I hate to say it, but my beloved Shareable Squares are getting their asses kicked by lowly Status Updates. Sometime in September people started noticing that their Status Updates were getting a higher “Reach”; in other words, more people are seeing them. I wrote about this before, and at this point there is so much evidence that you can’t deny it.
Reach is the number of people you see under your post as “[ ] people saw this post.” If you hover your mouse over it, you’ll see a breakdown into “organic,” “viral” and, if you promoted the post, “paid” reach. I’m sure you’re thinking that “organic” is the number of fans, but it doesn’t say fans it says “people,” and according to Jon Loomer, that includes non-fans. “Organic means the unique number of people who saw your post in the News Feed, Ticker or on your page itself--but it includes non-Fans. If you want to know how many fans saw your post, he shows you how here. (In addition to the change with images, total reach is way down for nearly everyone.)
Basically this turns upside down everything we thought we knew about the Facebook computer algorithm. You used to get superior reach if you used pictures, followed by videos, status updates with links--and status updates were the lowest possible rung. Who would guess that suddenly the unpopular kid at school is suddenly the prom king? Why? Nobody understands the mysterious Facebook algorithm.
People are going so far to avoid pictures that they are removing the little thumbnails that turn up when you do a link. They hit the “x” so they can have a pure status update.
So…does this mean we should all stop using Shareable Squares? I don’t think so and neither do most other people. Reach is only one metric; engagement is another, and to me, that’s more important. Even if your post is shown to less people, if it’s good, and sent out at the right time, the ones who do see it will respond quickly. A quick response has always meant that it gets shown to more people, and that will mean more comments and shares. All evidence says that this is still true.
Definitely a great question may be just as good at eliciting a response, and if you start with more people you are ahead of the game. Also, you can put in a few dollars now and then for promoted posts if you think you have something strong. I promoted my post about the notifications feature for $5 because it was important for me to get the word out.
My advice is to do a mix of Status Updates and Squares and see how it works for you. Experimentation and watching the results is always the best way to approach the forever shape-shifting Facebook.
Until Facebook throws us the next curve ball--which we know they will--this is the way to go.