What musicians need to know about Facebook’s paid promotional posts

GregJohnson June 13, 2012 1
What musicians need to know about Facebook’s paid promotional posts

After seeing so many scare stories and panicked status updates popping up on our news feeds over the past few days, we at the Musicroom blog thought it was time to do some myth busting on Facebook’s new post promotion features. How might they affect musicians, their profile pages and how they connect with their fans?

The controversial new feature is called Paid Promotional Posts. Now, Facebook users can pay a fee to boost the visibility of their status updates, so that they are seen by as many friends (and friends of friends) as possible.

This may sound unfair at first – why should you have to pay for posts to reach all of your followers? – but for most users, its rare for status updates to ever reach their full list of fans and friends because of the way Facebook manages what content is made visible to who.

Your posts don’t go to everyone, but then again they never did!

Facebook use an algorithm called EdgeRank that decides and tries to anticipate which stories peoples will want to see on their newsfeeds. EdgeRank sifts through the huge number of posts made every minute on Facebook and cherry picks what it thinks is relevant to prevent you having to wade through the inevitable stream of updates and photos that would otherwise swamp you every time you logged in.

A great diagram on how EdgeRank values Facebook posts from socialcommercetoday.com.

Many people are not aware of the mechanics that go on behind the scenes of their Facebook profiles, and so the idea that their posts don’t automatically hit every single contact in their friend group can sound worryingly sinister on face value. However, this is not a new feature and in no way related to the introduction of Paid Promotional Posts. Facebook are not suddenly imposing penalties on users who don’t pay as is being widely reported.

The introduction of Paid Promotional Posts has not affected the visibility of regular posts and updates at all. Rather than being distracted by a threat that doesn’t exist, musicians should focus on how they can improve their page’s EdgeRank and gain more fans without paying a penny.

The three key factors that influence a page’s EdgeRank are:

  • User interaction (affinity) – if a fan regularly likes and comments your page’s content, future posts are more likely to show up on their newsfeed so motivate your fans to get involved with your profiles.
  • High levels of fan activity (weight) – the more likes, comments and shares your posts receive, the more visibility your page will receive through EdgeRank – make sure your posts are unique, interesting and engaging!
  • Timing (time decay) – fresher content will generally rank higher than older content so post well, and post often.

Putting the effort into the content of your Facebook page is key to getting your music out there to your audience – it always has been!

Have you seen this message pop up on your newsfeed recently?

“Facebook is now requiring page owners (us) to pay to have their status updates read by every subscriber. If we don’t, status updates only show up in less than 10% of news feeds, even though you have “liked” the page indicating you want to see posts from this page. However, there is a way around it! Hover over the button on this page where it says “Like” and then make sure you are check marked to “show in news feed” if you want to get all the updates from us. Thanks!”

Don’t copy and paste it to your wall. Instead, why not start building your own audience by creating some new and exciting content to post up on your page?

For more details on EdgeRank and the misconceptions surrounding Facebook’s new Paid Promotional Posts check out Craig Charles Haley’s fantastic post on the recent outrage over at thatsnonsense.com.

Did you find this post helpful or do you disagree with the article above? Let us know with a comment below!

  • Rob Durrant

    All status reports and links were shown before you introduced ‘EdgeRank’. Why not let users decide what they see as relevant rather than intervening. You basically have ruined the service and then are saying that by paying a fee it can be better.