Monday, October 19, 2015

What would Facebook Do? The ultimate key to organic Facebook reach that no one is talking about- Part 1

This article has been a long time coming. It’s been very difficult trying to decide which direction I wanted to take with it until I saw another headline on an article that read something like “Top 7 Things You Should Be Doing on Facebook” and it did not once mention what I know to be true about Facebook and that is this:

Facebook determines what you see on Facebook so when you want to reach people on Facebook you have to think, “What would Facebook do?” 

If I post a picture on my Facebook page, what will Facebook do? Will it show it to 100 people? Will they show it to 4,000 people? When will they see it? For how long?

Many of us wonder about this when we post our content to our Facebook pages.

We hope that the audience will “like” it and share it and frantically watch for the little green arrows or red arrows on our insights to see how we’re doing but did you know that you can actually think like Facebook thinks?

Facebook has even given us the tools, like the Audience Insights and Page Insights, which both give us data that can tell us extensively what our audience will like and not like on Facebook.

Marketers wonder, "Is that data even accurate?" My answer is, who cares? It’s what Facebook SAYS is accurate and since we are in Facebook world, we need to play by Facebook rules.

Remember the Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm?

Well it’s been amped up with some pretty high-tech extras, and my theory is that this includes the facial recognition software that help us to tag our friends when we upload a picture of them onto Facebook.

Let’s say you are an average user on Facebook, and you like and share an inspiring quote from your favorite author. Let’s say that quote was blue and had lots of stars on it.

We already know that the Newsfeed Algorithm has logged our interest in the page and will make a point to continue to show things from that Page, but that just isn’t enough because there is a lot of stuff trying to find its way into your newsfeed.

Facebook needs more information to determine which of the 3-5 posts going out on that page will make it into your newsfeed, if any.

So how can it tell which posts you’ll like most? This is where the facial recognition software comes in. Facebook can now determine colors, text, and even OBJECTS on the graphics.

If anyone you follow on Facebook ever posts another blue graphic with stars on it, Facebook will immediately move that one up the list in priority.

Facebook can rate each graphic coming from a page with attributes that you have engaged with in the past and compare them to all of the other graphics you have ever liked (which is all data stored under your “interest profile”) and the picture with the most similarities in your “interest profile” will be the winner.

Take a look at the following screen shots that I have taken over time from my personal Facebook Newsfeed. It’s a great example of how Facebook started using these new finely-tuned interest profiles to show me what they thought would be interesting to me in my profile from all of the pages and friends that I follow.

In each case, the similarities were so freaking obvious, you can see exactly which attributes Facebook was picking out of the content:

So what exactly does this mean? Well, from a page manager’s perspective, it should be easy for you to use the audience insights and also your page insights to determine what your next biggest viral post will be. I will write about this in my next installment.

Does it mean that your viral post is viral because people really liked it or because Facebook decided to show it to more people?

The answer is both. The trick is to get people to see it, then it will go viral as more people share it. However, you can have the most viral post in the world, and because Facebook doesn’t think your audience will engage with it, well, you’ll never know.

There is a moral dilemma of course, and hopefully it is obvious to everyone, and that is,how can we escape the loop of continuous repetitive content in our newsfeed and make sure that what we see is REALLY what we see and not what Facebook says we should see?

There are ways to fine tune your newsfeed experience and I can write about this in a future blog post, however, after managing pages for so long, what I do know is that not everyone has the ability to figure that out. They don’t have the time,patience or knowledge to sit down and create their own custom newsfeed or to set their favorite pages up with notifications or subscribe to events.

Facebook will and always has been a user’s place and quite honestly, the average Facebook user does not understand all of the possible settings available.

It will be up to page managers to find a creative way to introduce new content to their users and new ways to engage them with their message and/or brand.

Make way for brand advocacy campaigns with more accurate communication strategies. It's time to put some serious effort into reading your audience. More on this in Part 2,


  1. Thank you Angie for your insights! I'm looking forward to more of your teachings soon!

    1. Thanks Kathy! Part 2 is now available-