The Biggest Facebook Posting Mistake You Can Make

Use third-party posting applications at your own risk.

What if there were a way to post to Facebook that would reduce your interactions with fans by up to 70 percent? You’d want to avoid that, wouldn’t you?

As you may know, lower interaction rates result in less visibility in the news feed. Fewer of your fans see you, and those that do may care less. It reduces your reach and hurts your brand.

The biggest posting mistake is: using anything other than Facebook’s own interface for sharing via desktop (Note the exceptions below.).

Typical alternate post publishers include CoTweet, HootSuite, Involver, various Twitter feed services, SocialOomph, and others; exceptions include Buddy Media, Involver, Vitrue, Syncapse, Shoutlet and Context Optional (although Facebook may change its policies to give all third parties equal treatment).

The normal Facebook web status update publisher is shown here:

If you publish from most of the other custom publishers like HootSuite or Ping.fm, you may be doing harm to your entire Facebook fan campaign.

Several Studies On Custom Publishers

This new study was conducted by Momentus Media. This is the second such study of this type — both were conducted in the same time period (The first came from EdgeRank Checker, which you can see by clicking here.)

Every day, Momentus scrapes 20,000 Facebook pages with more than 10,000 fans each, which resulted in a dataset of more than six million Facebook posts over a one month period. The company calculates what it calls an interaction rate, which is the sum of likes and comments on the post divided by the total fan base.

This is different from the feedback rate, a statistic available only to page administrators, arrived at by dividing the total interactions by the post’s impressions. As previous studies have shown, sometimes impressions are dramatically lower than the fan count. So, interaction rate takes into account both visibility and engagement.

By comparing the interaction rates of 31,279 posts from custom publishers against a random sample of 10,000 normally published posts, Momentus found some interesting conclusions that echo similar studies. They looked at the total number of usages of each custom publisher as well as the average interaction rate for each publisher.

The following chart shows some of the most used status update sources:

Normal refers to Facebook’s status update publisher for the desktop, which we’ve got a screenshot of toward the top of this post; native refers to Facebook’s own applications for things like photos and videos. Custom publishers refer to the third-party applications for posting to the social network.

The next chart shows the interaction rate for some of the most popular sources.

Note that Twitter-feeding services perform from two to six times worse than the normal web publisher.

Mobile Posts Get The Best Interaction Rate

Momentus also studied the interaction on posts from official Facebook mobile apps. The company looked at 364 pages, and compared 3,921 mobile posts to 57,395 non-mobile status updates, finding:

  • Mobile posts had a 67 percent higher interaction rate.
  • 61.5 percent of mobile posts used an exclamation point, compared to only 24.7 percent of non-mobile posts.
  • 69 percent of mobile posts were text-only statuses, versus 27 percent for non-mobile
  • Only four percent of mobile posts were links, versus 35 percent for non-mobile

Brian Carter is author of the books The Like Economy and Facebook Marketing.