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a blog by Chris Barrow

What's best for business on Facebook, a selfie, a tag, a like or a review?

I had the following question from a client the other day.

Hi Chris, hope you are well,

Just a quick question, my sister in law is in advertising and I was discussing some Facebook stuff with her.

She tells me that the algorithms in FB are done in such a way that an organic post by a person is only seen by 1% of their friends unless you pay to boost it.

So if a patient takes a selfie or tags us, it"s really not seen by many people.

Should we rather focus on page likes and reviews then?

Not professing to be the expert in this field, I asked my good friend and expert Mark Oborn to respond - and here is what he said:

"Hi Chris, happy to help

You are indeed partially correct.

Facebook uses an algorithm called Edgerank to calculate who should see posts, it is based on 3 metrics:

Affinity score

  • How connected your page is to an individual person

  • The strength of the action

  • How close the person who took the action was to you

  • How long ago they took the action

The weight of their action - known as 'Edges'

  • Comments are worth more than likes

  • Photos and videos are worth more than links

  • The means by which someone likes page may affect the weight although there is no proof of this

  • New page features typically have a higher edgerank for a limited period of time, e.g. check ins etc

Time decay

  • As the story gets older it loses value

  • When you login you see ‘edges’ that have the highest score at that moment in time

  • The time factor may be being adjusted by Facebook e.g. how long since the user last logged in versus how frequently the user logs in.

Every single person has a different calculation of all of these factors, so for example, if someone commented on a photograph yesterday then they will have a very high Edgerank and so will be more likely to see a post today.

If a single person did not react with that photograph, then they would have a lower calculation and would therefore not see subsequent posts.

So the trick is to get as many people engaging with as many posts as possible, this increases the rank with that person which then forces the algorithm to show that person more content.

To that end, I encourage practices to post pictures of cute fluffy pandas, pictures of the practice team getting married, photographs of the practice pets etc etc

These posts are not dentally related but are more likely to get engagement, that engagement increases the Edgerank for that individual person, when you then post something related to dentistry that person will see it, purely because they commented on the picture of the practice dog!

This means that some people may see less than 1% of what you post, whilst other (engaged) people might see 90% of what you post… The trick is to keep them engaged.

Regarding boosting posts…

Never, never, never boost a post… Always create an advert.

Even if the content of that advert is exactly the same as a boosted post you will get a better response. This is because adverts  use Facebook's learning algorithm to show the advert to people most likely to take action. Boosting simply shows it to the maximum number of people, regardless of whether they take action or not. Facebook adverts work even better if you use a Facebook pixel to designate a conversion, Facebook can then work out people to show it to even better. (Apologies, I realise that is getting rather techy 😁)

Hope that helps."

Smashing eh?

Mark is brilliant on this stuff and you can visit his web site at

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