It is a common misapprehension among Facebook users that all their posts are visible to their friends or to the fans of the Facebook Business Page that they may also run.
The simple truth is that they are not, and this has led many to speculate that they have to pay Facebook for their posts to be displayed in their connections’ Facebook News Feed. Although paying Facebook will guarantee improved visibility for certain posts, it is not the only solution for highlighting your Facebook presence and activity.
Given that Facebook is now a major company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, it would be very easy to slip into a cynical interpretation of the evolution of the Facebook user’s experience over recent years. In other words, the more commercial the social network becomes, the more limited the free user’s Facebook experience and impact will be.
However, this is not entirely true or fair to Facebook as a social network. Just think of the number of people that you are connected with on Facebook (the average Facebook user has 229 friends) and then think what would happen if you were exposed to every single one of those persons’ recent Facebook posts upon logging into the network; you’d be overwhelmed, and quite possibly a little bored.
In addition to having Facebook friends, Facebook users like Business, Brand and Fan pages, all of which publish their own posts to their walls, and some of these also appear in the Facebook News Feed. ‘Liking’ Facebook Business or Brand pages is becoming increasingly popular, and it is easy to foresee a time when the number of pages one likes on Facebook could equal or exceed the number of friends one has on the social network. If this comes to pass, you would not want to be exposed to every single post that those brands, companies or public figures make via Facebook when you log into your account.
To prevent this information overload for the user, Facebook runs an algorithm called Edgerank to determine what appears in your Facebook Newsfeed. In layman’s terms, Edgerank is a series of calculations used to determine what is of value or of interest to an individual Facebook user, based on their previous interactions with the person posting on Facebook and on how many other people have commented or liked a particular post on Facebook. The value that has been calculated for each individual post will determine the likelihood of that post appearing in another Facebook user’s Newsfeed.
In addition, Facebook is heavily biased to plain text updates or to pictures uploaded to the social network over those posts that steer people away to external content on the internet. In other words, to be more visible on Facebook, you have to post more original content straight onto the network rather than just posting links to external websites or other social networks.
[Since this article was published, there have been numerous developments in how Facebook chooses which posts to display within the Newsfeed; you can read about them here]
As touched upon in the opening paragraph, you can also pay Facebook to boost individual posts or to advertise your Facebook pages within or outside your existing Facebook network, but that will be a subject of a separate Nick Lewis Communications blog entry in the near future.
Nick Lewis Communications can provide training in Facebook as well as offer professional management of Facebook Business pages feeds. To find out, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07970 839137.