There was a recent question on our Facebook wall regarding how to ensure a Facebook fanpage is being seen by followers, and why some pages show up more than others.  Also, if it’s even worthwhile to have a fanpage if it’s not being seen, and to what degree Facebook ads influence a page’s visibility.

Let’s address these questions in two parts.

First, the reason some feeds show up more than others has to do with interactions and activity. Facebook uses its EdgeRank algorithm to tailor what is shown in your friend or fan newsfeed. EdgeRank is able to see how you interact to deliver content those algorithms believe you’ll be most engaged with. As EdgeRank is based on affinity or relationships between creators and users, interactions, likes, comments, and timeliness, if you’re not seeing content from a page you like, just visit the page and kick off a new conversation or like something on its wall that interests you.

Now, regarding whether or not pages with Facebook ads receive more activity than others, what’s really happening here looks something like this: Pages with extremely high fan counts have more to lose, and therefore are more likely publishing higher quality content more frequently, thereby receiving better engagement from their fans. Since they’re putting so many resources into their pages, they may in fact be running ad campaigns, but this is not the reason they’re performing better in Facebook search.

Certainly, many newer pages and local businesses may then find it difficult to grow amongst larger brands and see the need for paid Facebook ads; however, this isn’t much different than XYZ soda company competing online with Coca Cola. The key is for XYZ to find a niche inexplicably different or unique, creating a customer community of its own – with something that Coca Cola doesn’t posses. Of course, this may require altering your product, and depending upon its lifecycle, may be impossible or entail a massive shift in your marketing. You may need a campaign, or something to pull your brand into a larger pond and your fanpage into a market where it can compete with newfound visibility. Look at what Reed’s did with Virgil’s soda or Jones Soda Co. did with its people-inspired bottle campaign. These companies captured an entirely new market of soda evangelists with the way they chose to innovate and engage their customers.

Finally, let’s look at whether it’s worthwhile to put time and resources into setting up and managing a Facebook page for your business.

Ask yourself where your customers are at. Is there a reason for them to engage? Can you afford to build a more interactive business? Creating a Facebook or Twitter page will not magically transform static brands into shareable experiences.

Next consider the true value of social media in today’s era. I’m convinced that the act of listening, learning and adapting is where social media is valuable. What resonates with people? What feedback can they provide? Where we used to rely on focus groups and research studies to extract customer insights and behavior, we’re now able to listen to needs and wants, trends and buzzwords and respond in ways that matter to the people.

Facebook is not a shot in the dark marketing tool. It is a relationship tool you can use to get to know more about your prospects, keep them engaged, to dialogue with, and to share and gather information and insight from.

If you’re on Facebook already, how do you know you’re doing it right? Lots of fan pages are self-serving, void of anything worthwhile or existing solely because their admins have been told they need to be interactive to stay ahead. What’s missing on these pages is that people want self serving blather no more than they want meaningless content. Try asking visitors to participate or share their thoughts, and use your knowledge and expertise in what you do well to solve their problems.

Make it fun, create a gameplan and stick to it, then observe how people react and adjust. Help your fans arrive at a destination and leave with empowerment, inspiration, a chuckle or maybe even something gained.

I hope we’ve addressed some of your questions and you’ve enjoyed a shift in perspective. Regarding that final question whether or not it “makes sense” to be on Facebook as a smaller brand or business, let’s just say that with 800 million users, Facebook is now the size of the entire Internet in 2004, and at 53.5%, accounts for the majority of total time spent online. Probably worth a profile or two.

Good luck out there, have fun, and as always, let us know how we can help.

Cheers – The Savy Team