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By: Jeremi Karnell, CEO

Last November, Facebook revealed more details regarding the EdgeRank algorithm – pertinent to it’s update in September 2012. In short, items are shown on an individual’s news feed based on:

  1. Prior interaction with an author’s post: If a customer Likes every post from your page, they will continue to be shown more from your page.
  2. Your interaction with posts of the same type in the past: If a customer always Likes photos, there is a better chance they will see a photo posted by your page.
  3. Other people’s reaction to a specific post: If your post receives Likes, Shares, Comments and/or Followers it will have greater reach.  Conversely, if others on Facebook are shown your post and they ignore it, complain about it or unfollow your page, your content is less likely to show up on news feeds. Facebook news feed product manager, Will Cathcart, revealed that the September 2012 update is applying increased weight to Negative Feedback.

For a brand, understanding Negative Feedback is now an important part of optimizing engagement with your Facebook community. To assist with this, Edgerank Checker announced earlier this month that Facebook now offers a feature called Negative Feedback Analyzer. They catalog different types of Negative Feedback and assigned each type with a severity weighting to help brands gain perspective into how bad a particular piece of negative feedback really is.  According to Edgerank Checker, the severity of Negative Feedback is as follows:

Negative Feedback Severity Scale

xbutton > hide > hide all > spam > unlike

How often do fans provide Negative Feedback?   PageLever recently published a benchmark study on this question in Fast Company titled “Facebook Fans Are Hiding Your Content at An Alarming Rate“. Results from that study revealed that:

  • No Negative Feedback 98%

  • Some Negative Feedback 2%

The study went on to highlight:

  • 1 out of 50 post views gets a negative response
  • Facebook fans are most likely to block ALL your page stories when they take a negative feedback action, 60 times more likely than unfanning your page. Which means that just because your brand has a lot of fans doesn’t mean all those fans are seeing the page content. Some fans may have just hidden the page.
  • Fans are more likely to report a post as spam than to unlike the page.

Why would they be providing Negative Feedback?

This behavior clearly suggest that a brand’s content is not aligned with it’s fan base — either the content is bad or the audience is wrong.

Ekaterina Walter, Intel’s social media strategist and author of the above mentioned Fast Company article, recommends 5 things brands should focus on to avoid Negative Feedback:

  1. Focus your fan acquisition efforts on quality fans rather than quantity fans.
  2. Stay on-topic with your content.
  3.  Match your fans’ expectations for posting frequency.
  4. Tweak your copy so it’s recognizably your brand voice.
  5. Experiment with new content, new formats and new Approaches.

Finally, there is a clear economic benefit to minimizing the amount of Negative Feedback your brand receives.   Positive Feedback ensures that you will enjoy free organic reach with your fans.  Negative Feedback reduces reach.  In this event, a brand may need to consider paying to promote their posts to guarantee that they will show up in their fan’s news feed.

Facebook Page Managers should quickly assess their current Negative Feedback state and start to methodically report and optimize against this very important metric.  Minimizing Negative Feedback will ensure that you maintain reach and affinity with your customers.

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