The video above is very good for the most part. You should watch it.
I’ve noticed more and more that the Facebook reach of posts on the pages that I manage, keeps getting smaller and smaller. On the Higher Things page we have just under 4,400 Likes. The average organic Facebook reach on the page is around 800 people. That’s less than 20% of people who have actively indicated that they like our content who actually see it. It is basically the same with the other pages that I manage. What’s up with that?
To be fair, Facebook posting on behalf of an organization is a giant marketing game. Pick the right times to post to maximize people that see it. Write engaging content so that people interact with it and it gets passed on to their friends who might not like your page. Not to mention Facebook making it even harder by weighing different types of posts differently. Pictures and plain text posts tend to get the most love from Facebook and appear in the most feeds.
While pictures might engage the user more, I can post the exact same thing that includes a link and if I don’t have the link embedded in the post it reaches a greater number of people than if the link is embedded. It’s about 12% more of the people who like the page.
I don’t think the trend among personal friends is that bad (yet!). If you make sure your feed shows you the most recent posts and you have selected to see all updates on a friend by friend basis you can still see most if not all of your friends posts if you so desire. But, as the video mentions, you can also pay to promote your own personal posts posts. So, who knows how long that will be the case.
I think my friend Stan touches on part of the problem in this post about the Demise of Posterous. When Facebook was created, it was really cool. But it didn’t have any way to make money to support it. They’ve tried to incorporate ways to make money by introducing ads and providing user’s information to companies to target ads toward them. They’ve allowed Pages to send ads targeted at specific groups of people. They allow users to pay to send gifts to people and other small strategies here and there. But none of it seems to work as well as they would like. The pressure to make money increased when Facebook became a publicly traded company.
So what do we, the Facebook users, do?
I think it will come down to one of two things:
1. The users revert to using Facebook the way I did before the introduction of the News Feed (introduced late-2006). I actively went to my friends profile pages to see new posts on their Wall. So we can still actively go to someone’s or some company’s Timeline and see everything that they post. This will leave lots of advertisers out of luck though.
2. (and perhaps the most likely) we find other places to keep in contact with our friends, family and favorite organizations. The decline in Facebook usage among high school students today should be very telling. Facebook isn’t cool anymore. It’s where teen’s parents and grandparents are. It’s where they are subjected to cat pictures, political arguments and advertisements. So, what I think will happen is that people will leave Facebook and go to other social media sites like Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram where posts aren’t filtered (yet) by the service effectively telling their users what they want to see.
Recently. I have seen myself spending more time and posting on Twitter. (@jonkohlmeier) It will be interesting to see where this next age of social media takes us.
What are your thoughts? Is there any hope left for Facebook, or are we in the early stages of watching it kill itself?