SHOCKER: 3% To 7.5% Of Fans See Your Page's Posts

If you have a business fan page, you want those fans to see your posts, right? Well, the chart above shows that fan page owners are grossly overestimating how many people they’re reaching through posts.

(Note: That chart based on pages that together represent more than 400 million fans; it was complied by PageLever, which is in beta and growing its data set. The PageLever charts rock (they’re much cooler than my lame MS Powerpoint table above), and if you want better Facebook Page insights, you should sign up for their beta. The “approximate % of fans seeing posts daily” and “total daily impressions per fan” columns are daily, so these numbers are affected by pages that are not posting daily.)

It’s more of a shocker than you thought, isn’t it? Among Facebook pages with a million likers or more, less than three percent of their fans are seeing their posts daily.

Most Fan Pages Are Under-Performing

I’ve been told that HubSpot recommends a 0.5 percent feedback rate as a goal. But I have seen pages up to several hundred thousand fans achieve feedback rates above one percent regularly when they post purposely to get likes and comments. It may be possible for multi-million fan pages as well.

If you aren’t thinking about how to get more likes and comments, you probably don’t understand how EdgeRank is reducing your visibility to your fans.

Keeping your fans engaged daily and arousing their desire for your offering must be part of your fan page strategy, or you’re wasting the opportunity to stay visible and get sales.

There may be cases where a one percent feedback rate is not possible, especially if your fans don’t have much in common that they’re passionate about. This is more likely the case for fan pages that prioritize high fan counts ahead of targeting good potential customers. But you can see from the numbers above that high fan counts are deceiving.

Many Are Under-Posting

A lot of experts recommend posting to your Facebook fan page daily. But many are not achieving that. This is a missed opportunity. It’s similar to how so many companies have email lists but no email marketing strategy beyond a monthly newsletter than no one cares about. You need a fan page posting plan.

Afraid to post daily? To give you a contrary example, one e-commerce website I know of has found their 90,000 fan Facebook page to be quite profitable, and they post five times per day and have done so for more than six months.

Four daily posts are engagement-oriented and one is sales-oriented. Not all the Facebook e-commerce efforts I’m aware of are making profits, so it’s interesting that this profitable one is posting so often. Perhaps by being so aggressive, they cultivate the most passionate fans and weed out the ones who are never going to buy.

Facebook fan quantity is overrated. You do need a lot of fans, but you need a lot of quality fans, and you need to keep them engaged. The best Facebook marketers are engaging their fans with a purpose while growing their fan base.

But Can Big Pages Stop Growing Fans?

An underestimated factor in EdgeRank is time decay. One of the reasons so many fans of the biggest pages are not engaged is because they became fans so long ago. Some huge fan pages were not started by the company, and the early fans may never have been engaged. If a fan hasn’t clicked on one of your posts for a year, there may be almost no chance they’ll ever see your posts again.

And if you continue to do a poor job with your post feedback rate, over time, your fans will continue decay. You’ll have to keep getting new fans, as they get more and more expensive (because of ad burnout, they always become more expensive).

Once the cost is prohibitive, you’ll have no choice but to pay for sponsored post story ads to your existing fan base to try to re-awaken them. If you have more than 100,000 fans, you should already be running sponsored post stories and other ads to your existing fan base to keep them engaged, especially if your feedback rate is below 0.5 percent.

Solutions: Here’s The Good News

I was very reluctant to put this post out — it’s cool that it has an attention-grabbing title and it’s based on real data, but it could be discouraging to many involved in Facebook marketing. There are many naysayers about this business, so why add fuel to the fire?

In my experience, the people who say Facebook doesn’t work for business have little experience and no training. I agree with them that not enough businesses are succeeding, but I see it as a function of companies not doing it well, not as a function of the social network itself.

Consider this a tough-love post. I want you to face the facts and change your tactics so you can get better results.

Here’s what you need to change:

  • Have a plan for engaging your fans: Who’s going to do the posting? Do they have any experience in this? How often will they post? Have you planned out 30 to 90 daily posts yet?
  • Go for likes and comments: Without them, you don’t get visibility. If you’re not getting a one percent feedback rate, have you been trained how to get more likes and comments from posts?
  • Grow targeted fans that are realistically good potential buyers for your company: Don’t just go for numbers. The businesses I’ve seen make money from Facebook grew all or most of their fans from Facebook advertising, which gives you powerful targeting options.

Readers, what do you think of this advice?

Brian Carter is the chief executive officer of the FanReach Facebook marketing training company, a social media trainer, and a Facebook and AdWords consultant.


Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Web Analytics

Web AnalyticsStarting July 30, master Google Analytics to build traffic and increase sales for your brand! In this course, you'll learn how to use metrics to develop a digital strategy for your business, determine what to look for in analytics reports, use your findings to improve your online initiatives and more. Register now!