Did you know that Facebook has been using a calculation called EdgeRank to determine which of our followers get to see the status updates we post?
In other words, whenever we post something on Facebook (whether on our Personal Account or our Page), not ALL of our followers get to see what we post. Our comments will only show up on a VERY small percentage of newsfeeds (determined by some algorithm through EdgeRank).
Sadly this big-brother type of control is not new with Facebook and has been ongoing for some time now.
However, what IS new is that those of us who have Pages can choose to PAY to promote our comments to MORE of our followers through a new “Paid Promotion” feature that Facebook recently unveiled.
Those writers with Pages may have noticed the link "Promote" at the bottom of each status update. The link gives you the option of paying to promote that particular comment (and from what I understand, payments are not cheap for effective promotion).
In other words, we have to PAY Facebook to get our comments to show up in the newsfeeds of those followers we’ve already worked hard to obtain and in some cases may have even used paid advertising to gain (i.e. through Facebook ads).
Not only do we have to PAY to promote our posts to our hard-earned followers, but our followers aren’t automatically getting our updates, even though they freely and willingly signed up to “like” our pages. Instead, most of our followers have to actively seek us out if they want to keep up with what we’re saying and doing. And realistically, who has the time to do that?
Supposedly, if we can get real people interacting, commenting, sharing, liking, etc. then EdgeRank will share our comments in more newsfeeds. But does this really happen?
I thought I’d share a few statistics from my Facebook Page to give you an idea of just how FEW of our fans are actually being reached through our comments under EdgeRank (even with what I’d consider good interaction).
Here’s one comment: Today I got to meet with a Japanese woman who's been learning English by reading my book, The Doctor's Lady. This comment had 73 Likes & 15 Comments and only went to 31% of my followers.
(Sidenote: These statistics are available to Page administrators at the bottom of each post, but aren’t on Personal accounts. And only Page administrators can see them.)
Another of my most popular comments was this: I DID IT! I finished writing a book today! After spending the past four months immersed in the story . . . This comment had 177 Likes, 52 Comments, & 1 Share and still only went to 38% of my followers.
The truth is, no matter how much interaction my Facebook posts get, it’s still difficult to increase the reach. The large majority of my posts go to about 25% or less of my followers. In light of the small percentages, one has to wonder if Facebook is purposefully making EdgeRank stingy so that we need the paid promotions to reach our fans.
I’m the first to admit I’m no expert in Facebook, EdgeRank, and Paid Promotion. If you want to delve deeper into the issues and learn more, here are several posts that I found helpful:
*FB fans aren’t seeing your posts (and how to fix it) by Cinda Baxter
*For FB page admins: How to reclaim (part) of your missing audience by Cinda Baxter
*A Common Sense, Non-Reactionary Approach to EdgeRank and Facebook Business Pages by Ken Mueller
So what’s a writer to do? Should we give up on Facebook altogether?
Here’s my evolving philosophy.
1. I’m keeping both my Facebook Page and Personal Accounts because my fans can still interact with me in both places. And that’s really what matters. Maybe the news about my books, events, or blog posts won’t reach the numbers I’d ideally like them to. But I can still interact with those who DO see them as well as those who take the time to search me out.
2. For the time being, I won’t be dishing out money for the Paid Promotion aspect. I don’t think I should have to pay to reach my OWN followers with my messages.
4. I'll work harder to keep the social in Social Media. EdgeRank supposedly works best when we're utilizing Facebook on a personal level and forming genuine connections with our followers (versus just spamming our books with very little interaction with our fans).
And isn't that what social media is about anyway? Socializing? Yes, it's easier to throw out posts about our books, blog tours, or giveaways. But we have to remember to do the hard work of interacting and making our posts meaningful to our followers.
What are your thoughts? What do you think of Facebook’s EdgeRank system? Would you consider using Paid Promotion? Or do you think it’s unfair of Facebook to charge people to reach more of their own fans?
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