Facebook is Damaging the Authenticity of Pages

Recently we’ve noticed that text-based posts on the Facebook Pages we manage have four times as much Reach as posts with links. After sensing this for several weeks, I decided to do a test. Every Friday, I do a “Promote Your Business” post on my Facebook Page. It gets a lot of likes and comments, so in theory Facebook should continue to increase the reach since fans seem to like the post.

Here’s the post I put up August 23. You can see that 5,360 people saw this post.

8-23 PYBF

 

Here’s the same post on May 10. 5,326 people saw this post.

5-10 PYBF

 

I’ve been doing this same type of post with similar visibility for months.

So this week, I decided to post it with a link, just to see if there would be a difference. Take a look at the results.

8-30 PYBF

 

When I put up the exact same post I’ve been putting up for months, but included a link, my reach was only 1,882 people. Shocking.

And here’s my issue. Facebook is manipulating the news feed in favor of text-only posts. But in some instances, people have liked a Page specifically because of the content that Page shares. That’s certainly the case with Pages like the Direct Selling Education Foundation. But now Facebook is actually forcing Pages to be something other than what people signed up for. And I don’t think that serves either Facebook or the communities built around Pages well.

Now I’m sure that advertising dollars have something to do with this. Facebook wants Pages to spend money to promote things on their websites. But when Pages aren’t selling anything, this breaks faith with the community that Page has worked so hard to build. Facebook is essentially dictating what we can say to and share with our community. And that doesn’t feel authentic at all. Whose conversation is this anyway?

Have you noticed that Facebook is less likely to display your Link Posts on your Page to your Facebook Page community? What do you think of the way Facebook is manipulating what content people share? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

25 Responses to Facebook is Damaging the Authenticity of Pages
  1. Hopelyn
    September 13, 2013 | 1:05 pm

    I have noticed that myself and was just discussing it with a colleague recently. What are our options?!
    Hopelyn recently posted..Do You Want To Live A Grand Life?!

  2. steph
    September 10, 2013 | 9:23 am

    Absolutely, I agree. Also, something to note, is this- When you post a link, if you don’t delete the link preview /picture, you will get far less reach then if you just post text that has a link in it. Know what I mean?

    Like for example, if I post – visit my blog http://www.generoussavings.com

    Versus Visit my blog http://www.generoussavings.com
    —-and leave the link preview like you did in your picture

    The first post will get much more views. The latter post get practically nothing

    I would be curious for you to test your same post, with a link, but delete the link preview and see what your reach is….

    hope this makes sense,, but I wholeheartedly agree with you

  3. Jenetta Penner
    September 9, 2013 | 9:49 pm

    To combat this you can still place the link.. but simply “close the preview”.. fb now sees it as a plain status and it should perform better.

  4. Erin
    September 8, 2013 | 10:41 pm

    I agree with everyone here. To play devil’s advocate, though… Facebook is free. Business owners like me have used it for years to expand our reach, derive profit and advance our reputations at no cost other than our time and creativity. And although it’s inconvenient to try to play by the rules when the rules keep changing, it’s important to remember that FB is a business, too. We “use” them to grow OUR profit, and they’d like to do the same. It’s similar to a parasitic relationship. In providing us with a platform that furthers our agenda, they provide themselves with a platform to grow as well. We each rely on each other for our success. But, Facebook doesn’t owe us anything. It’s their company- they can do as they wish. Thankfully, so can we. I like the idea of “tricking” their algorithm by placing links in a first comment… and I also like the idea of putting more of my energy into getting to know and love Google +. When page owners find workarounds or leave, FB will have no choice but to change as well.
    Erin recently posted..No. 12: Stratosphere™ [Rosemary Peppermint Soap, 5.5 oz]

  5. Melannie
    September 7, 2013 | 2:17 am

    Thank you for pointing out this issue.

  6. Sabra Rounds
    September 6, 2013 | 1:34 pm

    I’ve noticed the difference, but didn’t realize the cause. Now I know–thanks! It also seems when I “Share” other people’s items, those also do not get as big an audience. It is frustrating, and I think I will be checking out G+ a little more closely.
    Sabra Rounds recently posted..It’s All About THE VIEW, Baby!

  7. Joyce Glass
    September 5, 2013 | 10:39 pm

    All the more reason to grow pages and community on Google+ !!

    I do not like the changes SAM

    I do not like not posting links Sam I am

    I do not like FB being stingy! NO Sam I do not like Facebook!

    I have grown very disappointed with the changes in FB forcing you to pay to promote… Like you said the exact opposite of why people go to FB.

    So … Join me on the Crusade to ditch FB and go to G+ – Posting on G+ improves your rankings and exposure on google searches… & so much more!

  8. Karen Satmary
    September 5, 2013 | 4:54 pm

    Thank you Jennifer for doing this research and letting us know the latest. I’ve been wondering why my reaches have been lower too. Now I won’t attach a picture and see if it increases. I also don’t like how FB decides that my page can’t share certain links and posts too. Have you figured that one out?

  9. Mark Bosworth
    September 5, 2013 | 4:12 pm

    So Jen… since you are doing our research for us. Is the impact of having an image with your text positive or negative on impressions for FB posts? I used to be certain it was positive, but now I’m not 100% certain.

    Also, I think this is just another version of the FB policy to squeeze as much revenue from commercial interests as possible. Eventually they will shoot their own toe off because the only way to win is to focus on what their end customer wants. It just might take them a long time to ruin their business. :)

  10. rita
    September 5, 2013 | 12:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing information. I continue to try and figure out the games fb plays…this does help.

  11. Pat Zahn
    September 5, 2013 | 11:23 am

    Heck yeah, it’s frustrating! All things evolve, but it seems like facebook is really trying to figure out what’s best for them without losing their users and their efforts result in dithering back and forth with their algorithm, before most of us can find our footing. It DOES help to further an industry for social media experts, whose job it is to follow all this stuff.
    Pat Zahn recently posted..House Concert in my Scrapbook

    • Jennifer Fong
      September 5, 2013 | 12:20 pm

      LOL! This is true Pat.

  12. nancy
    September 4, 2013 | 10:24 pm

    You’re right – it is frustrating! As a very small business owner, it’s hard to keep up with the changes, so i appreciate people like you and your followers to keep us up to date.

  13. Diana Pardee
    September 4, 2013 | 1:57 pm

    I don’t know if any one has suggested this on this comment section, but I’ve wondered if they have considered asking page owners to pay a small monthly fee. If income stream is the issue, and there are a million pages (probably lots more!) $5/month.million would generate considerable revenue, allow us an economical space to share our businesses and provide better exposure of our content. Personally, I would be willing to do that if I could be assured that people would really see my content.

    What do you all think of charging for business pages??

  14. Jana Brown
    September 4, 2013 | 1:19 pm

    This is why a lot of pages are including the link to content in the comments, but it’s a pain to have to say… Here’s a subject and the link, which is what the community is really looking for, is in the comments. Then as a user I have to go hunting for something that I want immediately. As a business it’s making me look for other ways to spread content and looking more seriously as places like Google+.
    Jana Brown recently posted..The Great Cookie Experiment Pinterest Edition- Coconut Lemon Meltaways

  15. Penny Andler
    September 4, 2013 | 12:37 pm

    I had wondered why my Page posts have such differing view results. Thanks for pointing out the answer is it’s the links. I completely agree that FB does not serve us well by doing this. It’s de-emphasizing sharing with this effect!

  16. dixie
    September 4, 2013 | 11:23 am

    Like google or any other “free” service that is monetized by ad content, they have to be a moving target and we have to keep adjusting our aim.

    I’ve been toying with posting a picture with the link in the body of the post or the picture caption. Also with posting a link but deleting the preview. Both have ranked higher than a link with a preview.

    I get it. And it’s free so worth the money. :) And when did FB ever have any respect for their users?
    dixie recently posted..You’re Not Blind. And I’m Not Dumb.

    • Jennifer Fong
      September 4, 2013 | 12:22 pm

      Interesting to know Dixie! You’re right, it’s free so we have to suck it up. But it’s annoying! And the constantly changing algorithm means that business owners have to keep changing it up, rather than focusing on other (possibly more important) aspects of their business. Thanks for commenting!

  17. Yolanda Vanveen
    September 4, 2013 | 11:18 am

    Just had the same discussion last night!
    Dear Facebook: Please show my posts to people in the Garden Naturally Group. It shows that my video on “Growing Bananas” only appeared on the news feed of one person. So does that make it invisible to the 10,000 others that follow the group? The next post which was a picture was available to 1,000 people. Not understanding why some posts are hidden and some aren’t when they are posted right after each other. Any articles, blog posts or videos seem to be hidden on my Garden Naturally Group. Appreciating that you still show most of my posts on my personal page and sometimes I catch people’s posts on my feed between the sponsored posts. Thankful to those that do see my posts. You are loved!
    2Like · · Promote · Share
    Ken Lisa Harris, Peer Moin Shah, Rick Hare and 24 others like this.

    Michael Faraday The strangeness of posting like there is a censor of sorting! Ah well we all know and love all you do and share continually. Love your fortitude.
    9 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 2

    Yolanda Vanveen You too Michael. I look forward to your posts each day and share often. I don’t post as often on my group pages as my personal pages either. I keep sending Facebook messages about my concerns (the friends limit too because I can’t send messages or comment on subscriber’s pages or even see their posts) and appreciating what I can do with social media. I do feel censored often (Baby doesn’t like to be put in the corner) but I keep trying and appreciating. I feel so much support from everyone at Clark College (Clark is paying for my educational trip to Washington DC next week), Vermont Law School, the Philanthropic Education Organization, Klout.com and all of my friends and family so not too worried about it! Back to posting rainbows and butterflies! (They don’t seem to get censored) Love you!
    9 hours ago · Like · 2

    Michael Faraday It appears, my peer, that appearances can be conceiving. Peering into your life brings me daily joy too. Can always count on you for sorting thru the postings to send the cherries.
    Yolanda Vanveen recently posted..Trimming Chives

  18. Eva
    September 4, 2013 | 11:05 am

    Excellent post, and it confirms what I thought I was seeing as well. It’s a 180-degree change from what FB *was* doing a year or so ago. Part of me wishes that they wouldn’t constantly manipulate things so much and let it be more organic.
    Eva recently posted..Gazpacho

    • Jennifer Fong
      September 4, 2013 | 11:07 am

      It’s hard to keep up, isn’t it? I agree, it would be great if they could decide on a strategy and stick with it, rather than making Page owners constantly change up what has been working and serving their communities. Thanks for commenting!

  19. Allie
    September 4, 2013 | 10:58 am

    Jen,

    I have seen people actually place their links in the first comment. And state that the link is there. They know FB does this so they play the game. I wasn’t sure if this is good or not in terms of exposure but the one woman I see do it a lot (her FB page is Truth About Motherhood) continues to do it every week so she must be getting great responses.

    You are correct. My fans come to be directed back to my blog or a blog I suggest. So I place links all the time.

    It’s all about the money. Bottom line.

    ~Allie
    Allie recently posted..WAHM Round Up Post 8-30-13

    • Jennifer Fong
      September 4, 2013 | 11:07 am

      Exactly Allie. It’s become a game and it’s at the expense of the users. At what point does Facebook become “Big Brother,” completely manipulating the conversation for its own gain? It’s frustrating!

      • Rochelle Nardelli
        September 5, 2013 | 10:38 am

        yep – that’s it. It all comes back to money and what someone else wants you to see – big brother.

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