There’s been a lot of chatter of late regarding changes Facebook continues to make to its algorithm for serving content to its users. But most of that chatter has been focused on page admins–things you can do to try and get around FB’s ongoing attempts to goad brands into paying for their content to get distributed, regardless of each brand’s potential budget for doing so. This pay-to-play system seems to me an attempt to make the companies that profit from their presence on FB shell out some “rent” for doing so, and that isn’t totally unfair. But what of the websites, blogs, fan pages and nonprofits that do NOT profit from their presence on FB? And what of you, the users who actually want their content?
Today, FB muddied the page admin waters further by telling us that you’re not necessarily even seeing our posts even if FB is “serving” them to you. So all we know is how many times FB throws our posts into your feeds, and by golly, the numbers tell us it’s not very often–whether it’s how it’s served or how it’s seen. Honestly, the marketing folks will spend hours and hours researching how to game these feeds to reach you more frequently, but ultimately, *you* have opted in to our updates and as such it’s up to *you* to customize your FB use to better see us, if you really want to see us. (And we hope you do.)
So, without further ado, here are three ways you can make sure you’re seeing page posts while using Facebook:
1. Use the Page Feed
The page feed generates a real-time feed of pages you’re a fan of. By real-time, I mean the kind of feed that puts things in order based more on recent comments than on recent posts, an ongoing problem wherein Facebook thinks it knows what you want better than you do. Oh, wait, I am digressing. But if your “recent activity” feed is full of your friends’ posts, the pages feed will give you the closest approximation of the same feed but with page content instead of friend’s content.
It’s easy to access and save: Look for the orange flag in the left-hand navigation of your Facebook page, or just access your Facebook page feed directly.
2. Use Interest Lists
Interest pages generate a specialized feed with content that you specify. They are different from Friend lists in that you can actually set them up in a way that others can access them. That said, I prefer to create my own. I recently was offered a job in an area I don’t know all that well, so I started seeking out pages in that area to like so I could learn more about it.
Facebook remembers that you’ve bundled posts together this way and will at times let you know that there are new posts in the list.
Add a page to a list by accessing the dropdown menu at “Liked.” Choose “Add to Interest Lists,” and you will get a picklist of existing lists or the option to create a new list.
When creating a new list, you’ll be prompted to add other pages to the list–or people you follow, or friends. Basically, suppose you are into yoga. You can add yoga pages, yoga experts you follow, and friends whose FB focus is primarily yoga to your yoga list and have a topical stream dedicated to information about yoga.
Once you create a list, you’ll want to be able to come back to it easily. There are two ways to do this. The first way: Create a bookmark file in your browser and save links to lists you want to access from one click. The other way: Add the list to “favorites” and it will always appear in the left-hand navigation of your Facebook page.
Then, when you load your FB list, you’ll be presented with an easy to scroll-through feed of topically-related page content!
3. Turn notifications on
For those pages that have can’t miss content–your favorite news sites or magazines, that college you’re dying to attend, the blog you want to see every post from but can’t remember to check now that Google Reader is dead–whatever the case: You can turn on notifications for your absolute favorite pages. Of course, this assumes you have notifications turned on in the first place, but nothing makes me happier than seeing a notification pop up that the rarely-updated association page I want updates from has finally posted info on an upcoming conference I want to attend. It’s a post I’d miss in the grand scale of noise on FB, but I don’t want to miss it and I definitely don’t want to rely on Facebook to “serve” it to me.
Does anyone actually prefer sponsored content to being able to curate your own experience? I certainly don’t. Feel free to share your own techniques for better Facebook content consumption in comments!