Facebook gets a lot of stick these days. Just like a really cool band which becomes a colossal success, their initial fans start to sneer, gripe and complain that they were much better when they saw them play to a half empty venue in Camden (before U2 went into business with Apple).
Many businesses have fallen out of love with Facebook, with many seeing their reach plummet and their engagement slow. They have been successfully using it, for free, for years but have lost their mojo, claiming Facebook are cynically attempting to make money out of businesses.
After seeing the recent changes in action, over a number of accounts I manage, I do believe Facebook when they say changes are designed to make the user experience better. The simple fact is there are far more pages being liked by far more users. Showing every update would make Facebook irritating and unusable. People would leave in droves.
However, there is still a heck of a lot of baby in that bath water and you disregard it at your peril.
Here are some popular gripes about Facebook and their silver linings.
Being a fan doesn’t mean people will see you.
No, liking a page doesn’t automatically mean that users see your posts. The Facebook algorithms (known as EdgeRank) are the source of much wailing and gnashing of teeth. However, overall it is a good thing for all concerned.
There are three things you need to know about Facebook reach
- The more someone engages with your page, the more they will your posts
- The more other followers engage with your post, the more this post will be added to the newsfeeds of others
- The more this type of post has been popular in the past, the more it will be featured.
Four things, there are four things you must know about Facebook reach.
- The more people have liked your posts in the past the more people will see them in the future.
What that means is that you have to work just that little bit harder. In turn, your efforts will be rewarded with greater engagement and loyalty. Eveyone’s a winner.
Yes, it’s annoying that the ‘build it and they will come’ deal has ended but it could never last!**
** Note to Twitter: Don’t even think about it, Sunshine.
These days, they are just after my money
Of course they are. On the upside, they have created an incredibly powerful advertising tool which can give you an extraordinary levels of precision and analysis of your ad campaigns for relatively little money.
If you put an ad in the paper, or a magazine, or even TV, you have a vague idea of the kind of person you might see it and you’ll pay simply to place the ad, never mind who sees it.
If something is free, you’re the product.
Never has this been more true than of Facebook. People give their life stories to Facebook. You can make sure your post is by your target customer. This could be through gender, age, location, whether they like similar pages, whether they’ve recently got engaged, whether they run their own business, whether they travel a lot.
What’s more – Facebook will tell you exactly when your followers are online, how many saw a post, what the demographic makeup of your followers is and where they live. You can also use Ad Manager without paying a penny to research your target market.
It’s actually rather terrifying when you think about it.
It’s fun but I don’t get anything back from them anymore.
Social Media has never been about direct selling. It has always been about building awareness, loyalty and relationships.
Having said that, Facebook is making it easier for your customers to buy from you. Events can now be advertised directly in the news feed, as well as adverts encouraging users to ‘Buy now’ or ‘Book now’ and be taken to your website.
Facebook is also currently trialling a Buy button which allows users to buy without leaving your Facebook page. Facebook as a direct sales medium is only going to grow.
They’re big, but the cool kids have moved on
Really? OK, so maybe the kids have all skipped off to Instagram but only because their Mums and Dads, Grannies and Grandads are now on Facebook.
It has over a billion users. 24 million people in the UK log on every day. Like grown children returning for Christmas, they’ll complain, moan and grumble but still they will come.
Is that enough for you?
In short. Yes, Facebook is harder work these days but this is a good thing.
It’s a professional marketing tool and needs to be valued as such. You need to up your game, create more interesting content, engage more. You need to be better.