Nobody Knows Me at All – Including Facebook

With an obligatory Weepies song, I’d like to proclaim that Facebook does not know me. AT. ALL.

Normally I mindlessly scroll through my Facebook feed hoping to find something: a chuckle, an interesting article, a funny video or picture. But, in lieu of learning about Facebooks algorithm (formerly known as Edgerank) that decides what appears in your newsfeed, I decided to take a closer look at my own feed.

First, how does Facebook decide what you see?
Well, you don’t see everything. Facebook serves you a selective platter of posts. It’s complicated, but basically it sees who you interact with the most (through likes, comments, views) and what mediums you interact with the most (links,  text, photos, videos) and then shows you those.

How well does this work for pages?
I wanted to know: what made a page appear in my feed? If my future boss asked me what I thought we should do to reach more of our followers,  what would I say?

So I scrolled and scrolled. The only page I’ve liked that showed up in my feed was “The Best of Vines”

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And I thought to myself –  that’s reasonable, that’s the only page who’s content I care about.

So I guess I’d tell my boss to create content that people want to see (this little thing called quality content that I’ve mentioned so many times). But don’t I like other pages? I Do!

I went deep into the underbelly of Facebook to find the pages I have deemed worthy of my “like. ”
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I had forgotten that I even liked Starbucks,  H&M, or Menchies. I don’t see them in my feed,  even though I definitely want to know about more reasons to be addicted to sweet caffeine, clothes,  and the newest froyo flavor (no really I would).

According to a 2011 comScore report, brands that post an average of five to seven times per week only reach about 16% of the fan base they have worked so hard to establish.

What was wrong with the pages I took screenshots of above?
Here are some possibilities :
1. They didn’t create quality content. All of their posts were ads. Facebook has said that they want to get rid of “spam” like that.
2.  They weren’t engaging. I wouldn’t have liked or commented on their posts. Facebooks algorithm uses likes and comments to tell if a post is newsfeed worthy.
3.  Their posts weren’t sharable. This goes along with the quality content and engagement reasons above. Noone wants to share ads, but sharing is a great way to have consumers more committed to a brand. Give them something to share and you make them feel they have a stake in your business. And it doesn’t hurt that their friends are going to see your post as a result.

This article from Mashable gives some great tips for Facebook reach.

An article from TechCrunch stated that Facebook reach has been decreasing. The article quoted Facebook as saying, “We’re constantly improving the way stories are shown in newsfeed. With the growing number of pages on Facebook it is important that people see content that is most relevant to them.”

The only sure way to get reach is through paid promotions, although Intuit has suggestions for getting reach without paying.

A lot of people have complained about their reach dropping and having to pay. As a consumer, I understand. I don’t think Facebook would feel the same if my ratio of friends to businesses wasn’t very heavily weighted towards my friends. I also understand as a business person. Facebook is a valuable tool, so why should it be free when businesses using it are making profits anyway?

In the end –  I wasn’t really finding what I wanted in my news feed (not just when  it came to businesses), so I’m not sure how I feel about the accuracy of Facebook’s “guess”  about what I want to see. I do know that I feel businesses should stop whining (I know,  I know: who am I to talk about not whining after posting that Weepies song,  right?) about not getting enough share of feed. Like any other share (share of voice or market), you’re gonna have to pay.

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