If you run a small business, you probably have a Facebook Page. Unless you’ve had this page before 2009 (the early days), you’re probably crazy stressed from trying to keep it up and running. What used to be a ‘great way to connect with fans of your brand and make new ones for free’ is now ‘only 10 of my 2,000 followers saw my last post, maaan, Facebook can go to hell’.
Somewhere along the way (precisely around the time of Facebook’s IPO), things went south. Now there are several reasons why Facebook just isn’t a great fit for businesses trying to grow their brands and connect with others on a tiny budget.
Your Posts are Subjected to Facebook’s Complex Algorithm
If you’ve ever wondered why you have 500 friends and like 20 pages (for example) but you only ever see posts from the same 10 people every time you log on, that’s because Facebook algorithm is doing some serious voodoo on your timeline. It uses a complex algorithm that assesses when a post was made, how popular a post is, how often you interact with the person/brand that made a post, among other factors to determine what you see.
So what does this mean for businesses? Well, if you aren’t a super popular brand, or you don’t constantly post irrelevant memes and funny stuff that have nothing to do with your business, your posts are probably only seen by the miniscule fraction of super brand advocates, which is about 1-2% of your total likes. Ouch.
You Have to Pay for Advertising
To get those posts seen by more people, you gotta advertise. While Facebook advertising is fairly inexpensive, it’s still using money some businesses simply don’t have. Additionally, for small businesses handling their own social media (which I highly recommend), figuring out ads can be quite a difficult, time-consuming task.
You Have to Create Highly Engaging Videos
Back to that algorithm. Another factor it considers is the type of post. While you can post plain text, linked, image or video posts – not all of them are created equal. Nowadays, videos uploaded directly to Facebook are getting the most traction. Facebook claims it’s because that’s what people are into, but it probably has a lot more to do with it competing with YouTube videos.
Of course, the business’ response to this would be upload more videos, right? Wrong. Ain’t nobody got the time or the money or the patience for that. The second best type of post is photos, another money/time suck. So now, not only are you spending on promoting the content, you’ve got to spend on creating it too. All for benefits you might not even get.
You Can’t Really Connect
Social media marketing is about brands connecting with fans and potential fans right? Facebook used to do a fairly good job with the fan connection, but they never really facilitated connecting with potential fans.
Brands can only communicate with individual persons on Facebook if the persons initiates the conversation. This isn’t so on other social media platforms. This may not seem important until you realize just how much you can do with true two-way communication. On Twitter, for example, you can follow people and join in on hot topics or relevant discussions that started without you. Can’t do that on Facebook. You can also search keywords for persons looking for your service and reach out to them, even if they’ve never heard of you. Can’t do that on Facebook either.
Wrap It Up
Sure, there are some Facebook advocates out there saying ‘Facebook reach is not dead’. Some businesses might be afraid to let go because they already spent money and time building a sizeable audience. Others might say that they are fine with spending money to create content and reach their fans.
The question is, if there are other platforms out there that will get you more attention, more engagement and better relationships, wouldn’t the switch be worth it?
Stacy-Ann Hayles is a digital marketing consultant for solopreneurs and small businesses, who spends much of her time lurking in the corners of coffee shops and drawing eyebrows on her dogs. Learn more about her services here and feel free to send her a tweet (and coffee, she loves coffee).