You know the old saying; he who is first and grows the fastest wins and is hard to kill. Facebook has been a changing force in society and has forever changed the way we connect and communicate with one another.
In Part 1 of our series, we talked about Google and its decline and offered some ideas of how you can increase your engagement by building a community. In Part 2, we turn to Facebook. By far the largest social media platform in the world, Facebook has been an interesting and yet controversial player among both its peers and users.
If you’ve seen the movie “The Social Network” you know that Facebook wasn’t started as a social site that offered people the benefits of connecting together. Nope, their motives were much more sinister than that, lol…
The initial site pulled photos of Harvard students off of Harvard’s Web sites. It rearranged these photos so that when people visited Facemash.com (the original site name) they would see pictures of two Harvard students and be asked to vote on which was more attractive. The site also maintained a list of Harvard students, ranked by attractiveness. (See a full history of Facebook at Business Insider)
However, it didn’t take long to realize that people wanted to connect with one another socially and beyond the campus of Harvard. Eventually it spread to other campuses and as Paul Harvey said; You know the rest of the story.
Why Facebook Became #1
Unlike the other social platforms of 2008 – 2009, Facebook made it easy to share pictures, video and have longer conversations on their platform. It was revolutionary compared to its big brother of the time, Twitter.
Because of its ease of use and ability to share with your “friends” from anywhere in the world the site rapidly continued to experience hyper growth as families, friends, and co-workers found ways to connect with one another in ways not previously available to them, or at least they didn’t know other ways they could connect.
By the end of 2010 Facebook became the standard bearer of social media that Google had become in search, but Facebook did much faster.
How Does Facebook Make Money?
As a privately held company, Facebook worked to build an independent, internal platform that allowed them to learn everything there is to learn about a person based on what they post.
They have the ability to see what stores you shop when you check-in or mention them in your post. They can see your favorite moves, tv shows, sports teams, clothes… anything you post online they can learn about you.
They can learn from your posts about your family, recreation, hobbies…
All of the information you share willingly and readily becomes a tool for them to learn exactly what you’re interested in and how you like to spend your money based on your interests and habits.
That’s powerful!!!! Google could never rival that. In order to help target their advertisers to prospective buyers they had to download a cookie onto your hard drive and then track your online habits, i.e. they would track what websites you visit and then use that data to come to certain conclusions to know how to advertise to you.
That got Google in a lot of hot water with consumer advocacy groups as well as governments around the globe who felt it was a violation of their privacy laws.
Facebook doesn’t have those problems. They don’t download anything onto your computer. You agree in the terms of service that they can use anything you post a means to offer advertisements to you as you readily upload your life onto their servers.
Facebook Goes Private
In 2012, Facebook decided that being a private company was lucrative opportunity and they needed some help building their infrastructure. What a great way to get an infusion of billions of dollars. Just go public. Wall Street loved the idea of the data at the fingers of advertisers and direct access to a very target audience.
So Facebook launched their initial public offering. At first it didn’t go so hot but it has since recovered nicely if you’re an investor.
What Problems Did Facebook Create For Your Business?
So, what does all this have to do with your business?
I thought you would never ask, lol…
Prior to 2013, a business “Like” page was a great way for brands and small businesses to interact with their customers. It was free, and if you took the time to build your audience it was a great way to find more prospects and customers.
Why? Because it was FREE!
But hold everything. By the end of 2013 Facebook was in need of more cash flow and higher profits to satisfy both the needs of their business and their shareholders. Remember they are a public company now and profits are the number one thing. Investors like a return on their investment.
Might thought is at some point the likely began asking themselves at Facebook why businesses should be able to make billions of dollars cumulatively off of their platform without paying a penny?
After all, if you are advertise on the radio there is a cost. If you advertise on TV there is a cost. If in a magazine or even a popular online publication… there is a cost.
As a business owner, executive, or accountant would you allow your company to be taken advantage of? Facebook was ready and prime to make a move and monetize their business.
They had spent a few years and a lot of money developing the world’s top website and the numbers are staggering.
In an article by Jeff Bullas he shares:
- 30 million businesses now have a Facebook Fan Page.
- 19 million businesses have optimized their Fan Page for mobile.
- Businesses are paying 122% more per ad unit on Facebook than they did just a year ago.
- 1.5 million businesses now spend money on Facebook ads.
- 399 million Facebook users only use Facebook on mobile each month.
- 829 million people use Facebook on a daily basis, an increase from 802 million last quarter.
So Facebook started making it harder for your free audience to see your posts. If you want your posts seen more, you have to pay for it.
Many small business owners who are used to getting the service for free or couldn’t afford it immediately backlashed by complaining and some even left the platform. But I ask, if it were you would you want to monetize it? Is a fewer number of people on the platform spending money worth more than a lot of people on it for free? Apparently Facebook believes they have the answer.
What is the Real Issue?
The real issue is that social is now a feature and not a platform. You can embed social in everything, its’ all about engagement and engagement is what Facebook really wants.
Facebook is willing to make a trade-off. If you can convince people to stay on Facebook longer by engaging with you, they will reward you with more views. So long as those views equal likes and comments.
Engagement keeps someone on their site and the longer someone is on their site the more they learn about them and how to position ads and help their advertisers meet more prospects and new customers. It’s really pretty simple to figure out.
You give them what they want and they will give you what you want. But that is going to require work on your part. Are you willing to do the work to increase your engagement?
See, you are paying one way or another. You will either pay in time (which has a cost) to increase your engagement or you will pay out of your checking account to reach the audience.
How Can Your Business Increase Engagement on Facebook?
There are a few things you can do to increase your “Like” pages views if you don’t want to pay out of pocket. I’m not going to go into any how to’s to increase your Likes and engagement. But, here are a few ideas to help you:
- Engage with everyone who likes and comments on your page. Don’t just let the posts sit there and don’t ignore them. Remember, Facebook likes engagement and they reward it. So ENGAGE!
- Message every new follower and thank them for following your page. Ask them to check the “Get Notifications” link so that whenever you post they get a notice from Facebook. If you do this, only post three times per day or so. Don’t post every hour it will run off many of your fans for better or worse. See the image below
- Use video uploads. Facebook loves them!
- Tag other pages appropriately when you mention them in your blogs or posts that you share.
- Share other business pages content on your page wall.
There are some very successful strategists who are offering some great ideas to help you increase the value of your Facebook and social media presence. Here are a few ideas:
Social Media Tactics Every Small Business Should Be Using – Rebekah Radice
How To Grow Your Facebook Audience: The Tips, Strategies And Resource Post – Fabrizio Van Marciano
10 Outside-the-Box Tips on How to Get More Facebook Fans – Ana Hoffman
Blogging vs Facebook Pages – Donna Merrill
10 ways to drive the right traffic with social media – Sarah Arrow
Social media and Facebook are all about engagement. Are you engaging with your Facebook Like fans? It is completely possible to have a reach that is three or four times higher than the number of fans you have.
We’ve established in this article that Facebook is just another feature to help you connect, relate and increase engagement with your followers.
What will the future of Facebook look like? It’s hard to know. According to a Time Magazine article published in January 2014 they report on a Princeton study and summarize:
“Researchers predicted that Facebook would see a rapid decline, causing the site to lose 80% of its peak user base between 2015 and 2017.”
They suggest that people are getting bored with Facebook and that is why they will start leaving the platform for newer ones. I have heard some people say that recently and that they are not on as much as they used to be. I hear complaints of ads in their feed they don’t want and find intrusive.
What do you think? Do you agree? Is Facebook on the decline and are you getting bored with it? Will there be a new way people use Facebook or will they abandon it?
Leave a comment below and let me know.
The reality is as I shared in Part 1 of the series that we cannot rely on other platforms to build our networks. Instead, we ought to be using them to build influence and relationships with other influencers and work diligently to build our communities. It’s in our communities we build that there is influence, growth and power as we are validated and opportunities are created. Again, I encourage you to read Transformational Changes in Online Engagement: Part 1 – Google.
If you’re struggling to build your community and audience, I would love to offer a FREE, no-obligation 30 minute call to go over your business. I promise to offer you at least one idea you can use immediately to help your business. Simply click here or the image below to contact me and schedule our free, no obligation call.
Let me know what you think about Facebook; or if you have a question, idea or comment please share and leave it below in the comments section.