Facebook Fan Pages

Bob Borson —  November 14, 2012 — 20 Comments

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.

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Life of an Architect Facebook Fan Page screen shot

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 capture

197 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.

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Life of an Architect Facebook Fan Page screen shot

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?

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Life of an Architect Facebook Fan Page screen shot

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 ……

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Life of an Architect Facebook Fan Page - Paid Promotion

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.

Anyone?

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  • Mash Architects Baildon

    As an architectural consultant with a Facebook page, I found this post fascinating and really informative

  • Enoch

    Bob, thanks for pointing this out. I hope everyone reading this understands this. This will be a nail in the coffin for FB. Talk about killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Google+ is the alternative that doesn’t throttle.
    Equally Annoyed,
    Enoch

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I have been putting it off because I don’t really want to keep adding mew platforms to watch over but Google+ is starting to warrant more of my attention.

  • Lynne Knowlton

    AWESOME POST !! It reminded me that I want to punch Facebook in the head :). I feel the same way about my fan page. Whats the alternative ? PINTEREST. It’s viral and drives more traffic to sites than Facebook. So take THAT Facebook.
    Ps. I can’t wait to read more of your posts !!
    Lynne

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Lynne – glad you like my post (which was really more of a rant due to extended hotel fatigue).

      I’m also on Pinterest but I don’t spend enough time saving images to make it an effective way of sharing the sort of information I want to share. I also like the demographic I get with Facebook – just need to find a way to make it work better for me.

      Cheers

  • http://twitter.com/gidgey Bridget Willard

    It’s the same on twitter.

    • http://twitter.com/DavidElfstrom David Elfstrom

      I haven’t seen twitter throttle my feed at all. It filters out @ replies unless there’s a hashtag or I’m following both parties, but that’s about it. The firehose of tweets is always available in my experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jr.vanwormer Jr Van Wormer

    Wait? Marketing is cost money? On a site that was originally intended for interaction of individuals. I love your posts, but man… marketing costs money.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Yeah – and I get that, I really do. It’s just a bit of a disappointment that despite all the other ads and paid links that show up that the information flowing from my friends and colleagues is what’s getting throttled.
      I suppose the milk and honey days are over

  • Nancie Mills Pipgras

    I feel your pain – in fact I’ve done a similar experiment with Mosaic Art NOW and had the same results. Given FB’s stock price, who is surprised that they’re holding us all hostage? There are a couple of things your fans can do to see more of your posts – all of which require additional clicking.

    1) There is now a “Page Feed” in the left hand column of everyone’s Newsfeed page. This is supposed to contain all of the posts from Pages you’ve Liked. I use the word “supposed” advisedly as I am certain that FB will use the same algorithms to this feed as they do the Newsfeed. You must “click” or open “Page” to see the posts.

    2) The “Interests” list one can create which someone before me mentioned works to some degree. Again, the reader must open this list to see the new posts and again, they are more than likely to be set against the same Unknown Algorithm.

    3) The more readers “Like” and “Share”, the more likely they are to get your posts in their Newsfeeds.

    If you check out my Page you’ll find links to a couple of articles on the topic that might be helpful. It’s just a damned shame but I guess the party’s over.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks for sharing that information Nancie. It sounds like there are a few people who go to that extra trouble but I can’t imagine that the casual (yet heavily involved) Facebook user would go to the trouble – besides, I don’t have anything on my site that is ever that important.

  • http://twitter.com/StudioBlueArcht Studio Blue

    We have noticed it too. As a new practice, we worry we can get completely buried under the new facebook.
    From a FB users point of view I went through the process of creating an “interest list” and filling (if that’s the term) all the pages under a new list. I can see all the updates now. I even ended up creating a list called “friends” since I realized that all their updates is getting lost through all the sponsored articles, so now I flick through the lists.
    What we were wondering though, is that this will probably lead to a lot of people using facebook a lot less. Not because they realize the new money making route (most of our friends couldn’t care less) but because when they go on line it seems to them that nobody is using it anymore because the same sponsored messages keep coming up. Not everyone will go down the laborious “interest list” way. So, will there be less people using it now and more companies just interacting between them? It remains to be seen!

  • http://twitter.com/EliasonCorp Eliason Doors

    Bob, you’re definitely right – we noticed this on our fan page in late September. FB says it’s to deliver the best content to users, but I think they’re really trying to figure out how to monetize the platform. I mean if people like a page, shouldn’t they get updates?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I’m sure there are more moving parts to this than I am addressing but something just doesn’t seem right – I just don’t like people (or otherwise) telling me what my interests are on my behalf.

  • http://janrobin.de/ Jan Robin

    Having slept a lot as well, it seems to defeat the purpose… of a “Fan Page” if the fan doesn’t only have to like it, but to phisically check it on a regular basis if he doesn’t want to miss any or the owner to pay to actually show up in his fan’s feeds… might be a great way for corporation fan pages to annoy its “fans”, but a pain in the bum for everyone else, oh well, oh well :)

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      oh well is right. [sigh]

  • kimchi_mom

    Noticed the same with my page, but will never plop down any $$ to promote a post. What’s the alternative? Google+?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I don’t honestly know. I am on Google + but still haven’t been able to wrap my head around the interface. I suppose that’s on me for not taking the time to really learn how to use that platform to its fullest extent.

  • http://twitter.com/Alexandrafunfit Alexandra Williams

    No, you are right. I see very few people in my timeline, which makes me crazy. I want to see them, but I don’t. And that’s my personal page! For our fan page, it’s a bitch, because people Liked us because they like our info, but now they can’t see us unless they, and we, jump through some hoops. Some of those hoops cost. I hate being squeezed by FB.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I know that there are settings you can adjust so you can “turn down” the posting of some individuals – it would seem that the user should be able to work that flow of information however they choose rather than having some sort of algorithm determine what there interest level is.

      The computers are definitely going to be taking over soon