Decline in Facebook reach has been a hot topic around the social media water cooler. Whilst we all agree there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and as bloggers and businesses we don’t expect free advertising, many like me are feeling there hasn’t been enough transparency from Facebook.
Yes, many platforms offer free services for a transition period, or freemium and premium options. But there’s been a disingenuity around the way Facebook have seemingly quietly, coerced brand pages into paying to promote posts to get the reach they once did without paying.
Instead of being open from the start that your links (which let’s face it, getting your fans to click on is your main objective of being on Facebook as a blogger or business) won’t mostly perform as well as other types of content, there’s just been gradual changes to an algorithm they’ve never been fully transparent about.
This has led social media marketers like myself down an endless rabbit hole, working what we do know about the algorithm, only to come back up for air after hours of analysis, testing, re-testing and more analysis.
For many it’s as futile and mind numbing as trying to keep up the Kardashians, and has led to far too much time invested in working an algorithm, versus actually creating the content and engaging with it over social at the other end.
And for brand page users who never understood the algorithm in the first place, or are not even aware of how bad their posts are performing (because if they’ve got 10,000+ likes they’re doing super well, right?) they may not know they’re not going ROI from the time they’ve invested in the platform.
Whether you knowingly fell down the algorithm rabbit hole, or fell down it whilst late for a very important date, things are a lot less confusing when you know the state of the croquet play.
For all those who’ve scratched their heads and wondered, why don’t my links get as much reach as my images, or why has the reach of my links rapidly declined over the past months, how exactly does the algorithm work, and are there ways to optimise the reach of my posts without paying, this series is for you.
I’m going to break down how the Facebook algorithm in 2014 works, including the most recent updates; factors such as last actor, affinity, story bumping and weight; how to use these and other factors such as online psychology to organically increase your reach; boosting your PTAT (talking about this) and why that number next to your likes is so important, the pros of Facebook’s niche based advertising, the potential downside of boosting too many posts and whether it’s economically viable for bloggers and small business owners, and why buying Facebook followers is a bad idea and how it leads to decline in the reach of your posts to your fans.
As a social media consultant and advanced Facebook course presenter, it will be interesting to see how brand page owners respond to this in the coming months and 2014. Will they accept it, or will they move on to other platforms in frustration, and will Facebook change their algorithm if there is a massive revolt?
Whilst I’m not shutting down the Facebook page for my personal blog, nor am I suggesting anyone else do the same, I am wanting to help users get clarity on how the platform works, so they can make informed decisions about paying for advertising. And once you also understand the algorithm, then you can be savvy as to how much time you are willing/want to invest, and maximise the results you will get from that time.