Engaging Facebook content can depend on how you post it

Recent changes to the way Facebook generates its news feed may have marketers rethinking the kind of content they post from a page —  but they also need to consider the means by which they post it.

EdgeRank Checker last month conducted an analysis of 1 million updates on 50,000 pages that influence more than 1 billion fans. They result?

How you post matters.

EdgeRank Checker found that using a third-party API — such as Hootsuite or Seesmic — to update a Facebook Page decreases the likelihood of engagement per fan (on average) by about 80 percent. And in Facebook, it’s all about engagement.

EdgeRank Checker offered four theories for the lower engagement numbers from third-party API posts:

  1. Facebook penalizes third-party APIs. Third-party APIs are assigned a lower weight in the EdgeRank scoring system to encourage content creation directly inside of Facebook.
  2. Facebook collapses the content. Multiple posts from the same third-party API are collapsed into one post that limits visibility.
  3. Scheduled content is less engaging. It’s easy to use Hootsuite to schedule posts over a weekend. But its difficult to make these future posts timely and engaging.
  4. Content specific to Facebook is more engaging. Third-party APIs make it simple to publish to multiple platforms at once. But every platform is different with its own features and limitations. Content optimized for specific platforms is generally more engaging.

The theories are sound, but there’s an underlying message here — there are no shortcuts to effectively engage a Facebook community.

Third-party APIs are great at organizing social media efforts and simplifying the posting process. But creating content that people like, share and discuss takes time. The benefits of an engagement community, however, are certainly worth the effort.

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2 Responses to “Engaging Facebook content can depend on how you post it”

  1. Nice info about 3rd party posting–I agree. The only thing I would add is that we have to draw a distinction between scheduling and automating. Mari Smith (queen of Facebook marketing)suggests that if you use a scheduling tool, mix it up and post important stuff to Facebook manually for the reasons you stated above. I use Sprout Social and hardly ever post to Facebook from that platform because it is one of the non-preferred apps that Facebook will collapse, in addition to Networked Blogs. But the analytics and other advantages of using the dashboard tool far outweigh the inconvenience of having to visit Facebook manually. If you are automating the same posts to every channel at specific times everyday, then you’re in trouble to begin with. That’s not doing social media responsibly, it’s just using social as an after thought.

    October 5, 2011 at 10:23 am
  2. Interesting to think that Facebook would penalize brands who are simply arming themselves with tools to manage Facebook communications more efficiently… I wonder if you could offset the penalty based on the kind of content you’re posting. We recently found in our own Facebook Reach Analysis that photo and video posts on Facebook generated higher engagement, and in turn created broader audience reach: http://www.webliquidgroup.com/research-facebook-reach-analysis

    December 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm

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