There has been a lot of talk buzzing around the web regarding Facebook’s changes to “people who saw this” or in other words how many people a brand can reach on their Facebook page. Two stories that caught my eye recently were surrounding the opinion of the Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban; on why he believes Facebook is driving brands away. The other story though acts as a rebuttal to Cuban’s theories and is on the opposite side of the scale. But which one is right?
Using these two articles as an example, Cuban is utterly annoyed by the changes to the reach a brand is capable of when using Facebook pages, as many have complained about this change and how low the overall number is on a site with over a billion people. Therefore, Cuban is thinking of switching up his social media strategy and instead focusing on other social networks such as Tumblr, Twitter and the new MySpace. According to ReadWriteWeb, Cuban states that paying $3,000 is not ideal and in fact deters Mark from wanting to use the conglomerate site any further as the main social hub for the Mavericks.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, PageLever wrote a response article breaking down the math regarding how much it truly would cost to reach Facebook’s billion plus users and according to their calculations it would be a mere 0.03 cents per person to reach Maverick fans using Facebook promotions for a status update on a Facebook page. Clearly disagreeing with Cuban that it is in fact worth the money to spend to have the capability to reach so many people that unfortunately Tumblr, Twitter and the new MySpace do not have. Thus, being cheaper than an average game day ticket and professing that people should be worth the money.
Respectfully, both opinions are valid and although when page owners and admins look at their page data on Facebook (which is located underneath each status update), the numbers do indeed look quite small. This is especially true if you do not organically post your content directly on Facebook and instead use a third-party application or tool, since either can decrease your brands reach on Facebook even further.
With that said, we must take into account that prior to Facebook rolling out the feature that provides us with data on how many people we actually reach on Facebook or “people who saw this“; we truly had no idea about how many people actually saw our efforts when posting a status update on a Facebook page, we were posting blind.
Although, yes agreeably it was free, we had no idea of which types of content we posted was actually valuable to the Facebook algorithm, which is now known as Edge Rank. Clearly we were spending a lot of time that could have been potentially wasteful since seeing what works and what doesn’t should be of value to your brand in keeping the content relevant to your audience, hence, why Facebook now delivers the statistics to your posted content and the ability to amplify your brands reach within the Facebook algorithm (Edge Rank).
To briefly explain how Edge Rank works on Facebook you must understand that Facebook’s main priority is still focused on over a billion active users on its site. This means that they want to ensure that when a user logs into Facebook that their newsfeed is not cluttered with junk, but instead made up of quality content that is based on the users history. Making every status update to have an Edge Rank, the higher the Edge Rank is of an update that would be of the interest to the users who have “liked” your page, the better placement it will get within the newsfeed of a Facebook user.
This then creates a customized newsfeed for every Facebook user and beginning at the top of the newsfeed will show the status update with the highest “Edge Rank“and will carry on to the second and third and so on. Making a newsfeed enjoyable for their users so they continue to make actions such as liking a Facebook page or post, commenting and resharing, and the more they do the more”Edge Rank“ they are giving to the posted status.
As you are already aware, the more action a status update receives the better it achieves its goal to getting seen by others, creating the well-known social media domino effect. However, this also increases your shared content within the Facebook algorithm which will automatically provide more eyes on your status update.
So why are your numbers so low? You are not marketing the right type of content that will grab your audience. See, Facebook simply added a system that allows its users to determine what is worthy of being seen by their friends, family and extended network, if you are not looking at your free analytics that Facebook provides and using it to target your pages demographic or reviewing which of your status updates attained the most interactions than you are not doing it right. Is that Facebook’s fault?
No. Facebook has also covered its page owners with the ability to yes, pay to market their status updates to gain more eyes, does that mean it will work? That is a chance you must be willing to take.
It is all too easy to blame a social site like Facebook for the improper use of the site, especially when it comes to Facebook Pages. All too often it is taken for granted that it is a free site and therefore we should have free access to their gigantic pool of people, but did we forget what happened to the original MySpace when there was no weeding of content happening? Clutter turns a Social Network into being thrown into the gutter.
I see the two points that each story provided but I would also like to add, that Brands need to pay more attention to what their audience is telling them, not Facebook. If you are putting out quality content that caters to the interest of your audience then more actions will be given which will then increase your overall reach, in fact, it will show in real-time below your status update.
This is then YOUR demographic who have “liked” your page or is associated within their network telling you that they approve. You need to track that; you need to review your constantly changing real-time free insights on Facebook and literally pay attention to your audience. Your responses are included within the actions which help the “Edge Rank“ get higher in the algorithm.
Or you can fork over the money it takes to market your brand the way you want to, and take the risk that others will see it as you do. Marketing is a part of any companies business plan and prior to social media it was not free.
Therefore, neither story is right nor wrong, the question to ask is, if you are not willing to learn the interests of your audience than why should you have the freedom to be able to show up on every newsfeed? The fact is, if you are not willing to invest your time, than you need to be willing to invest your money.