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In looking back at the changes made to Facebook fan pages in the past year, you’ll quickly see how the challenges facing business owners using Facebook as a main driver of their social presence – and in some cases, of their entire business – have piled high.

  • Facebook changed its algorithm on September 20, 2012, further reducing the % of fans that are shown your updates. Prior to that date, the average page’s reach was only (a dismal) 16% anyway, meaning the Sept. 20th EdgeRank update was like moving from “bad” to “worse”.
  • In response to questions and complaints made after the September 20th adjustment, Facebook responded with the recommendation to use its paid media option for the updates you want to be sure (most of) your fans see.
  • Posts made by anyone other than the page are condensed into a small box on the right side of your fan page, minimizing engagement.
  • The Timeline roll out in March 2012 meant that fan page admins could no longer set a default landing tab for new visitors, and highlighted a page’s lack of consistent updates with it’s redesigned layout.

Pre-existing challenges like Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm and the fact that the higher your number of fans, the lower your % reach becomes, keeps the number of hurdles growing. I’m not sure why Facebook wants us to pay for LIKE ads to grow our number of fans…to then turn around and show fewer of the fans we paid for, our updates. I could make a strong case that if you want to pay Facebook, you’d be better off growing your fan count organically, and paying *only* to promote a post (and never for LIKE ads).

Facebook-fan-page-reach

Some articles I’ve read regarding Facebook making it more and more difficult for business owners to have a thriving fan page state that they aren’t too upset over the increasing challenges because – hey – it’s a free tool. I agree with that point, but only to a degree. What makes Facebook the social media behemoth that it is, is it’s users. If Facebook was sitting down at 3rd, 4th or 5th place in terms of number of users, do you think it would have instituted the same changes as it did this past year? I, for one, don’t think it would have. I very much believe that Facebook thinks it’s untouchable. And I also very much believe that Facebook can and will push its users so far that a decline in usage and number of users will occur.

Much like how you should diversify your investments to minimize your financial risk, it’s important that you diversify your social media efforts by building a presence across more than one medium. Don’t put all your social media eggs in Facebook’s basket. There are many other popular social media platforms without the barriers, challenges nor pay-for-engagement “requirements” that Facebook has.

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