2,000 Facebook likes. 148 people saw that post. The nuts and bolts of Facebook's algorithms (and how to capitalize on them).

Why does such a tiny percentage of my followers actually see my posts?

The real issue: you’ve noticed that even though you have 2,000 Facebook followers, only 148 people saw your last post. What gives?

Facebook’s news feed algorithm is designed with the individual in mind, not you. Since the average Facebook user has at least 150 friends, and probably doesn’t want to see updates from all of them, Facebook biases what appears in her feed based on what it expects her to want to see.

How does it know?

Based on her past interaction, what her friends are doing, and other factors. If she never likes her college roommate’s posts, sooner or later she’ll stop seeing them. If she likes your page, she’ll see your updates for a while, but she’ll start seeing fewer of them if she never does anything with them (because it tells Facebook she doesn’t care about your content). On the other hand, a post of yours that she missed might pop up in her feed later that day if 10 of her friends like it. And some kinds of posts, like photos, are more likely to appear in her feed (although that has a lot to do with the fact that they tend to garner more interaction).

If you don’t like the numbers you’re seeing, here are a few things to consider:

  • Are you posting often enough? If you’re only posting a couple times a week, you could be hurting yourself.
  • Are you posting content your followers like? Maybe not. Think outside the box, look at your most successful posts, and give the people what they want.
  • Are you interacting with people? Facebook isn’t a news blasting service. If you’re not engaging your followers, responding to comments, asking questions, posting things that are designed to elicit a reaction, your numbers will drop.
  • Are you adding captions to links? You should be. If you post a link, make sure you post a SHORT teaser explaining why you think people will find it interesting (this could also be a question, even a rhetorical question like “How could they let this happen?”)
  • And, if all else fails, are you promoting your posts? If you’ve fallen into bad habits for too long, even improving your content may not help because so few of your people are seeing your posts. Consider Facebook ads to get new followers, and spending $5 on some of your stronger posts to override Facebook’s algorithm and make sure your followers and their friends see them.