Is Facebook no Longer a Viable Option for Small Businesses?
If you own a Facebook page for your business, you’ve likely noticed a dramatic shift in the level of reach and interaction on your page in recent months.
Why is this happening?
Facebook is looking to generate revenue through promoted posts.
Ever since this feature was introduced this spring, the reach of individual posts has decreased to an estimated 16 percent. So, if you have 1,000 fans on your page, each page will only reach about 160 of them.
If you want better access to your fans, you can pay to promote your posts to reach the rest of your audience. And, if your page has fewer than 400 fans, you’re just plum out of luck since this feature isn’t available to you.
Let me be clear – before this shift in the algorithm, posts from pages never reached 100 percent of fans. However, this change has dramatically impacted how well a brand can reach their audience through this channel.
It’s pretty clear why Facebook has gone this route – with their recent IPO they are looking for ways to drive revenue. Although we can certainly talk about whether this was a bait and switch for brands or whether this move has demolished the level playing field for small businesses.
The big question, however, is what should small businesses DO about it.
What should small businesses do about it?
Although I certainly don’t have all the answers, here are some ideas to consider for your Facebook page:
- Try promoted posts. Certainly, if you want to reach more of your fans (and you have more than 400 of them), you can give promoted posts a try. For smaller pages, this could be a viable option to use some of the time – especially when you have something you really want fans to see. However, as others have noted, promoting every post will get really expensive, real fast. But, before you completely dismiss this approach, give it a try and see if it’s worth investing some money here.
- Focus on your content. I can’t stress enough the importance of sharing and creating content that people want to see. If you consistently become a resource that people can’t live without, they will be more likely to tune in and engage with your content.
- Try multimedia. Photos and videos typically perform better on Facebook, so if you’re not already integrating this into your approach, then you’re missing out on a great way to get engage with your fans and get more eyeballs.
- Test different approaches. To be successful with social media, you need to become a scientist who is willing to test different techniques. Try shifting when you post, altering how often you update your page or changing up what kind of information you share. Doing this may help you find the approach that will work best for your brand.
- Encourage subscriptions. In the past week, Facebook has announced they will be rolling out an option for fans to receive notifications for pages. Although I think this is a bit clunky and I doubt many fans will go to this effort on their own, this might be a way for brand pages to encourage better visibility of their posts. But, this still goes back to the content – for users to take this step, you better prove you’re sharing information that’s worth getting notified about for every post.
- Move your engagement off Facebook. If you’re struggling to get any traction with your page after trying a number of different tactics, you may want to focus on moving your fans to engage with you other ways. Maybe you can encourage them to sign-up for email updates (which you should be doing anyway) or connect with you on Twitter or Google Plus.
Should businesses kill their Facebook page?
Yes, the playing field has changed. And yes, these changes make Facebook a bit tougher for brands. But, I don’t think it’s time to kill your Facebook page just yet.
The bottom line for small businesses is that they must continue to innovate and try different approaches to find the right mix that works for them.
What are you seeing with your Facebook page? What is working for you? Or, are you giving up on Facebook?
Image credit: Steel Wool