The “Facebook Groups”
In the earlier years of Facebook, “Community Pages” were not only a viable idea on Facebook but actually worked quite effectively.
Today however, between changes in both EdgeRank and serious changes in how community member non-admin postings are displayed, it’s a very different world.
Recently, a Just-Ask-Kim.com reader asked a great question about engagement on community member submissions into a “Facebook Group” that wasn’t a group at all! :
On Facebook there is a photo group called Tokyo Camera Club. I’ve submitted photos and I get like 6 or 12 ‘Likes.’
Other people submit photos and get like 4,724 ‘Likes.’
If I were submitting silly little snapshots I’d understand, but I’ve been a professional photographer for 20+ years and I submit quality stuff.
Am I saying that my images are better and I should win based on my resume? Not at all.
But, are those other photos 4,000 times better than mine? No way.
So, I have a feeling something’s going on that I don’t know about. Somehow these people are promoting their photos. I wrote and asked Tokyo Camera Club directly and they replied, ‘No tricks.’
YOU seem to have a certain amount of web/FB savvy, so I thought I’d ask you: how does one image get 4,000+ votes and another get 6?
Have any ideas?
I’m going to answer this question over 2 different blog posts.
First, here, answering the question more in depth based on what’s really going on. Then in another blog post, answering the question “ask it was asked” and giving the answer if one were actually dealing with a group.
Hey John, great question!
Congratulations on your many successful years in the photography industry. I follow a wide range of nature photographers on Facebook and the skill necessary is truly amazing!
So let’s dig into what’s really going on – because there’s more here than meets the eye!
First, we need a little Facebook terminology.
Facebook Page – An SEO friendly, Google accessible, part of Facebook that is approved by Facebook for use by brands, marketing, sales and promotions. There are categories of Facebook pages and they MAY be used by communities but over time, emphasis has shifted away from this. They are primarily a channel for the brand or managing team to make postings seen by the fans.
Facebook Group – A non-SEO, non-Google accessible, part of Facebook that is strategically designed to facilitate communication between community members and enables (reasonably) fair and equal visibility of member postings with admin postings.
In the case of “Tokyo Camera Club “, their naming tells you of their intent, but their use of a Page puts a damper on the “community” aspect of being a club.
The link above, if you open it, is a Facebook Page (note the Like rather than Join button). I’ve circled a few key things in red.
Here we see an active, vibrant, strongly performing Facebook Page. Averaging 4,000 likes per post with a fan base of 23.5k is rock solid performance if it’s consistent.
Yet, this page is a great example of one that creates confusion among it’s fans about whether it’s a community or not!
As I mentioned before, formerly, posts by fans onto the wall of the page itself, resulted in them having at least some exposure in the feed of the fans of the page.
Today, that is simply not true. Additionally, over time, the exposure these items have to a fan that directly visits the page as ALSO fallen.
Now, posts by fans are corralled into a box called “Recent Posts by Others”.
This box not only minimizes the posting but also has zero visibility to in the news feed of fans of the page.
So, why are fans of the page not liking your item? Simple: Because they are not SEEING it!
Could it still be useful for you to post your images there? Maybe… *IF* the management of this fan page uses those postings as their source of images to then RESHARE with their fans.
Look through prior postings, and match up whether any of them were taken from prior community member postings.
If so – then them re-sharing your stuff would draw attention to you as a pro photographer.
This would not mean likes on your original posting but would still be good exposure.
I do note that this page is re-sharing images from a number of places. They’re obviously not afraid to re-share and that is a good sign… but if they are not sharing community postings, then your efforts are wasted.
Why has this happened?
Because there is no moderation on fan postings, anything a fan posts would be immediately seen by fans of the page. This could lead to griefing of the fans and spam on the page and even objectionable things such as pornography or illegal images.
By putting all the fan postings in a “box” spam is controlled and it’s easier for the brand to keep a tight rein on what the community is exposed to by fans.
Perfect for the brand or authority…. crappy for the community that wants to share pictures too!
Looking for somewhere that your images will get seen? Try a Facebook Group!
Joining a Facebook Page is much more like joining a newsletter than it is like joining a community project.
In some ways, this is a shame because it limits the use of Facebook Pages (and also hampers ones that previously were more effective).
You’ll want to search a number of relevant words, phrases, and terms to find groups in the Facebook search. For example, there is an active “Nature Photography” group with over 15,000 members!
If you are okay with your Facebook friends seeing that you are posting in Facebook groups, then look for “Open Group”. If not, and you’d rather keep all of that activity away from annoying your friends, then find a “Closed Group” which will not display your activity to your Facebook friends.
Dive into groups and you’ll find a much more community-centric feel and engagement rate for your content! (Just be sure to first read any group rules that exist and be sure you are posting within the guidelines that are unique to each group. Be a gracious guest!)
~ Kim ~
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PS: Sometimes, postings in groups won’t perform as well as you might expect either. Here’s where a few of the discrepancies in groups can come from.