Third Party Software for Facebook Status Updates: Is Convenience Worth Lower EdgeRank?
Rounding out our 3-part segment on business Facebook page updates, this post focuses on how using certain third-party software platforms to generate your page updates might alter how your posts are displayed on your page – and even affect your EdgeRank.
Used with prior permission of Peg Corwin, Using Facebook for Business Marketing. She is a SCORE Chicago business mentor.
In the process of writing Facebook page posts on automated status updates from apps like Networked Blogs, and scheduled status updates using third party software like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, etc, I have become aware that Facebook displays such updates differently than updates created in Facebook itself.
Consolidation of Status Updates from Third Party Software
Several sharp Fans pointed out and reps from a software platform and an app admitted it: Facebook does sometimes group updates from a third party sources sent by various Facebook pages in a Fan’s newsfeed, rather than show them individually. See the screenshot above, where Twitter feeds from various sources are consolidated. This means poorer visibility of updates sent through third-party apps, or lower Facebook Edgerank.
When asked, Sprout Social responded on our Facebook page:
“It’s true, unfortunately. Sprout Social covered this development in our blog (http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2011/04/facebook-penalizes-you-for-automating-your-page-updates/)”
Joshua Parkinson of the scheduling app Postplanner confirms that individual updates from the same service may be consolidated. Nevertheless, he explains the usefulness of such software as follows:
“Look, there’s no doubt that posting manually is the optimal way to post on Facebook. But the fact is a lot of small businesses lack the time and/or resources to do this. At Post Planner, we’ve always said that we’re not trying to replace manual posting. We encourage our customers to post manually as often as possible. But when it’s not possible, use Post Planner.
“We definitely agree with the point from your recent blogpost — namely, that scheduling apps like Post Planner can actually improve EdgeRank. How? By making posts publish at peak engagement times (early mornings, late evenings, weekends, etc. — basically times outside of normal business hours) when fans are most likely to comment on and like posts. More comments/likes means higher EdgeRank.”
Here’s a link to a post in Hootsuite’s help section on this very issue, with no response from the service as yet.
Should Page Admins Use Third Party Software to Schedule?
Leaving aside big brands who can customize post management software and avoid the consolidation, what should other page admins do?
My decision rule would be that consultants managing Facebook page for others and full-time business marketing staffers should create status updates in Facebook to get the most visibility for these updates in Fan news feeds.
However, business owners or staffers with multiple responsibilities should take advantage of scheduling software to make the most of limited time and sacrifice some Edgerank to execute marketing strategies. In addition, they should also check their pages daily to interact with Fans on an impromptu basis.
I can’t always be there at 10 am to post an update. I’m going to create updates directly on our Facebook for Business page as often as I can, but I will also use page management software to help me serve and engage Fans.
What will you do? Please share your approach in a comment or on our page wall.