Facebook has long been regarded as one of the two cornerstones of a good social media marketing strategy. Certainly, there are lots of ways to reach large audiences of potential customers with your messages, and those who go deep into their internet marketing approaches and use professionals to help them will have experienced this. But for the average small business, a Facebook page with a decent number of likes and a Twitter account with a good following were all that was needed. Then Facebook threw something of a spanner in the works by no longer presenting users with all of the posts from all of their friends and liked pages.
Here, we take a look at what is being called the ‘filtered feed problem‘, and what it means for marketers and business owners who have been using Facebook as a free form of social media outreach:
Why Does Facebook Filter Feeds?
You may not realise it, but even when you switch out of the ‘Top Stories’ view in Facebook to ‘Most Recent’, and even with add ons like Social Media Fixer, what you see in your news feed is only some of the stuff the pages you like and people you are friends with are posting (this may be why you sometimes wonder why out of hundreds of friends, most of what you see is from the same few people, or why you see loads of photos and videos but hardly any normal status updates). Facebook offers ways to control what you don’t want to see, by allowing you to hide things from users or apps without deleting them, but there is no longer an option to see everything. This is done because they believe that of all of the content posted by all of your friends and pages, users would have between 1500 and 15,000 new news feed items to read every day. As most people wouldn’t have time for that, they use an algorithm to try and determine which of your potential posts are worthy of being shown to you.
This is the opposite of what Twitter does – Twitter knows you won’t be able to read all of your possible tweets every day, but shows you all of them so the ones you miss are down to timing, rather than down to filtering. In either case, plenty of posts don’t get seen. The reasoning being that social networks are now so full of content, we just can’t get through it all.
What Can You Do As A Marketer?
This issue means that you will no longer be getting the same reach with posts from your Facebook account as you may have done just a couple of years ago. The solution, unfortunately, is to place less weight on your Facebook posting, and consider spending money on promoted posts or ads, or switch your attention to Twitter (which has the opposite ‘unfiltered feed’ issue) or smaller social networks.
The filtered feed is controversial among users and marketers alike, and general enthusiasm for Facebook is dwindling somewhat because of it. However, unless they find a better way of managing our posts, it is here to stay.