Is Facebook Turning into a Popularity Contest?

Is Facebook still the most effective social media outlet to promote your business? Is there still just as big of a reach to your audience as there was two years ago? In a recent article, Josh Constine, suggests Facebook’s reach is decreasing due to the surplus of content and lack of space. With such a large amount of businesses registered with Facebook today, the competition for exposure on an individual user’s news feed is heating up.

Businesses are beginning to lose their initial social media reach simply because there is just so much content and not enough space. Users add more friends and like more pages but can’t keep increasing the amount of time they read the news feed. Facebook says that an average user might have 1500 posts eligible to appear in their feed each day but if a user has a lot of friends and likes a lot of pages that number could balloon to 15,000 eligible posts. With such a large number of available posts possible in a user’s news feed what is the likelihood they are going to sit through and look at every single post? Probably slim to none.

Facebook uses a pretty complicated algorithm to determine the amount of news feed visibility will receive.

News Feed Visibility= I(interest) x P(post) x C(creator) x T(type) x R(recency)

This is a simplified equation but it gives a better understanding of how they measure how much visibility a post will receive. Interest deals with the amount of interest of the user in the creator. The post variable deals with its performance amongst other users. Previous performance of past posts by the content creator amongst other users is measured as well as the type of post (status, photo, link) the user prefers. Lastly, in this simplified and easy to understand algorithm, Facebook considers how new the post is. Ultimately Facebook has played the role as the bad guy by having to choose what content gets shown and what does not. Facebook’s goal is to show the most engaging posts because that is what people want to see.

Competition for exposure on Facebook is fierce because of the growing number of companies vying for attention.   Businesses have resorted to buying likes and boosting posts.  However, these tactics may not, ultimately, be beneficial.  Think about it.  A Purchased like does not get you engagement.  If you are being paid to “like” something, you’re not necessarily interested in it.  If an organization has an increasing number of likes that are not engaged in the content, those posts will be less relevant and so the Facebook  algorithm will depress exposure.  This, then, forces companies to have to pay to boost posts.  Facebook double-dips.  Organizations pay for increased likes which, in turn, depresses exposure forcing them to pay to boost a post.

So, with all of this information, is registering your business with Facebook still a great way to promote your business? Of course it is! But the better question is:  Will social media (not just Facebook) continue to be an increasingly important component of effective ad campaigns.  Again, the answer is yes.

The challenge for the advertiser is to find ways to develop and promote legitimately engaging content worthy of sharing.  Traditional advertising methods are still effective and have a tremendous reach potential.  But social media was created to connect people to other people. Users on Facebook are presented with an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of your business and not just the impression from the company website. Businesses will need to find a way to use various social media platforms for the deeper-dive into their organization.

The point is to utilize this fantastic resource at your disposal to help grow your business because in today’s day and age this is the new “word of mouth.”

The Gillespie Group