By now, we all know (or should know) that Facebook is only showing your posts to a fraction of the people on your page. There’s even a meme devoted to this phenomenon. However, rather than asking you to leave a one-word comment about your day, or to lie about how we met, I’m going to give a very basic primer on the Facebook algorithm.
For the purposes of this discussion, we’re talking about Facebook pages, not profile timelines, groups or event timelines. (although some of the algorithms in question may apply to these as well.)
A Facebook page is a form of online community, representing some entity such as an author, artist, business, blog, cause or organization. The Erotic Authors Guild has one of these, for example. Authors with a presence on Facebook should have one to represent themselves, plus (possibly) pages representing major books or series. Our blog partners often have pages in addition to (or instead of) traditionally-hosted blogs.
How the visibility works: if your page has 1000 Likes, and you make a post, the post is shown to a tiny fraction of those 1000 people. Maybe 10 or 20 will see it in his/her timeline.
The next part is the important part. If a decent portion of those 10-20 readers “engage” the post, Facebook will then decide to make it visible to more people. “Engaging” means liking, sharing and/or commenting. The more interesting your post is, the more it will be seen. As your visibility goes up, it will carry over to other postings you make from your page.
A few ways to optimize your Facebook strategy:
- Mix up your postings, including interesting content aside from straight promo. Posts that invite other people to participate are a definite plus. In one case, an author posted an unusual photo and challenged her readers to “caption this.” Another writer posted a picture of a map and titled it “Roll call… tell me where you’re from!”
- Ask fellow authors or bloggers to spend a few minutes liking or sharing particular postings on your page. When they share, their audience gets added to your audience, thus potentially increasing your insight visibility.
- Consider holding your next event on your Facebook page, rather than creating a Facebook event. Temporarily give content-creator page access to any guest authors or blogs, then letting the party proceed right on your page. This will result in a lot of posting, commenting and liking, which in turn will boost your visibility. Also, if you’ve ever been to a Facebook hosted event, you’ll note that the threads containing games, contests or discussions are constantly getting stepped on and pushed toward the bottom of the timeline. With a page, they stay put. Plus, the person taking over can “pin” a post during his/her portion of the takeover, then relinquish it when time is up.
- Your page will have an Insights tab. Check it out, and you’ll see which types of posts are more viral. Sometimes, including photos will increase a post’s visibility. The insights will also show you your demographics, and who your target audience is.
Remember, if it doesn’t work, you can always adjust it. And don’t just rely on Facebook–there are many social media platforms out there!