What does Facebook Edgerank mean to you and your reach on your fan page?
On March 19th I asked my readers and fans to help me conduct an experiment to help determine if there was a way to reach all the people who LIKE my page. You can read about the experiment here.
Today I am ready to release my results.
I had approximately 14,200 likes to my page when I made the post requesting that people like, comment and share what I had written. I wanted to see if the activity on the post would lead to more organic views. That is, how many of my 14,200 fans would be exposed to the post?
As you can see, the post was liked by 207 times, commented on 142 times and shared 80 times.
All in all, 11,416 people saw the post.
Maybe, until you look at the breakdown of the people who saw the post.
Only 1,963 of my 14,200 fans ever saw the post. I recognize that there are some people who don’t use Facebook regularly and there are probably some dormant accounts. However, to have such a small percentage of my own fans see a post that was the most heavily liked, commented and shared post I have written is not very encouraging.
Even with all the likes, comments and shares, a silly post I made earlier today received more views with my fans than the experimental post referenced above.
With 3 likes, 23 comments and NO shares, this post reached 2,240 of my fans.
Do you think this was an anomaly?
How about this post also made earlier today?
10 likes, 15 comments and NO shares. Yet the post was seen by 2,186 of my fans.
What are we to make of this?
Well, how about some more data to make things more interesting?
The following two posts were made within 24 hours of each other. The content of both posts was very similar with one exception. The second post contained a link to my blog.
Even though the second post was shared 72 times, the number of MY fans who saw the page was barely more than the post that had only 2 shares!
Want some more to chew on?
On March 21st, my entire experimental post disappeared from Facebook. I couldn’t access it at all. Facebook was displaying an error message saying that the post didn’t exist.
What’s a social media expert to do in such a situation? Post about it!
The real irony here is that my gripe about the post disappearing from Facebook reached more of my fans directly than the experimental post with way more likes, comments and shares.
Here’s one last example before I try to make sense of all this.
On the same day, I posted an image and a link to an article I had just posted on my blog.
Only 1,320 of my fans saw this post.
Again, I say “ouch.”
Mari Smith recently posted about Edgerank and reach on her page. Her conclusions were just as startling.
The bottom line is as I feared. Due to Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm, your fans are not really your fans. They may like your page, but the odds of them seeing your posts are not in your favor.
If you are building your Facebook presence in hopes of interacting with those who are interested in you or your brand, you may discover that at best one in five of those fans will see your posts on a regular basis.
It has been thought that Facebook penalizes posts containing links to other sites. I believe this is likely to be the case, though my similar posts referenced above received similar views by my fans even though one post linked to my blog.
While you may wish that more shares would equal more of your fans seeing posts, it doesn’t appear to work that way.
Facebook is interested in keeping all their members on Facebook.com. Posts that link to other sites are allowed, but you won’t reach as many people that way.
I believe it is safe to say that Facebook is in the business of selling you access to your own fans. For a fee, you can promote your posts and reach more people. It’s that simple… and that obvious.
You see, when you visit my blog you may elect to opt-in to my email list. It’s over there on the right sidebar, in case you missed it before. (Go ahead and sign up now if you haven’t already.)
By opting into my list, I now have the opportunity to interact with you and reach you via email whenever I choose. Your opting in allows the communication between myself and you continue unabated, unless you choose to unsubscribe from my list. (Which I hope you don’t do!)
However, when you opt-in to my Facebook fan page, the same rules don’t apply. While it’s true that you still control whether or not you will receive ANY messages from me, there is no guarantee that you WILL see any of my posts.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
You do NOT own your Facebook fans. And it’s unlikely that communication which you intend for them to view will ever each the majority of them.
That’s why it is all the more important that you build your business and your brand in a venue which you have complete control over. The only place that happens online is on your own website.
So now what happens?
I suspect that Facebook will move more and more towards asking fan pages to pay to reach their fans.
The truth is that we all enjoy Facebook. They could probably beat us like red-headed step-children at K-Mart and we would still use Facebook. It’s fun to use and exposure is exposure.
So while I intend to continue using my fan page, my main focus will always be this blog and other websites that I personally own and control. It’s still the best way to reach my followers.
What about you? Does this information change how you will use Facebook? Should big brands be upset that their presence on Facebook isn’t really the presence they thought they had built?
Please leave your thoughts and comments below. I promise you that everyone who views this article will actually SEE this article.