The agony of using Facebook to follow blogs

By on Mar 19th

facebook-rageWe just got yet another email from a dedicated Offbeat Empire reader helpfully informing us that despite "Liking" one of our pages on Facebook (and even selecting "Show in news feed" under our Page's "Like" dropdown menu), they're not seeing our new posts in their news feed.

Every single blog post we publish is linked on the sites' respective Facebook pages, but we all know Facebook has its own ideas about what to show you in your news feed. It's always been this way — on Offbeat Bride, despite having 23,000 followers, none of our posts have ever been seen by more than 6,000 or so (and most are only seen by a couple thousand). There's nothing scammy about it, it's just Facebook trying to be helpful and not overwhelming you with too much information.

There are a couple of ways that may help you see more of our posts on Facebook, which I'll get to in a minute. Ultimately the moral of the story is this: if you don't want to miss a post, Facebook just isn't a great way to follow blogs. I'll talk more about that later, but first, let's talk about the hacks you can use to try to see more of our posts on Facebook:

Use Facebook's Page Feed page

I have this page bookmarked: facebook.com/pages/feed. That's a stream just for Facebook Pages you've "Liked," and unless you've "Liked" a bazillion Pages, you'll probably see our Page links in that feed. It usually works for me, but then again I don't have that many pages "Liked" (at this point, I only use Facebook for work — I abandoned it as a personal network a couple years ago).

Engage with our posts

Facebook shows you more of the stuff you've told it you're interested in — this means clicking links, liking stuff, and sharing it. If you click, like, and share our posts, Facebook will likely show you more. (…Maybe.) If you want to be really thorough, go to our respective Facebook pages and click and like some links over there. Then see if you see more posts from us in your news feed in the future.

Create a list

You can create a list, using the method shown in this video:

Other tricks?

If anyone else has awesome methods they've worked out on how to see more posts from their favorite Facebook Pages, feel free to share them in the comments. Honestly, from a publisher perspective, I'm so sick of trying to work around Facebook's inconsistent and frustrating algorithms that I don't have a whole ton of patience for troubleshooting.

Non-Facebook ways to follow posts

The methods above will hopefully increase the likelihood that you'll see our posts on Facebook… but ultimately it's just not a tool really designed to be used as a feed reader. If you really want every post to find its way to you, your best bet is following us via RSS — either by subscribing to our email newsletters, or using an RSS reader. (Given the impending death of Google Reader, my best suggestion for RSS readers is Feedly. It's what I'm using now.)

Here are the easy subscription links:

There are other ways to follow us, too. You can follow each site via Twitter, of course. Some folks are finding our feeds via WordPress.com. We're working on Tumblr syndication, but haven't had time to get that working quite right. UPDATE: Follow us on Tumblr.

Ultimately, my goal is to make it really easy for readers to follow our blogs easily and awesomely. I wish Facebook made that easier, but sadly it just doesn't… and I don't think it's fair to ask y'all to create lists and visit special Facebook pages to follow the blogs. Sadly, if you REALLY want to keep up with us, Facebook just might not be your best feed tool.

That said, if you have clever hacks for how you see the Page feeds you want to see on Facebook, by all means leave a comment. If there are any great hacks, I'll edit this post to add 'em, cuz I know tens of thousands of you follow us on Facebook and I totally want it to work for y'all… but I'm keenly aware that most of the time it just doesn't.