The problem with Facebook Pages

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Often people coming along to social media surgeries are keen to harness the networking power of Facebook. If you are involved in a local club, group, society, social enterprise or voluntary organisation, under Facebook terms you will need to set up a Facebook Page rather than a personal profile (see how are Pages different to personal profiles). So if it turns out that Facebook might really be a useful communication and collaboration tool for a group, we obviously point people towards Facebook Pages, and help them to set things up.

Before I used Facebook my knowledgeable colleague Melissa Guest repeatedly tried to explain to me why Facebook Pages are like islands. A key difference between Facebook and Twitter is that your Twitter timeline displays a stream of all the tweets from all the accounts you follow (there are also summaries available now too), whereas Facebook uses algorithms which make decisions about what posts you will see and not see in your news feed. I hadn’t realised quite how much these algorithms affect the likelihood of a post on a Facebook Page reaching people who have liked the Page.

This article about the organic (non paid for ) reach of Facebook Page posts was recently shared by the excellent Comms2point0 this week. Here’s an extract about brand pages, I can only assume it’s the same for group or charity Pages:

“Here’s how it works (in simple terms): Your brand page posts a piece of content. Facebook immediately puts that content in a very small pool (but statistically significant) of your followers news feeds (sub 1% of your following depending on how many people follow your page). It chooses the people most likely to engage with your content. 

If that test audience engages well with your content it will open up your content to about 2-4% of your total audience, and if they also engage deeply with the content then it may begin to loosen the resigns and open it up to more of the audience. HOWEVER, if your engagement is low as a part of that initial test audience then Facebook will chose not to show it to anymore of your audience.”

Despite knowing this rather disappointing fact I will still be posting across the handful of Facebook Pages I manage or jointly manage. Partly because I know from questions people ask that they expect projects and organisations to have a presence on Facebook. Partly because if a few of use our Facebook profiles effectively to share content from Pages we can get things out a bit further. And partly because Facebook events are a really effective way of inviting people to something and simple for them to respond.

What do you feel about Facebook Pages and their utility?
How do you get the best from connecting with people on Facebook?
What advice would you give at a social media surgery about using Facebook?

And if after this you need cheering up bit, I can highly recommend checking out more of the great things which Dan and Darren aka Comms2point0 do and share, on their blog, on twitter, through their lovely weekly email and yes… on their Facebook Page.

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8 comments

  1. pauljaunzems · November 18, 2015

    Thanks Lorna. Posted and credited on, er, our Facebook page! 🙂

    Regards

    Paul

    Langstone Society Medway House 98-99 Dixons Green Road Dudley DY2 7DJ Reg Charity No. 517663 Reg Company No. 2009886

    http://www.langstonesociety.org Find us on Facebook Twitter @LangstoneSoc

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  3. Lorna Prescott · November 18, 2015

    Cheers Paul 🙂

  4. Good Practice Exchange · November 18, 2015

    Aaah, so that’s how the algorithm works! We don’t have a project page, but I use it for a band I’m in, and I must admit that the algorithm is so frustrating. Having said that, Twitter is so ethereal that Facebook still is more effective in reaching people. Cheers!

    • Lorna Prescott · November 18, 2015

      You’re most welcome 🙂
      It feels challenging to get information to people who are likely to want it without feeling like you are just adding to the noise and nothing is being heard. I agree that FB helps cut through some of that.

  5. L Horton · November 19, 2015

    I’m not sure I’d describe Comms2point0 as ‘excellent’. They have a post on their blog about the digital divide which is extremely discriminatory against disabled people and others who lack digital access whether through a lack of digital skills, lack of money to have good internet access or lack of broadband infrastructure, eg if they live in a rural area. I’m giving them a wide berth!

    • Lorna Prescott · November 23, 2015

      Hi there

      I’ve just read the post I imagine you are referring to (http://www.comms2point0.co.uk/comms2point0/2015/11/16/shut-up-about-the-digital-divide.html), it was a guest post on the Comms2Point0 blog, so doesn’t reflect to me the attitudes and approaches of the excellent individuals behind Comms2Point0 – Dan Slee and Darren Caveney. I see the another 2 of the people who commented on the post along with you also took issue with what the author had said.

      While I’m all for not writing off older people, who have an abundance of skills, talents, knowledge and potential, the piece feels to me to lack an understanding of structural and other forms of discrimination, which you obviously are knowledgeable about. I imagine a number of people who get jobs in communications aren’t supported by their employers to develop their own critical thinking and understanding. I can therefore understand why someone thinks they can take a few things they see and apply them generally. They perhaps haven’t had the opportunities or experiences which you or I might have done which help us to think critically and challenge the dominant narrative.

      In summary, I’d suggest that this particular post you’ve come across isn’t representative of the supportive and good thinking which I usually find on the Comms2Point0 blog.

  6. Pingback: Why groups should learn to love email | Digital Dudley

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