Revolutions in Facebook Reach

Recently I took part in the Open Graph panel at the AllFacebook Conference, and found myself sitting next to Jon Morter, the guy that runs the Condescending Corporate Brand Page on Facebook.  He also started the successful campaign to get Rage Against the Machine to UK No.1 at Christmas 2009 instead of the X Factor winner.  So, yeah, he’s a bit of a revolutionary hero. 

Given that the remainder of us were agency types, Jon had clearly been planted amongst us to ruffle our corporate marketing feathers.  But, disappointingly, we were all in violent agreement: brands that interrupt a users’ newsfeed with posts that are irrelevant should be shunned by the people, to continue the revolutionary theme.

Luckily for users, Facebook have gone some way to acknowledging the overcrowding and irrelevance issue. Changes in edgerank (the algorithm that works out what appears in the newsfeed and in what order) over the past few months are making sure that only engaging and relevant posts are seen by a brand’s fanbase. This is great news for brands that have invested in generating good content, they are being pushed to the top. But what about those brands that don’t have such great content?  Their reach numbers are seriously dwindling.

Yet a lot of these brands have good content elsewhere, and some of it has already been socially tested using the innocent on site like button.  Approximately a quarter of the Alexa top 10,000 websites include some form of Facebook integration on their homepage.  So why not use what you know about the success of social content from your other web properties to work out what will drive maximum reach from your FacebookPage?  If you know that a particular category of product, or other type of media such as video, has been shared significantly more than others, then use this to inform your posting strategy.  Even better, if you can profile the types of people that are reacting to your content (using a mix of social login and web analytics), then you can make sure that you are promoting your content to people more likely to react positively to it.

So, if you are watching your reach figures with dismay, and you’ve got social sharing on your website, take a trip over to the guys pouring over the web stats. I’d be interested to hear what you find.  Meanwhile, Jon is still campaigning against the takeover of Corporate Condescension but has put the Rage behind him and is promoting the Hillsborough charity single: HeAin’t Heavy, He’s my Brother.  A worthy revolution.

Helen Crowley is MD Alchemy Social.