Alarmists love to shout that the sky is falling, and religious alarmists love to claim that the world is about to end. Regardless of where you rate on the alarmism scale, Facebook is indeed dying.
The main problem with Facebook continues to be a lack of smart monetization. Facebook provides a valuable service – connecting friends and families, as well as fans to brands – but it has never properly aligned these groups in a way that provides valuable, never mind useful, advertising room. I don’t say “space” because modern advertising is so much more than room on a billboard or column inches in a newspaper.
As a small business owner, I only stand to lose with Facebook’s new revenue model. Let me explain.
When I first created pages for my small businesses on Facebook, I got people to Like my page by providing content they found valuable, and by offering contests and give-aways with prizes they wanted. As I got more page followers, I slowly recouped my expenses as people bought my goods and services online.
This is true with direct mail – what most people call junk mail, or spam email. I don’t want to send you something in which you aren’t interested, because the cost of printing materials and mailing them to you, or even emailing you, is simply lost money. If you don’t like my merchandise about killing vampires, I don’t want to send you a glossy catalog of my vampire-killing clothing. To keep expenses down, I use targeted marketing, meaning I select a key group of people (men who like video games ages 21-29, women who love horror movies ages 45-54, etc.) and send my direct mail to them. In order to get updated lists of these people, I buy these lists from companies that generate them. It cuts down on my financial losses, and potentially increases the response rate to my mailings.
Facebook, unfortunately, has moved away from this model. When I first started, most people who Liked my pages saw my posts. If I had a one-day sale, or simply a funny post, I saw hundreds and sometimes thousands of people at least looking at my post. Then Facebook announced they were changing the algorithm that controlled who saw my posts. Immediately the page views began to plummet. A post that normally would be viewed by 500 people was viewed only by 100. Recently Facebook did that again. Now a 500-person post might get 20.
Facebook allows you to “promote” a post, which costs money. But it doesn’t mean that everybody who Likes your page will see your next post – it only means more people will see that one post. In order to reach more people, you have to pay for every post! That means you’re sending out valueless spam mail to Facebook users every time you want to promote something on your page. It’s exactly the opposite of modern direct marketing, and bad for brands.
That’s why small businesses are jumping on to other social media options. It doesn’t make sense to continue putting more time and effort into Facebook when the return on the investment continues to plummet. I’d much rather start making fun and interesting YouTube videos – which will PAY ME, mind you – than spend the same amount promoting that video on Facebook.
Besides, I can still share that video on Facebook… or whatever company replaces Facebook when it finally dies out.