Recently, it appears that Facebook has been showing business page posts less and less in the news feeds of people who have “liked” that page. Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to decide on which business page posts to include in a person’s news feed. This algorithm takes into account how much that person has interacted with the Page in the past through “likes,” “shares,” clicks and comments. EdgeRank is used to deliver the stories Facebook thinks will be most relevant to its users. In theory, the more a user interacts with a page, the more likely that page’s updates will continue to appear in that user’s news feed. Facebook users can indicate that they want a business’ posts to appear in their news feed by visiting the business’ Facebook page and hovering over the “Liked” button. A box will appear where they can choose “Show in News feed” to make it more likely (but not guarantee) that business’ posts will appear in the user’s news feed.
 
Even though Facebook provides useful statistics for tracking how users are interacting with a business page, many businesses have been caught unaware of the fact that their updates were not being distributed to many of the customers who had liked their page. After each Facebook post on a business page, the page admin can see statistics on the “reach” of a particular post, meaning how many Facebook users saw that post. Some of the people included within the “reach” statistics of a post may not be people who have “liked” the page, but rather friends of people who have shared, liked or commented on that post. Facebook also shows a percentage of fans who have seen a particular post. These numbers are shown after each post. Business page managers have been surprised to learn that some of their posts are only showing up in the news feeds of a small percentage of their followers. Recently, on my dental office Facebook page and my dental practice management company’s Facebook page, about 30% of those who have “liked” my page see a particular post.
 
Facebook announced this week that they are now offering Promoted Posts to Facebook business pages. This is a different advertising program than Facebook ads or Sponsored Stories and has a unique payment system where you choose a “lifetime” budget amount rather than a daily budget amount to have your post promoted. Paying to promote a post will make it more likely to appear in the news feed of a page’s customers who have already liked the page and in the customer’s friends’ news feeds when the customer interacts with the post by liking, commenting or sharing. This post appears in the news feed itself, not in the right hand column where other ads appear, and it may be marked with a small “Sponsored” notation at the end. This new feature may be an attempt by Facebook to remedy the issue they are having with potential decreased revenues due to Facebook ads not appearing to mobile users. By having these sponsored posts within the news feed itself, this type of advertising will still appear to mobile users.
 
To promote a post, a page owner would use the status update sharing tool to create a post as usual and then choose the “promote” icon under the sharing tool box. This will prompt a step by step process for choosing how much to spend, with information on the likely number of viewers for a story depending on the budget you choose. If you do not already have a credit card and advertising account on file with Facebook, you will be prompted to enter credit card information. You can choose to promote any post that you have created in the past three days.
 
So, what do you think of this new advertising option? Will you use it to promote your posts?