14 Nov 2012
Facebook Fan pages … everybody seems to have them these days. I started mine around 2 years ago (I think – who really keeps track of these things? I’m certainly not scrolling back through 2 + years of Facebook posts.) Should you have one as well? Can Facebook deliver people to your website like Moses delivered the Israelites to the promised land? (fyi, in this analogy, the role of Moses is played by Facebook)
Yes and no.
So I’m sitting in the “Den” of my extended stay hotel and I was thinking about why I use Facebook – the pro’s and con’s. It didn’t take long for me to come to some fairly obvious answers but in the course of doing some “research” (i.e. skim, estimate, and jump to wild conclusions based on a small sample pool) is that despite the growing popularity of my Facebook Fan page, I don’t really seem to reach more people than I did when I started.
Why is that? I have an idea and I don’t want to anger the Facebook Gods (please don’t punish me, please don’t punish me) but it probably has something to do with Facebook looking for revenue streams other than selling ads.
One of the reasons I like my Life of an Architect Facebook Fan Page is that I can post stuff there that isn’t really suitable or worthy of its own dedicated blog post. This normally translates into job site photos, interesting details, sketches, and random (yet typically architecturally related) occurrences that happen throughout the day during the course of me doing architectural type things. The picture above is a great example. Design charrette over beer … it was a quick photo – almost all of which are taken with my iPhone camera – and I post directly to Facebook. But take a look at the red boxes I added in the screen capture197 Likes 16 shares 3,533 people saw this post
This picture was published on October 26 and I believe that I had around 11,800 fans of the page – so roughly 1/3rd of the people who like this page saw this post.
Here is another image type post I put up earlier in the month of October. I would have had fewer fans of the page at this time but if you again refer to the red boxes, you can see that more people saw the post – 4,002 versus 3,533 – but it had fewer likes and fewer comments. So what drove the extra views?
Okay (I know this one might be hard to read – sorry) but here is another post from early August. I would have had around 10,500 likes at this point but take a look at how many people saw this post - 12,224!! That’s almost 4x as many as the first example. What is this crazy math that going on??
Oh wait, I think I know what it is ……
It’s called “paid promotion.” My last web host provider gave me a $50 Facebook advertising credit which I had never bothered to mess with but since I was about to leave the web host for greener pastures, I thought “why not?” So I used some of that $50 credit to help promote some of my posts. In the screen capture image above, you can see that $20 got me an additional 27,681 views. This doesn’t mean that 27,681 people read my post, it just means that my post showed up in the timeline – at least giving them the opportunity to click on the link and read my article (or view my image – whatever). So from that $20 you can also see in the image above that I received 944 clicks from people who went to my site as well as an additional 262 Fan Page “likes”.
While that might seem awesome, to me it just seems incredibly irritating. What it means to me is that regardless of how many “likes” I have on my page, only a small percentage of people will ever see what I post show up in their timeline … unless I pay for it to happen. Really?!!
Don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook and the access it gives me to a whole bunch of different people. There are a bunch of people who interact with me regularly through Facebook and ONLY through Facebook. It allows a different sort of communication to happen – similar to the comments section on the blog but there is the additional layer/ opportunity for fellow commenters to connect with one another – and I think that’s pretty cool.
I changed web host providers because I didn’t like the throttling that was going on and it would seem that what Facebook is doing is just another form of throttling. Since one of the main points of doing this (for me) was to connect with other like minded – similar interest people, it disturbs me that the there is a system in place the restricts any sort of organic flow of information. Based on the information above, it seems apparent that the more people that see these articles, the more people who ‘like’, comment, or share them with others … maybe I’m just not getting it since I am in an extended stay hotel and between the fire alarms and my fear of bed-bugs, I’m only sleeping like 4 hours a night. Maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t there.