Is Facebook Wrong? Do You Feel Duped? Weigh In!

facebook

I will never forget a reply someone left on my Facebook page when I made a post about some Google algorithm changes.

It went something like this…

I need to diversify my traffic better because relying on Google traffic is like waking up every morning and wondering if I’m going to get fired from my job.

I thought that was a clever way to put it.   :)

And after Facebook’s update last month, you may have a similar feeling as you watch your reach slowly decline.

If you learn nothing else, understand that the online landscape is forever changing.  And the best way to deal with the evolution is to work on building your home base, which should be on a foundation that you own.

That doesn’t mean you ignore social media, but you should use it to support your bottom line instead of making it your bottom line.

Social Networks Mean Business

Facebook started making changes to their algorithm a couple of years ago and began limiting what is seen in the news feed.  The worse your engagement, the worse your reach. (Reach is the number of people who actually see your post.)

FB initially explained that the update was to make sure you see content that matters to you the most.  While that was part of it, the real reason is FB wants to profit from ads.

And in December of last year they tweaked their algorithm again and flat out admitted the decline in reach was purely about boosting their ad revenue.

Facebook Quote

Source: Facebook.com

This caused a huge outcry. People felt cheated and many regretted shoveling advertising dollars into gaining Facebook fans that won’t even see their posts.

Of course, you can make friends with the algorithm by posting at high peak times for your niche, knowing what content your audience values, posting more often, etc., but even pages with super high engagement got hit hard.

Whether or not you’ve been affected by this change, it drives the point home that your first priority should be investing time in developing traffic sources that you own.

Social media can be awesome for your online business, but you don’t own the platforms. So if you use them, make a habit of funneling people back to properties you control like your site and email list.

That may sound like elementary advice to some of you, but you’d be surprised at how many people decided against creating a website and relied on Facebook for their exposure.

Yikes!

Is Leaving Facebook The Answer?

A lot of people are abandoning Facebook and moving to Google Plus.

Can anyone else see people over at the Google HQ’s doing a happy dance with all the Facebook hate going around now?

I mean… is this the scene over in Mountain View, CA?…

people Celebrating

Well I guess that would depend on how much their user base has grown, but I’ve wondered a time or two. :)

I personally have no plans to leave Facebook because it still drives good traffic here, but it definitely reminds me of the risk involved when you rely too heavily on traffic sources you have no control over.

It’s so easy to get complacent with how things have worked in the past.  And it’s frustrating because you may even feel Facebook owes you the exposure since you’ve spent years building up your following only to have your reach continually decline.

It may feel like a slap in the face. I get that.  And time will tell if this was a smart move for Facebook or not.

But like it or not, Facebook is going to do what they feel is best for their business in the end.

Does that remind you of another company?

(Hint: The name rhymes with Doogle.)  :)

The Social Media Landscape Continues to Evolve

The only constant is change and we have to live with that.  Facebook is not going anywhere for now, but times are a-changin’.

You may have even noticed that your fan base is older than it was years ago.

Younger people are leaving in droves to embrace other platforms like Instagram and SnapChat, so there will always be the next big thing when it comes to social media.

snapchat

SnapChat is hot among teens and twenty somethings now!

Speaking of things evolving…

Everyone’s talking about Facebook’s big moves, but it could be Google Plus in two years.

I’m telling you now…

If Google ever gains the user base they initially hoped for with G+, don’t be surprised if they “pull a Facebook” and do the same with your reach — especially if this works for FB.

I’m just sayin’.

These companies are about making money, ladies and gents.  Nothing surprises me anymore.

The Dilemma Over Which Network To Use

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the social networking site choices?

Should you open a SnapChat account and start promoting there since it’s appearing to be the the next big thing for teens?

What about Pinterest?  Twitter?  LinkedIn?  Instagram?

Do you suffer from FOMO POP (fear of missing out on being popular everywhere)?

socialIcons

One thing I’ve noticed is that no matter how many social accounts a person has, most people get the majority of their engagement from one or two.

And if you are just starting, figure out where your audience is mostly likely to be and start there.

SuperTekBoy said it best in this discussion on my forum titled “Facebook Dying”

I guess the real thing here is…. go to whichever Social Network has your audience. For me, my audiences don’t hang out on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. My most successful Social Network is LinkedIn by far. And the Google Plus Communities have been promising.

Bingo, SuperTekBoy!  You know where your audience hangs out so that’s where you focus your time.   If there’s no ROI or ROT (return on investment or return on time) then what’s the point?

It’s much better to spend 100% of your time on one network, or even split the time between two networks  instead of spreading yourself too thin and trying to be popular on ten sites at once.

Talking about driving yourself batty, geez!

bonkers

Sure, you can create accounts with every social site that exists and then use Hootsuite to automate your posts as you blast content across the Web.

Just remember it’s called “social” media, and relying on automation for all your interaction isn’t exactly being social.

Even then, you’ll probably find yourself engaging the most on a small percentage of those sites you post to.

Whatever networks you decide to use, always make sure you constantly funnel people back to the properties you own instead of getting too comfy and assuming everything is going to stay the same forever.

If I have one regret, it’s not starting an email list on day one!  Even though I have a five-digit list now, it would easily be up to six digits had I started collecting emails from the beginning.

Now, you could argue that I don’t control or own AWeber either. But even if they went out of business, as a paying customer, I have faith that I would still be able to export that list and transfer the emails elsewhere.

At the end of the day, we can’t be surprised when these free sites like Facebook decide to monetize their traffic.  Relying on any site that you don’t control is super scary — especially in these changing times.

These companies are looking out for themselves and we have to do the same with our sites and businesses!

Speaking of My Email List…

As I close this one out, I want to remind you that if you haven’t subscribed to my list, now’s the time.

Next Monday, February 3rd, there will be no post here.  But I will be offering a generous “email list only” discount on a premium WordPress plugin for only 72 hours.

My email list is tied to my blog updates (I only post 2-4 times per month), but I also send out occasional freebies and discounts from time to time.

Well, this is one of those times. :)

Sign up below…







Comments

  1.  petdoof

    I agree with you 100%, it is like people believe with ONLY one source of income, they are “secured”. I have spent over 30k last year to get facebook likes and now they changed again.

  2.  Luke_Ciciliano

    Thanks for sharing Lisa. You are right when you say that others would be surprised at the extent some people ignore their own websites in favor of social media. I wouldn’t say that in my niche, well more than half of people actually update their blogs infrequently (if it all) and focus on social media all day. One person who holds himself out as an “expert” actually recently boasted about his experiment where he “ignored his blog for thirty days” in an effort to see what would happen on social media instead.

    In spite of this, I still think most people entering the “infoprepreneur” space will continue to look to social media first because they simply find it easier. This just really goes to show that it’s not about how many people enter this space, it’s about how many take the time to do it right and focus on their own properties. This is why the field is still so wide open in 2014. Just my humble opinion.

  3.  2createawebsite

    Now I’m curious, what happened after he ignored his blog?

    •  Luke_Ciciliano

      He mentioned in a podcast that he “made a lot of great connections” through G+ (which was the platform he focused on) but later said he was going to focus on properties he owned. He didn’t say anything about an actual benefit of focusing solely on social media (such as monetization). I personally wouldn’t even consider trying something like that. Just my opinion.

  4.  surveycashguide

    Just out of curiosity, what kinds of traffic DO you have control over? In my mind I’m thinking there are two main types of traffic: traffic from search engines like Google, and traffic from social media. I can’t seem to think of anything else except a mailing list.

    •  2createawebsite

      Building a community on your existing site so when people DO find you, they return…. or even a forum. One regret I have is really neglecting my forum and not doing a better job of cross promoting it in the last couple of years. I really slacked off. Big regret.

  5.  smarketinggeeks

    Lisa,

    It’s kinda of funny you created this post now, I had just made up my mind to really get committed to Facebook Marketing.

    Up till now I have spent $847.02 on Facebook Ads according to my Facebook Account. I have never been into building my Fan Page because I did not like the fact that I didn’t own it.

    I would never spend money to get likes; however, I would spend money to get get leads to help build targeted Audience.

    As far as going Google plus goes, I am staying with Facebook no one can match Facebook targeting.

    Besides I remember everyone ran to Facebook because Google Adwords set some insane prices for Internet Marketers.

    I think if you are going to use Facebook and spend money you should be doing direct response marketing.

    Yes getting fans is a direct response marketing but if you have to pay again to get your message in from of them it’s not the best use of ones time or money.

    I totally agree with focusing on where your audience is and not trying to be everywhere, I couldn’t agree with you more!

    People focus on way to many social media sites at once trying to build them all at once.

    Great Article!

    Till Next Time,
    Strategic Marketing Geek

    •  2createawebsite

      Great points and the other thing is if you are going to pay you have to check your ROI to make sure you’re getting something in return. A lot of people buy fans or ads but don’t even check to see if they’re getting some kind of value.

      I was guilty of this myself. When “promoting your post” was cheaper I would occasionally throw in $20 or so to get some more exposure, but I wouldn’t do anymore advertising unless I was going to check the return on investment and have a real strategy other than “get more views”.

      •  SMarketingGeeks

        I couldn’t agree with you more Lisa.

        When it comes to my ROI, it can be kinda of hard to track ROI.

        I know for me I target a lot of network marketers, (I know Lisa that’s not your thing) often times I will get a few sales right up front but most of them will come in 7 to 10 days later on the back-end.

        I use the EPC (Earning Per Click) Method which is kinda crazy because I drive people to a trial which is $9.95 for 10 days.

        If they stay I they are billed at $150 a month until they leave.

        For me my EPC is based off how many people actually take the upgrade and not the trial.

        The reason for this is simple, I make commissions based off the upgrade not the trial.

        With that being said I look at how much it cost to get a trial customer then how many of them actually take the upgrade.

        By this being the Network Marketing industry I have an insane follow up process that wouldn’t really work for your audience.

        I follow up everyday sharing my post, videos and other great content I come across.

        I notice this has help tremendously with my conversion rate and getting people to take the upgrade (it also get a lot of unsubscribes).

        For example:

        Before I started doing this, I was getting maybe 5 people out of every 100 to upgrade not even a 10% conversion rate.

        With this in place I am getting 29 people out of every 100 people to take the upgrade.

        My follow up is not all about sale, sale, sale.

        I use a ton of social proof, teaching people how to use the tool, giving them free advice and as I’m sure you already know people go nuts over strategies.

        So that’s how I track my ROI I use a service called linktrackr to ensure my numbers are correct or should I say as close as possible to being correct.

        I also use the Facebook tracking pixels.

        Till Next Time,
        Strategic Marketing Geek

        P.S

        Just in case your wondering, those unsubscribes are okay with me because as you know the bigger your list get the more expensive it is.
        Plus, I will go segment my list and unsubscribe people who hasn’t open my email in the past 30 days.

        In short I look at it as them doing me favor and the payoff for sending out emails everyday is bigger then the few people who unsubscribe.

        P.P.S

        I love how you kick-start your blog post traffic and comments.

        •  2createawebsite

          Willie, this is great. Thanks for sharing your process. And I love how you say your follow up is not all about sale, sale, sale. And a 30% conversion rate is something to be proud of for sure.

  6. Good article Lisa. Instead of sending to people to my Facebook Fan page. I will drive traffic to a squeeze page and promote my NFL tailored blog thru email. I will use facebook ads to drive traffic to my squeeze page. Now I know why people are always preaching to build a list from the jump. I really enjoyed your article.

    •  2createawebsite

      Yep. I think the reason people ignore it is because you may not see an instant return because you have to constantly tweak, test and see what works. I’m still learning…. years later! But once you figure out what works, it can produce solid income.

  7. I was hit pretty hard by Facebook. I spent over $700.00 in advertising to gain followers. In the beginning, it worked out wonderfully, but then the amount of views began to fall when they changed their algorithm, and kept going down from there. In fact, it got to the point where I was averaging about 500 views per post out of 28,000 followers. My views were in the thousands prior to this change, and the engagement was great.

    It was a hard decision, but, I eventually decided to close the page and leave Facebook. I am now on Google Plus, and doing much better. I don’t have nearly as many followers, but there is definitely more engagement, and I don’t have to pay for it.

    I believe Facebook is moving towards the same fate as Myspace. It’s not a question of will it happen, but when. And those who put everything into Facebook rather than having a personal blog, will receive a hard lesson in life. It’s quite sad.

    I’m just wondering if there is ever going to be a class-action lawsuit over this, because a lot of people have invested a lot of money into their pages to get followers. To not give these people who like these pages updates unless page owners pay more, seems to violate business ethics.

    •  2createawebsite

      Hey Chris

      Thanks for sharing your story. I think that’s the most frustrating part for people. I spent some money on FB ads (mostly promote your post) but nothing like the numbers you’re talking about and some of the others mentioned here.

      Like I said in the article, watch Google Plus. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started doing more of the same if they get popular enough.

      I can bet FB has something in their terms that protects them from the lawsuit but I can see people trying.

  8. One blogger that I have followed for nearly 2 years now has grown incredibly – from zero to over 1,000,000 page views within 18 months. Her Facebook page has also exceeded 150,000 likes. She has massive engagement at all levels. But I’ve noticed that she uses frequent “giveaways”, where people have to spread the word about her site to be eligible to win. I think she would thrive even without Facebook, but it’s a great way for her to stay in close touch with her readers.

  9.  vagabondElmer

    Wait! Hold on… there still questions that some of us want answers to.
    -Petdoof, you have us hanging here, how did you invested 30K on facebook and what kind of results where you getting?
    -Luke I am wondering, if you are ignoring your blog, which is suppose to be your main way of providing content, how are you able to get leads or sell information if you are using only social media?
    - Great article Lisa

  10. I have read with interest this post (as always, I must add), and I was waiting for the bit on email lists. The way I see it, the conundrum is: what is an email list without google (or facebook) traffic? If I didn’t have traffic to start with, how am I supposed to build a list? What I mean is that a list is indeed dependent on Google (or FB) and I cannot do without it; so, even with my list, I am still heavily dependant on traffic I cannot control. If my Google traffic disappeared overnight, in time so would my list as I without a turnover it would wither and eventually disappear.
    In my view, although I agree wholeheartedly that 1) you need a list and b) you can’t rely on Google or FB (or whoever) for traffic, you HAVE to play by (THEIR) game. You have no real alternative.

    •  2createawebsite

      Someone made a similar comment on my FB page and I don’t think the solution is to completely ignore Google and FB altogether. You’re right. You have to START somewhere.

      The point is once you start collecting the addresses from the traffic you get from these sources, work on creating the kind of content that draws these existing people back to your site to comment, buy, etc.

      For example, I never used to track my open rates, etc. all that much but even though my FB reach is down, my open rate for my email list for my blog is WAY up. So my goal is not to ignore social media. You still use these platforms to build up your list or readership, but once these people are on your list you then work to make sure they stay engaged and come back to your site.

      What’s happening here is Facebook and Google are really forcing us to work harder and be more diligent about tracking and engaging our user so they will follow us and keep track of our blog no matter what. It’s hard work, no doubt!

      Loving this discussion. Such great food for thought from everyone!

    •  SMarketingGeeks

      Andrea,

      You can build a list without Google & Facebook.

      Before Facebook I was going directly to other blog owners who was building a subscriber base.

      This is known as Solo Ads. I don’t like using providers because I want real leads and not freebie seekers.

      I would ask them if I could pay them to send out a free offer to their list. Some said sure and other said no.

      The point is Google and Facebook is not the only places to get traffic.

      People just talk about them a lot because it doesn’t require a lot of work or money to get started with them.

      Don’t forget you now have Twitter on the rise with advertising and I have also been “experimenting” with Fiverr.

      Their is no shortage of traffic people hangout in these place because, that’s where their audience is at as Lisa stated in the article.

      Hope this getting you thinking about the limitless possibilities for driving traffic and build your audience / list.

      Till Next Time,
      Strategic Marketing Geek

      • Yes, indeed. But how many times can you repeat the process? 1-5-10-20? And then? You will have run out of blogs tu “use”. You DO need organic searches and make sure they grow in the long term. I don’t see a way around it that is as practical and (cost) effective.
        If someone can suggest something easy to do that is not going to consume me 24 hours a day, if not more, I am all hears.
        I think the point is another one, one cannot stress enough that Google or FB traffic are the means, NOT the end. Through Google you get subscribers and the subscribers can be turned into customers. Without Google, where are the subscribers going to come from? Word of mouth and virality are not going to be enough, if not in the (very) short term (unless you are VERY lucky).

  11.  hiphopbeatsblog

    email for life :D
    I think of facebook as another ad network

  12. Great info as always Lisa.

    I am trying to learn more about the blog giveaways. I think that can generate some great traffic. Especially if they have to subscribe to your mailing list to get in the drawing.

  13.  PackerlandWeb

    I teach social media and a local tech college. It is six 3 hour classes. I taugh the each of the last four semesters. This is the very reason it takes me over an hour to update my powerpoint and presentation every time. Plus, you need to watch for the ‘new’ stuff. Bottom line always learning and willing to adapt.

  14.  Stuffseniorneed

    I have been warning people about this for nearly 2 years, it always happens. I build websites for clients, and some of my prospects (in situations where I have approached THEM) declined my offer for a WordPress site because they seem to think Facebook is a free replacement:

    “I don’t need a website, I have a Facebook Page”

    What can you say to people who don’t want to hear the truth? I only now focus on helping those who do not delude themselves and listen to what I have to say.

    it’s not only the “reach” problem, but it’s the fact that Facebook itself is a giant distraction from your business or marketing message. You’re competing with X number of other status updates in a space buzzing with noise. Compare that a nice clean website that you own and maintain.

    Facebook are a multi billion dollar corporation who could care less about individuals unless you put cash in their money machine, at which point there sales/consulting team actually respond to your emails.

  15.  AGrandWeb

    Hi Lisa,
    Facebook has been going on this downward slope for a while now, and I think now they are just in it for the money. I haven’t tried getting into Facebook marketing (much more confusing than Twitter), so I will just stick with my Twitter and Google+ for good social media marketing. Thank you for sharing your opinions!
    Andrew

  16. I think that can generate some great traffic. Especially if they have to subscribe to your mailing list to get in the drawing.

  17. People, just build your tribe like seth godin sad, if at least you get 1000 true fans coming to your blog frequently and they are suscribe, they will start spreading the word , telling other people how great you are, if you dont believe me i have this question for you, how you got to know google back in the days or facebook, twitter, i bet some one told you.

  18.  LTGMonkey

    Simple answer:

    yes, Facebook got it wrong. But they have been doing so (in my opinion) for a long time. They’ve never really cared about good comms or looking after their customers/users.

    Thankfully I haven’t sunk any $ into Facebook, not even in the early days.

    It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it, with more articles like this one but I suspect in the end it will be a storm in a teacup and they’ll have to react – eventually (which would be a shame as I for one would quite like to see such poor treatment of customers rewarded as it should be – with them all going elsewhere – probably just too many users too far entrenched for that to happen though).

  19.  inkcloth

    Facebook is very good promotional purpose if we used it right way. I know these are less chances in starting but we have to try experimenting. Personally I hate Google+

  20.  Mike_Howg

    Social networking sites are still so new in the grand scheme of things. They’re an excellent way of promoting content but I wouldn’t want to rely 100% on them as my only way of getting traffic. Because they’re so new, these sites are constantly evolving and changing how things work. Something that’s working for you today might not be as effective tomorrow.

  21.  SheerSocial

    Lisa,

    If you were a rapper or singer, I’d say you can drop the mic and scream “Sexual Chocolate!” and leave the stage. What you’ve posted here is the TRUTH of where social media marketing is heading, especially Facebook. I too have become quite frustrated with FB because building an audience there gets costly. I’m learning that for my audience, especially the old heads, I’d be better off using offline marketing strategies because Edgerank has stopped sending my updates to them. I tell my clients that social media is NOT the superhero of marketing because it’s less expensive. What you don’t spend in money you may very well spend in time developing great content like yours.

  22.  davelucas

    Social media sites like facebook were NOT meant to be used and abused by “marketeers” hawking products and otherwise duping people into spending money they don’t need to. I applaud facebook taking steps to reign in these crazies who, if there were no internet, would be mailing chain letters or joining whatever MLM company was “big” for the moment. Thank you facebook, for making it back to where you were supposed to be and what you were supposed to be all along!

    •  ideas_forbiz

      Social media was not meant to be adulterated by promotional messages. Everything gets tainted eventually but I don’t applaud Facebook, who are using a very large hammer to crack a disproportionate sized nut. They created the problem in the first place by allowing the FB marketing pages (Originally Become a Fan) that allow users to become promotional and use FB as a platform. FB encouraged that and they did so because Mark Zuckerberg was assisted by marketers to brand and grow the platform so it could eventually be monetized. MZ was never much of a businessman although I admit I don’t know how accurate the portrayal of events in “The Social Network” are. He was just a programmer initially and I highly doubt he imagined becoming a tycoon surrounded by hanger-on types.

      Similarly, Google have created the spam problem and now they’re making money by presenting the solution to their own problem.

      Every time I watch a TV ad the so called “expert” voice over feeds the viewer mistruths about a supposed problem, simultaneously providing the supposed solution. Car safety ads play on the fear of loss for example. Isn’t this how all corporations operate? The phrase goes “Confusion is profitable”, and Facebook have created a platform buzzing with low quality content so they can help you cut through the crap and be cream of the crop.. $$$

  23.  ravirajlh

    Thanks Lisa, For sucha good post. Yeah your right. I say why not active on couple of social networks rather than on one social network. And yeah , nowadays we are more on social network than working on your blog or website ..Even i belong to the same category.
    Thanks for sucha great post

  24.  ayesha.lovie

    Great post. Love it.

  25. Hello Lisa,

    Im agree with you. Since I discovered Google+, im working on it to upgrade my trafic in gardening niche. Im still on Facebook too.. The secret is work work and work.

  26. I thought of using Facebook Marketing, spending my $$ to earn some money but now i have changed my mind after readin this post!

  27.  SamGalaxyS5

    I yesterday thought of using Facebook Marketing but after reading this Article i again think of it from Inside and then Decide What to do .

  28. Agree Facebook is over utilized through information overload and updates from friends. People are not responsive as they use to be.

    Brett
    Australian Migration Agent
    http://www.australia-a.com.au

  29.  parkyoung2014

    Just came back to your blog to see this 2 week old post Lisa. Facebook in my opinion is a great source for targeted traffic. You just have to find the right groups, register, try to become active in it before you start posting some links. Sometimes people ban you from their group because you spam too many links, and sometimes Facebook gets on you because you join random groups with people you don’t even know and start posting links. So you really have to be careful. But you know, that traffic is worth it in my opinion, and so will bloggers that have just started up.

    Young

  30. I relied pretty heavily on facebook to drive traffic for one of my websites and the new algorithm obviously really hurt. Like many people have mentioned here before, you must focus on building up an email list because its the one thing you really have control of.

    I am curious as to how these facebook changes will effect it in the long run. I imagine in the short-term they will be successful because big businesses will still promote and advertise since they are only ones with the money to do so. However, in the long run I can see this being a major hit.

    •  2createawebsite

      Peter, I often wonder the same thing. Sometimes I wonder if they cut too deep but only time will tell. If nothing changes then we’ll know then this move was profitable.

  31. facebook buys whatsapp with lot of money ,can they win the people heart remain a big question……….

  32.  damadovinho

    I do feel my statistics are worse, compared to early 2007. I used to pay $20 for an ad and have lots of attention, now it just seems that nothing works!
    Too bad for them, I will not spend any more money on Facebook.
    Cheers,

    Alessandra Esteves
    http://www.damadovinho.com.br

  33.  PeterMutiso

    Hi Lisa,

    That’s exactly my point – I noticed this Facebook trend last year April and more when Facebook introduced promote posts/boost posts feature -You have build up your following, paid for likes and now Facebook wants you to pay more to reach the people you who liked your page after paying?

    And eve that, you are not guaranteed or reaching your entire audience after you pay – just a small percentage – my regrets

  34.  wisestepp

    Nice and very informative post

    It is very well known that there are many ways of bringing traffic towards your site . But the time it takes to bring that would vary . The most recent way of getting more traffic is through blogs and also social media is on a rise of getting more business chances.

    I really don’t believe that social media is duping . I think social networking sites itself a business. It helps in promoting business efficiently and nice amount of traffic is diverted towards your site. Well it is up to individual whether use them as paid or free platforms.

    Very helpful article I hope many will get an idea over this topic especially beginners..

    Thank you for sharing.

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