Is everyone seeing my Facebook posts?
Stephanie Ferguson, Social Media Specialist, The Idea Tree Consulting
February 2, 2015.
This is a great and surprisingly common question that I was asked this morning by one of my clients, so I thought I would post the answer for everyone to see. Most people don’t realize this but Facebook does filter what people see in their newsfeeds. It happens with both profiles and pages, but probably to a greater extent with pages.
Facebook has an algorithm known as “Edgerank” that decides what goes into people’s newsfeeds, and while they keep the exact criteria a secret, generally it’s based on how popular something is, how many likes/comments/shares (collectively known as engagement), how recently it’s been posted and how frequently any given user actually engages with you. There’s an infographic at this link that helps explain it. In the end, as organizations and non-profits it means we are always ever striving to post popular content that people are going to engage with, which in turn means more people will see it and hopefully be drawn to support our cause.
This happens with both profiles (when you have friends) and pages (when you have page likes), but there are two differences with pages:
1. With a page Facebook allows you to see exactly how many people you’re reaching, including how many of those people are people who already liked your page, and how many are other people. This is a good thing, as we want more people to discover our organizations and perhaps become supporters.
2. With a Facebook page, Facebook is now going to want you to “boost your post” often. While Facebook remains free for users with simply profiles, to those who manage pages it offers the option of paying so that more people see your post. Sometimes you have to wonder if their algorithm is playing fair or if they’re just making sure fewer people see your posts in order to tempt you to buy their boost a post option. It makes it tougher for organizations and small groups and I wish they would treat us differently than big brands and businesses, but that’s just how it is, for the moment.
When you go to view your page you should be able to see how many people were reached just underneath the post content but above the likes/comments. For example, the post that is at the top of the page right now says “153 people reached.”
For the page that I manage for The Black Fish, we are 150 likes shy of 50,000 but on average we see around 10,000 people being reached with our posts, though it can vary quite a bit. People often think that 50,000 people automatically see what I post but that’s not the reality (though a week ago I posted something wildly popular and it reached over 300,000 people!). We get requests from people with crowdfunding campaigns, for example, who often think that they’re going to get a huge boost if we create a post about their campaign because it’ll go out to all 50,000 people who like our page, but that really isn’t the case (not unless your video is extremely innovative and entertaining and therefore becomes very well liked and shared – it’s all about quality content!).
Facebook does this with your profile too, but you just didn’t know it, and profiles don’t have those statistics that allow you to see what’s actually going on. With a page though, you have the ability to see which posts reach more people and determine what content your audience responds to the most.
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