The Problem With Your Facebook Content

This is not a happy post, and it will not solve any problems. Sorry.

As many of our agencies begin using social media as a part of their
outreach and public information work, we find that our PIOs and
Communications Directors, who have always had a full plate, are having
trouble finding the time to fully integrate social media into their
day-to-day work. And that’s troublesome on a number of levels.

First, the only thing worse than NOT having a social media presence
these days is having a presence that is moribund, out-of-date, silent.
Many Directors and PIOs understand this and employ all manner of
tricks and tips to post to all of the relevant social media networks.
They utilize programs like Hootsuite,
and to write a post and have that post
propagate to all of the agencies’ social media accounts. (For those
who aren’t looking for ways to better integrate social media, for

Second, and newly discovered, is that those tricks and tips aren’t
always the best way to do things. It turns out that Facebook (the most
popular and highly trafficked social network in the world) penalizes
posts that are submitted via third-party tools. From

A service called EdgeRank Checker revealed data this week that showed how using a third-party application — like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck — to update your Facebook Page decreases your engagement per fan (on average) by about 70%.

The study speculates that decrease in engagement could be due to one,
or several, of the following reasons:

  • Facebook penalizes third-party API’s EdgeRank
  • Facebook collapses third-party API updates
  • Scheduled or automated posts have potential for lower engagement
  • The content is not optimized for Facebook

The first seems proprietary, and kind of “black box-y,” so I feel okay
ignoring it. The rest I wholeheartedly agree with.

First up, the third and fourth on the AdAge list. When would you
schedule your posts for if your audience was college-aged? Middle-aged
mothers? Teenage boys who game? Please, please tell me that the
answers aren’t all 8:30 to 3:30. if they are, you’re not adequately
reaching your audience, so that’s why they aren’t engaging. Also, make
sure that the message matches the medium. To limit oneself to 140
characters and no threading conversations (like on Twitter) when
you’ve got Facebook’s 420 characters and ability to solicit responses
is the same as leaving money on the table.

Finally, collapsing. I’ve seen this on my own Pages and account. The
latest post will be displayed in full, with a link underneath that
says something like, “See 3 more posts from Tweetdeck.” Clicking that
gives access to all of your vetted, approved, rewritten, perfect
posts. How many of your Facebook page fans will click that link? And
even worse than that is that Facebook will collapse posts from
different accounts based n which third-party tool submitted it. So,
if your agency and three other Pages that you fan has liked use the
same tool, it’s possible that your fans might never see your posts.


And just yesterday, in anticipation of the upcoming Facebook
conference, f8, word has come out that the company is revamping it’s
famous News Feed. And the changes means tons for Page Administrators.

Facebook is rolling out an updated version of News Feed that does away with the two-tabbed interface that it’s had for two years now. Before now you’d have to swap between ‘Top Stories’ (a feed of stories that Facebook thought were important) and ‘Most Recent’ (a feed of your friends’ most recent actions on the site).

Facebook will now merge both types of content into the same feed, intelligently determining how much screen real estate to allocate to ‘Top Stories’ based on how recently you’ve logged into the site. If you’re checking Facebook ten times a day at work, then most of the items in your feed will be recent; if you’re logging in for the first time in the few days, Facebook will try to give you an overview of the most important things your friends have shared.

Does Facebook think that your posts are “Top Stories?” Well, if all of
your posts are getting collapsed and are posted when none of your
audience is looking, they probably won’t. And if that’s the case,
well, what’s the point?

This social media thing, man, you’ve got to keep an eye on it.


7 thoughts on “The Problem With Your Facebook Content”

  1. Thanks so much for stopping by Andre and Bill!Just found something about the Top Stories change. You can ask your fans to mouse-over your post and click the blue triangle in the top left corner to mark your story as a “Top Story.”Now, in addition to your calls to “Like” a post, you’ll have to ask folks to “Mark as a Top Story.”

  2. This article is great – cuts through the initial “huh?” and gets to the root of what’s important to us as communicators. I’m bummed that we’ve lost the simplicity of a simple chronological feed – Facebook’s algorithms for Top Stories never made sense to me and now it has encroached over the whole feed. Plus users are stumbling all over the List feature, which may be another place communicators will need to drive fans to in addition to “mark as top story”.Great info on 3rd party tools too!

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