The problem with Facebook for pages like Progressive Geographies

Screenshot 2014-03-11 08.05.22There is a fundamental problem with Facebook for pages like Progressive Geographies. Almost 2,000 people have liked the page that is fed directly from the blog. That’s great. Presumably those people want to see the things I post here. And yet, the vast majority of those people do not see posts, or they only see a fraction of them.

In recent days, the most popular posts have been seen by 500 or 600 people, and these are ones that have been shared by people on Facebook with their friends, most of whom do not subscribe to Progressive Geographies. Most posts get seen by 2-300 people. If I wanted more exposure I could ‘promote’ the page, which means paying for it to be seen by people who have initially already said they want to see the page; and incrementally to more and more people outside that group.

The reason is that Facebook only puts a fraction of the things it could put into your newsfeed. There are good reasons for this. Most of us have signed up to too many pages or have too many ‘friends’. Having everything would soon overwhelm us. So it puts up pages that it thinks we will like, partly based on how others have reacted to a page. So liking a page, or commenting on it, means it is more likely to appear in other feeds. But they also fill it with more and more paid posts – either advertisements or promoted posts by pages you’ve already said you like.

In other words, if you like (as in appreciate) this blog then you shouldn’t rely on Facebook to get its posts. Subscribing by email (perhaps by weekly or daily digest), adding it to an rss reader like Feedly, or Twitter (@stuartelden) is a much better option. Twitter and Facebook are automatically fed material from this WordPress site, so the material is the same, except if I comment or retweet. Facebook isn’t doing what I want it to do, and this for sites I follow. I suspect it is the same for many readers.

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2 Responses to The problem with Facebook for pages like Progressive Geographies

  1. Everything Facebook does is for commercial reasons, thus the newsfeed algorithm almost certainly selects based on potential add views which translates into revenue. If you really want to promote the BLOG outside of those who already know (of) you, you could use digital marketing tactics (I know, I know… but it’s a good thing for a good cause) to become more discoverable. I think that would be a great thing, particularly on some of the topics you write about frequently.

    • stuartelden says:

      Thanks Elizabeth. Thus far, the blog has been entirely word of mouth and grown organically – Facebook and, especially, Twitter have helped with this. I’m reluctant to start marketing it differently, though I appreciate this is getting to be more and more common. I’m not especially worried about not reaching people who have never expressed interest in the site; just wanted to warn people who have liked it on Facebook that they are not getting access to most of the material.

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