/// Should You Leave Facebook? EdgeRank Confusion, Promoted Posts, and Why Small Business Owners Are Exceedingly Frustrated
Facebook’s proprietary algorithm, known as EdgeRank, determines how or if a post on your business page appears in your fans’ timelines. Unfortunately EdgeRank calculations make it extremely difficult for business users to reach their audience on Facebook.
For example, if you have 1,000 Facebook fans on your business page and you post an announcement about an upcoming event you’re hosting, you will be lucky if 5% to 10% of your followers see your post (many Facebook users report that their posts reach an average of just 1% to 5% of their audience). You’d think that because you’ve done the work to acquire those fans on your page, then your posts would reach them automatically, but that’s not the case at all.
The frustrating reality is that you will never be able to reach all of your fans at once by simply sharing a post on your page. According to Facebook, the posts that appear in a user’s timeline depend on the type of post (photo, text, video), whether the user has interacted with the poster recently, and how long the post has been displayed (after 30 minutes, your post becomes less relevant). Also, the more popular a post is with the people who do see it (it receives several comments and “likes”), the more visibility Facebook will give that post—though never to your entire network.
Facebook claims that this ranking system is in place to improve the quality of the user experience on the site, but many small business owners aren’t buying it and here’s why: if you want to reach more of your fan base, you have to pay for Facebook advertising.
Facebook Advertising with Promoted Posts
Promoted Posts is an advertising option that conveniently solves the issues of posts not reaching a business user’s entire audience. Starting at $5, you can boost the visibility of a single post and have it reach more of the people who’ve liked your page, along with their friends. So just to be clear, though you’ve already acquired these fans for your page, if you want them to see your content, you must pay for that privilege.
Recently I’ve had many conversations with fellow small business owners who have grown increasingly frustrated with Facebook. It requires a tremendous amount of work to first build an audience on Facebook (though of course you can pay Facebook to advertise for more page Likes!) and then add content to your page on a regular basis. The least Facebook could do in return is ensure that our fans actually see the results of all that hard work—and let the fans determine the quality. If a fan doesn’t like the content, he/she can un-like a page, which puts the responsibility back on the business to make sure the content is effective.
Should You Leave Facebook?
For the past year, media reports have pointed a spotlight on the lack of growth for Facebook. Though its user base is dramatically higher than any other social network (over one billion monthly Facebook users), there are fewer users left to acquire and advertising sales have underperformed analyst expectations. Further, a study by PewInternet.org revealed that 27% of active Facebook users plan to spend less time on the site in the coming year. Combine all of this with the fact that you have pay for advertising to reach your audience on Facebook, and it begins to look like a less appealing investment in your social media marketing efforts.
I expect that the small business community will continue to shift away from Facebook and put more efforts into the competing networks. For now, I suppose, we’ll all just continue to grumble about what’s wrong with Facebook.
Forbes – Stephanie Chandler, Contributor