The problem with Facebook Pages

like us on facebook

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.


5 reasons I love the way West Midlands Fire Service do digital

When it comes to fantastic examples of social media use, West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) are right up there. Here are 5 reasons why I think they are so brilliant.

1. They use photographs really effectively

If you scroll through WMFS Facebook Page or twitter account (@westmidsfire) you’ll see lots and lots of photos. Some are from incidents as the service responds to them. Some are from events and activities with the public. Some are safety advice and warnings. Others show you the day to day life of people who work for the fire service. And many of them are also shared on Instagram, a platform dedicated to photo and video content. I’m in awe of how smoothly West Midlands Fire Service work across platforms with great photo content.

2. They use mentions on twitter to inform and increase awareness

I thought these friendly replies to mentions during a conference in Dudley were just brilliant.

 3. They really get it – everyone is involved

In a Comms2Point0 blog post Dudley’s Fire Commander Neil Griffiths (@NeilGriffths_) describes how WMFS have handed over the power to share stories to the frontline. Below is an extract from the post:

The key to effective social media posting is “mixing it up a bit”, with a wide range of users across your organisation. The more people you have posting, the more diverse your engagement will be. This is why all of our fire stations have a twitter account and some even dual post through Facebook, too.

The majority of our tweets and posts come from our 1322 frontline firefighters from 38 fire stations, who are normally at the sharp end. The sharp end isn’t just responding to incidents, but also includes working with partners to improve the lives of our most vulnerable people. Being at this sharp end provides them with a great understanding of the communities they serve because they interact with them every day. So, through our 71 twitter accounts with over 80,000 followers we are able to inform our communities of the most relevant incidents and activities we undertake almost instantly.

4. They embrace a diversity of video content

West Midlands Fire Service have a You Tube channel and a Vimeo account to share video content. Videos they upload range from professionally made and edited films to short, unedited uploads from mobile devices at incidents the fire service are called out to. There are also uploads of media coverage and videos of speakers at WMFS events, such as this footage of Prof. Sir Michael Marmott at the Improving Lives to Save Lives event.

Neil also talks about video in the Comms2Point0 post:

The latest example of how social media can be used within our environment was a video we produced at a local fire…

 As the dynamic phase of the incident was concluded an opportunity to provide our communities not only with some information but place the reality and seriousness of a fire into some real life context allowing a birds eye view of the scene…

Using an iPhone and iMovie a video was created before the story broke, allowing the press and our communities the timely facts. 

5. They are quick to try out new platforms

West Midlands Fire Service already have over 130 followers and lots of applause (nearly 3000 hearts) on Periscope, a live video streaming app which was launched only 5 months ago. I’m yet to catch a WMFS live stream on Periscope (Periscope videos are only available for 24 hours), but I hope to soon. It caught the attention of communications folk at CommsCamp15:

I couldn’t resist chipping in upon seeing another great response from @WestMidsFire:

A handy list of some of West Midlands Fire Service social media accounts:

Twitter: (@westmidsfire)
You Tube:

Bostin Beginnings

twitter bird logo with speech bubble saying '#tweet on the street @dudleyccg"

from Dudley CCG’s Facebook page

BostinCamp got off to a fantastic start on Wednesday. 29 people from all sorts of organisations with all sorts of roles and interests spent a couple of hours after work discussing and learning about social media use by a charity, by the NHS and by local government.

You can see the line-up from the launch event here, all the tweets and photos from the evening are all archived on Storify here.

In a nutshell, we talked about:

  • Cake (of course!)
  • The link between design (e.g. of promotional posters) and social media as a means of sharing them
  • The importance of saying thank you to people who support what you do
  • Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group‘s blend of listening to local people’s views on healthcare (Feet on the Street) and sharing them through video voxpops and twitter (#tweetonthestreet)
  • Whether GPs should tweet about health issues
  • Why we should trust frontline staff to use social media, and the fact that people trust frontline staff more than CEOs and government officials nowadays (Dan Slee shared a link to this fascinating article which draws on the Edelman Trust Barometer on the brilliant comms2point0 site.
  • Dudley Council being one of 3 local authorities in England involved in a research bid which will

     map and analyse the use of social media by the involved local authorities in order to learn about how this impacts or could impact on the engagement of citizens, including young people.

  • Curry (all good camps lead to a good curry)


There were quite a few useful links shared, and #bostincamp reached far beyond Dudley thanks to those tweeting from the event. All the links and discussions are in the Storify archive.

Thanks to the Secret Coffee Club for hosting BostinCamp, and Marc and Callum for serving us delicious drinks. And thanks to everyone who came along or joined in on twitter – you made the evening truly bostin!