FB Virality vs. Organic Engagement: Which Is Right For You?

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As you may have noticed, we’ve been testing all kinds of new engagement strategies on our Facebook pages here at Idea Inc. — contests, videos, images, and even live Q&A posts. Our Social Media Specialist, Luis Ramirez, has been cooking up all kinds of creative tests and closely monitoring our insights to determine the outcomes.

Some of these experiments have produced amazing results, while other were just so-so… And while these experiments were exciting all by themselves, the lessons we’ve learned from them is where the true value really lies.

After an extensive write-up, Luis has uncovered some incredible data about how Facebook calculates it’s EdgeRank, and how you can benefit. Here are two of the biggest bombshell takeaways we’ve found:

1. Simply posting fresh, thoughtful content on your Timeline regularly will boost engagement over the long-term, proving to you users that you’re a consistent source of valuable content.

2. Virality is NOT the same as Organic views… It may seem like I’m splitting hairs here, but I’m not at all. In fact, because of the EdgeRank algorithm, these two factors have almost the exact opposite function. And it’s this point that I want to drill down into in this post.

First, it’s important to realize what Engagement really is in Facebook’s algorithm:

Engagement = (Comments+Shares+Likes) ÷ the number of people who’ve Liked your page

If you’re a math person, you can immediately see that getting TONS of Likes can be a double edged sword (no pun intended) when it comes to EdgeRank, i.e. the more Likes you have the more engagement you need.

Okay, so what does that mean for you? It means that you need to learn to divide your strategy between to goals, Virality and Organic views.

A post Virality, according to our testing, tracks with the number of commentersInstagram posts, and Likes the post receives. It’s great for bringing new Likes to your FB page, because your post appears on a lot of news feeds, but it has surprisingly little effect on your overall EdgeRank.

Organic views are generated by the Share button first and foremost. A moderate amount of comments and Likes, plus a high level of “Shares” will have a much bigger effect on your EdgeRank, which means more people who’ve Liked you page will see your post. The higher your EdgeRank, the more visible ALL of your posts will be.

About Josh Loposer

Josh is the managing editor of Digital Marketer, as well an aspiring novelist. Find out more about what Josh is working on on Facebook, Google, or on his website.
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