Whenever I tell people I’m taking the family to southern California for a vacation they ask if I’m headed to Disneyland. Since I have young kids it’s a natural assumption.
However, my answer is invariably, no.
My kids, being 6 and 9, are still very much within the target demographic, but there are a few issues we can’t seem to get over. The first one is my kids vehemently dislike standing in line for longer than 15 minutes.
A friend recently took his family to Disneyland and reported to me that they waited almost 90 minutes to ride one of the new attractions in Cars Land. Typically when I take the family to an amusement park we spend 6 hours or so before we are all tuckered out. Hmm, that math is not pretty.
The other issue, which is primarily mine, is the pricing. Disneyland raised their rates earlier this year. They are now offering even more Disneyland than ever so it does make sense. Despite the hike there are still gobs of people visiting.
Facebook: What Has Changed?
Come with me now to Facebook as a small business. It’s a great place to be, right? You have probably heard it said that your customers or prospects are there. You just need to find the formula to reach them.
It used to be that creativity was the formula along with an emotional connection. That’s what I used to teach people who asked me how to succeed on Facebook. I told them that since you are competing with wedding pictures, an Ivy League college acceptance letter, and the announcement of a baby you had better be really creative and touch the hearts of your fans.
The rules have now changed. According to a recent article from Ad Age Facebook openly admits they are purposefully reducing exposure to posts from brands in the news feed.
On my own Page I have noticed a drop in reach since the latest change.
The line just got longer to ride our favorite ride: fan engagement. Facebook makes the solid argument that there is just too much information heading to news feed for anyone to actually process what they signed up for. This is hard to argue against.
The line is not getting any shorter any time soon either. Jay Baer recently pointed out that usage of Facebook is not going down. It is as engaging as ever. But are you?
How do you get more engagement in the new war for attention in news feed? Some experts including Jon Loomer aver that in order to combat the lack of reach and visibility one tactic is to post more frequently.
There are two problems with this advice from my perspective:
Now I am not saying that Jon is giving bad advice. It is working for him and many other brands on Facebook. But, imagine if even a quarter of the small businesses on Facebook measurably increased their posts on Facebook? It will be a good thing that invariably leads to a bad thing – standing room only or put another way, the Twitterfication of Facebook.
Look, I can see the writing on the wall. It is just going to get more crowded on Facebook for the foreseeable future. There are still plenty of larger businesses with plenty of budget to spend on Facebook Ads and professional community managers who can post creative content 3, 4, even 6 times a day. The party is just getting started in some ways and it will go on for years.
Facebook is still a toddler.
Bottom line is I strongly recommend that small business marketers get a Plan B underway. Do not wait until you are so frustrated that you turn away from social media altogether. Stick with Facebook, but start to meaningfully cultivate a presence and following on another network.
My top choices are YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn. Each of these networks has plenty of users with no filtering of content that I know of. As for YouTube they have nearly as many eyeballs as Facebook. The icing on the cake is that small business is still largely ignoring the YouTube opportunity.
As for my next southern California vacation, we will be stopping by Knotts Berry Farm and Magic Mountain. Never heard of them? Perfect.
I would love to hear your thoughts on using Facebook for small business marketing. Please leave your comments below. By the way, I am there and not leaving. I find it a fun daily diversion for a few minutes.
Thanks for your great post. I totally agree with you that small business owners need to develop their presence on other platforms. The challenge for me is quite the opposite. I spend most of my time on Facebook because 100% of my clients come from Facebook. I find it hard to spend more time on platforms where my audience isnt' easily indentifiable like on Facebook. I am addicted to the groups because connecting with your target audience is pretty much done for you. I am slowly developing my Instagram following but Yes Yes Youtube is HUGE and I need to get myself over there like yesterday. YouTube is the next big hangout in my eyes along with Google+ is coming up in the ranks with the Google Hangout's popularity.
Thanks for your comment. That's interesting that 100% of your clients come from Facebook. I can't recall meeting a business like yours. It's great that the platform is working so well for you. I can see though that you are open to developing your presence on other growing platforms, which is wise since all good things must come to an end. Thus, it's good to have a Plan B. Good luck!
Hmm, interesting, I'm surprised you didn't suggest people put a little more energy/effort into their email marketing, as one of the choices That's where I'm encouraging people to spend time/money/energy. Perhaps you assume they're already doing that..
otherwise, I agree with you - I'm a big fan of albums. and video...
Albert (below, the Oregon Coast)