If your business is on Facebook, you’re probably posting a few times a day to stay in the consumers’ eyes and on their minds. Hopefully they share your post and then their friends will like your page and bam, just like that, you’re racking up the ever-important likes. That’s free marketing every single day, since you can talk to every person who has liked your page, right?
Not so much. Actually, it’s almost the opposite. In December, Facebook changed the algorithm that decides what users see in their News Feed to prioritize “high quality content”—relevant news stories and your cousin’s newborn—over the latest meme. The change seems innocent, but it has had a devastating impact on brand pages’ visibility.
The social media marketing agency Ignite analyzed almost 700 posts from 21 brand pages in the week after the switch and found that brand page reach decreased by an average of 44%. Some declined as much as 88%. Facebook could once promise that brand posts would reach about 16% of a page’s fans, but no more. Now, posts reach 2.5%.
The idea that you reach every single one of your fans with each post has never been true. The News Feed has a complex algorithm that determines what people see because Facebook’s overriding principle is that the News Feed is for the user, not the advertiser. Facebook wants to make people pay to advertise on the site.
So where do you go for free marketing? Twitter, the place where your posts actually reach every single person who follows you. There is no complex algorithm there. It’s simple, and better for it. And if you feel like paying to promote a post, you can do that there too. But the best bet is to post several times throughout the day. More prolific posting is less taboo on Twitter since it moves so fast, but don’t blow up your followers’ feeds with 10 tweets in an hour.
This is not to say that you should leave Facebook entirely, or even that you should stop posting there. You should maintain your page so that people can interact with you. But you should not depend on your posts to reach people. Think of it more as a kind of blog—people will come see your posts if they want, but you can’t make them.