Is it Time to Quit Facebook?

Is it time to quit Facebook?

Is it time to quit Facebook?

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of rumblings about how bad Facebook is for brand advertising. I’d always heard grumbling, but this was something different. The grumbling has now turned into action: my social media manager (“SMM”) friends have been leaving Facebook to spend time elsewhere. Some of them have told their clients not to waste their money.

Behind the Scenes with SMMs

Then, a couple of days ago in one of the SMM groups I’m in, someone posted Eat24’s goodbye letter to Facebook. It was hilarious (and by the way, @Eat24 rocks on Twitter, so go follow them there!). It also made me think. Yes, we all know that Facebook is a business. Yes, we all realize that at some point we’d probably have to pay to play. But is it worth the cost? And what about for personal use? If we can’t see our friends’ posts because of an algorithm change, should we just ditch Facebook and head over to Google Plus or Twitter or Instagram?

Facebook’s Response

In response to Eat24’s goodbye letter, Facebook rep Brandon McCormick posted a defense (not really a defense in my opinion but that’s another post), and the story was picked up by Huffington Post.

Transparency

I don’t have all the answers to what’s happening with Facebook, but I can tell you that my reach has dramatically decreased. I have 959 fans on my page, and of those, very few see my posts any more. There has been a big change since January of 2014. Of my SMM friends who are bailing, they’re not all managers for tiny brands–some of them are rewriting strategy for huge brands, too, and drastically cutting back on their Facebook use.

Reactions to the Change in Reach

Eggs in One Basket

Eggs in One Basket

Some of my SMM friends have decided to post more, some have quit Facebook, and some have decided to spend money on promoted posts. Personally, I’ve posted a bit less now–just once daily, and hardly ever twice a day. But I’m not taking all my eggs out of the Facebook basket just yet. I don’t think this story is over, since just about everyone is on Facebook–including my friends, your friends, and your customers if you’re managing Facebook pages.

What’s the Bottom Line?

If you’re willing to spend a few dollars on Facebook to ensure that people see your posts, it’s still a good value. Consider a small fee, like a dollar a day. If your business has no budget, then spend your time somewhere else. But Facebook is still a behemoth with a massive audience, and there’s nothing else like it. Agree? Disagree? Please leave me a comment!

 

 

Comments

  1. Great points! I’m hoping they come to their senses… But until then, I will spend more time on other SoMe outlets & less time on Facebook!

    • Hi Tracy,
      For sure. So many people are bailing. If people work so hard to get their posts seen, and their hard work comes to nothing, they’ll be moving away.
      Thank you so much for your comment!
      Carol

  2. We’ve also cut back our time/attention to Facebook and are pushing ourselves and our clients to hang out on other networks more often. Personally, our site referrals from Facebook have gone to nothing which is a good indicator that I need to spend time elsewhere.

    For us, we work hard to push traffic back to our website and mailing list where we can continue the conversation with friends/clients/potentials on our own terms. The last thing I want to do is find myself only communicating with these folks through one platform and hurting when that platform is no longer available (either because they change their algorithm/business policies or just fizzle out in popularity).

    I’ve spent money on Facebook to reach some of the fans I have and now having to spend more money to reach that same audience ticks me off. It really isn’t something I personally plan to do.

    • Heather makes a great point.
      We get more hits to our site and blog from Twitter and reach our clients directly with our email marketing.

      • Hi again, Bridget,
        Yes, it may be that people put more energy into their email marketing as a result of the change in Facebook’s algorithm change. And that’s not a bad thing for a small business. Or they may decide to blog more. Or start to blog as a result. In any event, it’s like the Butterfly Affect, with this change creating waves or change in other places.

        Thanks again. I really appreciate your thoughts and commentary!

        Carol

        • Oh for sure! Blogging is probably better for content on email marketing and Facebook.

          And I want to be where our clients are. I post on FB once or twice a week to keep it alive, in case anyone finds us there.

          • Hi Bridget,
            Yes, on the blog posts belonging on Facebook and in email marketing. People can at least make a conscious decision to go over to your page and find something there, even if the posts don’t appear in their stream as much anymore.
            Thanks again!
            Carol

    • Hi Heather,
      I, too, am changing my strategy. A small business may not have a very big budget, so there will be a lot of experimentation in the days and months ahead from everyone, for sure. In the long run, the algorithm change could be a good thing just because people have become so dependent on Facebook. Now they’ll learn about the other platforms out there, too. But in the short run, it’s uncomfortable for many people.
      Thank you so much for your comments. I really appreciate it!
      Carol

  3. I have a client who ONLY gets hits when posts are paid for. Nobody sees anything otherwise. While NOT getting seen sucks, paying to advertise has gone on for a long time. Maybe all of the attention on their changing algorithms will make them change back, at least a little, to where it was before.

    • If a few leads come in as a result or I’m getting great engagement then I can validate paying for promotion. But when I’m paying to get a few arbitrary likes on a post I’m not a super happy camper.

      • Hi Heather,
        Yes, exactly. For the super-small business, Facebook may not be the best place to be. Facebook is definitely raising the bar and making some businesses considering moving away, especially if they can get the same result for free somewhere else.
        Thanks for commenting!
        Carol

    • Hi Amy,

      So sorry to hear about your client. I think we’ve been so used to getting Facebook for free that people are really outraged. If people realize that it’s still a good value, maybe they can get over having to pay. $25 or $30 would not get very much on tv or radio, and the targeting can be much better.

      Thank you for the comment!
      Carol

  4. I may be the dissenting opinion.

    Whether to leave Facebook should depend on your business. I think it could still be great for retail.

    But for Riggins, I’ve never put all my eggs in the Facebook basket.

    When we do things together like baseball games or birthday lunches, we get a bigger reach and more comments because our friends see photos of us and comment.

    The more comments you get, the more people comment.

    Also, I think people may get information overload and ignore more generic/meme posts.

    When I posted photos from our jobsite explaining the tilt-up panel replacement process, we had a large reach.

    I also think it helps that I don’t share the same exact content at the same time on all of our channels. Twitter gets different posts than Facebook, Instagram, G+, and Pinterest.

    Though the algorithm may have changed it goes along with Facebook gives and Facebook takes away.

    What surprises me is that your reach has gone down because you’re so thoughtful of your audience.

    Would you promote a post of the boss making lemonade?

    The other thing to consider is the culture of Facebook users. Many of them post-and-go.

    Then again, maybe we should let people quit, it would thin out the herd.

    • Hi Bridget,
      I think your opinion about whether or not to leave Facebook is “it depends.” And not everyone–not even social media managers–has your level of expertise. Many SMMs do not use different language on different platforms. They tweet from Facebook, or use the same exact post at exactly the same times.
      People have to decide what to post, when, on which platform.

      Thank you so much. This may require another post, too. 😀

      Sincerely,
      Carol

  5. I am one of those that has moved on. I just can’t justify the time spent for the engagement received (which is none lately). For pages that I have volunteered my time for, I told them they need to create a budget for promoting themselves, otherwise, it’s just not worth it. I consider Facebook like a billboard now and until I see more (read: better) changes, I won’t delete and abandon, but I’m just not interested in posting there now.

    Your post is great; “not taking all of my eggs out of the Facebook basket” is a great plan. Who knows what response they will have when so many move away from their platform.

    • Hi Roxanne,
      For the small business that has NO budget and relies on volunteers, you’re so right–they’d be better off somewhere else. Facebook is more of a commitment now. Thank you so much for commenting!
      Sincerely,
      Carol

  6. I think there are reasons for and against Facebook, like anything. It seems to me though that if a brand has enough momentum and is posting really quality stuff, then it is very advantageous. However, I don’t think Facebook really exists as a medium anymore for just sharing content… you need to provide something funny and/or emotional in your Facebook post, not just the aforementioned content. Tricky….

    • Hi Eric,
      Getting organic reach any more is very tough. There may be some magic ways to get content seen (that I’m not aware of), but it is possible. Funny and emotional (and something with cats!) works. Inspirational stories can work, too.
      Thanks so much for the comment.
      Carol

  7. I totally understand why they made it pay to play; they are a business after all. And the value can’t be beat. It’s 1% of the cost of TV advertising to reach the same amount of people, but in a way better targeted manner. That being said, they did kind of suddenly and without guidance change the landscape on us. It would have been nice if they simply said what they were doing and why, and what they recommend we do about it. A more gradual change over would have been nice as well. But alas, it is Facebook and Google’s world, we just live (and advertise) in it.

    • Hi Pam,
      Yes, my conclusion is that FB is still a good value for so little money. People are having a tough time wrapping their heads around the idea that we have to pay anything, though, since it’s been free for so long. If only they’d asked us! They must’ve figured on a “pull the Bandaid off quickly” approach. And undoubtedly it’s all about the money. There’s room for someone to write a guide to how to advertise on Facebook. Maybe that’s a job for one of us.
      Thanks for commenting!
      Carol

  8. Facebook used to allow @tagging of “pages” as well as “profiles”. As we know the @ for tagging is no longer necessary but you also can’t tag a business page in a personal profile post anymore or vice versa. I believe this has hurt B2C companies and here is one simple example. I had a patio cover installed recently by one of my commercial real estate clients, WinDor. I posted their progress, including the beautiful finished product, on my profile and @tagged the company. One of my friends hired the company…after several comments on my profile…BOOM. If I want to tag Riggins Construction on my profile, I can’t anymore….only on my Location Advice or Lee and Associates pages.

    • Hello Allen,
      Losing the @tagging of pages is unfortunate. Businesses are made up of individuals, after all, and for us to be able to recommend others’ work can help others in the same commercial space, such as you and your awning story. I suppose we could @tag from our personal pages; at least that’s something. But it’s not the same thing.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate that!
      Carol

  9. I didn’t realize we can’t tag pages anymore.

  10. For some of my clients who have no budget for FB it is now pointless to do anything. We still do to be active but the reach is horrific. I find blogging for SEO and Twitter/Pinterest to push traffic towards the site to be far more effective.

    • Hi Ken,
      I hear you there. Without a budget, there’s no point. Lots of people are taking their FB activity down to “idle,” just to keep it going, but otherwise not doing much.
      Thanks for the comment!
      Carol

  11. Not bailing out on FB just need to rethink my use of if. They need to make money so I understand.

    It is good practice to spread the eggs around instead of keeping it in one basket.

    • Hi Ruby,
      So many people have been putting all the eggs in one basket. And the change has been so sudden and so dramatic, that some don’t know what to do. Now we’re all being forced to rethink our strategies.
      Thank you for the comment!
      Carol

  12. So many good comments here, I am not sure I can add anything new, but I do want to mention a few things:

    I also agree that this isn’t the end of the story for Facebook. People are pushing back, and FB will eventually announce how they are changing to address these valid concerns.

    I’ve always advocated that the ONLY real estate a business owns online is their website. That’s why I always stress that before they post anything (esp photos) on Facebook, Pinterest or Houzz, they make sure they are telling their story on their own website first. The “it” social media platform continues to shift and Facebook (and others) are already not the same as they once were. Your website should be your primarly investment.

    That’s all … 🙂 Thanks for the great convo!

    • Hello Tess,
      I love what you said about “telling your story on your own website first.” When FB first emerged, people believed they could use it as a type of website, but they don’t own the content. They thought the same thing about Yelp and testimonials. But all that content belongs on their website. That’s the lesson from this big shift.
      Thanks so much!
      Carol

    • Tess makes a great point. Recently, Linkedin stopped their services features for company pages which means, without copy/paste or a screenshot, we lose those recommendations.

      • That’s right, Bridget, about the LinkedIn recommendations. I hope everyone is taking screenshots and moving those recommendations some place safe.
        Thanks for the reminder.
        Carol

  13. Frankly, the youth have been the “trend setters” to this social stuff. I watch my daughter, nice and nephew. They ditched Facebook LONG ago. I feel said and bury my head in the sand because I LOVE FACEBOOK for me – not so much for my business. If you look historically…ok….maybe not historically….but if you look at MySpace and watch it’s decline social networking gurus know the pulse and see the writing on the wall……watch what the youth are doing. They are gone. They are on other networks and do I dare suggest; creating new and fun ways to communicate. To quote Mr. Jim Morrison “This is the End….my only friend”.

    • Thank you, Beth.

      Yes, we have to watch the trendsetters and see what they’re doing. People are spread out on different platforms across the Internet, and like to go where their friends are. And creating new and fun ways to communicate.

      Thank you for the comment!
      Carol

  14. Omg! I don’t know what made me come to your blog today . but Hell hath no fury like a lover scorned. I joined fb business page about 8 months ago . I did advertise I spent little about $400, and received about 5700 fans. But what I see is when you stop advertising your posts do not get seen as much . Sure I ” think ” if people really are interested in your page they will come and check for posts, but if you spend dollars they will see your page more. I am disheartened , I feel like a one night stand . It takes a thought process to make engaging posts , and knowing you have to keep spending money for people to see them is disheartening !

    • Hi Natalie,
      That’s right–Facebook’s reach has dramatically decreased, and most people have yet to accept the idea. I think in the long run it could be a good thing for marketers to not put all their eggs in one basket and to consider other platforms as viable (besides Facebook). Thank you for stopping by and commenting!
      Thanks,
      Carol

  15. CPGs are getting back their (attempts) at doing volumetric response to social… guess what? It’s bad! Just because I like Burger King doesn’t mean I am going to go to their page and ‘Like’ them. He main reason people go to most sites today is to get a coupon or enter a contest. The people who ‘Like’ those sites don’t really like them. Meanwhile, Facebook is still trying to get a handle on all their data. The house of cards is getting ready to collapse.

    • Hi there,

      You’re right about many people liking brands on FB to enter/win contests or get free stuff, like a coupon. I like your analogy about the house of cards. Unfortunately, there isn’t something we can all jump to that will take its place. Yet.

      Sincerely,
      Carol

  16. I totally disagree. There are several things I believe BUSINESSES/PAGES are doing wrong. They are NOT optimizing their posts with their websites and not using hash tags. It doesn’t matter how many people are fans of your page or are viewing an individual post. Hash tags will optimize your views (and not always to the extend you are looking for but it just takes 1 or 2 new customers to make it worth while). In addition, use any search engine…and see if you FB posts are ranking. Mine are! That SEO optimization is sooo worth it! Yes, the people searching have to have a FB account to link to my post…most people know I exist and I am in business! Last point…don’t use FB as a one way communicator! Meaning post, post, post. Also, activate your newsfeed…like other businesses…target your market…and other businesses you work with or would like to work with. Like their posts, comment etc. You will see they will come! Do you know how to see what PAGES are following your PAGE?! There is so much more to FB…and I am not even a FB fan…LOL! I just have a low budget for advertising…and I find my advertising on social media to be well worth while…IGNORE THOSE STATS……is my recommendation! Denise from PA

    • Hi Denise,

      Sorry, but we’re going to have to agree to disagree on the use of hashtags. On Twitter and especially on Instagram, hashtags are very much accepted, but on Facebook most people don’t know how to use them.
      And yes, there are some things that people can do to optimize posts (having two-way communication, engaging with other brands, etc.). Engagement on any platform is very important.
      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

      Sincerely,
      Carol

  17. Nikolay Bakalov says:

    I belive that its all depend of manage. In time when all says that no more reason to invest in Facebook, mine team following my vision make miricles for clients. Yes, Facebook is not anymore what was and now need to have some mathematics and analytics skills.
    Forget about 2 years ago, that everyone with writing skills become social manager…it`s history. No more easy money!
    On this link >> http://www.oca.bg/The%20four%20basic%20rules.pdf you can find some real stats and analyse for our client. Pephaps you don`t know this brand, but its biggest sportwear retailer in Bulgaria.

    I belive in Facebook, becouse we make with him for our client increasment for sale, brand awareness and profit.
    For me personal, people which say that no reason or something like this are just not proffesionals and looking for reason, but not in themself for their not success strategy.

    Nikolay Bakalov

    **Sorry for my english

    • Hello Nikolay,

      Yes, for larger brands with a bigger budget, Facebook works well. But if individuals and social media managers who manage small brands are leaving Facebook, that means that the audience for larger brands is leaving as well. Even a small budget will not get much traffic any more, and that’s (one reason) why people are leaving. Let’s not even mention all the privacy issues.
      Thank you for your comment. I’m certain that your English is 100% better than my efforts in your language. 😀

      Sincerely,
      Carol

  18. Hi Everyone:)
    If Facebook is not the right place to blog and get traffic where would you suggest going then??
    Thank You
    Mary-Anne

    • Hi Mary-Anne,
      You could create a blog board on Pinterest near the top of your account with all your posts, you could post on Google Plus, or LinkedIn! And Twitter, too.
      Thanks,
      Carol

  19. george michealeck says:

    MAYBE ALOT of people just dont understand what social media IS or IS NOT…. its great for friends and family to gossip …BUT NOT great for ANY type of business ads and marketing… IF you own a business you should already know to market on 10 types of media at the same time… NOT just a few… social media is part of POP CULTURE & FADS… not traditional marking ROI with businesses… people with experience already knew this back in 2008… thats why 50% of businesses fail – lack of experience- …… its ok if you dont “LIKE” this…

    • Hi George,
      Are you saying that no businesses should be on social media at all? Because that genie is not going to go back into the bottle any time soon. However, I do understand how frustrating and annoying it can be to see a million ads when you just want to see your friends and their posts. There are ways to see the posts by people you like more often. It’s ok if we disagree and thank you for being respectful about it.
      Sincerely,
      Carol

  20. I can’t stand business’s that have Facebook pages but are no where else on the web. I’m not on Facebook so how am I supposed to contact you?

  21. Yes Facebook has taken a change for the worst. I have several FB pages and spend minimal time on all of them. I do like the groups though. You can be included in your pick of the people you want to chat with and best part – no ads. I think social media overall is just getting out of hand.

    I tap in just a minute or two for each platform and then leave. I think the saddest thing about facebook is that people just share too darn much! It’s more like a diary then a SoMe outlet. The worst part is the people who are posting pictures of their babies and children are making electronic files of them that will forever be embedded in cyber space. Sad be the day when these kids grow up and see themselves in diapers and caught in cute or embarrassing moment – and can’t do a thing about it.

    People need to stop complaining about FB and start living theirs lives. If you have a business, post about your business. If it’s a personal page then use your privacy options. Not everyone wants to see your babies first poop.

    • Hi Donna,

      One thing I love about Facebook is the secret and closed groups. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be on FB at all. Any way that we can make social media less noisy will help our life-work balance. It can be so tiring to be exposed to so many ads all the time.

      People do share way too much. You’re so right about the embarrassing baby photos! If a person posts embarrassing pix of their kids, they can’t be surprised when their kids want nothing to do with them on FB! The parents think it’s cute and the kids are mortified.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. And a big yes on “Not everyone wants to see your babies first poop.”! Those people may get hidden or worse, unfollowed.

      Sincerely,
      Carol

  22. I just went to a seminar on this and two guys from Minneapolis gave us the lowdown on the marketing end of it IF you know what you are doing. Don’t Boost a post, but be direct with the customer you are trying to reach. Upload your company email contact list into it to laser focus on the people who have done business with you in the past. If you get mentioned in an article on-line, you can copy/paste that into a Sponsored Link page for added exposure. Vince Lombardi said, “The dictionary is the only place that ‘Success’ comes before ‘Work.'” and he’s right.

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  1. […] The downside: The dreaded Facebook algorithm. Yep! We said it! No one understands why Facebook became so selective (it wants Jake Ryan too!) Carol Stephen even asks is Facebook worth it? […]

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