Is your Facebook page dead in the water?

facebookThe organic (natural, without paying any money) reach of your Facebook page has never been something to write home about (you’d be lucky with 13-18%) but now it’s even less.

The simplest explanation is – as more content is created (by both our friends and the brands we’ve liked) there simply isn’t enough real estate. Facebook cannot fit all of the content into our newsfeeds. And it’s estimated that the average Facebook user’s total number of pages liked increases by 50% every year.

So we are adding more friends and more pages and everyone is adding more content. There’s simply no more room.

Add to that the fact that Facebook is trying to give each user the content they care most about, based on a mix of factors like:

  • The interest level of each recipient
  • The type of post it is (status update, sharing a link, a photo etc.) and the level of interest each recipient has indicated for that type of post
  • Who the creator is and how well their past posts have been received
  • How popular this specific post is with the people who have already seen it
  • How recently the post was published
  • A whole host of other factors that Facebook has personalized to every single user

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Facebook figures that you’d rather see content in your newsfeed from the people you are closest to, based on your interactions with them
  • They also believe that you’re more interested in people than organizations
  • They’ve given you the opportunity to both like and follow a page, and if you really want to track their content, you can add it to an interest list
  • They want to make more money by selling you ads and boosted posts

So what’s a brand to do? What Facebook is saying to you is – you need to earn your spot. You need to consistently produce content that your audience cares about enough to interact with it.

On your Facebook page:

  • Be interesting enough that people not only like your page but also add it to an interest list. In other words – talk about something other than yourself
  • Think interactive when you think content. Ask a question, ask for stories or reactions, or say something that will trigger a response
  • Don’t play the “like this post for the free XYZ” game. It’s annoying and FB will penalize you for it.
  • Buy ads and pay to boost your posts

While many companies are calling foul on this trend, I think that’s a little ridiculous. Facebook is a company built to make money for its stockholders. Since they’ve given us our personal accounts for free – how did we think they were going to generate revenue?

Probably the most important adjustment you can make is to level set your expectations. Facebook pages have never been and will never be the end all and be all of free advertising and marketing. I worry about the small businesses out there who have been sold a bill of goods and believe that a few posts a week (where all they do is talk about themselves) is the golden ticket to success.

There is no magic bullet and marketing is neither free nor easy. Your Facebook page probably still has a place in your marketing mix. But how large a role or how much business you can drive from it is really dependent on whether or not your audience values what you share.

Hmm, are you sensing a theme?