Thursday, June 14, 2012

darn you, facebook!!!!...

Photo Bill Main

No amount of words can explain how frustrated I am right now at the oh so popular Facebook. 
Last week, I thought I was crazy... straight up trippin! I started to notice my facebook posts were NOT showing up on friend's new feeds. I thought I was crazy, chalked it up to "You just can't see it posting...but it is. They're getting your stuff..."... Then my fears were confirmed- I had a few friends text me with little "Hey, are you taking a Sweet Lavender break? Where did you go?"...Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe BREAK?! WHAaaaAAAaa? That's not even in my vocabulary! "Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe" and "break" just do not belong in the same sentence together!!!
*Cue Tears/Chaos/Massive Freak Out/Rush to Fix Problem*

Thinking I had done something wrong I spent countless hours researching, with my husband, on what small box I left unchecked....or checked...or what I HAD DONE to all of a sudden stop my pictures/links/statuses/whatever from posting on my fan's feed. Nothing. I couldn't find anything. Sadness over-swept me as I started to think, "Jeez...maybe my fans are just tired of hearing what I have to say...I did lose 1 Facebook Fan the other day....maybe more are on their way..." <--- I was in a bad place at this time. I didn't know what else it could be. I had checked everything on my page, done my research, fixed the little tiny things I had actually found online...but still-nothing. This had to be it. My fans were just tired of hearing from me. 
Let me say somethin here- my Facebook Fans...you dear sweet friends on that social media site- I love you guys. Like, a lot. A lot a lot. You guys were the first fans I ever received for Sweet Lavender. I've had Facebook longer than Twitter/Pinterest/HelloCotton/Instagram/etc....my Facebook fans have a special place in my heart. And I miss your comments/interactions. I miss you guys and want to be friends again!


Little blogs like me need social media sites (like Facebook) in order to gain fans/followers. If one of these sites decides to not work properly, this means I could potentially lose A LOT of followers. Sadly, this isn't something I can really afford at this point. I'm barely on the radar as it is (so I think).
Anyway, I was sure those friendships were over.
UNTILLLLLLLLL....
Tuesday morning I was on Pinterest. A fellow blogger and friend had pinned a pin titled, "Facebook Fans aren't seeing your posts (and how to fix it)". 
*Cue shining light/choir songs being sung loudly/doves flying out of unseen boxes*
I read three pages of blog posts written by Always Upward about what, actually and to my complete sadness, is happening in the Facebook world. I hesitate to actually just repost what they indeed wrote- but after trying to rewrite in my own words...again and again...I've realized I just cannot say what they said, better.
So, if you've got some time- please please read what's going on...
AND IF YOU'RE A FAN, WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE SURE YOU RECEIVE YOUR FAVORITE PAGE'S POSTS IN YOUR FEED! 
"Isn’t Facebook supposed to be the magical tool that levels the playing field for small business, non-profits, and grass roots movements? Once upon a time, maybe…but not so much now.
Last week, an interesting (and by “interesting” I mean “stunning“) tidbit began appearing at the bottom of status updates posted by page admins, visible only to them—the number of people each post reached, accompanied by the percentage of their total fan base it represented.
The number shown doesn’t represent the number of your fans online at the moment; it’s the abysmally small number Facebook bothered to publish in newsfeeds.
Yeah. You read that correctly. Most of your fans don’t receive your posts. At all. In any way, shape, or form. Facebook is only sharing them with fans who repeatedly return to your page, post on your page, comment on your page, or otherwise engage on your page.
In other words, the minority.
The following day, another tidbit appeared, just to the right of the scary percentage—a “Promote” button. Tap that, and you’re asked to pay for the rest of your fans to see the post.
Uh huh. Read that one correctly too. Pay to post.
Not to advertise—to reach the fans you already have. The ones who thought clicking “like” added you to their newsfeeds.
Out of sheer curiosity, I clicked Promote, then began crunching numbers. If I want a post to reach all 90,600 fans of The 3/50 Project, I need to pony up more than $500.
Per post.
Which simply isn’t going to happen.
So how do we work around the roadblock? There’s a back door solution, but we can’t make it easily visible, since we’re barred from putting “calls to action” in the Cover photo 
or a pinned post

(The pinned post policy has been changed; thanks to JDavidbeatty for the heads up. You cannot, however, put calls to action in the cover photo—that hasn’t changed.)
Which is why I’m pinning this blog post, once it posts to the Project’s FB page (legit, by Facebook standards).
Click image to view larger version
For Fans: How to keep receiving posts from FB pages you’ve “Liked”
1. Find a page you’ve “liked.”
2. Hover you mouse over the “Liked” button. Which may or may not work.
3. Try clicking the “Liked” button. That also may or may not work.
4. After clicking “Liked,” try hovering over it again. This may or may not work.
(Sensing a theme? Access isn’t consistent…nor intended to be easy, I have a feeling. Please keep trying.)
5. Once you (finally) get a drop down menu, confirm “Show in News Feed” is selected.
In theory, this should put 
all

 more posts from the page back in your newsfeed.
Or not.
Hard to know, since the only way to test it is to keep visiting every page you’ve “liked” to compare their posts to your newsfeed.
(Which no one has time to do. We understand.)
Facebook’s new pay-to-post format is obviously intended to increase revenue, now that shareholders are involved. Sadly, it’s also a killer for their most fervent users—non-profits and grass roots movements who have built a significant following. Pages with deep pockets and corporate backing will be able to buy their way into newsfeeds, but those of us without endless cash reserves are already invisible, thanks to this new twist.
And by “new” I mean [fill in your favorite expletive]."
Then the lovely and fabulous Always Upward continued the next day with...
"Okay. So yesterday’s suggestion about re-acquiring missing page posts wasn’t enough. Fans quickly found that (a) they were already set to receive posts, and (b) still weren’t seeing any.
Today’s suggestion should work (or at least greatly increase what you see, albeit with a little more effort than usual).
This must be done by the fan—there’s nothing a page admin can do, other than share this blog post if they like, since that qualifies as a “legal” call to action in Facebook Land (as shared third party content).
1. Go to a page you want to receive posts from (hopefully, The 3/50 Project’s)
2. Hover your mouse over the “Liked” button to get the drop down menu to appear (which doesn’t always work). If the drop down doesn’t show up, try clicking “Liked.” If that doesn’t work, take your mouse off “Liked,” then try again. (Yup. It’s really that ridiculous.)
3. Click “New List”

Click image to see larger version
4. In the next screen, click “Pages”
5. Select the pages you want to receive posts from
6. Click “Next”

7. In this screen, name your list, and determine who sees it

HINT: If you’re someone who likes sharing the love, select “public,” helping all of us little guys to gain more visibility.
8. Click “Done”
9. Now, go to your newsfeed page. Scroll to the bottom left.
There it is. Your new list.
The catch, of course, is that  you’ll now need to intentionally go to that list to see posts.
Will page posts also begin appearing in your newsfeed? Doubtful. In fact, my fear is that if this takes hold, Facebook might decide none of our posts should appear in your feed—only in your list (that’s pure speculation on my part, so no blasting me in comments, please).
What gets my goat about all of this is:
1. Back in March, Facebook forced pages into Timeline, providing a big, flashy billboard (Cover Photo), then telling us we can’t use it to advertise or for calls to action (ex: Please like us).

2. Facebook also provided pinned posts for admins, but again, disallowed advertising or calls to action.

  (The pinned post policy has been changed; thanks to JDavidbeatty for the heads up. You still can’t put calls to action in the cover photo—that hasn’t changed.)
3. And…they reduced fan posts to one line, in the right hand column, literally killing off on-page fan interaction. (That, I miss most of all.)
4. Over Memorial Day weekend, Facebook began showing admins just how frightfully few of our fans were seeing our posts, in spite of the fact they believed clicking “like” meant seeing us in their newsfeed.
5. A few days later, FB pushed the Promote button, literally telling us that if we wanted to reach our fans, we’d have to pay to play.
The popular argument is that if a page provides consistent, valuable content, more fans will interact, thus more will see page posts in their newsfeeds. Unfortunately, that theory doesn’t fly. If a page admin is good at crafting informative, interesting posts, fans don’t have to visit the page—they get the full impact from reading the post in their newsfeed.
Which suggests writing incomplete posts that require readers to visit the FB page will increase interaction, and thus newsfeed visibility (gee, how long will it take folks to un-like pages that make them do more work?). Sadly, pages whose content focuses on negative topics will do best, since ramping up the vitriol will inspire more fans to comment.
Or, of course, page posts can be replaced with nothing but outbound links to third party sites for videos and articles, which takes the viewer off of Facebook entirely…and pretty much assures page admins won’t need to provide original content in their posts at all. So much for the “rich content” idea.
There are those who challenge my frustration, reminding me it’s all about algorithms and EdgeRank (the technology used to determine which paltry 8% of your fans actually receive your posts).
True—but it’s not EdgeRank’s fault. Humans determined the goals and desired outcome, then programmed the software to act accordingly (saying otherwise is the equivalent of claiming it’s your car’s fault you took a wrong turn at the stop light two blocks back). The decision to make those of us least able to afford costly paid postings sit on the sidelines ignores the very thing that made Facebook great. It’s no longer about freedom and interaction and inspiration. It’s about money and market share and stockholders.
Which is the saddest part of all."
IF YOU'RE THE PAGE ADMINISTRATOR READING THIS POST, HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN TRY TO DO TO RECLAIM YOUR FACEBOOK AUDIENCE.
Continued by Always Upward:
"The last couple of posts (here and here) focused on the negative impact EdgeRank has on Facebook page posts, essentially whittling their recipient audience to a paltry 6% (for most) to 12% (the lucky ones). The suggestions offered had to be undertaken by fans, leaving page admins feeling pretty helpless.
So…time to focus on what those of us “behind the curtain” can do, in hopes of turning at least a little of the tide back our way.
First, a stark reality. 

Old school:

Great original on-site content = more fan engagement

New school:

Less original on-site content = more fan engagement

What that means:

Outbound* links are more valuable than words typed into a post.
* According to EdgeRank, the most valuable links are those that point back to something inside Facebook, but who wants to do that?
Typing a truly rich, complete post that delivers on its own will kill your “people reached” percentage. If something can be fully understood without clicking a link to get more, you’re working against yourself (excluding writers capable of consistently constructing posts either so extraordinary—or so hot-button driven—they compel readers to constantly comment or share). You have to corner readers into taking action if you want to retain an audience.
You see, EdgeRank heavily favors two groups: Fans who prolifically share-share-share-comment-comment-comment (think: those who amass 724 “friends” on their personal profile, only 22 of which they’ve actually met) and pages whose posts are so negative or incendiary they all but incite online riot. Both result in disproportionate fan-to-page interaction.
Most users between the ages of 25 and 55—a target market the majority of pages aim for—share and like occasionally. They comment…but not on every post from every page. They’re the quiet grownups who don’t see Facebook as the center of their universe.
The solution (two, actually):

Fan side — Lists

Admin side — Outbound links
Rather than get into the whole step-by-step here (would result in oneseriously long blog post), I’ve put together a couple of easy peasey “how to” PDFs that walk you through each process.
The fan version (“Get Your FB Page Posts Back“) helps users reclaim the page streams they most want to see, without having to constantly click and comment. It can also be shared on Facebook pages, in email newsletters, etc., for those admins who want to help fans out.
The admin PDF (“Improve FB Post Visibility“) sets out a simple road map to increase viewer activity without increasing your work load. The initial set up may seem overwhelming if you don’t have WordPress installed on your website, but rest assured—the end result is worth it.
Bottom line? Facebook has put it on fans’ shoulders to interact—a lot—with pages or risk them disappearing from newsfeeds. Admittedly, wonderful posts that inspire comments and shares are worth more than ever. For the rest of us who weren’t born with Shakespeareian talent, well…gotta go for the clicks."
Thank you so so so much Always Upward, for not only taking the time to shine much needed light on this subject...but caring enough about all of us bloggers to do so. Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
And to my fans...I am just so heartbroken and SORRY that Facebook is making this such a hard thing and such a big deal, What a flipping nuisance, right?!??! So much work for a fan-to just keep receiving a favorite page's feed. Ridiculous. You guys shouldn't have to do anything but click "Like" and enjoy the ride. It's us, the blogger/Facebook page administrator that should be doing the work. 
I'm just so sorry. If you're still with me though...would you go to your Facebook and find us on Facebook and make sure you're getting our feed? I'd love to interact with you all on there! 
So, hopefully....I'll see you there!



Again, here are the blog posts cited:
AND FOR PAGE ADMINISTRATORS, click here.

3 comments:

  1. FB can be great sometimes, but what they are doing is really lame! I made sure to go to your page and I will forever get your posts now! :) Keep at it girl!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This post inspired me to make a post on Facebook about it (via Burnett's Boards page) and then I PAYED Facebook to tell all my fans how shitty Facebook is.

    How's that for messed up? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't even get me started on the frustration.

    ReplyDelete

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