Fan Options on Facebook

We’ve all seen the status updates going around from the various Pages that we follow. One asks you to click the “Show in News Feed” option in order to see the Page’s posts in your newsfeed. The next says that you need to click “Add to Interest Lists…” So what’s going on?

It all started when Facebook started offering the option for pages to promote their posts in order to ensure they would be seen by more eyeballs. In the same update that allowed you to start promoting, Facebook also started showing you exactly how many fans were being reached with each individual update. Because the average update only reaches between 16-20% of a Page’s fans, people started getting up in arms. Facebook was accused by multiple users and Pages of adjusting the EdgeRank algorithm to get Pages to spend more money promoting their posts.  It may be time for us to put down our pitchforks and torches. If we take a minute to think about Facebook user-consumption habits, we can probably let Facebook off the hook on this one.

First, it’s unrealistic to expect all of your fans to be online and looking at Facebook at the moment that you post your status updates. It’s just not gonna happen. Second, you have to understand that some of your fans are more engaged with your page than others. A fan who actively visit your page, clicks on your updates, comments, likes, and shares things that you’ve posted is more likely to see your updates than a fan who clicked a “like” button off of an ad or a blog post over a year ago and hasn’t interacted with you since. The reason for this is that Facebook is taking notice of what users are or are not spending their time on, and they use the EdgeRank algorithm to help them serve up exactly what they expect that user wants to see. If Facebook were to put every post of every page into every newsfeed of every fan, it would likely not be an enjoyable experience and people would be hitting that “unlike” button mighty quick.

That’s all well and good for users who are happy to not be inundated with updates from pages who they don’t particularly want to hear from, but what about you, the page-owner? You still want to get your content out there, and you don’t want to have to pay Facebook every time to get into people’s news feeds! So what do you do? Post!

The EdgeRank algorithm rewards pages that post more frequently, likely because the more often you’re posting the more often you have a chance to reach the few organic fans you can get to who will actively interact with your updates. So be sure that you’re posting AT LEAST once every day. And since the goal is to increase fan engagement, post things that people are more likely to engage with, namely: pictures. Posts with images in them see a MUCH higher engagement rate because people are visual by nature. Check out this chart from Track Social and be wowwed by just how big the difference in engagement by post type really is:

So that should settle it: include a picture in your status updates whenever possible.

So beyond that what can you do? Well, the posts that people are putting out there aren’t entirely wrong. If you ask your fans to come to your page and select “Show in News Feed” from the like box drop-down, they will start seeing more of your posts than before, though they still won’t see all of them. EdgeRank uses that setting as just one of its many criteria in deciding who sees what.

You can also ask your fans to add you to an interest list. If they do this they will have a link available on the left hand side of their news feed that they can click to show them all of the updates that have been posted by people and pages within whatever interest list they’ve grouped you in. This is a way to make sure they have access to 100% of your updates, but they’ll still have to physically click on that link and scroll through in order to see them all.

The last option from within the like box area is for your fans to add your status updates to their notifications. If they choose this option they’ll receive a notification whenever you update your page. This feature is still in beta so it might not yet be available on your page, but if it is it’s worth taking a look at.

If you’re okay with putting a little bit of money behind your updates, Facebook ads and promotions are pretty effective. You can get a pretty big response for a little bit of money. But your best bet is still to just post great information that will make people want to interact with your page.

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