By now, everyone knows about the new Facebook layout and optimization changes and there have been plenty of opinions about them. Facebook will likely continue to make changes in order to battle on as the leading social networking destination and rightfully so. We’ve taken a step back from the changes and examined the basic overall impact from a page administrator’s point of view.
Personal profiles now have ‘Top Stories’ as the primary source of feeds. Facebook determines those top stories and unless you unsubscribe from a friend’s updates, users are left to individually manage each post. A very inconvenient process.
Facebook pages, which have relied on ‘likes’ and interaction for continued success, now face an issue that we recently noticed. Since the ‘Top Stories’ are chosen by Facebook and based on an unknown set of parameters, pages will likely see a drop in interaction and can be easily referenced by the page feature of ‘talking about this’. If ‘Top Stories’ do not include Facebook Page posts, then users will not see them unless they scroll through their timeline or specifically navigate to a page they follow. This is not unique to Facebook Pages, the same effect occurs for friends you seldom interact with.
By The Numbers
While we aren’t the biggest fish in the Facebook Page pond, by any stretch, we can produce some numbers which show a dramatic change in the way our page performs. At the inception of the Facebook layout changes, we saw a 20% increase in likes and page interaction. Since then, we have seen a 99% drop in interaction and have received 0 new likes. During that time we did not post differently, we used the same variety and frequency of posts to share information with our fans.
Our increase is tied to the initial launch and the impact of having our posts at or near the top of user’s timelines. The dramatic drop clearly indicates Facebook has classified us as not ‘Top Story’ worthy which has resulted in the decline in numbers.
Our Place and Purpose
As a small business, our Facebook Page will not generate the high number of likes that a major brand will, that’s understood and conceded. Additionally, post frequency will never be overwhelming, but it has remained steady and fairly consistent with an average of two posts per day and responses to all comments. We don’t do prize contests or giveaways, we aren’t a software or manufacturing company (goods) and we don’t buy attention. We are a specialty page where users will likely go when they have a question or, prior to the ‘Top Story’ change, go for interesting tech articles and links. Users will not visit our page all the time and will very unlikely interact on a regular basis and that’s fine, that’s normal. So while we can acknowledge our place among the Facebook Page rankings, it’s a tough pill to swallow knowing that interaction is cut to almost zero, new likes are at zero and it’s not for lack of content or page management, it’s for lack of visibility due to the ‘Top Stories’ setup.
Facebook has never been a huge source of revenue or new business leads, but it is a genuine way for us to give users, fans and those who have interest in tech useful, timely and valuable information. Sure, we could run ads regularly which would give us visibility, but that’s more beneficial to Facebook’s revenue then to our page presence.
We’ll continue to provide information through our Facebook Page to ensure our fans are fed the tech information we provide and hopefully suggestions from our friends and fans combined with random viewer readership and likes, we’ll reach more people since it is unlikely to happen through basic timeline feeds anymore.
Facebook is clearly concerned about competition and as good business practice they should. However, their undoing, if it happens, will likely not come by the hands of a rival but rather by their own. Numbers indicate that Google + has begun to slump, perhaps on its way to fading away. Twitter is still a unique property that is different from Facebook and neither is a replacement for the other. LinkedIn remains steady as a source for professionals, try as they might to socialize themselves up. New faces like Chime.In and Flapon.com show promise, but are clearly not a threat yet, although Chime.In has all the parts necessary to project itself above the rest and become a clear number two.
In case you’re wondering how we would have changed Facebook? We would have added tabs at the top of the timeline that separate friends, pages and apps so that the updates stream to each tab based on category. All friend updates would be listed under the friends tab, all page updates under the pages tab and so on. All updates would remain in chronological order.
We would like to know other’s experience since the Facebook change, personal or business. Are you seeing declines or increases in page interaction? Do you miss some friend’s updates because they aren’t in ‘Top Stories’? Have you found a way to improve interaction despite the ‘Top Stories’? Please let us know in the comments or start a conversation on our Facebook page.
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