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Disillusioned with Facebook: Here’s a Way Forward

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Are you disillusioned or frustrated with Facebook?

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard bloggers say that they are unhappy with the changes Facebook have made to their algorithm in the last 12 months – changes that make it harder for those who ‘like’ your page to actually see your updates.

I admit to this frustration too.

12 months ago on a webinar I declared I was considering switching most of my social media efforts away from Facebook to other social networks because I was so frustrated. I’d put years of effort into building my Facebook following only to see the company make changes to show fewer and fewer of my updates to followers.

It hurt to see all that effort seemingly go to waste.

However it wasn’t wasted and rather than giving up I decided to try to understand and work within the changes Facebook had made.

Thankfully that approach has paid off.

As regular readers of ProBlogger know – of late I’ve been investing even more time into Facebook as a place to share the content published on dPS and to build community with our readers.

I wrote about this a few weeks ago in a post titled How I Increased Facebook Reach and Engagement by 200-300% this Week.

I’ve continued to experiment with and evolve the strategies mentioned in the above post on the dPS Facebook page but today wanted to point readers to Facebook’s own words on the changes they’ve made over the last few months – words that I think give some hints as to how a blogger should approach building their page on Facebook.

Towards the end of August Facebook published a post on their Business Blog titled News Feed FYI: Showing More High Quality Content which spoke of the changes that they’d made.

While it didn’t give specific information on exactly how their algorithm decides what updates to show it does give some good hints that I think are worth pondering as a Facebook page owner.

What to Focus Your Efforts On with Facebook

The post indicates there are thousands of factors that determine if someone who has liked your page will actually see your content but that really it boils down to a few main things. Here they are in the words of Facebook itslef:

  • Make your posts timely and relevant
  • Build credibility and trust with your audience
  • Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
  • Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”

The concepts here that stand out to me are that for a post to show up in news feeds it needs to be timely, relevant, trustworthy and shareable. Ultimately I think they’re talking about delivering high ‘value’ to those who like your page.

This is common sense on many levels and is similar to the advice I’ve given here on ProBlogger on building an audience of a blog.

High quality, high value content and building trust with your audience.

So what can you do to deliver this?

Ultimately it will different from niche to niche but what I’m attempting to do on the dPS Facebook page is this.

1. Understand My Readers Needs and Deliver Content that Meets Them – Relevancy

My followers want to improve their photography – so the bulk of what I share aims to help with this. Regular content that solves problems is what my main focus is – this is ‘relevancy’. I avoid fluffy and general questions to get cheap comments – but rather keep on topic and focus upon the topic I know those who’ve liked my page want to see.

2. Understand What My Readers Like to Share – Shareable

My followers love to share great images, cool and geeky tips and humorous content. As a result I try to make as many of the updates that I do as shareable as possible.

Posts that link back to my blog always have shareable images in them and I will often put together collages of great images because I know those also trigger shares with our audience.

3. Understand the ‘Rhythms’ of your Readers – Timely

My niche being photography I know that many of our followers are most active in taking photos on the weekend. So we’ve started doing ‘share your photo’ posts on our Facebook page at the end of the weekend (see the latest one here).

I’ve done these the last 3 weeks and already our readers are starting to look forward to them and anticipate us doing them. This ‘timely’ content seems to be driving some great engagement.

I suspect that doing different types of posts regularly would be a good way forward and I’d like to do more of this.

4. Produce Quality Content – Value and Trust

The quality of updates is paramount. Publishing low quality content could at the worst cause followers to react negatively (hiding your posts, marking you as spam etc) or simply make them ignore you (not commenting, liking sharing).

This not only impact whether that post might be seen but goes toward decreasing the trust and credibility of your page!

What to Avoid Doing on Facebook

Also in Facebook’s post there’s reference to negative factors that could harm a status update ranking well. Facebook recommends asking yourself these questions:

  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

These points are well worth considering. I see a lot of bloggers who seem to be posting ‘like my stuff’ type updates or sharing fluffy/cheap quotes and graphics that don’t have a lot of value in them.

If my reading of the Facebook advice is correct – it is this type of update that Facebook is focused upon removing from news feeds and that could impact the trust/credibility of your page.

Perhaps a good question to ask before publishing an update to Facebook is ‘does this update run the risk of annoying my followers?

If you are posting updates that primarily ask for likes or that are after cheap shares or comments (which also have a high annoyance factor) then you might want to rethink your strategy.

Not only will these posts go unseen – they’ll impact the overall trust and credibility of your page which will impact whether ALL of your updates are seen!

I suspect also that the frequency of your updates could come into play with ‘annoying’ readers (and causing people to ‘hide’ your content).

The hard part about all of this is that there is sometimes a fine line between creating updates that are liked/shared/commented upon and tipping into annoying your readers. Really I guess it comes down to monitoring how your readers are responding and tweaking your approach.

One More Tip: Variety is a Factor

A factor that I’m increasingly convinced is important to consider when thinking about your updates in Facebook is to mix up the types of posts that you do.

Here’s why:

A factor that Facebook seems to consider when determining if it should show your update to someone who has liked your page is whether it is the type of content that they’ve interacted with in the past.

For example: if a follower has a history of engaging with images and your update is an image, they’re more likely to see it.

On the other hand if the follower has a history with engaging more with ‘link’ updates on the pages that they follow and all you post is images – then they may not see many of them.

So mixing up the type of updates that you post will mean you are reaching a larger number of your followers.

Typically I try to post at least one image/s post per day, one link post per day and one discussion type post per day.

My hope is that by doing this I’ll be producing content that different types of followers are going to respond to – which increases their engagement and trust with the page (which can only have a positive flow on impact).

I also hope that by mixing up the type of content that readers will be less likely to become bored with the same approach and stay engaged.

Don’t Give Up – Evolve Your Approach

Let me finish with an encouragement to those of you who are disillusioned with Facebook.

I understand your frustration – really I do.

However when faced with any obstacle in life or business we have the choice in how to move forward. We can walk away – or attempt to hurdle it. I think this one is well worth attempting to hurdle and encourage you to spend some time thinking about how to evolve your approach to work with the changes Facebook has made.

While I know some are skeptical about Facebook’s changes and think they are more about trying to force pages to advertise (and there may be some truth in this) I do believe that for Facebook to continue to be sustainable and successful that they need to provide those who use the site with the best experience possible.

Facebook will only continue to be a viable proposition if they deliver value to those who use the social network.

As a result what I see them doing is making changes to their algorithm to ensure that those who use Facebook see high quality content.

This is an opportunity for bloggers who are producing great content!

With almost 1.2 billion active monthly users I think to ignore this opportunity would be crazy!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Darren this is such a useful post! I write primarily for moms and I find they are truly present on Facebook every day. I like meeting them where they are and hanging out with them. This helps me do that very thing!

    Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  2. Another great post, Darren! I too get flustered from the many changes in Facebook that harms marketing. However, I look to see what Facebook is there for, which isn’t really dedicated to us website owners since we attempt to take traffic away from them and all. I’ve wanted to quit Facebook but its pretty much THE social giant so it would probably do more harm than good. You have some good tips here! One other thing I tend to do is include my Facebook link in each post I make encouraging people to visit the page for more tips on the subject of the post. That has appeared to be a working tactic as well.

  3. Excess of anything can kill or build your business. Same is the case of social sites like facebook. It is great way to build loyal audiance if used well otherwise you can waste your time too there and you will have no one to complain.

  4. Thank you. I agree 100% with this post. I have been studying what works with my viewership on facebook for the past few months. And I think that is the key.. knowing YOUR readership. No one method is going to work for everyone anymore. You have to take the time to learn what resonates with your audience, what kind of things do the like to see and share with friends, etc. It’s a very personal network and frankly I respect Facebook for wanting to keep it that way.

  5. Matt YLBody says:

    Hmm. I have definitely been frustrated with the good ole’ FB in that I have been devoting more time to twitter and having a greater success. Maybe I’ll reconsider.

  6. David says:

    You have captured my mindset perfectly. I too have become disillusioned with facebook and have experienced moderate success in building an audience there. However, after reading this post I am willing to give one more shot at it by implementing these tips. Thanks a lot !

  7. Jon says:

    Yes, serve your fans what they want; it works.

    What also works, and unfortunately this plays into Facebook’s game plan, is planning FB posts you plan to promote with ads. Obviously you need to have an aim with this content for a potential ROI, whether it’s email subscribers, new loyal readers or straight-up revenue.

    I’m not suggesting you blast out sales messages. Instead, when posting to Facebook, have an objective with it. You don’t need to promote every post with ads, but it’s good to do for the winners … and I work on posting content that I believe will be so effective that it warrants investing in promotion.

  8. Do you know if there is a tool to analyze Facebook followers and when they are most likely to be on in order to gauge the proper time to share content? Something like Tweriod?

    Thanks

  9. James Zaya says:

    The problem with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked in etc is from a readers point of its like trying to drink from a fire hydrant when its on full blast!

    I liked a small number of pages on Facebook. Just 3-4 which interests me. Already, I ended up with an endless stream of Photos, Videos in my feed. This is content that I am really interested in reading and acting upon BUT if you add it in with my friends likes, status updates and comments, your news page is filled with stuff (most of it not important) which you have to go through.

    From a Blogger or publisher point of view, they are endlessly churning out new, unique content just for Social Media sites, which has to be unique, interesting and has to rise above every other publisher, brand, business, organization, celebrity, thought leader who spams endlessly hoping their readers will notice them.

    From a readers point of view, its like being SCREAMED at constantly with people trying to get you to noticing them. Its tiring. So if you want your content to stand out, its simple…

    Know your reader, their habits and what interests them. Which is what Darren does and is a great example of what to do.

    If you want to see what NOT to do, just like a few big publishers pages on Facebook or follow a few big celebrities on Twitter….

    Its endless streams noise.

  10. I completely agree that if you spam or do anything in excess then most probably you are going to ruin your reputation and people will stop trusting you and un-follow you as well. You need to use it wisely else its a waste, in fact any social media platform is a waste if not used wisely.

    I love Facebook but as you mentioned the changes in the algorithm making it difficult for the writers to reach targeted audience, sometimes, it is very disappointing but I believe in “Keep on trying” and finding new ways to success.

    Your post really motivated me again
    Thanks Darren

  11. It’s very frustrating. When they changed things up I saw a huge decline in reach, comments and likes. Then 2 days ago when I logged in a box popped up with a tutorial to learn more about FB, how to reach my readers, when my readers view my posts most often, plus tips on improving my reach and readership. I read it and am seeing an increase again. Although not huge yet but encouraging. So if you haven’t taken the time to view the tutorial do it now – it opened my eyes and taught me a few things.

  12. Kylie says:

    Thank you, Darren! This is so helpful. It’s interesting — even as the changes to Facebook mean that fewer people see my posts, I’m noticing that an increasing percentage of my traffic does come from Facebook. Which seems pretty odd to me.

    But it’s just like you said: Facebook is selecting for interesting content, similar to the way newspapers (and news sites) select their front-page stories. So in a way, this is an opportunity to make sure we’re giving our readers what they want and need. Thank you so much for the great guidance.

  13. Alia Qaim says:

    Thanks for good article. I think a blogger should also consider other social media platform for building audience from other platforms.

  14. Edson Hale says:

    Many bloggers get so mechanical while working on Facebook and they:
    1) Like others post that is not worthy of like
    2) Ignore posts that deserve huge like
    3) Comment on others status as if it’s their duty
    4) Share others post that does not deserve to be shared
    5) Interact all the times with a purpose
    6) Don’t bother to do follow of any of their previous action
    With such unwise behaviour if someones is disillusioned with Facebook who is wrong?

  15. Excellent post. I think that Facebook are making changes so that they can earn more from their website. If you have seen their layout and all the changes then you can come to know that they are making every thing for thier own benefit. It seems that Facebook is getting their funds back :)
    Also, Facebook is one of the biggest social network so they can use it.
    Thanks

  16. This is gold. Thanks Darren!

  17. Josh says:

    Having your fans connect with you by sharing photos is a great idea. I have to admit, I dislike facebook. Truly. I logon maybe 1-2 times per week. And that is only if I’m promoting something. I’m sick of the drama and the fools that bring it. At this point the only reason I’m keeping it is for my businesses. At some point, I’m hoping that I’ll get back into it.

    But, prolly not.

    Josh

  18. Good points Darren.

    Facebook have been a good traffic source for my blog, though I’m yet to maximize it’s full potential. I think where a lot of publishers get it wrong is trying to send fans to their blog every now and then. This approach doesn’t work on Facebook or any social media for that matter.

    What content creators should strive for is to engage with their audience on a personal level. Facebook users are not fond of leaving the site. So if you want them to go to your site, you’d better have a good reason.

    Overall, the science of Facebook marketing is worth mastering.
    “With almost 1.2 billion active monthly users I think to ignore this opportunity would be crazy! – Darren”

    Thanks

    Ikenna

  19. Every day almost I say, “I am going to quit you Facebook!” Then I read a truly useful article full of good reasons to stay and strategy to move forward.

    So thank you.

  20. Lakhyajyoti says:

    Darren, another useful post. Facebook always helps me to drive traffic to my blogs. It is a great place to market our product, if we use it wisely. Thanks for the share.

  21. Abel Ligas says:

    I used facebook to make friend and make money. But I don’t know how to do for good. :(

  22. Another awesome post by Darren Rose. I was getting really sick of sharing in facebook. It’s so polluted with ads now that it’s hard to get people’s attention. You’re fresh, encouraging post has surely changed my mind about it. Thanks

  23. Steve West says:

    Great post!

    This is such a topical subject at the moment, I too was also getting frustrated with Facebook. But I think you are right, the best way around it is to learn to roll with the new system rather than throwing in the towel. It is just frustrating when these things seem to change so often but I guess that’s the nature of the internet!

    Cheers,

    Steve :)

  24. ambarish says:

    Thank you sir for the great tips. I have a small group on Facebook and lately my traffic from Facebook has slowed down. May be coz of the factors that you mentioned above. They have this edgerank thing and the algorithm says only a part of my updates will reach to the audience. However, I have noticed that the reach is several times more if someone likes, or comments or shares my links. I hope to increase my engagements .
    Thank you.

  25. Alexandra D. says:

    Great article, I definitely believe that if you do it right Facebook is worth your time. It does frustrate me but what social media site doesn’t frustrate me from time to time. Thanks for the tips!

  26. I could not agree or disagree more Darren.
    Though I think these are great tips, I think FB reasons are financially motivated. Yes, they have to make the newsfeeds more relevant to the individual so they can keep their membership strong, but allowing paid ads in the newsfeed and boosting posts clearly demonstrates FB’s desire to keep their share holders happy and generate revenue.
    If they were really just trying to create a more quality experience, you would not be able to pay you way around Edgerank.
    Thanks for the post.

  27. Thank you for sharing such an informative article! I do believe understanding your audience is the best to promote anything through Facebook. Thank you for sharing this great tips. I look forward in using them to my advantage.

  28. Abigail says:

    Hello Guys,

    I do social media and I blog too.

    Just to add. Never ignore posts/comments/messages on your Facebook page, Choose you battles. It might be tolling to you but it reaps great rewards especially when you establish an awesome following.

    When you write articles/reviews, always get in touch with the company so they can also publish your review too on their Facebook. :)

  29. Hi Darren !!
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post as these are the certain things which irritates every marketer….well i believe that the way these points you have discussed here will help out for share..!!

    Thanks for sharing !!

  30. Steve says:

    In the recent months Facebook did introduced new ways of SERP, they even changed lots of things, few weeks back we have seen lots of drop on the posts activity, and I have also found that “Scheduled posts” only receive 20% audience instead of manual direct posts. So to reach out to maximum peoples on Facebook we need to do a continue research and start targeting the exact audience in order to get the best results!

  31. Mike Sweeney says:

    Normally I would agree but Facebook is turning into a time sink. Between trying to stay on top of the changes and then worrying about how/when/should I present my posts, the cost in time is not worth the small trickle of biz I see from FB overall. I have limited time in which to do this social media stuff and FB is taking too much time. After all, what FB cares about is MY eyeballs and what THEY see. So far as I can tell, FB really doesn’t give much of a damn about who sees ME.

    • Hey Mike,

      I have had mixed results with getting business from FB. My freelance site seems to be a snoozer by the events page I manage for a bed and breakfast events seems to bring in business.

      Now one could say that my freelance business is bad but I think the events page is just more fun for individuals. Of course that is comparing apples to oranges.

      Overall I agree with you. FB is a time suck and I don’t think they care about what I see either.

  32. Arbaz says:

    Timing plays a great role when working with Facebook as you should know the particular time when most of your followers are online and can actively participate in your post or status update.
    Thanks for the great article. Loved it :)

  33. salman baig says:

    Indeed great post! The new facebook updates are really frustrating, Before the timeline update I was using facebook for 2,3 hours but now hardly 30 minutes! This is due to the sluggish design and advertisements of facebook. You’ve said well the we must choose time accurately and post according to that. Thanks a lot

  34. As an SEO agency over the last 12 months we’ve seen a lot less traffic from Facebook to some of our client’s websites. Closer examination of their Facebook pages has often seen our clients employing the kind of social media approach this blog post is trying to educate against. It’s difficult to change that approach though. I’ll probably take some of the pointers from this article for some of our upcoming client seminars. Great work.

  35. Amazing and informative article! I do also use Facebook to market both my company and my blogs. I look forward to using the tips in this article in the future.

  36. Yaisa Hagood says:

    I recently started a facebook fanpage which I have been putting alot of work into. I agree with everything in this post. I try each day to vary my content based on post that my have been liked, shared and commmented on. I also visit similar fanpages to see what others are commenting on, liking and sharing. Right now I am posting every hour from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. which is a struggle to find quality content.

  37. Kim Yuhl says:

    Hi Darren,

    I love the simplicity of this post. You break it down so that it is very understandable. I don’t think it should come as any surprise when I network is trying to keep content relevant to its users. The time when using the right keywords has gone and it is now up to us to write great content. That isn’t as difficult as most people think. Just tell your story.

    I am curious as the the three types of posts you use on a daily basis, which one receives the most engagement. I would venture to say the photo post but I also think the converstation post might have a shot. Interested in your results.

    Thanks, as always, for your insight.

  38. Zax says:

    Thanks for your sharing information. Facebook have been a good traffic source for my blog, though I’m yet to maximize it’s full potential.

  39. Sarah Bauer says:

    Great post. Despite mixed opinions on its relevancy and value to the B2B landscape, I think that if you approach it by delivering a diverse mix of high-quality, relevant content, you can only do more good than harm.

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  40. Stephan says:

    Very nice content that you provided here.
    I think this can be a inspiration for all Facebook users. i used to want to quit Facebook because it waste me a lot of time but i think this article encourages me to use it again for good.
    thanks for your valuable post.

    Stephan

  41. Mike says:

    At this point, Facebook is the de-facto social media standard, and the way to make it work is to post a lot of fresh content, which is in line with how Google is showing results as well. That said, I’ve had to cull content from my news feed since it was getting flooded (read Spammed) with too much content from too few sources. It’s a delictate balance, and yeah, with the wrong approach, you can easily alientate your audience.

  42. Todd says:

    Another idea, if you want to increase the types of things you see on fb, is..

    1. Scroll to the very top.
    2. Click the arrow next to “Sort”
    3. Click on “Most Recent”
    4. Click on things you’d like to see more of.

    You will start to see your feed change. For instance, if you start clicking on updates from “John Smith” then you will start to see more of his updates in your “Top Stories” feed.

    P.S. You must do this each time you log on as it defaults back to “Top Stories”.

  43. Great information! Facebook still seems to be the most important social site. I still find it difficult to get much a lot of interaction without boosting posts. How much do you link to other sources outside your own blog?