As a social media educator nothing bothers me more than small business owners complaining that all Facebook is doing by making changes to their platform is forcing them into buying ads to get visibility and exposure. The latest change – the switch to Branding Timelines for Pages which eliminated landing tabs and an inability to use the cover photo for advertising – has started the latest round of groans and moans.
The simple fact of the matter – while Facebook is definitely intent on driving ad revenue (especially now that they are about to go public) and it would appear recent changes are making it harder for the small business to get exposure without ads, it is not really an issue if you have a solid posting strategy (quality content, tagging, etc as I have laid out in previous posts).
Need proof? Check out the Insights pulled from my business page, Blue Ridge Wireless, this morning:
It should be quite obvious that this page not only has a phenomenal reach, but with 95 ‘Talking About This’, that translates to an 8.5% engagement rate! The average small business is generally lucky to see a rate better than 2%. Even though this was spike over my normal numbers, the graph clearly shows a very consistent reach of 78-80. The weekly reach even jumped more than 96% to more than 2800.
So how does this prove my point? First, I have NEVER used a custom landing or welcome tab. While they are great at helping businesses collect email addresses and promote their wares, I really don’t like them as a consumer. For that matter, if you’re using Facebook to collect data to market via email, you shouldn’t be surprised that your engagement is low (afterall you’re not using it as intended) and why wouldn’t Facebook want to limit your ability to use their platform to collect marketing info for another service?
Second, I have NEVER paid for an ad. They do work, but i don’t need them. Why? Look at what I post. Look at the type of content I provide. It’s valuable (and fun) stuff that people WANT to read and share! Add in some strategic tagging and engagement on and with other pages and I get exposure. I also use traditional marketing practices to drive fans to my page rather than the other way.
And for those that might think I am spending hours each day on Facebook – check out the image again. Other than a couple of odd days, I post ONCE per day by 9 AM. I come back only to respond and encourage engagement as others post. I do spend some time each evening on other pages, but all in all, I’ll spend no more than an average of 45 minutes per day on Facebook.
All the while, my strategy has proven effective where others have failed through the change in how Facebook altered our personal news feed to the Personal Timeline and now to Branding Timelines.
The bottom line – stop blaming Facebook’s changes for not getting exposure. It’s your posting strategy that’s to blame. The changes just mean we need to work smarter.
Not sure where to start? Not getting these results working your current social media expert? Want to learn more? I have helped quite a few businesses see huge changes in their insights. Just give me a shout.
National Director, The Social Media Masters