If you have a Facebook Business Page (or “Fan Page” as they used to be called), you’ve certainly heard the outrage about alleged Facebook EdgeRank algorithm changes. Rumor has it Facebook has reduced the number of people who see your Page posts.
Why would Facebook do such a thing? So that you’ll buy “sponsored stories” and “page post ads.” You pay Facebook a little money, and they’ll show your post higher in the new feed, or on the right hand side of the page. Facebook makes money, and more people get a chance to see and interact with your post.
Turns out, the reduction in the number of people seeing Page posts happened at around the same time Facebook launched these “Promoted Posts.” So people assumed some evil “monetization” intent by Facebook.
However, according to this excellent TechCrunch article, the Facebook change effected only how often “spammy” Pages were seen in the News Feed. If you look at the 101 comments after the article, you will see that many have personal experiences challenging Facebook’s claim that legitimate Pages weren’t effected.
Whatever the case may be, Facebook admits that on average, only 16% of your Page’s fans see your posts. That’s not very many.
And maybe Facebook tweaked things a little to decrease your Page’s exposure. Or maybe the decrease, and the introduction of “Promoted Posts” was nothing more than some sort of cosmic coincidence. Either way, having to pay to be seen did not sit well with Facebook users. Social media is suppose to be free, right?
Possibly in anticipation of, and in response to, the outrage over social media becoming paid advertising, Facebook has some “free” ways for your fans to see more of what you post on your Facebook Page.
First, let’s look at the 3 ways your fans can see 100% (or so) of you for free. Then we’ll talk about why those 3 ways don’t solve the problem.
Facebook Interest Lists
Interest Lists have been around for awhile now, but the number of people who know about them is still surprisingly small. You should ask your fans to add you to their Interest Lists. There are really 2 steps to effectively using Interest Lists.
First, once a fan has “liked” your Page, she should then go to the little wheel next to the “like” button and click on “add to Interest Lists.” It looks like this:
Second, to see all of your posts, your fan will have to go to her “Interest Lists” on the left-hand side of her news feed and click on the one she’s added you to. Her “news feed” will then show all posts by everyone she’s added to that Interest List. It won’t show any posts from anyone not on that Interest List. You can find your Interest Lists here:
This new feature allows people to get notified each time you post. For example, if you turned Notifications “on” for my Facebook Page, when I posted it would show up in your Notifications like this:
You turn Notifications “on” by hovering over the “Like” button on the Page and selecting “Get Notifications.” It looks like this:
You’ll notice that this is another place where you can add the Page to your Interest Lists. So, in a perfect world, right after someone “liked” your Page, they would select “Get Notifications” and “Add to Interest Lists.”
Facebook Pages Feed
This is another new feature Facebook is just rolling out. It appears in the bookmarks section on your left-hand sidebar under “Pages.” It looks like this:
Click on “Pages Feed,” and you’ll see a news feed made up of all of the Pages you’ve liked. You can move your Pages Feed up with your regular News Feed by clicking on the pencil to the left of the “Pages Feed” and then clicking “Add to Favorites.”
This feature is still new. Not everyone has it yet. But the early news is not that good. My experience, and others I’ve talked to, is that the Pages Feed does not show all of posts made by the Pages you’ve liked. And it certainly does not show them in chronological order.
It appears that EdgeRank, or some similar super-secret Facebook formula, is at work here. So again, you don’t see it all in real time. You see what Facebook wants you to see, when they want you to see it. Which is exactly what the original problem was.
If you want to check this out and you don’t yet have the “Pages Feed” in your bookmarks, you can still view your “Pages Feed” by going to Facebook.com/pages/feed.
Why This Doesn’t Really Help
Well, nice try Facebook, but with the exception of your mother and an occasional stalker, this isn’t going to result in your fans seeing all of your Page posts. Really.
Okay, maybe you can get some people to add you to their Interest Lists. But are they going to view those Interest Lists every day? My bet is that not many of them are.
And asking people to allow you to show up in their notifications every time you post? I, and everyone I know, is over-notified the way it is. So, good luck with this. You may capture a few of your die-hard fans, but this is not an answer for the masses.
The Pages Feed may be the most promising. But still, you’re asking people to take the step of switching from their regular news feed to the Pages Feed. And maybe, as people get more fed up with Facebook for not showing them what they want to see, more people will go the route of “customizing” their news feed by relying on a feed or feeds different from the default provided by Facebook.
Having said all that, I don’t believe the sky is falling as many people are crying. No, small businesses aren’t going to be faced with paying thousands of dollars a day to promote every post if they want to be seen on Facebook.
The idea is to promote select posts now and then to remind people who you are. And to create engagement. If you’re doing it right, you’re connecting with your Facebook fans on other social media networks and driving them to your website/blog. Soon they’ll be on your email list anyway, and you won’t have to worry about them forgetting about you if they aren’t seeing you on Facebook.
What do you think about the Facebook changes? How have they effected your Page? What changes to your Facebook marketing, if any, are you making as a result? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.