If you’re a social media type, you must have noticed that in recent months Facebook, once a lynchpin of many a content marketing campaign, has begun to lose its luster.
Businesses that had invested countless hours building up a loyal following of “Likes” on their Facebook Pages began to notice last fall that something was amiss: despite their healthy numbers, relatively few of those who’d liked their page were actually seeing it in their newsfeed. Whereas once they might have been able to count on upwards of 75% of their likes receiving their page notifications, that percentage seemed to dwindle steadily. These days, it’s not uncommon to find that only about 5% of those who’ve liked a page will actually see anything posted on it.
And companies that want to boost that number are encouraged (by Facebook, natch!) to do so…for a fee.
I don’t want to get into the rights and wrongs of this: I understand that Facebook is a for-profit venture, but that doesn’t help the frustration we all feel as we watch months and years of nurturing our pages slip into oblivion.
A work-around to help recover (some) Facebook page views
What I do want to discuss is how you can at least partially circumvent the latest Facebook algorithm, and get a good proportion of your page views back.
First, a couple of words about how the Facebook newsfeed works now: You might have noticed that certain posts seems to linger in your feed longer than others. This is because late last fall, Facebook rejigged things so that posts that receive reader attention—in the form of likes, comments, or shares—now get bumped back up to the top of the newsfeed, as though they’d just been published. This is in line with Facebook’s ideas about relevance: if a post is deemed interesting, it’s considered “more relevant,” and that prolongs its life in the newsfeed, for up to 72 hours after it’s first posted.
When I first noticed this, I tried a small experiment: I created a post on the Facebook page for my personal blog, and watched the numbers over the first couple of hours. That page has about 320 likes, so I expected the post to be viewed by about 15 people…and that’s exactly what happened. Well, almost. It got 11 views to start with.
Then I shared the post to my personal Facebook page. Shazam! It got bumped back up to the top of my newsfeed, and over the next couple of hours it was viewed by another 30 people. It got a few likes, and a couple of comments, and that boosted it further: another 20 people saw it.
About eight hours after it was first posted, another person shared it, and what do you know? It got another 50 views.
After that, it began to slip back down the newsfeed, where it looked like it would die a quiet death.
Just for kicks, though, I texted a friend the next day and asked her to share it again. She did, and the post was given another shot at life: it jumped back up to the top of my newsfeed, where it received another 40 views.
Not a perfect fix
So over about 48 hours, that one post received 151 views, representing slightly less than 50% of the likes on that particular page.
It’s not a perfect fix—because ideally, we want everyone who’s ever liked our page to see every last bit of glistening prose that we post there—but considering that the average number of non-paid views you can usually scrounge from Facebook these days is less than 5%, it’s definitely better than a slap in the belly with a dead fish.
Then again, most things are better than that.
How can you apply this?
For starters, it helps to have an accomplice or two. You need at least a couple of people who are willing to either share or comment on your posts. If you’re posting on behalf of your own organization, you should be able to find someone else in your office who’ll be willing to help.
As well, you’ll want to limit the number of posts you add to your page at any given time. I’ve found that when I have more than one post in play at a time, they both slip away into obscurity pretty quickly. My guess is that something about the Facebook algorithm alerts the site that one page is trying to hog too much attention…though I have absolutely no proof that this is the case. All I know is that one post at a time works better than two.
Will this method work forever?
Probably not. For now, it seems to be a somewhat labour-intensive, work-around, but there’s absolutely no telling how long it will be before Facebook realizes that some pages are taking advantage of the new newsfeed structure. My suggestion would be to go ahead and try it, use it for as long as it works, and remember that ultimately, the only constant in social media is that things are constantly changing.
Oh, and let me know how it goes, okay? I’d love to hear your feedback.