Are Facebook Pages Even Worth It?
Everybody’s favorite Internet darling Facebook is back in the news again this week.
There was a bit of a ruckus over the supposed news of Facebook cutting back on the number of fans that actually see posts from business pages. There were a few companies making big noise.
It turns out that Facebook was actually just cutting down on the spam from business pages. So the real story is that Facebook is cutting back even more on the spam businesses can send their followers.
Tech Crunch had the story in Killing Rumors With Facts:
Each news feed post has a drop-down arrow next to it that lets users hide it from their news feed or mark it as spam. Facebook made these controls more visible and easy to use in September. That let people who thought a Page was spammy report it to Facebook or remove it from their feed.
At the same time, Facebook updated EdgeRank to more aggressively punish spammy Pages, the way Google updates PageRank occasionally to push down the search result rank of spammy sites.
So there you go. Facebook isn’t charging business pages fees to reach the same followers that the page has been able to reach in the past. The social networking site is simply cutting back on the spam on the site. That’s admirable.
But there is more going on here than people may realize and that’s what we’re going to address.
The big story with Facebook (and Twitter or any social network) is that you can’t reach many people with your activity on the site.
Here is a little more from Tech Crunch:
Facebook told me in February that the average Page reaches 16 percent of its fans with each post. That’s because some fans aren’t online when the post is published, a specific post hasn’t gotten much engagement from the people Facebook already showed it to, and because if you don’t interact with that Page when you do see its posts, Facebook will only show you them every once in awhile.
You don’t reach all your followers on Twitter with each tweet either. You could, except most people follow so many people that they only read parts of their stream. If Facebook did show all Pages posts in everyone’s news feed, it would be horrible. The feed would be full of lame marketing messages that would drown out your friends.
For some people that might be surprising while others probably understand that the numbers are pretty low. I’m still a little skeptical as to what the word “reach” means for Facebook business pages. Does it mean that people actually see the post or does it mean that it appears on their feed when they’re checking in on things.
Here is the deal with Facebook and other social networks.
You never know what the social networks are going to do. There will always be changes to the way social networks do things. You’re not sitting in on the meetings at their headquarters. You’re not able to give input on how they should do things to benefit businesses.
As a result, there will be surprises along the way. Not only do you not really reach people on Facebook to begin with but there will be changes that make things better for Facebook the business. That means they’ll try to get money out of the businesses that use the site.
That is where things get difficult for businesses that focus on building likes on a Facebook page. You have little control.
The alternative is to focus on building your own following on your own website. You have complete control. Yes, there will be surprises along the way, but you’ll have more control. You have control over design. You have control over the message.
An email list won’t entirely listen to your messages, but when people opt-in to your email program they are more likely to pay attention to your message. People see tons of Facebook updates. They get far fewer emails.
Build a following on your website. Get people to learn about your business. Get them to trust you and turn them into customers. A blog and an email list can do that. You have complete control over the message.
Use social networks to get the message out, but don’t depend on them because you can’t control what they do.
That’s the best way to approach social media.