I'm having a personal dilemma. Sadly, I'm not the only enduring this. An article released from Ad Age indicates that Facebook is slowly reducing organic reach for business pages.
If you haven't read the article, please take a look at it. However, the basic context is that Facebook is slowly reducing the organic reach of page posts in order to force pages to buy ads to promote their posts for increased reach.
In my heart of hearts I will always love Facebook. It was the first social media site I ever used. I started using it before I even started using MySpace. And I've watched it grow, evolve, change, and morph into the world's largest social media site. I'm on Facebook all day, everyday.
So, of course, it made sense that I'd have a business page for Jenn's Trends on Facebook. It's where I spend my time. But it's also where my target audience spends their time. This blog is dedicated to helping small and mid-sized businesses use social media marketing. Most of the small and mid-sized business owners use Facebook primarily, and possibly only use this site.
I've held strong in my commitment to the site. I continue to post 3-5 times a day, everyday. I love the scheduling tool that allows me to curate great content and share it when it's most likely that you'll be able to see it. I get decent reach and good levels of engagement on my posts and page. I love all of the connections I've made through my Facebook page! And I love talking to my audience there daily.
Lately, Facebook has testing my patience though.
As normal, Facebook announced a change to their algorithm and things went wonky. We pretty much expect that now. So I've chalked up the last week to these glitches.
And then this article from Ad Age came out.
Now I'm not so sure...
You see, this week, my average post reach is one half to one third (and sometimes one quarter) of what it usually is. With nearly 1000 fans, my reach should be significantly higher than 34 people. That's about 4% reach! Are you kidding me?!
I spend a lot of time writing blog posts and reading a lot of other content to bring you the best content every week. But if you never see it, what is my ROI on my time and effort?
All of this got me thinking. What will the effects of this reduced reach do to Facebook? Here are the 5 reasons I believe they are killing themselves.
Passion vs. Profit
When Facebook started, it wasn't for profit. It was to connect people together in one common place. It was a passion project. Users respected the casually dressed CEO for his perspective on social networking and his ability to connect with users. Sure, he got a ton of flack from Wall Street tycoons about the way he ran the business. But that didn't matter.
But now it does. Facebook only cares about its investors and profit margins. And the only way to keep them happy is to make more money. And promoted posts and ads are the best thing going for them.
The passion is gone from Facebook. The users aren't passionate, the company isn't passionate, and the "kids" have no connection to the company. Without that passion, Facebook is a business doomed to fail.
(Please note, I'm not saying profit is bad. I get that they have to make money. We all do. But they're going about it the wrong way, IMHO.)
It's All About Numbers
In one of the statements from Facebook, they insinuated that having more fans is better for your social acceptance. And that the more you advertise, the more fans you'll reach and the more new fans you'll get.
Pardon me while I run to the bathroom to throw up my meal.
Yes, we would all love to have tens of thousands of fans. Especially if they were all engaged and buying our products or services. But social media is not about buying fans! It's about connecting with a real audience of existing and potential customers. And when this audience actually finds and likes my page, I would like to continue to interact with them - without having to pay for it!
If I only have 1000 fans and 700 of them actually see and engage with my content, I would be ecstatic! I would rather have this any day over having 10,000 fans of whom only 500 see my (paid) posts and don't interact because they don't really care about what I have to offer.
Big Business Only
How many small businesses really have a viable budget allocation to spend on repetitive Facebook ads? Not many, I promise you that! And now that Facebook is promoting pay-to-play mentalities on their platform, only the big businesses will remain in the feeds.
The greatest thing about social media marketing for small businesses is the ability to compete on the same playing field as the big brands. In fact, a lot of small businesses crush big businesses on social media because they are personable and engaging. But if the small business page posts won't be seen because they can't pay for ads, that playing field is not even anymore.
If the marketers and page owners start leaving because it's not worth their time, they won't be using the site personally as much either. And as the ads increase and other users get frustrated, they'll be looking for better options too... Next thing you know, people aren't on Facebook anymore!
How many ads do you see in your news feed everyday? One, two, a lot more? Well, get ready to see even more! If brands are forced to pay for ads to get their posts seen, that means more and more sponsored posts in your feed everyday.
And as less of the small business pages show up in your feed because they refuse to pay, the high quality, relevant content you expect will disappear behind post after post of sales and spam! Your friends' posts and the quality local business page posts you enjoy and find relevant will be extinct.
If users only see spam posts everyday, rather than relevant content, how long do you think they'll continue to hang out on the site?
Through this increase in ads, Facebook will push away even more users each and every day.
Better Options Elsewhere
What's one lesson we all learn in business? Keep your customers happy! If you have the market cornered, you can give crappy service and retain your customers (not that I would ever recommend this strategy!). But Facebook doesn't have the market cornered anymore.
Facebook can hide behind their BS statements that these changes are to provide a better experience for their users but anyone familiar with the site and page marketing can see right through this crap.
There are so many other alternatives that reward users and businesses! Sites that allow actual interaction between pages and their audience. Sites that don't hide posts from friends and fans. Sites that don't charge for success.
That's the good news! Facebook may be headed towards a smoldering heap of ashes. Or they may figure out they are their own worst obstacle. Either way, there are so many other social media sites out there that we can use to engage our audiences!
Please don't take this bad news about Facebook to think that social media marketing is dismal and difficult. It may take a little time and a little more work, but we can all find better sites to connect with our audiences!
And so, with this post, I will be reducing my commitment to Facebook. I will maintain a presence there because it's important to my audience. But it will no longer receive a large commitment of my time and energy.
If you would like to connect with me on other sites where I will be increasing my activity, please join me!