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.
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.
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?…
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.
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)?
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!
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…