Customer Experience News & Trends

The big, hairy problem with Facebook: Something you need to know now

If you’re using Facebook to reach out to customers, there’s something new you’ve got to be prepared to face. 

It’s becoming less and less likely your fans are going to see your status updates.

Facebook recently issued a statement that businesses will see the organic reach of their page posts decline over time.

Some analysts with close ties to the company are estimating that the average percentage of fans who’ll actually see a businesses’ posts is now somewhere in the low single digits.

The timing of this news isn’t great for Facebook. Having just announced several changes to its algorithm, many companies are now under the impression that Facebook is trying to force them to use its paid ad platform to be seen on the social network.

No foul play afoot

Having studied Facebook’s news feed algorithm, Facebook’s statements about organic reach and the exploding popularity of the network, it does not appear as though Facebook’s tinkered with its system to purposely diminish the visibility of company posts.

The diminishing reach of organic results appears to be the natural result of Facebook’s growing popularity.

Facebook advertising, facebook marketingExample: Let’s say your average Facebook fan has 150 “friends” on the network. Now let’s say those 150 friends post an average of four status updates per day. That means within the course of a day, Facebook has 600 posts it can show in a person’s news feed (and these are conservative numbers, Facebook says it’s more likely to be about 1,500 posts per day). And at any given time, users are only going to scroll through the first 20 to 30 posts in their news feed.

So you can see how much competition your company posts have in an average fan’s news feed.

And as Facebook collects more users, and those users collect more “friends,” and those “friends” post more updates, the competition in the news feed will only get stiffer — thus, organic reach will naturally diminish for businesses.

Where businesses can go from here

So does that mean all hope is lost? Absolutely not.

You can still increase the reach of your posts, and you have two options for doing so:

  • Pump up engagement (i.e., clicks, likes, shares and comments) coming from the customers who are seeing your posts, and
  • Advertise on Facebook.

Increasing engagement

In a nutshell, here’s how Facebook’s news feed algorithm, known as EdgeRank, works: The more fans you have that engage with your posts and your page — and the more engaged those individual fans are — the higher the score the algorithm will assign to your posts. And the higher your posts score, the more prominently they’ll be displayed in your fans’ news feeds.

So the bottom line is: Find ways to get those who do see your posts to click on them, “like” them, share them and comment on them.


Facebook has already come out and said the best way to boost engagement — and your EdgeRank score — is to include beautiful photos with your posts (that, plus some of its other advice can be found here).

One annoying little problem: Facebook won’t tell you your EdgeRank score. But EdgeRank Checker, an online tool that offers a free trial, can give you an idea where you stand with Facebook. It’ll even suggest ways (when you upgrade from the trial) to improve your score and your news feed visibility.


When it comes to advertising, simply throwing up ads on Facebook guarantees you nothing. Your ads still need to be eye-catching and engaging.

Two best-practices when advertising on Facebook:

  • Avoid run-of-the-mill sales pitches. Remember, the reason people are on Facebook to begin with is to connect with friends and to be entertained — not be marketed to. As a result, you need to find a way to make your ads stand out without using marketing-speak (i.e., avoid phrases like “Save 30%” or “Limited-time offer”).
  • Keep ads fresh. The only way to keep customers interested is to refresh your images and ad copy. Hitting customers over the head with the same stuff on Facebook only pushes customers away.

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