It’s funny how sometimes the most commonly heard expressions can be constantly touted and yet not entirely understood. Case in point, “on social media, engagement is everything.” Sounds right because it is right, but it’s not for the reasons you think. The obvious reason is because if people don’t interact with the brand then they can’t bond with the brand. Or if they don’t engage with the brand then you haven’t created a compelling enough persona for the brand. And while both of these may be valid thoughts… neither is categorically correct, nor tangible. But what is tangible and trackable is the brand’s visibility and reach.

Let me break it down like this:
Brand A has 100,000 likers on Facebook and no interaction, zero.
When it’s time to send out a marketing communication through Facebook, it gets posted to the wall, guess who sees it? That’s right… nobody.

Brand B has 1,000 likers and 50% interaction
When it’s time to send out a marketing communication through Facebook, it gets posted to the wall. Guess who sees it? That’s right… 500 people.

Why? Because a brand’s wall itself is not the primary source of post views…
The primary source of post views is through USER NEWS FEEDS.

The first thing a user sees when they log in to Facebook is their News Feed. The average user has HUNDREDS of friends and follows several brands, all posting ongoing updates, without some sort of filter this would be a really difficult list to keep up with. This is where Facebook’s EdgeRank comes in.

EdgeRank defines itself as:
“… the Facebook algorithm that decides which stories appear in each user’s news feed. The algorithm hides boring stories, so if your story doesn’t score well, no one will see it.”

EdgeRank’s job is to simplify and show YOU only things that it thinks you will find valuable.
(e.g., if you liked, shared, viewed, tagged, or clicked on anything on BRAND B’s profile in the last X weeks… they are X+1 times as likely to show up on your feed when they send their next communication. If you’ve never liked, shared, viewed, tagged, or clicked on Brand A’s profile… they’ll be talking to themselves.)

Summary

If you don’t want to talk to yourself on Facebook, make sure that your engagement is high. Your Facebook timeline can be full of posts and photos, but if nobody is interacting you are NOT going to show up in their news feeds… and by extension, they won’t know you are talking.

Epilogue:

There is an inherent problem with this EdgeRank formula, which is that once you’ve left the news feeds of the majority of your fans, you’ve got a paradoxical problem of how to get back on it if you can’t alert them to the entrance of new posts, contests, photos, etc. But there are a few ways to re-invigorate your engagement and put yourself back where you need to be. For some ideas click here, or here.