If you’re one of the 114-thousand people who follow Ghosts of North Dakota on Facebook, you may have noticed that you’re not seeing us in your news feed much any more. There’s a reason for that, and it is prompting changes we’d like you to know about.
Over the last two years, Facebook has implemented a new algorithm that “squelches” posts from Facebook Pages (not personal profiles) so that most followers don’t see them. The effect has been dramatic on “organic reach.” Our posts used to regularly get 500 shares or more, but now we’re lucky if we break 100. Our posts used to reach 25 to 50 percent of our followers at any given time. Now, we reach one to two percent.
It’s important to note, this “squelching” of our organic reach affects more than just GND. We have seen dramatic impacts on posts that were meant to promote others’ endeavors. We once plugged another Facebook page about ghost towns and abandoned places, similar to ours, and their fan count multiplied ten-fold in three days. They went from 300 to 3,000 fans. Just recently, we tried to plug another gentleman’s website, a blog where he has posted hundreds of fascinating stories about North Dakota, and Facebook’s algorithm made sure that only a thousand people saw it, and he only got 75 new likes out of the plug, which is a shame, because his website is awesome, and we’re sure you would enjoy it.
Why would Facebook do this? Because they want us to pay to reach you. We’re not really comfortable with extortion, so changes are coming.
Here’s what you can do to stay connected to Ghosts of North Dakota.
- Subscribe to Ghosts of North Dakota email updates. We’ll email you when we update the website with more abandoned places. Subscribe.
- Follow us on Twitter. When we go on photo shoots in the future, our live updates from the road will be posted on Twitter, not Facebook. So if you want to follow along live, you’ll have to follow us on Twitter.
- Check the Ghosts of North Dakota Facebook page. Although Facebook is preventing our messages from reaching your newsfeed, you’ll always see our most recent posts by just checking our page every day.
- Share, comment, and like. Facebook’s new algorithm is sensitive to posts you interact with. In other words, if you don’t share it, comment on it, or like it, Facebook assumes you don’t want to see it.
Update: Several people have asked us to point this out. If you want to make sure you always see our posts on Facebook, visit our Facebook page from a computer, and under the button that says “Liked” select “Get Notifications” and/or “See First,” as indicated by the red arrows in the photo.
Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy