Improve Facebook Engagement Like A Pro With This Hidden Feature

In the few years since brands started taking Facebook seriously, the social network has become overrun with brands competing for the attention of their fans. Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank, that was developed to help sift through the noise, has become a thorn in the side of many businesses who use Facebook to communicate with its fans. Mark Cuban made headlines about it recently when he ranted about the absurdity of Facebook pushing brands to advertise in order to reach their own fans.

Here’s how EdgeRank works in one sentence: The more your fans like, comment, share, or click through on your posts, the more often they will see your posts in their NewsFeed. But the question becomes, how do you get your posts to show up in all of your fans NewsFeeds to spur interaction in the first place? One answer to that is Post Privacy Gating, a Facebook feature that does not get enough attention for how useful and effective it is.

Post Privacy Gating allows you to target a segment of your fans at a time with an update that would appeal to that certain demographic specifically. The result is much greater engagement and improvement of your overall EdgeRank score. It’s a great way for brands to be more creative with their content and boot engagement rates through targeted posts that a portion of their fans will connect with and appreciate.

Here is a simple case study of how the post privacy gating feature works and a step by step guide to using it.

Set Up Post Privacy Gating

To use the Post Privacy Gating feature, you must first enable it from the Manage Permissions section of the administrative dashboard. Click the checkbox, save changes, and you are ready to start improving your EdgeRank score.

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facebook post privacy gating

Post Privacy Gating lets you update certain portions of your fan base according to general demographics: age, gender, relationship status, educational status, interested in, location, and language.

Start Targeting Your Facebook Posts

To start targeting your Facebook fans, first choose a certain demographic and then develop a message custom tailored to them. I used the Facebook Insights section to determine that the second highest country of origin for likes on the facebook page I run for Clermont, Florida is the United Kingdom.

how to use facebook insights

We have about 17 people that like the page from the UK and although that’s not a large number, and certainly not large enough to warrant an update from the page to all fans, these are 17 real people that we are talking about here. And that’s an important lesson to learn when you are targeting posts to specific demographics: Don’t get hung up on numbers. You will never reach the hearts of your fans or see success in your social media efforts if you are only focused on numbers.

Once I determined the audience that I would target, I posted a customized message just for them to recognize them for liking the page and including them in our community. The Post Privacy Gating option will show up at the bottom of the status box to the right of the scheduling option and looks like a cross-hairs graphic.

targeted facebook page posts

Because this post only went out to 17 people, it makes it much more likely that all of those people will see the update. And the fact that it is speaking straight to them means that they are more likely to engage with the post. And all of this translated into your page becoming more favorable in the eyes of EdgeRank.

facebook targeted post case study

So how did this experiment turn out? Very well in terms of engagement percentage. Out of the 17 people that we wanted to see the post, 35 people ended up actually seeing it. That’s more than twice the amount of people we targeted, versus when we post to all 1,089 fans usually only 31% see the update. If we had that same success rate with posts that went to our whole community, we would have 2,242 people seeing our posts instead of 338.

facebook virality percentage

The ability to scale your interactions like this means that you are able to be as social as possible, which naturally translates into success on social media. Just remember like I said earlier, every one of your likes are people, and every one of those people are who the success of your business depends on. Use this feature intelligently as part of your overall Facebook strategy and you will improve your relationship with your customers, as well as Facebook’s EdgeRank.

Do you use Post Privacy Gating? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

Comments: 3

  • Bob says:

    nice work facebook, you improved all but one thing. That one thing so important how could you have missed it. Want to know what it is. Check out

  • Facebook is improving its relationship with fans and businesses but there is still a long way to go. Building a fan base is still difficult when friending will get you blocked for 30-60-90 days

  • Nate says:

    Thanks for introducing this to me. I will test it out!

    Some questions. When visitors come to our fan page, but they are outside of the location you selected, will they be able to see the post?

    Since the original post you send can’t ‘travel’ outside of that location, will friends of the fan who comment who don’t live there be able to see it?

    Last, can you tell whether or not this increased your overall page engagement scores, allowing your normal posts with out the gateway settings reach more people than usual?

    Thanks and sorry for all the questions!

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