If you manage a page on Facebook, and if you’re paying attention to your Insights and to the “xx people saw this”section on your posts, you’ve likely noticed your views tanking. A glance to the right will tell you pretty much all you need to know: Pages are no longer showing up in the streaming ‘Ticker’ and haven’t been for at least a few weeks. When it went live back in September 2011, the news ticker was touted as a great feature for brands, allowing updates from friends to co-mingle with Page posts, but that’s no longer the case.
So with no brands showing in the ticker, what does it really mean? It appears to be a way to minimize advertising in that area, in some effort to increase person-to-person interaction. Whatever you think about it personally, the “stalkerbox” might prove a relief to advertising-weary people, but for brands, it’s hardly the warm hug we expect. After all, who do you think pays the bills to keep Facebook up and running? That’s right, businesses. And if you have a business to run and you use Facebook to do it in any way, it could be an uphill climb.
What Will Probably Happen and Why It Sucks
This ban to brands has created just one more pinch on brands to spend money to get more “views”. It’s also lead to the proliferation of “Hey, we’re being punished, so make sure you add us to your interest lists.” Yawn. Personally, I loathe the “begging for likes” or the “how much love can this cute rat picture get” posts. It’s degrading to any brand, big or small. Begging is never, ever attractive in any relationship. Just because they “like you” doesn’t mean they will want to see you. They need only mute you to make that so.
What else? Well, good luck getting any traction if you’re posting a few times a week or once or twice a day. You will be lucky to show up on anyone’s Wall, let alone have them visit your page in person. This just doesn’t happen as frequently as you would hope, unless your brand is pretty amazing, well-established and, well, interacted with already. A 66% decrease in post interaction? Yeah, that’s how much it hurts. Want more? How much do you want to bet people will get fed up with this and revert to using personal profiles as brand pages? My guess is a lot, and why not? Playing the odds, desperate brands might think this is better than not showing up at all.
All these things merely go to weaken the position for small businesses on Facebook. I really don’t care if you like sharing pictures of your latest meal, or spouting your political rhetoric on your profile page – that’s the fun stuff. The fact is it was billed as a big boon for businesses, and right now, it’s simply not, well, at least if you want to do it the lazy way. Unless you want to do the hard work of getting a good mix of content together regularly, measure your analytics, engage with your audience, or do some check-writing so someone else can handle it, your brand will have a tough battle ahead with Facebook. Facebook will take your money too, in the form of sponsored posts, if you want to pay for them. Need added evidence? You might have also noticed a difference in the traction of your posts as a whole; pictures with posts, shared posts, scheduled posts; they all result in a different viewer result, and often times, it’s hard to see the pattern. But we see the pattern. We’re paid to see the pattern. But are you?
Advice: invest, diversify, measure. Always. If it changes back, consider yourself lucky, but only for a short time.