On Facebook and the Constancy of Change

By JR Russ
As with most things in life, one of the few constants about Facebook seems to be that it is constantly changing, evolving if you will, to better balance the needs of its users with that of the company. This is why it’s crucial for dance companies and dancers who use social networking to have a social media strategy to fall back on.

But let’s talk about one of the most recent changes, which might not be as much of a change as it initially seemed: the increased transparency into how Facebook actually does what it does via its Edgerank algorithm.

The main change, this past September, is that Facebook made it easier for users to hide posts from pages or even report and mark them as spam. This, combined with an ever-evolving Edgerank algorithm, means that Facebook is constantly trying to learn more about what each user does and doesn’t want to see, in order to anticipate what content would appeal to that user.

If you manage a page, you might have heard that fewer of your fans are seeing your posts. To be fair, There was never a time when 100 percent of your fans saw each and every post. Not all your fans are on Facebook in the same window of time to see your content. there was never a time when 100 percent of your fans saw each and every
post. Not all your fans are on Facebook in the same window of time to
see your content. Fans who don’t engage with your page see your posts less. Now if regularly checking your insights and keeping track of those numbers is a part of your overall social media strategy, it should not be news to you that only a portion of your fans ever see any given post.

So what happened? Well some pages did see a decrease in reach. Maybe their content was too spammy for some users. Maybe their fans began to like more and more other pages, meaning your content had more competition to show up in a user’s feed. It probably depends on each page, which is why the most reliable bar to measure your Facebook use and success against is your own.

That being said, here are three free steps to take before resorting to Promoted Posts. I highly recommend that you take these into account when implementing your social media strategy.

  • The first is to inform your fans that they can opt into getting notified about each one of your page’s updates, not just the ones that make it through Edgerank’s filter. If your fans hover over the “Liked” button on your page with their cursor, “Get Notifications” is an option they can check, in addition to “Show in News Feed,” “Add to Interest List” and “Unlike.” Obviously the last one is something that you don’t have to worry about your fans selecting. But remember, the less a fan interacts with your page’s content, the less it will show up in their news feed.
  • The second is to selectively highlight posts. This gives posts more digital real estate in your page’s feed, because instead of just taking up one of the two columns, it spreads the post out over both. If you’ve never done this yet, when you hover over a post on your page, you’ll see two buttons pop up in the upper right hand corner: a pencil icon to “Edit or Remove” and a star icon to “Highlight.”
  • The third and final step to take is to strategically pin posts to the top of your page’s feed. If you hover over the edit button mentioned before, one of the options you can select is to “Pin to Top.” This gives a post prime real estate as the first one users see when they visit and scroll down your page.

But with all of this, make sure you continue to listen, engage, and analyze. Make sure your content is like-able. Respond promptly to your fans’ comments. And have measurable goals you hold yourself accountable to. Because no matter how much or how often Facebook changes its algorithm, layout, or any other aspect of the platform and its function, good content and a thoughtful strategy will be able to keep you moving forward with it.

JR Russ is a Washington, D.C. native. He took his first dance class at Joy of Motion and proceeded to study at Montgomery College and then the University of Maryland, College Park, where he received his B.A. That summer after graduation, he attended the American Dance Festival. He’s performed with numerous dance and theater companies, including BosmaDance, David Dorfman Dance, Synetic Theater, Studio Theatre 2nd Stage, & WSC Avant Bard. He went on to pursue his M.A. in Arts Management at American University, and is currently the Social Media Coordinator for Dance Place in Washington, D.C. You can read more from JR at his blog Hashtag the Arts.


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