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Is This The End of Facebook...Again?

Small businesses will struggle to meet Facebook’s new demands

Social media is a great channel by which to communicate a brand’s message and image, increase brand awareness and engage with consumers; however, small and medium sized businesses can no longer simply rely on the big hitters online to spread the word. Facebook pages’ organic reach is in decline with a 6% drop in active usage, and the social network warns that we shouldn’t expect this pattern to reverse.

Jason Mander, head of trends at GlobalWebIndex, said: “While people are still visiting Facebook, they’re using it for fewer things – seeing it more as a place to view their newsfeed and see content collated from across the web and less as a place to interact with their friends.”

Contributing to Facebook’s decline must surely be the rise of Snapchat and WhatsApp; users, particularly younger users, are favouring these instant messaging mobile apps, with Snapchat and WhatsApp occupying the number one and three spots respectively in terms of global use. Why? Because these mobile apps are simpler, add-free and more private than Facebook.

This isn’t unusual, it merely seems to be par for the course for big social media companies. Initially, the new platform presents a great free opportunity (emphasis being on ‘free’), but as it grows in popularity the focus becomes on those who are willing to pay for it.

More and more brands, businesses and people are competing for an increasingly limited attention span and limited news feed space. With regard to Facebook’s organic reach declining this is in many ways inevitable – more than 50% of all Internet users on the planet have signed up to the social networking site, meaning that Zuckerberg is simply, and unnervingly, running out of humans. Every time you log into Facebook, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in your News Feed; clearly though, the Facebook algorithms filter out the vast majority of these stories, which poses problems for small and medium sized businesses trying to reach out to users.
It is important for businesses to remember that, like Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm, Facebook’s filters are based on quality, which is determined by better engagement and sharing activity. In the case of Google, the Hummingbird algorithm looks for natural language which is well-written without typos or grammatical errors – high quality content on relevant and reputable webpages. If you run a company blog, look to post regularly aiming for at least three times a week. YouTube is owned by Google, so a YouTube video embedded into your blog post will act favourably. It’s also a good idea to get involved with guest blogging.

Facebook’s declining activity and sign ups mark the end of an illusion: the misconception that all a company needed was a Facebook page with some cool photos.

This looks like bad news for small businesses who are finding that Facebook simply isn’t as effective anymore, unless you’re paying for it. According to the figures, brands average a reach of 6.15% of their audiences organically, and having over 500,000 Likes can ensure a reach of only 2.11% - compared to a year ago, this is a huge decrease in effectiveness where the average reach was twice as much. 

This Facebook recession signals two thingsthe company will introduce a model that requires businesses to pay to promote their statuses, and those that can’t pay will simply have to leave. However this needn’t be a total disaster for smaller businesses; companies should focus on integrated marketing strategies (yes, social media is an important part of this but Facebook isn’t the only platform for this), and invest more time and energy into fostering strong LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter communities, whilst contributing more high quality content to specific industry websites. 

Katie Rowley

Recent graduate and now interning as content editor, when she's not writing articles Katie can quite likely be found festival-ing, holiday-ing or reading a book (dedicated English student that she is). Follow her @KatieAtSMF.

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.
Is This The End of Facebook...Again? Reviewed by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 09, 2014 Rating: 5
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