So back to my weekly report - it's one of those Facebook emails that comes automatically, I tend not to pay to much attention to it as it's main purpose is t get me to Post more things more often.
However, it does list the 10 most popular pages that I manage and what I have noticed over the past three months is the incredible slow down in 'growth' these pages have had.
I manage Facebook pages of all sizes, from less than 100 Likes to over 200,000 and looking back I can see growth rates of 5%, 10% frequently, even the larger pages were doing well hitting 3%, and 3% of 100,000 Likes is alot of extra people being added all the time.
Then it all stopped, the average growth rate of the Pages I manage is now around 0.1% if I'm lucky, worse for the bigger pages most of whom are in decline. It seems Facebook has come to a full stop.
New pages remain relatively easy to get 30 or 40 people I already know to Like them... i.e. tapping ones own database of contacts, but after that it's an uphill struggle to get anyone to Like a Facebook Page at all.
There are reasons for this, they are quite difficult to put into words, but for now I want to address the question of whether or not - you've missed the Facebook Boat. The answer is almost emphatically Yes!
Just thinking about it, if you have 10,000 Likes, you've got an audience, you might have built up those likes a little dubiously, but you've got them for the time being. However each time you Post a Status Update it will be fired out to about 3-4% of your 10,000 Likes, i.e. about 300-400 people. Some of those people will Like or Pass it on... you can see the numbers game going on here.
You gain more Likes by encouraging your existing Likes to share your content... As they Like, Share or Comment on your Updates - it goes out to their friends. You're in a decent position and providing the bulk of your 10,000 Likes are geniune followers of your Page, then you can expect to be able to continue to market effectively to your audience.
Now if. you've got 100 Likes and your Status Updates are only sent the Facebook 3-4% then you're in trouble, the chances of people Liking you are significantly less. Facebook is still a numbers Game. You have missed the boat.
Facebook has made it far harder to gain geniune and desirable Likes... literally when you Post something a random 3-4% of your Likes will recieve it and even them most of them will miss your Update because they are swamped with all their other information. You're becoming a needle int he haystack.
Facebook's solution is to get you to spend money, Advertise on Facebook and your Update won't just reach your Likes more effectively, but it will extend well beyond and depending on your defined criteria it exposes your Updates well beyond your Likes.
But now you have a quandry, Facebook is still controlling who is seeing your Updates - and advertisers are actually reporting great success with this Advertising... but be careful on analysis the quality of people that respond to an Advert is far far inferior to the quality of people that Like you because they want to.
I need to repeat that - building Likes in a natural and self recommending way means people that want to follow you will... People that Like you because they've seen your advert for a special offer, or some incentive - will do so, but that's often as far as their interest goes.
And the quandry is that if you concentrate on building Likes through advertising you gain Likes, but then when you do a normal Status Update it will only go out to the 3-4% of Likes... and now you have a considerably less interested audience.
Advertising on Facebook remains a dubious choice to make, by natural definition you are shooting yourself in the foot and reducing your Facebook effectiveness.
Soltuions - I do like to end on a decent solution or two:
- If you want to succeed on Facebook you've got to Post a lot of information. Post every hour... 24 times a day. Why?
Each time you post it will go to a Facebook selected 3-4% of your audience... the chances of annoying someone are therefore actually quite slim... they might get 2 or 3 of your posts, but rest assured they won't get 24 a day.
- Photos work best - not Albums - Videos only if you have to... people remain visual and seeing a photo is quick easy and should convey everything you want to convey.
- Do NOT Brand anything - I know it's tempting, but the object is to get people Sharing and Commenting on your Photo or Update - anything that is branded is an immediate turnoff to most people, even that little watermark in the corner.
Besides when you share something, it will go out with your name and even after it's been shared copiously and even then it can be traced back to you.
- Have a purpose - create a theme, make it industry wide and NOT about your company. Create an interest about your interests. Constantly battering your Likes about a special offer or some product you're launched will be the quickest way to lose people's interest.
- Share - don't be afraid to share other people's content - even competitiors, if there is something happening in your sphere of interest share it... let people hear it from you.
Maybe another day I'll rattle off a few reasons why Facebook has become so much harder to Market on... but this is enough for now. Have you missed the Facebook boat? Yes - a lot of businesses and people will have done so. Is it a salvagable situation - Yes - but it's a return to basics, be natural on Facebook, use it as it was meant to be used (instead of trying to twist it to suit your purpose) and it will all come right.