Facebook now wants us to pay to reach our fans

In the past, Facebook encouraged small companies to create a business page then get “fans” to “like” your page. The concept remains valid – you create a page for your business and keep those posts separate from your person profile. That way you can post personal messages to your family and friends, and you can post business messages to your business page. This also made sense from another perspective – Facebook only allows you to have 5000 personal friends, but an unlimited number of fans who like your page.

This worked – for a while. But the problem is that too many companies created pages and too many people liked those pages. In order to keep the Facebook timeline under control and relevant to the user, Facebook created its own algorithm called “EdgeRank”. EdgeRank determines which stories appear in a user’s news feed. The first thing someone sees when they log into Facebook is the newsfeed. This is a summary of what’s been happening recently among their friends on Facebook. The EdgeRank algorithm hides boring stories, so if your story doesn’t score well, no one will see it. Consider this image:

edgerank

Here’s the problem with Facebook’s philosophy, at least as far as your business is concerned: on a day to day basis, the listeners are the ones who drive the majority of value to you. It’s just like a blog post where lots of people might read it, but only a few comment on it. Today, EdgeRank filters out 84% of your fans, simply because they are listeners, rather than active engagers. These are people who decided to follow you, but are not filtered out because they rarely engage. But they don’t want to engage, they just want to listen to what you have to say! That’s pretty bad – 84% of you audience lost just because Facebook decided to filter them out (and make you pay for the privilege of showing up on their newsfeed).

As the owner of a business Facebook page, you used to be able to email your fan base, but Facebook took that away because it didn’t make them any money. Now they are taking away organic reach of your posts. Melanie Dodoro wrote a blog post called “Is Facebook Organic Reach Dead?” where she claims that organic reach of your Facebook posts is now less than 2%.

Stories from your friends typically appear within your newsfeed, sprinkled with a few stories from the pages you’ve “liked”. But you only have about a 2% chance of showing up in someone’s newsfeed if you are posting on your page, compared to about a 90% chance of posting as yourself on your own timeline. And it’s getting worse – views from organic Facebook Page posts have been declining. A recent announcement from Facebook explains why.

“On a given day, when someone visits News Feed, there are an average of 1,500 possible stories we can show,” says Facebook. “Because the content in News Feed is always changing, and we’re seeing more people sharing more content, Pages will likely see changes in distribution.”

What this means is that posts you create on your business page are basically never getting seen by your fans. The only way to get these posts to appear is to either:

  1. Pay Facebook in the form of a promoted post or sponsored story, or
  2. Have your post “go viral” by getting lots of people to “like”, “share”, or “comment” on it.
  3. Post as an individual to your friends, and forget about your business posts.

Unless you advertise on Facebook, you somehow need to reach your fans, so they will help you make your posts go viral.  I wrote a recent blog post about creating your own homepage that contained the RSS Feeds of your favorite news sources and blogs.

Since Facebook isn’t showing your posts to your fans, perhaps you can get them to subscribe to the RSS Feed of your Facebook page. What’s that you say – there’s an RSS feed for my page? Yes – here’s how to find it:

Go to your Facebook page and copy the page url to your clipboard. For example,
https://www.facebook.com/WebStoresLtd

Now go to FindMyFacebookID.com. Paste in the url and click on Lookup numeric ID.

facebook-lookup

Copy the numeric id to your clipboard.

facebook-numeric-id

Now go to: www.facebook.com/feeds/page.php?format=atom10&id=XXX

Where xxx=your numeric id.

You should now be on a standard feed page – send this to all of your fans and try to get them to subscribe to your Facebook posts so they never miss another. Then ask them to comment and share your posts. You can only do this for pages, not personal timelines. That’s ok because friends still see your personal posts – this is so you can get your page in front of your fans. Of course you can do this for pages you want to follow as well.

So here is the Facebook RSS Feed for WebStores:
https://www.facebook.com/feeds/page.php?format=atom10&id=106187753111

Be sure to add this to your custom homepage (Protopage), RSS reader, or subscribe via email so you never miss another Facebook post! And of course, I’d appreciate it if you comment, like or share the posts when you do see them.