting stories into the press. Whilst I was there they were working on a release about the increase in popularity of shapewear for men, it was interesting to see the story go from a press release and into coverage in a few of the newspapers and online over night.

An AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent) was then calculated based on the readership of the newspaper and the size and position of the article to work out how much the piece would be worth. I’m not sure how “scientific” this AVE business is but I gather it’s a standard in the PR world (although a quick google tells me there are some people who question the value of this measurement, and from where I’m standing it does sound a bit wishy washy.)

Other things I did in my two weeks involved pulling out interesting and relevant stories from the newspapers and magazines every day, writing drafts of biographies about some of the designers at Debenhams, a bit of data entry, collecting samples from the buyers and fulfilling image requests which came into the press office e-mail account.

I’d’ve liked to have found out a bit more about how the social media side of things works (like the “voice” they use and the types of guidelines they stick to when representing Debenhams online) but this is dealt with by an agency as opposed to in house. I also noticed that whilst they have more than 30,000 followers on Facebook and 6,800 on Twitter, their Klout score is 48. Comparing this to the charity I work on the social media for, we have a higher Klout score but just 500 fans on Facebook and around 1,300 on Twitter. Food for thought…

Overall I had an excellent time at Debenhams and it was well worth the two weeks I spent there. I learnt a great deal about how the press office for a large company works and was working with a lovely team of people. Plus I didn’t do any photocopying or make any cups of tea, all in all I’m very pleased I did it and hopefully I’ll be able to use the experienced I gained here in the not so distant future!

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Hello.

I’m doing a new sort of post today. If you didn’t already know I work for a charity on their social media, so I suppose that makes me fairly knowledgeable about how charities and businesses more generally can develop a presence online, which is something the majority really ought to be doing already for reasons I won’t go into right now.

One of the major motivating factors in getting a company to take social media more seriously and actively take part in it is the possibility that a crisis may erupt on social media, which they’ll need to deal with online. The Domino’s youtube fiasco and Nestle palm oil incident alerted companies to the damage a social media crisis can do to their reputation more generally and highlights the need for a social media crisis strategy.

So here are a few tips for how you can react when/if a social media crisis happens:

  • Decide what your company deems a crisis, an issue, and something which just needs to be monitored for now. How do you know when to pull out the full crisis management plan?
  • Agree on the line you’re going to be taking and the tone of voice you’ll be using.
  • Brief all your relevant employees on what this is make sure they stick to it!
  • If you’re getting a vast amount of comments and queries setting up an FAQ will help you be able to better respond to people. Similarly, a video response is a good way to put a face to your company and is more reassuring than impersonal tweets and messages. Agree on how you can set this set before it’s necessary.
  • Make friends before a crisis happens- if someone does start making negative comments about you, having a community of loyal fans may help silence them.
  • Listen closely. As soon as something hits you want to know about it as soon as possible. Only noticing an “I hate your company” group on facebook or bad customer service blog after two weeks of activity might be too late. Having someone responsible for monitoring online mentions of your company is the best way to do this.
  • Don’t be afraid to get involved. If someone has set up a blog documenting all your customer service failures, a “look but don’t touch” policy will do you no favours. Silence is possibly even worse than a bad response.
  • Prepare your response beforehand. It is possible, within reason, to have a good guess at the likely crisis’ you might face. Decide what these are and prepare “black pages” of your response which can go live on your web site if/when it happens, these will be useful if they can stop the flow of negative comments hours or days earlier than if you were working from scratch.
  • Similarly, you’ll need to work out the specifics. Who is responsible for reacting to a crisis which erupts online? Who do they alert and what do they do? Who replies to comments? If it’s really big you may want to have a team working exclusively on dealing with it. Who are they?
  • Do not disable comments. By switching off the ability to write on your Facebook wall or comment on your blog it suggests you have something to hide. Angry comments don’t come across too well, but an angry comment with an apologetic response shows that you’re listening, whereas silencing all your critics will only make them angrier and more determined to have their say.

Just a few bullet points there but hopefully someone will find it useful. Do let me know if you think I’ve missed anything out or have said anything stupid. Or if you think you have any better ideas!

*Note- That’s not a real tsunami, all people are alive and well as far as I know…

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