Is It Time to Say Bye-Bye to Your Business Facebook Page?
As a solopreneur/small business owner, I’m getting more frustrated with Facebook by the day. I know I’m not alone. Just recently the platform admitted to what most of us suspected all along, they really aren’t interested in giving your posts exposure to your audience unless you’re willing to pay to play. This article by Ad Age explains it.
As I’ve seen my posts’ reach dwindle from a decent yet still annoying 35 – 40% to as low as 6%, I’m asking myself, “Why bother?” Facebook has apparently deemed my posts unworthy of the attention of my fans (You know, the people who consciously liked my page so they could see my posts?) and has chosen not to display them in their news feeds. Given that my posting frequency, interaction, and content quality have been consistent all along, there doesn’t seem to be much I can do to change the downward spiral. Except pay for ads or to promote my posts, but I won’t.
Like many other small businesses, my purpose for maintaining a Facebook for my business has been to build and nurture relationships, not blatantly sell my stuff. While they say they’re making these changes to improve users’ overall experience on the site, I’m failing to see how that will succeed. Won’t showing only promoted posts and paid ads to users subject them to more “push” marketing content and less authentic content meant to provide value and engage them in conversation?
Are you considering deleting your business Facebook page?
I am. I believe my time and effort posting and monitoring activity on my business Facebook page will be better spent building my interaction on Google+ and Twitter. Still, I realize it’s not wise to just jump ship and swim away from the fans who have been – when the omnipotent forces at Facebook allow them to see my posts – engaged and supportive.
Jenn Herman recently wrote a post providing some extremely helpful and practical tips on how to communicate with your fans about your plans to leave your Facebook page behind. If you’re contemplating a transition away from your business page, you’ll want to heed her advice!
On Jenn’s checklist of how to prepare Facebook fans, she includes the tip “Don’t Go Cold Turkey.” I agree. A gradual exit will help ensure the vast majority of your fans are aware of your intent and have time to connect with you on other platforms before you officially cut the cord.
After your business Facebook page is laid to rest, you can still benefit professionally from Facebook!
All or nothing? It doesn’t have to be that way with Facebook. While I intend to put the ax to my business Facebook page, I’ll keep my personal profile alive and kicking. Heck, it’s the only way I’m connected with my fellow Oley Valley High School grads. AND a good many of the professional connections who are fans of my business page have also friended me on Facebook. AND I’m following their business Facebook pages (and will be until they, too, decide to delete them) through my personal profile. So as my personal self , I’ll have ample opportunity to build rapport and show support of their businesses on Facebook if they haven’t yet embraced other online social networks. Also, as appropriate, I’ll share content that’s business-related on my personal timeline. I’ve seen a lot of professionals do that successfully.
What about you? Have you seen your business Facebook page reach and engagement plummet? Are you planning to keep your page or ditch it?
P.S. Please know I respect Facebook’s right to make a buck, but I think they’re approaching it the wrong way. They set the expectation among small business owners that the platform would serve as a viable, free tool for generating brand awareness and building relationships with customers. It was at one time, until they started tweaking their algorithms to the point where business page owners had to start standing on their heads and doing circus tricks to get their posts seen by their fans. Now not even the “tricks” work. Only cold, hard cash does…and not even for building genuine engagement. What if they’d instead offer biz page owners a subscription-based service (at maybe $9.99/month) to have their posts shown to page fans? I might consider staying if something like that were available. You?
By Dawn Mentzer
Image courtesy of gubgib / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I detest the monthly subscription idea for Facebook.
Reason being is they have set the rules and then changed the aforementioned rules anytime they wish to do so. I have spent minimal advertising money with FB. The little I did spend I wish I had back. They pretend that you can control who you would like exposure but it’s all fluff. I’ve paid for clicks that came from Boston and Alaska during the campaigns!
They started out with a great idea and a better service. I agree with you in they can earn a buck. But do they have to earn a buck while taking two more while my attention is elsewhere?
This entire month of December on FB for me has been frustrating to say the least in this public forum. Ultimately whether I spent $5, $50, $500 or $5000 on my marketing with FB I now feel that I have been duped and taken advantage of. Once that happens with me, it takes a hell of a lot to regain my faith.
In fact, even talking about this feels similar to talking about the weather or oil prices. Not a damn thing either one of us can do about it. It has become a machine…
Hi Bob-I appreciate your thoughts on this Facebook mess! And I can understand the aversion to the monthly plan. Facebook did a rather big bait and switch to biz users. It’s aggravating because the service has gone from one that allows for genuine audience interaction to one that holds posts for ransom and changes the rules on a far too frequent basis. Very frustrating!
Yea, I have seen a big drop in reach over the last 2 weeks and it is disappointing. You’re right, Facebook is making it difficult for the small business owners. It’s a shame because I spent $1,200 – $1,500 to build a following of 4k+ fans and now Facebook wants me to pay MORE just to reach the fans I already paid for in the first place?
Is just goes to show you that a website/blog and email database are so important. I have always said when using Facebook BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST! This was because they can make changes at any time and really screw things up.
Will I leave Facebook? No. But the last 2 weeks I have not posted much because I feel it’s a waste.
Hi Adam – It’s awful that after all you’ve invested to build your following, you can’t reach your fans with your posts. I can’t imagine how frustrated you must be. And with a significant fan base, it would be difficult to close your page down. Facebook makes it incredibly difficult to plan a strategy for using the platform because as you mentioned, the rules are ever changing. Thanks for sharing your experience here.
Very insightful article Dawn! I have seen this popping up in headlines lately and to hear your stance on it makes me too wonder on the effectiveness of it. Since Facebook went public, I don’t blame them on wanting to satisfy investors by altering strategies to increase profits. It just stinks for us as business owners for all the reasons you stated above. Great post!
Thank you, Kornel! Yeah, this is a hot topic lately – soooo many small business owners feeling slighted by Facebook’s apparent “anti-small business changes.” Like you said, it’s understandable that Facebook wants to boost revenue and profits. But they could do it by ruffling many less feathers if they’d give us a way to reach our fans without jumping through hoops and praying!