Why You Should Forget Facebook

Forget Facebook

Has Facebook got you fooled?

Are you chasing likes for your brand page?  Paying for fans? Maybe it’s time to stop.

In 2008 I joined Facebook. It was the first social media network I decided to place a stake in as my online social media home. It was fun, frivolous and free. Everyone was discovering the power of multimedia sharing of their life with friends and family. Facebook obsession was apparent and addictive. It was the new digital drug of choice and 6 years later it is the world’s largest social media playground.

What made Facebook cool was that you saw “all” your friends updates.  It was hard to miss a “what I had for breakfast” share and see the latest drama and joy in a friends life.

What you shared appeared.

The Facebook “liking” frenzy

The success of personal Facebook profiles opened up the idea of Facebook for brands. So Facebook “pages” were launched! It was the start of Facebook becoming serious about monetising its business.  Brands piled in and started to build their profiles on the big social network. Chasing fan “likes” became the new shiny marketing toy and tactic.

A big list of fans drove traffic and brand awareness for free. It is called “earned” marketing. For this blog it became the second biggest social media traffic source behind Twitter.

Then something changed.

Facebook decided to filter your updates

In 2012 Facebook floated. It became a public company and the shareholders demanded a return. The pressure was on. It had to make money from its advertising. It started to become pay to play. Facebook is deciding what updates you see and don’t see.  It’s called a “News Feed algorithm”. It extends to Facebook pages and personal profiles.

Facebook is pushing you to advertise. To promote your post is now just a couple of clicks. Easy but it costs. One of the motivators to use Facebook as a page is now almost zero.Is there any point to chasing likes except for “social proof”. Some research is showing that only 4% or less of people are seeing your page updates in their newsfeeds when you post on Facebook. Here is some research from the 4129 agency on ZDnet.com showing the decline in just 12 months from 2012 to 2013.

Facebook organic reach plummets

It appears that in 2014 that organic reach is still in freefall. Zero is maybe not an unrealistic expectation. Is that possible? Jason Loehr, director of global media and digital marketing at Brown-Forman which owns the brands Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort thinks so.

The Ignite Social Media agency did an analysis in December 2013 and saw a 44% drop in brands organic reach in just 12 days.

Are big brands ignoring Facebook?

Beyonce announced her new album launch on Instagram not Facebook. This is despite having over 60 million fans on Facebook and only 8 million followers on Instagram. Maybe the advice by her digital agency was that it would receive more organic reach and visibility than Facebook.

This big drop in organic reach is making brands such as Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort concentrating more on their “owned” channels such as websites, blogs and email.

Some companies such as Charity Engine are quitting Facebook. Is the age of free social media traffic from building fans and followers over?

Facebook is a leased digital property. You’re at their mercy and their aggressively tweaked news feed algorithm.

 So what can you do?

There are two key strategies that you can pursue.

  1. Roll with the Facebook changes and adapt. This means tactics such as running more Facebook competitions and posting more news updates. The Steamfeed blog has a good list of tactics worth checking out.
  2. Shift your focus from Facebook marketing reliance. Invest in building your owned online assets such as websites, blogs and email lists. Pursue an integrated digital marketing strategy!

So if you are a blogger or marketer that doesn’t have a big brand budget and you want to earn your traffic by persistent effort, engagement and creating content then you do have some other options. So you may have to forget Facebook if you don’t want to spend advertising dollars to reach the fans you have spent time and effort to acquire.

How to earn free earned and organic traffic

Here are some specific tactics to create online traffic and brand awareness without paying the new gatekeepers such as Facebook to reach your own fans.

1. Search engines

Before hitting publish on your blog make sure that you have optimized your post for search engines so you will be building your SEO. Make sure you know what your key words and phrases are that customers will be using to find you. Then create content that includes them in the headline, content and meta description. Plugins such as Yoast can provide easy guidance on those tasks.

Then continue to create and market content that covers the range of 20-50 keywords and phrases that you want to be found on Google for when potential customers start looking for answers to their questions and performing research.

2. Email marketing

Brands both big and small are growing their email lists. You should do this from day one. An email list is something you have control over. The simplest tactic is to offer something for free such as an ebook, an online video tutorial or some form of premium content.

3. Switch your social media focus

There are many other social media networks that will drive traffic to your blog and website that you don’t have to pay for. These include Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Pinterest to name a few. There are a couple of  channels that have surprised me over the last 6 months. They are Flipboard (is starting to drive more traffic than Facebook) and even the often forgotten Stumbleupon. I created the Jeffbullas.com Blog Magazine on Flipboard which is easy to setup and provides a very visual way to present your blog content.

Twitter is not filtered and its focus as a place for breaking news means that it very unlikely that it will ever suffer the same fate as Facebook. Twitter for me has been my biggest social media traffic source and that came from focusing on building and engaging with my followers from the day I launched this blog.

If Facebook push this too far there is a real possibility they will push brands advertising into the arms of Twitter, Google+ and other social media and digital channels.

Maybe its time to forget Facebook for your free earned traffic?

What about you?

How are you reacting to Facebook’s filtering? Have your tactics changed? Are you focusing on other social media networks, email and content more?

Look forward to your feedback and insights in the comments below.

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  • http://raymondduke.com/ Raymond Duke

    I disagree. I think Facebook is the best place to be, and I also think it’s only going to get better. Assuming you know what you’re doing with your Facebook marketing, of course.

    I also think the negative Facebook rhetoric these past few months is because Facebook has changed a lot, and people are uncomfortable with change.

    It is possible to still get notifications from the people you want to. All you have to do is click “get notifications” on their page. And if you want to organize your feed by time, all you have to do is click on “most recent.”

    I’m glad Facebook is reorganizing my feed. It’s making it smarter and directing me toward things that are interesting to me.

    As more people join Facebook, it’s going to get harder for you to see everything. If you want to be listened to, you can advertise or create content people like.

    But you shouldn’t rely on just Facebook. Just like you shouldn’t rely on just any other type of marketing. Additionally, you shouldn’t rely on just online marketing. Writing and mailing letters is still surprisingly effective.

    • http://raymondduke.com/ Raymond Duke

      One of my friends on Facebook has a site for dog lovers. About a day ago he posted this pic. It currently has 8.5k comments, 517k+ likes, and over 8 million views.

      All from just a picture and sentence.

      Facebook isn’t “dead,” it’s just changed. Find out the universal things people relate to, and you’ll do well on Facebook (or any other social media platform).

      • http://crushsocial.net WeCrushSocial

        I agree with you. What’s awesome is all the hating on Facebook will move more trash off and open it up to people who understand change. Google+ is great and all and it’s all a matter of preference in the end.

        I’ll also ad, nothing is free. It will cost you something whether you realize it or not to gain traffic.

      • http://cudigitals.com Christine Smith

        This is great engagement, but for a business, how would this translate into a meaningful step in the sales funnel?

        • http://raymondduke.com/ Raymond Duke

          I completely understand your question. I am a copywriter who spends a lot of time with sales funnels.

          There are a few ways to answer you…

          1) Engagement is important in social media, even for a business.

          2) Not every post will be part of a sales funnel. Some posts (like the one I shared) builds engagement.

          3) Once you have an engaged audience, you are more likely to get more sales with your posts. For example, once you have an engaged audience you can partner with and sell products and services related to your market.

          I noticed you have a page about scrapbooking. Have you looked into Pinterest? Or any DIY related FB pages? There are groups of tens to hundreds of thousands of engaged fans of scrapbooking out there… they are the crowd that’s hungry for what you offer.

          I could be wrong about what you sell though, but I hope you get the idea.

          • http://jlyman.net/ Johnathan Lyman

            That looks to be a one-off experience. I’m looking at that Facebook page and am not seeing that type of performance (2x+ likes over liking the page as a whole). Sure that probably has to do with the amount of shares but if their marketing abilities could make ALL of their posts perform that well, he’d likely have a load more “Likes” for his page.

      • http://www.FetchResponse.com/ Roxann Souci

        With the different social media platforms making a number of recent changes and authorities sometimes totally disagreeing on what works and what doesn’t, it is imperative for us to do our homework.

        You haven’t had enough experience, as witness by your “numbers” to have any statistically valid results. Please keep in mind, also, that this discussion is about B2C and B2B marketing, which is very different from an animal fan club.

        Your stats are correct about your friend’s post. He also has a FB page with 276K Likes and a kick-ass website!

        Job Loomer and Jeff Bullas do not agree on the FB issue. They are both giants in the social media world. I suggest that you check out some of Jon’s articles to get another perspective. The bottom line, however, is tracking your numbers and conversions vs time/money invested.

        I am a small player, but I have boosted posts regularly and have run ads on FB.I track the numbers on all my social media. And I experiment.

        Jeff’s Twitter tactics enabled me to grow a Twitter following from almost 0 – 12,300 followers in one year. He has a lot of credibility. Jon Loomer has been a FB user since it first started. The both make valid points. It’s up to us to determine what works and what doesn’t.


        • http://raymondduke.com/ Raymond Duke

          I realize it’s about B2C and B2B marketing, and I expected this to come up.

          The thing is, the person behind the animal fan club is a B2C and B2B marketer who makes a great deal of money from the FB page. His strategy for doing can work for any type of business, he just choose pets because it’s $70 billion dollar a year industry that’s growing every year.

          I’ve read some of Job’s stuff… thank you for mentioning it though. The more people who know about him, the better.

          I am a small player too… but I know a lot of marketers who are spending 5 to 6 figures a month on Facebook. I see a lot of conflicting opinions on FB, and you’re right about us determining what works and what doesn’t based on our own tests.


    • Paul

      Unfortunately most “Likers” to a page do not know that they need to do the “get notifications” to receive notifications from a page, they think by Liking a page it is enough. Plus many people Like a page from off-Facebook or via a different place within Facebook than merely the Page itself, and these options to Like (such as on a website that has FB box to follow the page) do not have the notification option. So far I have found as little as 8% of people actually bother to do notifications for a page.

      Secondly, even if you do the notification, the article/status/pictures still do not show up in your news feed. You get a notification in the top right floating box but I am finding 9 times out of 10 the post does not show on anyones news feeds and therefore unless you view each of your notifications you are not going to see what the Page has written. Which in itself is a major issue because most people that make content viral by sharing/liking are people that follow a LOT of pages. If they were to set up notifications for them all they would be hitting the maximum 99+ every time they logged in and would choose to ignore it, and instead browse their news feed (of which your posts do not appear).

      Facebook is not a dead area though, I find hashtags work incredibly well if you use them properly on a subject matter and can get a lot of new Likes, but I am finding that viral content (people that share and like stuff) has dropped significantly and I have queried a few bigger brands on this and they all say that brand viralness has dropped by 30-50% in the past twelve months, some of which are now posing a status asking people to Like it if they can see it, and receiving up to 80% less Likes than they did 18 months ago, even though their subscribers have risen by nearly double!

      The picture of the dog is a great example. That picture has over 8K comments, but other pictures on the very same page have less than 300 comments. It is exactly what I am saying, 12 months ago all the status updates with pictures would have received around 5k-8k for comments but now there is a severe drop.Some posts are appearing in news feeds, are getting shares and Likes and are hitting big numbers, other posts are clearly not appearing on many many news feeds at all and suddenly its clear there is more than a 92% drop in its viralness. If you look further, a cute picture of a dog received over 66K shares, that means that image of a cute dog was seen and shared by 66,000 people across Facebook and 690,000 Likes, but 24 hours later and another very cute dog photo received just 330 Shares and 6,000 Likes, the images are very similar and should receive approximately similar Likes/Shares and yet there is a whopping 99.5% drop in Shares, and 99% drop in Likes, and there is no reason for it other than FB Algorithms have decide not to show the post on anyone’s news feeds.

      If you have a major marketing update you want to push out as marketing material and your campaign relies heavily on it hitting a big audience, you do not want to take pot luck on it being shown to 600K or just 6K of the people! Then it comes down to paying for the post, and if you do that, then what is the point of people Liking your page to keep notified. You might as well just use the advertising manager instead which is cheaper and easier to run than running a page.

      The HATE towards FB is not from people either…. it is from big name Brands. People who manufacture mobile phones, who run entire international fast food franchises, who offer flights to foreign destinations. These are major international, multi-billion $ brands who are turning their back on traditional FB marketing and looking towards other marketing avenues. When the big brands took FB to their hearts it made it huge, when they decide FB is no longer suitable because their messages are not getting across to their customers, they will leave (and 2 already have shut down their official pages), and once they leave, the money and the free advertising for FB that they delivered by promoting FB.com/brandname links on all material will end up costing FB very heavily.

      Two years from now FB will be on the ropes and either making FB a VERY different social network to what it is now to try and claw back some of its losses it has caused, or it will be trying to sell off a lot of these big purchases that it has made recently, purchases that were on credit on the belief the bubble would last forever!

  • http://cactopia.com/ Cactopia

    This post came at a great time. I have been doing paid advertising through Facebook for the last 4 moths and racked up almost 5k fans. After stopping the paid advertising for a few weeks, I had consistent views for posts I made until this past week when it dropped to almost no views. I thought something was going on with my browser. How could it drop like that? Im definitely going to consider adding some new networks because if only 2-3 people out of 5k are seeing my post, my time is being wasted.

    • Paul

      Sign up two or three fake profiles, like your own page using them, then check them often to see if any of your fake profiles are actually seeing any of your pages updates? If they are not appearing on your news feeds for the fake profiles, chances are they are not for anyone else, even go as far as to ask close friends and family to Like the page and keep you updated on what appears or not, I think you might be shocked that some content rarely appears more than once a week (provided you post 2 or 3 times per day!). And contrary to everyone saying “but you can select to receive Notifications to a page”…. yes you can, but most of FB billion strong userbase do not know this and didn’t need to because 12 months ago you could merely Like a page and it would add content to your newsfeed. So those who follow do not then go on to “double-follow” to get your notifications, and you end up with less than 10% of your subscribers actually getting 100% notifications of every single post.

  • Nickmarquet

    Organic reach is definitely dropping but Facebook’s news feed is essentially becoming like Google organic search results where the most relevant content will be delivered. Google have to do the best job to return relevant content related to your keyword search. Should they not do that then a better search engine could emerge. Facebook is essentially the same (albiet without the search at the front end). We have liked too many pages and to show every single page post in the newsfeed would kill Facebook. So Facebook will show less and less of the pages you have limited engagement with reasoning you don’t engage with them so why show them to you…to do that would see Facebook’s user base leave in droves. You just have to get smarter with your content and also realise you will need to pay some $$ to gain additional reach. We are seeing more and more traffic from Facebook now as high as 23%…

    • Paul

      The point is though it takes control away from the user, not just the marketer. Suddenly it isn’t the user who subscribes deciding to remove content (or dis-like) a page, but Facebook, and at the end of the day a machine is never going to know the personal tastes and interests of every single human on the planet. Not only do marketers turn their backs, but users will too when they follow their favourite TV shows page and then miss some of the most exciting updates because Facebook detected a keyword in an update that it deems as uninteresting!

      • Nickmarquet

        Yeah good point I suppose, so perhaps they need to add another level of visibility. ‘Must See’ pages?

        • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

          The problem with algorithms deciding what is ‘important’ is that we will end up seeing only images intended to evoke emotions or titilate. Nothing of actual importance will matter any more.

  • Bill

    Jeff, this was very timely and spot-on post. I have never been a fan of Facebook, my company uses it as part of our overall strategy, but on the personal side I don’t use it at all. I have found tremendous success from Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I know the numbers say you must have a presence on Facebook and I am a believer in data driven management, so we are there because the numbers say it.

    But for me I am betting on Google+ because Google has been publicly traded for a long time and they have a tried and true revenue model. The don’t have to stop offering their apps for free. I suggest that all of my clients move to Google+ and integrate the business apps productivity suite into their marketing and collaboration mix. There are strong SEO advantages to using G+ as well, but I am open to new ideas and one of my most trusted business associates agrees with Raymond so we will continue to have a Facebook presence.

  • http://nathanambrose.com/ Nathan Ambrose

    I’ve already decided to use Facebook less, and start learning to use Google+. I almost deleted my Facebook page twice recently, but decided to hold on for now. But Facebook is definitely barely worth the effort, and it’s going to get much worse.

  • http://www.jhconklin.net James Conklin

    I made a run at FB back in 2010 and quickly learned that my target market – and clients – don’t use FB. And rarely use any social media platform in a way that provides us an engagement wedge. We keep SM references afloat because they are so ubiquitous we look naked without them. It grates me some when it is suggested that we “just aren’t doing it right.” Our clients do not tweet, bleat, post or yelp about our services – they’re too smart and too busy. Inbound organic search is where it’s at for us.

    • http://www.studiostt.nl/ Tim Zuidgeest

      That sounds reasonable James. Focus on where your clients are!

  • ThanaSwamy

    According to the research, organic reach via status update has doubled, not gone down. A status update can include links, photos, etc.

    The steamfeed blog does not cover any new ground.

  • Ron Cross

    Thank you so much for being one of the only people I follow and read regularly to dare to stand up and NOT blindly kiss FB’s butt no matter how they piss on us. I agree that it is definitely time to begin looking elsewhere.

    This isn’t a matter of creating good content. My followers have always enjoyed my content. I speak their language and I relate to them. But the same kinds of content that used to get 20-30 likes when the page was 2000 likes smaller is now lucky to get 5. It’s not about good content, it’s about pay to play. And that’s the saddest thing of all.

    I also completely disagree that Facebook “has” to do this because the feeds are getting too crowded. Twitter hasn’t had to do this, and nobody on Twitter is complaining about how much is on their feed because they know how to manage what they choose to see themselves.

    Notifications don’t work either. I have several followers who did this as soon as they found out the option was available, and they still have to physically come to my page to see any of my content. It’s pay to play or we’ll keep hiding more and more of your organic reach until you have no choice. Simple as that. And I’m glad for once to see someone just stand up and call a Spade a Spade.

  • http://smallbusinesstalent.com/ Stephen Lahey

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Jeff. Facebook marketing is no longer effective – especially in the B2B space.

  • http://www.grettavosper.ca gretta vosper

    Thanks for this. You’ve given me permission to not feel guilty about giving up on FB! I was creating original content like crazy and posting one or two times a day, trying to optimize the times I posted and to avoid replicating what I posted to Twitter, all the while paying for social media marketing advice. But I’ve simply stopped. My personal page gets some posts which I now reserve for family. My author page gets very little any more mostly because suddenly nothing was being seen. The percentage of people “talking about” my page, despite a growth in Likes, dropped from over 50% to less than 10% all in about a month and right after the algorithm was introduced. Much of my creative content was inspirational quote slides which lost big on the photo portion of that equation. So, I’ve walked away and I doubt I’ll go back. It isn’t worth my valuable time. Thanks for the pat on the back!

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Thanks for this post Jeff. I think a lot of us have felt the frustration with Facebook. I’ve been playing around with Google Plus and getting good results.

  • http://www.mydoghaskennelcough.com Rene Miller

    Thank you for the great information. Until today I did not know you and I had been wondering what was going on with my Facebook page and newsfeed. I found information on my timeline in March that I had no idea where it had gone? down under of course! I will still use Facebook but I am also not going to put all of my eggs in one basket any more. Learning new things is always uncomfortable for folks, just like one of your other comments read.
    I am now subscribed to your blog; and very happy things turned out for you. I now have someone in whose foot steps I can follow for my blogs.

  • AlextWebster

    I haven’t really been involved with Fb except as a bookmark for my blog. When I started many of my friends unfriended me. Enjoyed the post;

  • http://bumblogger.com/ Peter Wong

    Thank you for this awesome eye-opener Jeff. Very much appreciated

  • http://www.whosbloggingwhat.com/ Jeff Ente

    Jeff…very pertinent post. I’m another one who invested in building a page and gaining a following…and then realized that you can’t reach that following without advertising.

    I’m also concerned about the mindset of the Facebook visitor. They may indeed be good business prospects but they are visiting Facebook to enhance their personal, and not their professional lives. For that reason I prefer to post on Twitter and Google+

  • Mike Orme

    Well its Facebook now and tomorrow it will be something else, nothing lasts for ever. Ride the wave build the list.

    It was rumoured years ago, but the rumour went away that we would have to start paying for emails one day.

  • http://www.friv4gaming.com/ Friv 4

    facebook is an indispensable dish in everyday life of our

  • https://plus.google.com/113259068312528852444 Steve Shaw

    Yes, never really got on with Facebook, and now glad I put my energies elsewhere. Overall lesson though is never to rely on a single network. Diversify, and have a lot of different channels giving you exposure and sending you traffic.

  • http://googleplushelper.blogspot.fi/ Jaana Nyström

    I have just this to say:
    Google+ = Google.

  • http://www.studiostt.nl/ Tim Zuidgeest

    Wow there Jeff, I liked your post.. But I think your jumping a bit to soon to conclusion.. It sounds a bit trying to sturr things up 😉

    I think what Facebook does, makes sense. Why? Facebook should be for your friends and not per say for brands that you like. The news feed algorithm makes sense because of the overwhelming amounts of post. Which is around 1200 updates (correct my if I’m wrong). Comparing that to Twitter makes no sense (like someone did in the comments). I think there you have way less updates..

    In a world where nothing is free, (I’m guessing you sell something to make a living?), why is it so bad that Facebook wants to do it too? Because it used to be free? That’s no reason.. For a small amount of money, you can make sure all your fans sees your posts. In that way, the only thing you have to do is get the fans and pay some money for a campaign with which you are also trying to make some money.. Sounds fair to me 😉

  • http://www.hopy1.com hopy

    facebook social network has grown so strong, that social networking is the largest share many participants the most, but it is not good.

  • http://gingerkadlec.com Ginger Kadlec

    Fantastic article, Jeff. I appreciate how you always call a spade a spade… straight on. I think I needed this spotlight and reality check to step back and honestly assess my strategies. Thank you so much!

  • barkway

    I never click on ads in a Search engine session (too much risk for malicious activity), and I rarely use email anymore. Twitter is my main social media activity. Otherwise, I only use the internet for research or to pay bills/get quotes for services, compare prices & shop. I have never used Facebook. Seemed too silly in the beginning, and now it’s a security risk so no thanks.

  • http://ReturnOnNow.com/ Tommy Landry

    The Facebook craze never really sucked me in, probably because we are a B2B focused company. Very few smaller outfits in B2B can make it work on Facebook, and when I say work I mean truly work. I hear horror stories of people paying to promote stuff, getting a ton of likes, and then realizing the likes are all from the wrong people. We don’t invest in Facebook advertising and hardly promote our page. The other networks work far better for us.

  • http://elainefogel.net/ Elaine Fogel

    Jeff, I never jumped on the FB bandwagon to market my company or my speaking business. I found it a waste of time even before this change.

    I use it for personal communications, as well as a couple of business-related groups in which I am a member. Only recently, we set up a company FB page which my husband/business partner manages to post promo product specials.

    In my opinion, I think it has been a better fit for B2C companies.

  • ichthyander

    Does flipboard provides good traffic?

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      My flipboard magazine does. Yesterday it drove 477 visitors to this blog! https://flipboard.com/section/jeffbullas.com-blog-magazine-brwnhK

      • ichthyander

        How many followers you have in FLipboard, I mean they do have follower system? right?

        • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

          They call them subscribers and I have 1081 :)

  • http://www.markevans.ca/ Mark Evans

    Jeff: As the social world gets noisier and more fragmented, I think more brands will start to invest in platforms they own (e.g. Websites, newsletters) as opposed to platforms they rent (e.g. Facebook, Twitter). Owned platforms offer a better way to drive business metrics and ROI, and build relationships with customers.

  • http://www.crescentdigital.co.uk Steve Baker

    Great article and totally agree. “Facebook is a leased digital property. You’re at their mercy and their aggressively tweaked news feed algorithm.” I do fear for brands which havent taken this seriously.

  • http://www.PeopleSkilled.com Gil Feroli

    I love the tips on diversifying our platforms,
    and thank you for the Flipboard referral. Perhaps Facebook Page posts can
    be repurposed by merely redirecting fans to intriguing content we’ve posted on
    other networks. 😀

  • publichh

    Are you serious with this article? What are you expecting? People on Facebook like hundreds of pages and you really want that that each page-post should be seen by each fan? Sorry, what you want is absolutely unrealistic and I can not hear it anymore. You all just want everything for free and you are not ready to invest in your own promotion/marketing. Instead you are telling something about seo. Your tips are basic stuff which every website owner are doing nowadays. At the end, and I tell it from the view of a marketing consultant with more than 15 years of experience, Facebook is the cheapest media platform to spread your message to your targetgroup. Don’t tell me something about g+ or linked-in.

  • Doan K Nguyen

    Great article, Jeff.

    I agree with your point number 1, I think that in order to be successful @ social media, you have to “roll and adapt” to the changes on the various social media platforms (in this case Facebook).

    You also have to actively monitor your social media /digital marketing performance metrics and see which platforms, tools, and systems are currently giving you the “most bang for the buck” and shift your marketing strategy based on the data.

    And lastly, thank you for the awesome tips on “how to earn free earned and organic traffic.”

  • Gareth Mailer

    I have never bothered with Facebook, not even on a personal level.

    Main problem? I’m not convinced Facebook is even that interested in Facebook any more. The reason Facebook and G+ exist nowadays is because two of the biggest corporations in the World have figured out the carrot and stick approach to data collection the Government never could.

    They mine data from users and utilise it to influence peripheral acquisitions i.e. Instagram. G+ isn’t a social network, that was the last purpose Google had for it, IMO – it’s a unified login, a conduit. It’s a way for Google to unify interaction and collect more information, all with the sole purpose of making Ads more relevant.

    I came across a great post on this recently – ironically on Google Plus – check it out here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarkTraphagen/posts/Gji2xah6Wvk It;s a brilliant post from Mark. It should have been reserved for his blog, mind you! << despite increased visibility of Google + posts in SERPs lately.

  • Peter

    Excellent piece. Succinct and relevant. I think the next real key for social is in getting the content to have a high value, like LinkedIn (a specific reason) but for the ordinary consumer. Is that even possible?

    There’s a new network in the UK trying to do that, whether they succeed or fail is yet to be seen, but it seems to be gathering real pace over here and people like the huff post are covering it.


  • Absurd321

    Unfortunately, articles like this tell me why I’ll never become a millionaire and just an average business person. I make it policy and never allow bashing or criticism of other companies. It creates an environment of antagonism and hostility. It’s ironic that I saw this article posted on Linkedin — one social network site allowing the bashing of another. It goes against an ethic of mine. I’m just ranting, but I realize I’ll always be a mediocre business person because of my self imposed ‘square ethics’.

  • Paul

    It is also worth noting (for better or worse) that they are now bringing in a new algorithm that will detect whether a page is asking for Likes/Shares and will refuse to show that status update on any news feeds. It is designed to stop marketers such as many people you mention who use FB to try and quickly build up a strong social presence by getting people to LIKE/SHARE their updates. This can be good in some ways for the really Spammy pages who are purely interested in getting 100K followers a week. But not so good for genuine brands who rely on asking their subscribers to LIKE content.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/aneudydeleonlawyer Aneudy DE LEON M.

    You are actually doing the same thing than Facebook, creating alternatives, channels, or offer to call marketing attention and charging a price for it. Your comment seems me a little bit (or a lot) interested in your own perspective. At the end, it is a batter of online marketing, and Facebook looks to be the best without a close competitor. Of course, In a integral or whole focus, Facebook is the best place to advertise yourself or your company but not the perfect at all. For example, I am passionate for Twitter, specially to communicate ideas and debates in politics, law, economics, it is a place for intellectual exchanges and not necessarily living exchanges in general. Each one has its own features and own strengths and weaknesses. In conclusion, I think your analysis is very influenced by a private interest and not by an objective recommendation. Anyways, thanks for your advice!!!

  • http://www.inonit.in Neha Fashionista

    We believe there was an article on Techcrunch that perfectly summed up why you are seeing less and less of your brand posts in user feeds. 5 or 6 years ago people didn’t like as many brands as they do now.

    So their feed has now become a cluttered mess. Earlier if you were viewing 20 posts an hour there would only be an x no of brands competing for that space. But now with people’s liking spree of brand pages that no has increased 20x times.

    Facebook is really in a catch 22 situation here. On one hand they need to keep investors while they again have to keep brands happy. Well they seem have given investors the preference.

  • Adrienne

    I’m with you Jeff, I’m not loving Facebook as much as I use to. I don’t like some of the underhanded tactics they’ve implemented last year and although change is inevitable and they have to do what’s best for them, we have to do what’s best for us too.

    I’ve read through some of the comments and I get people’s arguments so I think each individual and business has to decide which social platform works best for them and their marketing efforts.

    None of the social platforms are what they use to be and they will continue to do what’s best for them.

    Great share!


  • Tanya Roberts

    Marketing on Facebook isn’t dead, but getting organic (i.e. unpaid) results on Facebook is! I think the lack of organic opportunities on Facebook will be to its demise. Google knows a thing or two about organic results, and look at their success. They pull off paid and organic well. A better strategy would be to run a comprehensive contest which requires an email address for entry. Relying on Facebook alone isn’t a winning strategy, unless you have an endless marketing budget to burn through.

  • http://www.innogears.com Tony Bui

    I’m in the same opinion with an author. However it depends on your target audience and whether they go to Facebook or other social media. For our niche, it’s clear that Facebook is not the best place, so we keep maintaining this channel. As for the primary channel we use Twitter.

  • Lesley

    Jeff, I agree with this article. Ever since Facebook became public it has made it clear that Facebook is in business to make money. The change has meant that you can no longer just post anything and yes, (ack!) depending on your strategy you will have to spend money on ads. This change isn’t a bad thing, it’s just business. The moment that businesses can accept this new Facebook reality, the sooner they can optimize their marketing strategy with diversifying platforms to work in conjunction with the new Facebook algorithms and generate better leads.

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    Yes, the earned part is hard work on Facebook! It can be done but you have to ask sometimes. Why bother?

  • Henri Deschamps

    FaceBook is no longer Social Media!
    We can analyze and spin the numbers all we like, but the fact is that anyone who has been running several pages for 2 years or more can tell you that they know clear as day that FB has been radically and systematically undermining pages, trying to acclimate everyone to the pay-to-play paradigm, removing reach, and capability to engage with fans or build community for quite a while now. Everything they have done in that regard is to limit people and pages rather than enable. A simple unfiltered pages feed or tab would have worked since day one. If you are a private individual or celebrity you may not care, but if you own a business and have invested in pages you do.

    The whole “cut down on spam argument” is disingenuous and corpo-spin. Many people are just as interested in what bands, artists, organizations or businesses have to say, as what people have to say. They built the platform, got everyone on board the train, then dumped pages off the bridge unless they have the funds to pay-to-play. And perhaps they will convince a few, but it has angered so many business people big and small, that I have my doubts about the future of pages on FB for any other use than cats, politics or the most superficial titillation type pages and posts void of substance.

    They were sublimely poised for emerging trend in content marketing and then blew it. It may well signal the watershed beginning of the end of pages, because when trust is gone, it’s good and gone, and who is going to invest precious time and resources in such an unreliable partner. They want to become the gatekeeper to what you see, and then be paid to allow folks to see what you have to say. If I wanted Network TV, I’d watch Network TV.

    The internet is a different animal, and people are swift to ditch something when they feel they have been had or being shown part of the picture. Why do they not offer the option of a completely unfiltered feed for both profiles and pages content, alongside their feed of what they want you to see and, and then let people decide what they want to choose. Technically it’s easy on this platform. Three tabs across the top would work just fine: One would be what they think you need to see, one tab would be unfiltered for profile posts in chronological order, one tab would be unfiltered for page posts in chronological order. The simple answer is they don’t want to. Because contrary to their 1984 double speak, they are in the toll booth gatekeeper business.

    Can you imagine if FedEx, UPS or the post office decided what they delivered and what they threw in the trash. Can you imagine a cell provider which only let’s ring the calls it thinks you want to take. All filtering out 98% of things sent. Can you imagine if you hopped on the bus each morning to go to work, and the driver decided where he would drop you off based on his particular genius, sometimes a block away, sometimes a 1000 miles away.

    I’m betting the vast majority of thinking people who use the platform to get informed vs play games or be a social media spoonfed couch potato want to see things unfiltered.

    If they serve one truly unfiltered feed for status, links, video and photo posts for profiles and another for pages I’m sure enough people will choose those most of the time. And they will clean up their own feed based on their choices.

    This is also not the customary gripe about this or that feature. This is a fundamental betrayal of a partnership agreement with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of business people. People say no one should complain because it’s free. It’s not free if you as a page admin invested hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, or hours, developing your page as a platform partner, paying Facebook ads along the way.

    After getting folks to invest massive amounts of time, energy and money all over the world to develop pages, and get fans, they have pulled the rug out from under them and instead of making things right they are spinning a yarn for the sheep.

    No one who manages a number of pages is duped by this let’s crunch the numbers and see approach, except for the most novice. If you manage three pages or more you know it has nothing to do with engagement, content quality or anything else. They just turned us off to see how much we are willing to pay to get the lights turned back on. The most “perfectly designed to spec” posts, with Pulitzer prize hand-crafted compelling phrasing, and a video, go nowhere. Their spin is spin. This makes them a highly unreliable platform with which to partner, and they have lost most if not all trust and credibility they had with page admins. I doubt they will recoup significantly from this “last straw” and most of the developers I know are moving over to Google+ which seems a much more reliable business partner.

  • Chris Zubryd

    Why You Should Forget Facebook

    “What made Facebook cool was that you saw “all” your friends updates. It was hard to miss a “what I had for breakfast” share and see the latest drama and joy in a friends life.”

    30 Things You Should Not Share On Social Media

    “• #29 What you had for breakfast”

    Jeff: Change your mind?

    Is this the Social Media Marketing Tipping Point?

    “Social media has been with us for over a decade now.
    It hit the public consciousness when MySpace started to steal teenagers attention after it was launched in 2003.”

    Jeff: Friendster.com went live in 2002 and was adopted by three million users within the first few months. Publications including Time, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly and Spin wrote about Friendster’s success and the founder appeared on magazine covers and late-night talk shows.[4] Friendster’s rapid success inspired a generation of niche social networking websites including Dogster and Elfster.

    Social Networking sites were the rise of Social Media, but they are not the same. Social media has existed for long over a decade. I believe you meant in the current parlance to mean “Social Media” as it exists now on the internet via Social Channels. So, let’s see where you went with that:

    “With the evolution of the web there are some events that are small but significant. One of those happened on December 13, 2013. It was when Beyonce launched her latest album withan update on Instagram just captioned as “Surprise”

    This broke convention.

    Normally millions are spent on traditional media. Lady Gaga hyped her latest album by spending millions on bus advertising, billboards, 2 pop up stores and performed countless interviews. The result. She sold 305,000 copies in 2 weeks.

    Beyonce, who has 8 million Instagram followers and over 53 million fans on Facebook decided to go straight to her fans. She decided to give the bus a miss. It was launched directly to iTunes and social media. She invoked the power of ”World of Mouth””

    Jeff: This was not breaking convention it didn’t even break records. It sold quite a few… But, Artists announcing directly via platforms previously unused in ways that “broke convention” started with the Beatles. It didn’t even break convention in 2013:

    Take a closer look at the metrics behind the first sponsored post on Instagram by Fashion designer Michael Kors on November 1, 2013.


    “Word of Mouth” is invoked to the tune of 78% on ANY social media campaign, paid or unpaid. Especially for a celebrity release. But the real reason I started this response as a Social Media expert who is also a second Generation Systems Analyst and Information/Communication Model expert was Lady Gaga being misrepresented. You seem to be unaware of her power, work, personal sweat equity and futurist trend setting gaze?

    Jeff: You want to be VERY careful about positioning yourself as a Social Media expert if you are going to attempt any criticism of Lady Gaga:


    She has been the main trail-blazer since 2008 (see above link) and has employed a team, but she herself has tirelessly and personally mastered her own channel capitol. She is the Oprah of Social Media success.

    So, I’m not sure where your point comes from – Beyonce was late to the party (anyone with confirmation that her instagram release announcement was “organic” and not planned by any consultation, but rather, on her own as Jeff suggests? Is welcome to step forward), Kors was first to the instagram major metrics show and Gaga had the whole scene well in hand, developed an MBA equivalent by then having begun 5 years earlier with much higher results, and has been studied in business schools and classes worldwide.

    My research took 25 mins. Your research has been collected and viewed ahistorically, which begs the question: Of what use can it be? Especially when skewed to make a point with no quantifiable vector in the real world? Information Nodes with disinformation or incorrect information devalue the overall information structure of our business, Metcalfe’s Law is based on interconnected nodes in volume creating value – I would hasten to add: VALUE of such nodes or the informational emergence from said nodes also change overall value.

    HOWEVER, If your overall point was that organic reach is outweighing paid, and that leaving Facebook for other channels is a worthwhile business move? I’m right there with you – focus on Tumblr. Build an audience – because until Yahoo! monetizes that sucker? Every follower you pull, sees every post you create. Just wish your facts had the integrity of journalism – rather than sensationalism.

    Galahad Productions
    Internet Celebrity

  • Leonard Sappleton

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have had a page for my kindle eBook for some time now and it’s almost traffic-less. I have discovered Pinterest which seems to be heating up the race!

  • http://www.beamoneyblogger.com/ Muba Mi

    Hi Jeff: So the lucky are those who made the most of Facebook till 2013 when it went commercial for promoting our posts. The way out mentioned by you in this post is really logical. Now we need to switch our focus to diversity which means to share as much as possible at FB and also expand our social media accounts and never miss any one of them if they have higher PR and amount of traffic.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful post.

  • maxwell ivey

    Hi Jeff; I came here because of your mention on adrienne smith’s site. I guess I am ahead of the curve. It could have something to do with the fact that face book is not easily accessible for a blind user. I long ago transitioned towards linked in, and now google plus and Pintrest. I also had a long standing email mailing list. I didn’t even know the term list building when i was doing it, but I’m glad I did. Also, whenever I post to any social media site I include a link back to my own page. I never believed in building my business on leased property like fan pages. just recently started investing in twitter. sadly for me most of th people in my target niche of the amusement industry ar loyal face book users. I find that now days I have to posts updates to lots of groups to overcome face book’s filtering of my updates. thanks for sharing. I definitely agree with your opinion on face book. max the blind blogger aka mr. midway

  • Attention Getting Marketing

    The majority of my social media traffic comes from Pinterest, which is surprising to me as I am posting graphics that strictly have the titles of my blog posts, nothing considered eye candy. But I agree, if targeting a young demographic, Instagram is the way to go.

  • http://carrieannefoster.com/ Carrie-Anne Foster

    Fantastic post, especially when many businesses are dropping their Facebook page.

    Jeff, was it difficult to create your Flipboard blog magazine?

  • http://www.andreatuttle.com Andrea Steffes-Tuttle

    This really resonated with me. I’m a marketer and have experienced the slow decline in organic return on Facebook. I’m launching a new product and have decided to skip Facebook entirely, focusing instead on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest strategies because that’s where my audience is, where I think I can create valuable content, and will hopefully derive more value.

    One issue I’d like to hear from folks on is the level of confidence you have in FB Advertising. In my experience, running an advertising campaign on Facebook to drive “Likes” has resulted in inauthentic “Likes”. So then my Facebook audience isn’t even a qualified audience. Any thoughts on this? Similar experiences?

  • http://www.theevolveddog.com/ Leah Twitchell

    Google+ is definitely becoming more popular and people should pay attention to this as an alternative to Facebook. I’m beginning to fall more in love with Twitter the more I use it. I also have strong feelings for Instagram, and am fond of Pinterest and Tumblr. However, I don’t think we can simply “forget” Facebook. Even if Facebook becomes “uncool” because you have to pay for fans to see your posts, you still can’t ignore BILLIONS of users. With targeted advertising, your posts will reach the right people.

  • Thomas Allen

    Facebook has become more of a liability than an asset.

  • http://ttbagroup.com Konstantin Kostychuk

    I find this article is even more true today than it was when this article was written. My number one focus with new clients is to develop their online authority through SEO and authentic blog articles. In the last few years, Facebook’s greedy monetization plans drove small and medium businesses away from Facebook and towards other platforms. Personally I don’t mind. We have Google as a global monopoly for search so if we can get Facebook to voluntarily give traffic away to other platforms, I’m all for it.

  • http://vicole.ca/ Victoria Vicole

    Wow, bad news for many. Investing time and money in Facebook became so unproductive.. :(

  • http://www.ourtravelingblog.com samstravblog

    I have found that on Facebook I do lose some of my posts. At first I thought it was just me going crazy, then I realized I was not alone. I still use Facebook but also use Twitter and Pinterest. Seems to bet better results anyway. Thanks for sharing and your suggestions.