Is Facebook Losing Its Marketing Mojo?

CatherineLockey
Catherine Lockey C.E.O., oz 2 designs LLC

Posted on February 19th 2011

Facebook’s recent pages upgrade has left a lot of small business owners reeling. For those businesses who rely solely on Facebook instead of their own brand, the fallout from FB’s upgrade has just begun and it’s looking uglier with each passing day.

“Facebook took something that even a novice could understand and have turned it into something that even to someone who has programming experience, is a confusing mess all for the sake of more ad space. Way to alienate your users Facebook! Social media is impatient and fickle, best get things simplified or people are going to split! P.S. It shouldn’t be all about the money. You either want businesses to use FB or you don’t.”Heaven Graphics

The Problem: Customers and friends no longer see business page comments, links, photos, and status updates. Why? Because along with the new Facebook came an automatic new default setting placed on everyone’s newsfeed.  The new newsfeed default setting shows you comments, links, and status posts ONLY from those people you interact with most.  This means, if you’re a business, people who normally don’t interact with you will not see you anymore. Feeling invisible on FB lately? It gets worse.  Facebook has decided relevancy is what matters. Therefore, even if you change your newsfeed settings,  your newsfeed will never ever be the same as it has now become part of The Borg – I mean Facebook’s new relevancy algorithm.

The Partial Solution: You can change your newsfeed settings and see more filtered, relevant posts.  This will make more people visible to you but will not make you more visible to them. Will all 600 million people on FB make the effort to do this? I think not.  But, here’s how you can do it:

Step One: Go to your home page and click the little blue triangle next to “Most Recent.”

Step Two:  Choose “Edit Options.”

Step Three: Click the little blue triangle next to Show posts from …  and choose  “All of your friends and pages.” Click Save.

To all businesses suffering under Facebook’s upgrade it’s imperative you understand the following distinction: Facebook is not your brand. Facebook is Facebook’s brand. Your blog and your website are your brand. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are places where you can share your brand. If you put all of your marketing eggs in Facebook’s basket then you’re in trouble.

It’s easy to wonder whether Facebook knew all along small businesses may not like their upgrade.  If they did, then they’re willing to take the hit and nothing will change.  If they didn’t,  then perhaps these pages will matter: Bring Back Chronological Posts,   You Are Invisible, and  New Facebook Settings Affecting You.  How do you predict Facebook’s new default newsfeed settings and  relevancy algorithm will impact brands? How do you predict they will impact Facebook?

CatherineLockey

Catherine Lockey

C.E.O., oz 2 designs LLC

Catherine Lockey is the chief executive officer of oz 2 designs LLC, a full service digital marketing agency. With over 25 years combined experience in marketing, education, counseling, and journalism, Catherine is the content marketer behind The Creative Marketing Channel. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Facebook, and on twitter @oz2designs.
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Comments

Posted on February 19th 2011 at 2:30PM

Catherine, aloha.  Great article.  What you say is so true, most small business owners do not even realize the dangers of putting all their eggs int he facebook basket.  I do hope they will heed your advice on the fact that facebook is not their brand.

The partial solution you give should help them as they transition to taking control of their brand.  Thx so much for your insights and solutions.  Aloha.  Janet

CatherineLockey
Posted on February 20th 2011 at 1:52AM

Thanks for taking the time to comment Janet - I'm glad you enjoyed the article.  :)

Posted on February 19th 2011 at 4:22PM

Thank you for posting this, Catherine!

It is vital that individuals and small brands alike realize that they are not Facbook's customers, they are comodities. I am not at all surprised by what Facebook has done lately. There have been clues for months: eliminating feed imports, app boxes and tabs, and so forth. Facebook is NOT part of what I consider the Social Web - they are a closed system.

I think the issue is that small brands compete too much for attention, taking focus away from the paying advertisers.

I am glad you pointed out the HUGE mistake of relying only on Facebook for a brand presence. If nothing else, go to WordPress.com and get a free blog!

CatherineLockey
Posted on February 20th 2011 at 1:51AM

Interesting take on FB's reasoning Deltina.  I've been wondering why they don't seem to care about the small business outcry. Thanks for your insightful comment!

Posted on February 19th 2011 at 6:59PM

Are you kidding me?

"Facebook has decided that relevancy matters" ?

Since when has relevancy NOT mattered. You're right. This is a dig at marketers - poor marketers. Marketers that haven't figured out how to deliver valuable content to customers in order to hold their attention and BE relevant. Newsflash: if they weren't interacting with you they didn't really care about you anyways. Facebook is just making their site more user-friendly, unlike email where spam shows up in my inbox, Facebook is trying to learn what I actually care about and filter updates for me. I can adjust these settings if I want, but if you never gave me anything relevant why would I miss you when you're gone? This isn't a blanket change, I still see updates from brands in my newsfeed - but only those whose updates I care about. Crazy isn't it?

 

Also this changed happened more than 6 months ago. So in itself...not very relevant. I can see why you're worried.

Posted on February 19th 2011 at 9:22PM

Good piece Catherine. I recently built a page for a customer recently and had just gotten the thing set how I wanted it and all the dodads figured out, then log in to find all these changes. Talk about annoying.

At any rate, I see this as FB's attempt to further enroach on Google territory. Whether it works or not is anyones guess, but in my opinion, FB is evenutally doomed to go the same route as Myspace simply becuase it does not have core audience that was built on the services they are trying to branch into. Eventually, they are going to have to try and get users to make the complete change and its not likely to happen unless they suddenly provide better services than Google or Bing, which I don't see happening anytime soon. FB can't even figure out how important keeping things simple is, much less how to provide a better experience.

CatherineLockey
Posted on February 20th 2011 at 1:47AM

I appreciate your insights Paul. Time will tell.  Interesting how FB doesn't seemed concerned about recent user discomfort.  One of the keys to social is listening - Alienating the small business community just doesn't make sense.

Posted on February 20th 2011 at 6:15AM

I appreciate your input - yes facebook is difficult with the ongoing changes :).

Choose several sites you like to be seen on the web - that's for sure!

Thanks

Frieke Karlovits

CatherineLockey
Posted on February 20th 2011 at 2:07PM

Thanks for the comment Frieke. So many small businesses continue to avoid using their website and blog as their hub.  I call it carving out one's own digital territory. Claim it and cultivate it for maximum ROI.

Posted on February 20th 2011 at 9:26PM

Hi Catherine,  

Stumbled here from our community forum on Linked In.  Great stuff and as a newbie to Social Media options I will be following your blog from now on.  Let's just say I feel clueless most of the time, even though I know this stuff take time and patience.  Thanks for the great info.  I am not sure how to feel about FB.  I almost have a love hate relationship...  Just when I am used to things, they change it up on us.  Hard to keep up with it all.  I Just want to blog about my stuff, make people laugh and feel inspired.  I do have a facebook page for both of my blogs but realize I need to spread out even more if I want to drive traffic and maybe start bringing in an income (one can't to help to dream).

Thanks again for the article, it helps to be informed and read about what other people think as well.  Glad to have your site as a resource.  Hope to chat soon.

Mary Ickert

Community Blog:  http://lakeside-chatter.blogspot.com/

Family Blog:  http://mommsie.blogspot.com/

CatherineLockey
Posted on February 21st 2011 at 11:38AM

Thanks for the visit Mary. Congratulations on starting your own blog. Blogging truly is a journey worth taking.

Posted on February 21st 2011 at 3:22PM

I have been writing about this a lot. This is a big concern for anyone who is running a business or brand on Facebook. The algorithm on the wall is even worse. Now when people post on your fan page wall it is not necessarily showing up.  Facebook needs to fix this issue, otherwise they are going to lose their relevancy for businesses.

CatherineLockey
Posted on February 22nd 2011 at 3:03PM

Hi Lauren,

Think of the impact this is having on non-profits and causes who need timely assistance.  Last time I checked, FB didn't list it as a problem on their issues page.

Posted on February 22nd 2011 at 10:38AM

Hi Catherine,

Thank you for sharing this information. I consider myself pretty Facebook savvy, but I wasn't aware of this change. I've corrected it now, but I am definitely concerned about how this will impact my nonprofit's Facebook page. This change will seriously damage our ability to build awareness for mental health issues and build relationships with community members.

Thanks for keeping us informed!

CatherineLockey
Posted on February 22nd 2011 at 3:06PM

RachelJean - this exactly why I believe FB's decision will negatively impact their brand. Unwittingly, they are hurting non-profits. Remember to focus on your blog because FB is not acting like a friend.

 

Posted on February 24th 2011 at 6:11PM

Great post.  An additional issue that I see as a marketer, the change in the Tab structure -- moving the tabs --which were very visible and apparent, showcased on the top of the webpage . . .  to a less visible, minimized position on the left side of the page.  I see a number of issues:

1. If you're a retailer or brand with multiple programs/promotions to share, the original tab structure made it easy highlight these programs . . . but now . . . with the change

2. Is it Better for Facebook, but not for brands/retailers? -- Now, with an ability to drive Facebook advertising to specific tabs this becomes a selling pt. for Facebook - driving add'l sales revenue -- or said differently - if brands or retailers complain about the new Tab structure - it's easy for Facebook to say:  'run an ad program and you can drive customer to specific tabs."

Appreciate your thoughts. 

Jeff  http://twitter.com/jf1216

http://jefffagel.tumblr.com/

Posted on February 24th 2011 at 11:27PM

Excellent article and advice. Who or what is Facebook to decide what relevancy matters? Actually, this information is shocking but not all that surprising. I'm just glad to find there's a way around it, thanks to you.

Posted on February 25th 2011 at 12:14AM

While relevancy does sound like a good idea. It just puts businessess who are trying to improvise in the back spot. Invisible probably. Two things come to mind - 1. What when a business page has seen its share of crappy content and now has changed keeping in mind the consumer.? 2. If users din't want to get the feed on home page, why would they like it at the first place. And if some page is really into spamming or irrelevant content then users always had the option to hide the feed...RIGHT THERE! So the option was better when left to the user instead FB trying to fix it at their own end. People in social media will probably realize what has happened. A novice would not get it why his / her page is showing only few ppl's feed.

Posted on February 25th 2011 at 11:51AM

Catherine,

I've never thought that Facebook takes businesses seriously when it comes to meetin our needs. They want us to advertise with them but as you point out, they're not listening to us.

You've brought up some great points. I especially echo your statement that Facebook is not our brand it's there's. It's critical that people recognize Facebook as a tool. No one should be dependent on a tool.

Posted on February 25th 2011 at 7:58PM

Excellent post Catherine!  I think all page admins need a dose of reality when it comes ot Facebook.

Please read a blog I wrote on this very subject and let me know what you think:

http://captivetouch.com/blog/?p=336

Regards,

Sherry