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facebook logo—marcopako (Flickr.com)

There is a little hidden gem with the Facebook social marketing platform that holds the key to the success of any online marketing campaign that leverages the community’s massive user base. It is a closely guarded secret called the EdgeRank algorithm which can make or break financial efforts.

If you want to be seen on the timeline of Facebook friends and users then it’s wise to know as much as possible about the inner workings of EdgeRank. While the algorithm is completely proprietary, there are significant advances in understandings it, which have been made through careful observation and trial and error.

The EdgeRank algorithm takes its namesake from the fact that all Facebook interactions are classified as an “edge.” The act of sharing a new link is an edge in the system, as is liking a friend’s post. These ‘edges’ are building blocks (social signals) upon which the prioritisation of data can be calculated.

The factors used to do this news feed shuffling can be termed with the acronym ARE- affinity, recency, and edge weight respectively. If you can conquer these three factors, your share of the social space can grow rapidly.

Affinity

The Affinity metric might as well be called the ‘friendliness’ factor, for that is precisely what it is. If a Facebook user makes consistent interaction with another person through comments, likes and so forth, then there is a greater chance of that target’s news showing up in the feed.

This means that getting people to interact should be a high priority. Use questions to ask people for their feedback and comments. This will create higher affinity for the topic you are promoting. It might be considered a little too personal for businesses and therefore require a little bit more creativity in developing a plan to gain more interaction, but bloggers can definitely take full advantage of this factor with a reasonable amount of ease.

Recency

Recency is the second factor which is simply the time that the news first appeared. Take advantage of this factor by submitting consistent posts and content.

Hardly a day should go by without your followers having a chance to get some type of interaction. Posting things at odd hours can also help by eliminating much of the competition. Of course, then you are dealing with the fact that many people might not be online.

Edge Weight

Finally, edge weight is the other key metric. Videos, links and photos all hold a higher edge weight than most other things. They are the heart of the Facebook platform, and for good reason. Liking an ad is less likely to get broadcast as the sharing of a photograph. This should be taken into account when determining what to deliver to your audience.

As with anything worthwhile it is important to remember that perfecting your Facebook formula will take time and effort. However, a little trial and error and EdgeRank can become your best friend in the internet frontier.