The problem with Facebook’s Organic Reach

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About a week ago I started a year long project to upload an image every day, in the hope I would learn a bit more about photography. It’s a great way of making yourself think about Photography in terms of the arty bollocks: composition, lighting, angles, lens type etc.

You can see the album on my 500px at: http://500px.com/udapud/sets/project_365

I used my Facebook business page to host the images, adding them to an album created for the purpose. Yet I’ve noted the lack of organic reach Facebook has allocated, and upon reading further have devised that Facebook’s “clever” filtering is seriously flawed.

To jump to the main point for a second, if someone jumps on Facebook at lunchtime, they want to know what everyone is up to that day and read the most recent posts from a wide cross section of their friends. Instead what they get is posts from the night before and days ago from the same handful of people that always seem to show on their newsfeed, with posts that are deemed “popular” by Facebook’s algorithm “Edgerank”; the all-seeing and all-mighty decider of what we see on the Facebook feed most days.

For business owners this represent a problem and is something I have noticed as a declining interaction with my own posts. I’m not saying what I post is feed-gold, far from it, but to see that only a handful of your fans ever see your content is extremely frustrating. It bothers me so, because for people like me Facebook is supposed to represent a modern and intuitive way of reaching new audiences that otherwise would have have remained untapped and yet it’s hard not to feel that this deliberate constriction of reach is purely to point users in the direction of the pay-to-display ads, or boost posts. So they changed the term “Reach” to include it’s bigger, shinier and more expensive brother. Thus the terms “Organic Reach” and “Paid Reach” were born…

So small business owners are now left with two choices, continue to watch their content remain unseen, however interesting  it may be, or pay ever increasing sums for the privilege.

Paying for ad’s, in my experience has resulted in new fans. In fact one time I mistakenly left the pay per day option switched on and paid £3 per day for a month and gained well over 60 fans in the process. Great!

Or not.

Upon further inspection the pages reveal themselves to be almost all the same setup and content structure. Sparse content, lot’s of liking things and some grainy handheld photo’s. Fake profiles. I’ve had absolutely no interaction from any of these new likes, and frankly wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook’s biblical algorithm is actually creating new profiles to make it seem like the ad system actually delivers. Cynical…? Perhaps.

The upshot of all this tampering is that I am now using 500px to showcase my work, it’s browser uploading technology is amazing, and so intuitive. and whats-more there are loads of options for searching and sorting through images. In 36 hours my images have notched up over 2000 views and gained some likes, loves and even been shared again.

If you ask me Facebook has had it’s day, it’s become exactly like Imgur in that 90% of it’s content is meme’s and funny videos. The only really useful feature it retains is it’s scope, meaning, somewhat ironically I can login with it all over the web, so it’s almost become a universal profile system, rather than just a social network. Yet this alone cannot offset the fact that Facebook really doesn’t care about you (not to mention it’s drab, uninteresting and clunky interface.) It was bound to happen and is a prime example of the expansion to quality ratio.

The bigger you become, the more money you require. The more money you require, the less you care about your standards. Throw in that annoying blue colour…and it’s just too much for me. Oh I’m not deleting my profile…no way it’s got all my pics on there! 😉

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