The Greatest Myth of Facebook Marketing

Frank Emanuele of Likeable wrote a great post this week called 3 Myths About Facebook Promoted Posts. The myths, according to Frank:

  1. “If you don’t pay extra, nobody sees your posts!”
  2. “Facebook is punishing pages that don’t advertise!”
  3. “Only big brands will be able to afford Facebook!”

Frank was on the money. I’m tired of reading and hearing all of the bickering about how there’s some Facebook conspiracy to prevent fans from seeing your posts in an effort to force you to buy advertising. It’s garbage.

The post got me to thinking: What’s the biggest myth about Facebook marketing, sparked by rumors and misinformation? It didn’t take much debate…

The #1 Myth About Facebook Marketing: EdgeRank is Bad for Brands

Whenever EdgeRank is mentioned, it is in a negative context:

  • My post didn’t reach some of my fans because of EdgeRank
  • I have to buy ads to reach more fans because of EdgeRank
  • I’m an annoying conspiracy theorist who likes to blame others for my failures because of EdgeRank

Okay, the third was thrown in there because I couldn’t think of another item that wasn’t related to the first two, and you really can’t create a list without at least three items. You get the point.

Here’s the thing: Facebook EdgeRank is as good for you as it is bad.

Overall, it’s a wash. If you are good at what you do, EdgeRank will actually benefit you.

Let’s think about this. The entire purpose of EdgeRank is to surface content to users that is important to them. Sure, it will knock down and hide bad content. If you routinely post content that Fan X never engages with, Facebook takes it as a sign that they don’t want to see your post. So even if they are online when you write it, they may not see it.

But there is actually a flip side to this: If you routinely create content that Fan X likes, comments on and shares, Facebook takes it as a sign that they want to see what you post. So if that fan missed a post that you wrote 10 hours ago, Facebook will surface it in Top News when they get online.

With Top News, Facebook is saying, Hey there! I know you dig this stuff! You’ve proven that you dig this stuff! Here is some awesome content that you missed while you were away!

Look at EdgeRank in this way. It doesn’t really “hurt” you if it prevents people who ignore your stuff from seeing your content. But it can certainly help by combatting your biggest enemy: Time Spent Online.

That’s right! You’re only reaching 16% of your fans because your fans are only on Facebook an average of 30 minutes per day. If they aren’t online, they don’t see your posts.

But if they aren’t online and you routinely write awesome stuff, EdgeRank will help you reach them anyway!

So, please… Stop looking at EdgeRank as your enemy. It is not evil. This is a myth! EdgeRank is your friend if used correctly.

What do you think is the greatest myth of Facebook marketing? Tell me in the comments below!

  • Di Cheal

    Thanks for the information! Makes a lot of sense. Now all I need to do is ignore posts from those conspiracy theorists! :)

    • Jon Loomer


  • Ted

    what about buying likes outright? we’re thinking about buying 500 or so likes through a service like “buyilikes”. we would do it because we want to portray ourselves as an established company providing high end services, and ~40 likes shoots us in the foot. will buying likes of fake people cause any harm?

    • Jon Loomer

      Don’t do it, Ted! Before the “Talking About This” feature, you could get away with tactics like this to disguise your page’s lack of activity. But now, you’ll just have 500 Likes and no one Talking About This. Most people see right through it.

      Additionally, it’s been said that a high percentage of inactive fans hurts your EdgeRank.

      Overall, it’s just not worth it. Even with 40 likes, if you can’t convince anyone your content is worthy of being liked, you have much bigger problems. You can just spend $50-100 to run advertising and get more REAL likes that way.

      We all had to start from somewhere. You can do it! Good luck!

      • RuthSheahan

        Don’t do it!!!!! It poisons the well.

  • Pingback: Dimensions for Facebook Timeline For Pages [Infographic] |

  • Linda PH

    Actually I don’t believe that arguement always holds true. If I look at my own behaviour on things like Facebook, I will go through periods where I’m particularly interested in what an organisation or company has to say because I’m personally involved in some way – I may have bought something for instance. Once I have my questions answered then I won’t necessarily be as involved, but that doesn’t mean that I’m no longer interested in the company and I will want to know if they bring something new out in the future or if they produce some new information – but they may not do that for another six months. Just because I don’t ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘share’ their stuff all the time doesn’t mean it’s not relevant to me, it’s just that those particular things don’t create a need to do something. However, I do want to know when they do say something that is of interest me and I don’t want to have to go and find it just because I’m being penalised as the user because FB is making assumptions about the way I find, browse and interact with information.

  • Pingback: New Facebook Profile Photo Size Impacts Cover Photos |

  • Pingback: Facebook's New Years Resolutions for 2013 -

  • RuthSheahan

    I agree Jon. I think, however, that the biggest way Edgerank helps us all is by keep lousy brands out of newsfeeds. I know, I know, “people can just unlike” – except they don’t. They’re more likely to just us Facebook less and less as their experience grows less enjoyable.

  • Pingback: Facebook Reach Insights Reporting Bug: It Doesn't Matter -

  • Pingback: 6 Things Facebook Marketers Need to Stop Doing -