We really started seeing the effect of the Facebook algorithm change this week on the Facebook Pages we manage. Pages that used to have a viral reach of thousands are now reaching only hundreds…”reaching” of course meaning that Facebook placed those posts somewhere in a news feed that may or may not be seen. Actual engagement is a fraction of that, and engagement has plummeted. It seems Facebook would rather share posts from Upworthy and other viral content sites than the Pages that its users have actually taken the time to Like.
Yes, Facebook Page owners have to come to terms with the fact that Facebook has finally become a “Pay to Play” environment for business owners. The days of free marketing are over.
And the thing is, you can whine about it all you want, and it’s not going to change a thing. Facebook only cares about displaying content from the businesses that pay them. And quite honestly, your fans don’t care either. Your crappy ad posts have just been replaced by crappy ad posts by businesses with an advertising budget. At the end of the day, it makes little difference to your fans, who probably haven’t even noticed they haven’t seen your posts. Hate to break it to you, but they really don’t care that Facebook isn’t displaying your posts. Don’t expect them to go to bat for you. They’d rather not see any marketing at all.
So what is a Page owner to do? Should you just give up on Facebook entirely?
No. You still need a Facebook Page, just like you need a website. If someone is looking for you, you want to be find-able. And if you’ve got a Facebook advertising budget of any kind, a Facebook Page is necessary.
But you also need to cultivate audiences elsewhere. If you’ve been relying on Facebook exclusively for your marketing, it’s time to expand your horizons. If you’re a blogger, make sure you’re pinning your blog posts to Pinterest. Share some photos of yourself with your products to Instagram. Make some friends on Twitter. And just like with Facebook, don’t just spew advertising messages. Share great content. Engage. Interact with others and cross-promote.
And if you haven’t friend-ed your customers, hosts, downline, etc. on Facebook yet, do it now. They have a much better chance of seeing your messages as a friend than they will by liking your Page.
Sure, you can sit around and whine about how Facebook is making it harder for small business owners. But that’s not going to change anything because nobody cares that you don’t get free marketing there anymore. So put your big girl (or boy) panties on, learn how to use some other social networks, and keep building that network! Because at the end of the day, you still need to connect with people online. You just may have to do it in new places.
Have you noticed a change in your reach numbers on Facebook? What are you doing about it? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.