Let’s face it. The world is addicted to Facebook. And for us bloggers, or really anyone with a page they want to promote, it can be a useful tool for publicity. So, exactly why Facebook is dead for bloggers? Up until now Facebook has been giving free advertising space to businesses and organizations, allowing groups to connect with users and update them regularly. But the free ride might be over. Facebook admits they are lowering the reach of organic posts to “weed out spammy or non-engaging content.”
I can appreciate the idea that Facebook wants the user experience to be more enjoyable, and for the user to be able to see more things they actually care about with less advertisements. But how will my user experience be better when I see more ads that Pepsi has paid for and less updates on groups that I have purposefully liked? Maybe I want to see updates from those groups that I have liked because I, well, like them.
This transition isn’t hurting huge companies who can afford to pay Facebook for advertising. It’s hurting small businesses, organizations and yes, blogs, who got used to the comfort of free publicity through Facebook and have spent time and resources in building their Like base only to see their reach drop to 1 to 2% of that audience. This is hurting mom & pop shops, local nonprofits, creative groups and anyone using Facebook to promote themselves even if they aren’t making money.
When we first started our blog Facebook was our main source of promotion for our posts. Our Like base grew rapidly and our organic reach was high. In the past few months we’ve noticed our reach has dropped significantly and subsequently the number of readers coming to our blog from Facebook has dropped as well. Even though everyday we continue to get more and more Likes.
Do we really have a right to be complaining?
Not really. Luckily, and I suppose unluckily, our blog is young and we’ve kind of come at the end of the Facebook free ride. We didn’t get too cozy with Facebook and will be able to evolve out of it as we grow. But I feel for groups that have been on FB for years and relied on it as their main source of publicity. But at least they had the free advertising for a while. Better that than nothing, right?
So what next?
Where do we go from here? Well Facebook isn’t completely dead. The good news is that the more love a post gets, the more people will see it. So you have to really crunch your analytics and find the best stuff to post, and when. It’s kind of a catch-22, but if you can develop a small group of active and loyal followers who participate through Likes and discussions, their participation will lead to a larger reach for your posts.
There’s been speculation that Facebook is slowly being fazed out anyway. It’s pretty hard to think of a time where the world’s biggest networking site, and something that is so universal in our world today, will ever become irrelevant or obsolete. There has been a slew of recent studies that show that young people are losing interest in Facebook. As one of the first generations to use Facebook, back when only college students could use it, I find the backlash pretty ironic. High-schoolers were dying to get on, but opening the site up to kids means opening it up to parents as well. And who wants to be on the same networking site as their parents? Facebook is in the decline and cooler networks like Snapchat, WhatsApp, Kik and Instagram are replacing it.
So what does this mean for travel bloggers or those looking to promote their pages? Should we get in touch with some hackers to sneak in ads on Snapchat? I don’t think this blog is ready to stoop to that level. It’s hard to tell what the next big networking thing is going to be, but we’re starting to put a little more time into Pinterest. We also haven’t given up hope on Twitter and Instagram, who aren’t too shabby either. For now we’ll be squeezing the last drops out of Facebook and then testing out new possibilities.