The stats on Facebook marketing failure, particularly for small businesses, are quite telling: 74% of companies have a Facebook presence [1] but 31% of company pages have less than 32 followers [2], and 56% have less than 262 [3].

Posting content to Facebook pages is no better. Companies and local businesses rank among the lowest post-count per month. They post only 15-22 posts per month. As a comparison the typical musician posts 39 times per month on average [4].

These are very low numbers, especially considering that only 16% of a page’s fans see each piece of content and 96% of Facebook fans don’t go back to a brand’s Facebook page after initially following them [5].

Does this sound like the sad state of your Facebook presence? If so, keep reading!

To increase that percentage from 16% you need to understand how Facebook determines what to show on a user’s news-feed. This is defined as the EdgeRank algorithm. It has thousands of variables lumped into three categories or (Edges):

Weight is the value given to actions in Facebook. The most time-intensive content is given more weight. For example, photos are given more weight than comments and comments are given more weight than likes.

Affinity is the relationship between a User and an Edge. It’s best understood as how close of a relationship a Brand-page and a Fan has. This relationship is judged by the Fan’s interaction with your content. Actions such as Commenting, Liking, Sharing, and Clicking influence a User’s Affinity.

Time Decay is how long a particular Edge has been alive. As time increases, the likelihood of actions on Facebook (comments, photos, likes) appearing in the News Feed diminishes. This keeps content fresh. Created content only appears in the News Feed for around 30-45 minutes before newer content replaces it [6], unless that content has high weight and affinity.

It’s easiest to understand Weight and Affinity with the term Engagement. Basically, the higher the engagement with fans, and the more labor intensive it is (commenting over just liking), the better the chances of turning the Edgerank algorithm in your page’s favor.

The problem with your page is that you likely didn’t understand this early enough. You spent a few months trying fruitlessly to use Facebook – posting sporadic and un-engaging content while gaining fans at too slow a rate. Sound familiar? You may have hit a threshold of 32 followers with only 16% (2 people!) seeing posts. You’ll never break past this threshold unless you can rapidly gain new fans while at the same time creating highly engaging content.

Obviously optimized content is integral, particularly in terms of creating discussion. The average Facebook user has 130 friends [7]. If two friends comment on a your post then plenty of their own shared friends will likely see the comment too. There are plenty of variables like this. The other integral aspect of breaking the threshold is spending money to advertise your page or your content through Facebook. By promoting a particularly engaging post with paid advertising, you can cheat the 16% threshold, anywhere up to 50% depending upon how much you spend and how much engagement the post has. When both aspects are done at the same time, you can break beyond the threshold and out of your sad Facebook page purgatory.



[3] Recommendly Facebook Pages research, 1.7m pages. March 2012