Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Facebook: Content is STILL King

If you are on Facebook at all, you have seen some variation on the following message in the last month, posted on the page of a business or organization:
Warning: Facebook is changing and is preventing you from longer seeing all of the posts of the pages that you like. To fix this, add this page to an interest list ...
Many of this warnings have a conspiratorial tone: as if the fact that you don't see every post from a particular Facebook page is an effort by the company to cheat you or to rip off small businesses. (Dangerous Minds has one of the best analyses of this sort: "I Want My Friends Back.")

Take a deep breath.

1) Yes, interest lists are a good idea. Used well, they are a great way to increase traffic to your organization's Facebook page. I have written about both why to use them and how to use them.

2) Yes, Facebook wants organizations to buy advertising. Shocking, I know. Wouldn't you? That's where their income comes from.

3) At the end of the day, quality content remains the best way to get more eyes on your page.

Facebook has always used their mysterious algorithm (EdgeRank) to control which information shows up in your newsfeed. I would imagine - if how Facebook handles the rest of the site is any indication - that the algorithm is constantly being tweaked. (And I don't know that that is a bad thing. Tony Jones wrote a great reflection on tech companies and change that I am still digesting.)

The numbers I have seen reported claim that Facebook is only showing your page's status updates to around 15% of the people who like your page. Simply put, that does not jive with what I have seen with engaging content. Without advertising, most posts on my church's page are seen by 30% of the pages fans - if I post something really good, it will go over 50%.

Consider for a moment. How many of the people who like your page have hidden your page's content so that it doesn't show in their newsfeed? How many happen to not be online the day that you post? As people garner more friends and like more pages, how many people don't see your content because it is too deep in their newsfeed?

I've bought Facebook advertising. It seems to be a good investment to me. For under ten dollars, my posts get seen by around 1,000% of the people who like my page. But even without the ads, content is king.

Below is are the insights to the Facebook page for the congregation I serve. On the left are the insights for a period when I purchased advertising. On the right, when I was doing a great job of providing engaging content. It is a tie for total eyes on the page. But when it comes to the number of people talking about and engaging my page, content wins the day.

What has your experience been with Facebook? Does a presence on Facebook help your organization? Is Facebook still a good idea for churches and ministries?

Join us on Twitter for tonight's Church Social Media chat, #chsocm, at 9pm Eastern to talk more about this topic!

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