Nearly every business owner that I talk to that uses Facebook is not aware of this fact:
People who like your page are not seeing what you post.
As of April 23, 2012 pages reached about 16% of their audience.
As of December 1, 2013, most businesses I’ve examined are reaching about 10% of their audience due to a new algorithm change.
If you do not believe me please read it for yourself straight from the horse’s mouth. Facebook announced the 16% reach statistic in April 2012 here: https://www.facebook.com/marketing/posts/10150839503836337.
How do you like that?
I have mentioned this to a few restaurant owners about this casually while I am dining at their restaurants. It is amazing how many people shrug it off or simply deny it. After all, they worked hard to build this audience. They put up the sign on their front door asking people to “like” them. They advertise their lunch specials this way. It is almost like a bad relationship- they’ve invested so much time into making it work they don’t want to believe that their partner is doing them “wrong”. And if this were true, why the heck didn’t Facebook tell them this?
To reach your entire audience on Facebook you have to pay for each post. Most small businesses do not have the budget for this. Not every mom and pop restaurant is going to spend $30 every morning to tell people what the lunch special is- that would cost them $1,000 per month.
Some businesses do have the budget to reach their audience on Facebook. Boosting a post with a budget actually works very well, if you can afford it. Not only will your audience see it, it can reach your follower’s friends as well. I’ll throw an opinion in here- I’ve personally owned a brick and mortar company in the past. I worked very hard to grow a Facebook audience back in Facebook’s earlier years when they told me to promote my business on there. When they started cutting reach I was pretty upset that I could no reach MY audience. But… That is actually the problem. That is not MY audience. It is Facebook’s audience. Anything you do on Facebook is theirs. Post images, add content, draw people on to the network, etc- you aren’t helping yourself and growing your audience. You are helping Facebook, providing them with pictures and content. You can think in your head that it is YOUR audience, but you are not allowed to reach them with your posts unless you PAY to do so. Most business owners would agree that this leaves a bad taste in their mouth (especially if they just spent years updating their page without realizing that 84%> followers haven’t seen any of their posts).
What is the solution for a small business? I encourage business owners to keep their content. Keep it on a website that they own. Keep it on a mailing list that they own. Updating a website is more of a hassle than updating a Facebook page. Plus, the average person is much more likely to check their Facebook stream than visit your website. A mailing list has problems, too. Not everyone wants to see an email from you every day. Twitter works very well for small businesses, if their users are there. Twitter usage varies from town to town. Google Plus is a perfect alternative, but the end users just aren’t there yet and some question if they ever will be. The solution may very well be a combination of services, but this depends on each industry and location of a business. A pizza shop in Chapel Hill, NC might want to use Twitter, while one in Goldston, NC might want to use a sign in front of their business. A small time florist may want to Boost Facebook ads around Valentine’s Day to get the word out. The solution depends on a plethora of variables.
Having a Facebook page isn’t a bad thing, I just wouldn’t depend on it, or simply take advantage of the pay to play model FB actually is.
The point of this article is simply to raise awareness and inform business owners that their Facebook posts are not reaching their users.
I manage social media accounts for a variety of professionals and businesses and have generated millions in search. If you have a small business and need assistance determining where to best reach your customers please contact me here.
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