Facebook’s Decreasing Effectiveness

Facebook is the king of social media. It is the number one social media website and the number two website (behind Google) for traffic in the United States. Since shortly after Facebook launched in February 2004, it has been a wonderful boon for small businesses (including authors and publishers) to connect with existing customers and reach potential new customers, all for free.

As Facebook has grown, so has the potential reach for those who hold Business Pages on the site. Studies have been done to discover the best times for businesses to post on their pages and how many times to post in a day in order to get the most Facebook user fans to interact and see the messages.

Then, in May of this year, Facebook became a publicly traded company. With this change, the nature of Facebook has begun to change. Publicly traded companies are concerned with one thing: How much money are we making?

Facebook now continually needs to make more and more money to satisfy their owners and keep the company’s stock value high. To do this, Facebook has implemented some changes.

The biggest change they have made is to change who sees a business’ posts. Initially, all posts made by a business page showed up in their fans’ news feeds. No more: Facebook introduced an algorithm called EdgeRank, which began to show business’ posts to only a percentage of fans. At the same time, they introduced “promoted posts,” which allowed businesses to pay to have their posts show up in all their fans’ news feeds. This move allowed Facebook to create one more way to increase their revenue.

To make even more revenue, Facebook has implemented this same EdgeRank system with personal profiles also. Then, earlier this month, they launched an experimental “promote” feature for individuals to make sure all their friends will see a given post.

Last month, Facebook announced a drastic change to their EdgeRank Algorithm. After this change, widespread complaints were made that Business Page Admins were seeing a significant decrease in their posts’ reach (how many fans it was showed to).

EdgeRank Checker, an independent service, surveyed their data to see if this complaint was true. They found that the average Facebook page they track was reaching about 26% of their fans with posts before the September change. After the September change, the same pages were only reaching 19.5% of their fans with any given post, a significant drop. Interestingly, before the September change, Facebook themselves said that the average Business Page post only reached about 16% of a page’s total audience. That would mean that since September, the average page only reaches about 10 to 12% of its audience.

What does this mean for you if you use Facebook to connect with your customers and find new ones? Don’t rely on Facebook alone. Make sure that you also have an engaging website and an email customer list. These you have control over.

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Don’t Get Comfortable

I am finding that technology takes a lot of time. It takes time to learn new things. That is what is happening with the websites I use on a regular basis; they keep changing forcing me to learn new things.

For example, Twitter has changed its layout three times in the past two years. WordPress (where I host this blog) has changed its layout twice recently. Many of these changes frustrate me. For instance, I keep having difficulty finding my Dashboard on WordPress’ new sign-in redesign.

Just when I get used to the way a website works, the people who run the website go and change everything. My only hope is that this constant learning will prevent me from having Alzheimer’s.

Facebook is another website that frequently changes things up. Just when I get used to the “new” way they are doing things, they go and change it again.

Facebook is making another new change to their Business Pages at the end of this month. Be prepared.

First, Facebook rolled out the new “Timeline” on all Personal Profiles. Now, they are applying these “Timelines” to Business Pages at the end of this month.

The negative: With this change, businesses can no longer have a default landing tab. In other words, those “Welcome” pages that were not the Business Page’s wall will no longer be available.

The positive: The new Business Page design on Facebook allows for a “header” photo on the page to show off your business. I like this better than the multiple tiny pictures currently listed across the top of Business pages. Another new feature with the new page design is that people will be able to message you directly via your Business page.

If you want to learn more about the new Facebook Business Page design that rolls out the end of this month, you can take a short online course prepared by Facebook at http://www.learnfacebookpages.com/.

Fortunately, Facebook is still free to use and a great way to connect with both customers and potential customers.

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