A Serious Visibility Problem on the New Facebook

There is a lot I like about the new Facebook layout. And I’m thoroughly jazzed about the forthcoming Timeline for profiles. Sure there are privacy considerations that still need to be taken into account, but if you’ve read this blog at all you know that if you wouldn’t put it on a sign in front of your house, you shouldn’t put it on Facebook. Problem solved.

However I’ve noticed a disturbing trend with serious implications for marketers. It has to do with post visibility. Some posts just aren’t getting seen. For example, I put up a post yesterday about an ice cream sundae I made (sea salted caramel apple pie sundae.) In the past, this type of post was GUARANTEED to provoke conversation and likes. An earlier post I did about a breakfast smoothie certainly did, and dessert posts usually do even better. But this later post got nothing. Nada.

Intrigued, I reached out to some of you on my Facebook Page to see if you’d been having similar experiences. You had!

Facebook says that it shows the posts it thinks are “most interesting” to us in the news feed. Everything else that is posted on Facebook goes by much faster in the ticker. We can’t TELL Facebook what we think is most interesting, except through the use of Friend Lists. Then we can see all posts from specific people in a list. (Well actually, we can tell Facebook we want to see more or less of posts from an individual, but do you think most people will go to that trouble? I don’t.)

But the challenge for marketers is summed up in a statement my sister in law made last night when we were discussing the changes. “I just don’t have time to re-do my entire Facebook.” This means that a LOT of your posts just aren’t going to be seen (if people care to add you, a marketer, to their lists at all.)

So what do we do? We can’t assume that customers are going to add us to their lists so they see all our posts, if they set up lists at all. I don’t know that there’s a perfect solution at this time, but there are a few things you can do to improve your visibility:

  • Post multiple times – My dessert post wasn’t seen, but my protein shake post was. Sometimes it just takes someone seeing your post at the right moment. You may want to frame each post differently…different headings, captions, etc…but it will probably need to be posted more than once to be seen.
  • Friend everyone at the party – Facebook takes into account how many of your friends like someone or something when it’s deciding whether or not to show your post. So be sure you get everyone at the party (who may all be friends with each other) to friend you on Facebook. At least you’ll have more than one person in a social circle connected to you, increasing your chances at visibility.
  • Use photos – We all know Facebook is more likely to show posts that show off its new features. And since new, bigger photos is one of the new features of the Facebook layout, it appears as though photo posts have a better chance at visibility.

We’ll have to continue to explore the best ways to get our posts seen on Facebook. And if you’ve got additional ideas or tips, I’d love to hear them. One thing is clear, however. It’s getting harder to market on Facebook.

Your thoughts?

photo credit: A. Blight

7 Responses to A Serious Visibility Problem on the New Facebook
  1. DL
    September 27, 2011 | 11:46 pm

    Thx for the shout-out!

  2. NooraK
    September 27, 2011 | 3:14 pm

    You can tell FB what kinds of things you want to be “Top Stories”. You can click on the blue corner to mark or unmark items as “Top Stories” and FB will supposedly show you similar things.

  3. Jodi Truscott
    September 27, 2011 | 1:37 pm

    Jen – you had me at Sea Salted Caramel Apple Pie Sundae!!!!!! šŸ™‚

    Seriously though, it will be interesting to see how the new Facebook algorithms affect marketing as a whole. I think it is going to force many of those who relied on their Fan Pages to actually pick up a phone, send an email or (aghast!) get in front of prospects face-to-face.

  4. BARB
    September 27, 2011 | 12:24 pm

    Your blog is so great to read – always reaching out to help others who are using social media for their business! Thanks for sharing! I always learn so much from you !

    • Jennifer Fong
      September 27, 2011 | 12:26 pm

      Thanks Barb! šŸ™‚

  5. Gretchen
    September 27, 2011 | 10:59 am

    Strangely, I’m seeing MORE from pages on my Facebook feed at the moment! I’m using just the Close Friends and Acquaintances lists, so when I’m in my regular News Feed, it’s highly populated with Pages I’d forgotten I’d liked! But I can see the specific lists (especially the automatic ones, which do not include Pages or Subscriptions) being a definite problem with Page visibility.
    Gretchen recently posted..goodbyes & growing older

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