It's Not You, It's The Landlord
October 23, 2012
For anyone interacting, posting, or managing on behalf of a brand on a Facebook "Like" page, you may have noticed that what you deem solid Facebook status updates that should elicit interplay between the brand and the fan are falling short. And in fact, you may have noticed your brand losing "reach."
You're not alone.
Before anyone gets a complex or questions their ability to communicate socially with fans, you should know it's nothing that you've necessarily done. It's also not your brand, nor a lack of interest from the fans.
It's the owner – that is "the landlord" – the guy who created this platform we merely "rent" – Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuck's team once again has fiddled with its Edge Rank algorithm, leaving brands frustrated at the decrease in eyeballs they're now capturing with Facebook posts. (I pulled data from a number of pages and it looks like the average organic reach on Facebook has now dropped to 10% of total "Likes.")
This algorithm constitutes the rules set in place to determine "News Feed placement" – essentially, whether or not your posts get seen by fans. Facebook revealed these rules a couple of years ago. They are as follows:
Affinity - How much fans interact with your content. (EX: Are they passively watching you or exchanging thoughts.)
Weight – How certain actions count more (EX: Comments weigh more than likes.)
Time Decay – The age of the story (EX: An hour old compared to 16 hours old.)
But if you truly listened to the "landlord" earlier this year, altering the algorithm (again) and reducing your organic reach shouldn't come as any surprise.
On February 1 of this year, Mark Zuckerberg wrote in his IPO Filing that Facebook gives brands "the opportunity to form direct and ongoing relationships with their customers, with the potential to turn them into valuable advocates."
Landlord Translation: Brands are expected to interact with fans – not just post and then walk away. If you don't build social affinity with fans, sorry – his algorithm will make sure your posts are not seen by most of your fans.
On February 29th of this year, Facebook revealed during its first ever Marketing Conference that the average brand (and user) only reaches a small percentage of "Likes." They shared this data as part of a pitch for "Reach Generator," a tool you can pay for to reach more fans.
Landlord Translation: The "free ride" is over. Organic reach will continue to decrease to make room in the Live Feed for promoted posts and paid ads.
But, we as "tenants" shouldn't get too up in arms over this new reduced reach.
Zuckerberg has always been upfront about protecting the Facebook user's experience first and foremost. He always speaks about maintaining "the integrity" of the Live Feed – and rightfully so.
With about 2.7 million pieces of content flowing through his platform each day, there has to be some type of traffic control.
Therefore, Facebook's official word to brands over this recent loss in reach is that they are doing this to "optimize the [user's] News Feed to [only] show them posts they will most likely engage with, ensuring they see the most interesting stories."
But there's more to it than that.
Facebook is now a public company and needs room in the Live Feed to slide in all of the promoted posts and paid ads that their marketing partners and stockholders are investing in.
What this means to you is something I've suggested to many Jacobs Media clients over the past year or so. To truly derive any real value from Facebook, you must focus on impact. And there are ways to start doing that today.
In fact I'll share an idea next week here on Merge that zeros in on impact.
Much of what you may be reading about Facebook has little to do with the tasks involved with programming and sales. These social media challenges are not part of the everyday lexicon of radio.
My strength is focusing on fan development and how you can use social to build a real reputation – one that will take you far into this mobile, social world we are living through. That's why I'm here each week – hoping to assist radio in merging the traditional, digital and social worlds.
Without perspective there is no direction. It's time to really learn about the landlord and the space we "rent."
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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