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Article Intro by Elissa Liu, Spark Growth Partners


For some time we’ve noticed distinct differences in the number of impressions Facebook Business Page posts get when they are made manually within Facebook, vs. through a third-party tool like Hootsuite.  While not 100% consistent, we saw that many posts coming through Hootsuite would have significantly fewer impressions; in some cases manual posts would have 2-5x the number of impressions.

We looked for data to support this finding, but were not able to find anything substantial.  But our experience and the results we were seeing led us to advise clients against using Hootsuite or Hubspot for Facebook posting, specifically.  Instead, we suggested using these types of tools for Twitter and/or integrating between Twitter and LinkedIn or from Facebook to Twitter.

Our concern was the Facebook algorithm for selecting what shows up in users newsfeeds.  Based on today’s study done by Hubspot, there is evidence that as Facebook Pages were moved over to the new Timeline format at the end of March, the difference in impressions and engagement has become even more pronounced.

This article discusses Facebook’s algorithm, called EdgeRank, which uses three criteria to determine what specific ‘stories’ or posts show up in a users’ individual newsfeed:

1.  Affinity – number of interactions between the user and any page or person they are connected to
2.  Weight – number of times the user has interacted with the content in question
3.  Recency – length of time passed since the content was posted

Exactly how these factors come together to determine what shows up in a newsfeed is part of Facebook’s secret sauce, but Hubspot’s article is very helpful in explaining the dynamics, as well as some of the interest results they saw in their study.

The highlights?  Posts done manually through Facebook have 2.5x more clicks and 3x more likes than posts done through third party apps/APIs.

And a final takeaway?  Timeline is touted by Facebook as increasing engagement for brands, with a stat of a 46% increase in engagement.  The problem with this stat?  It is for some of the largest brands on the internet, which have the resources to invest heavily in their social mediaprograms and ensure the right mix and frequency of posts and content, manually posted to their pages.Unfortunately many small business owners simply don’t have the time throughout the day to be manually going in and posting content every few hours and therefore run the risk of seeing significantly REDUCED engagement as a result of Timeline.

Get all the details in the article from Hubspot here.

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