I Asked 11 Marketers How to Deal with Dropping Facebook Page Reach…

 

Last month, I gave you an honest, behind-the-scenes look at how AutoGrow was growing on social media in a Matt Hack video.

Although we have 3,000 likes, we were able to generate a grand total of 11 clicks after several initial weeks of regularly posting on our Facebook page.

It wasn’t good.

Since we broke the news about Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement of the changing Facebook algorithm, we thought this would be a topic worth revisiting. This time, we reached out to experts to ask them how they were handling these new Facebook changes.

In the midst of gathering these expert tips, some other interesting news cropped up. This includes a stunning report from Nielsen that said that in November 2017, the total time on Facebook decreased by 4% for the first time ever in the United States.

Then, in December 2017, according to Nielsen’s measurements, the total time spent on Facebook dropped by a whopping 19%.

We decided that not only would we ask these top marketers what they’re doing about their precipitously dropping page reach, but also whether or not they were nervous about this new report.

Here are their surprising answers…

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Expert #1 – “Only Marketers Who Know What They’re Doing Will Succeed” — Steve Chou, Founder of My Wife Quit Her Job

Steve Chau and his wife decided to break out of their day job rut when she became pregnant. Today, he runs the online business appropriately called My Wife Quit Her Job. He teaches others how to do the same with tools, resources, podcasts, a blog, and more.

His Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “The recent changes to Facebook don’t worry me at all as this has been the trend for the past several years. As ad demand increases, Facebook needs more space to accommodate it, which results in less organic reach.”

How He’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “That being said, the cost of Facebook ads will continue to increase and only marketers who know what they are doing will succeed. I personally see this as a good thing as it will weed out the less serious players.”

The Bottom Line: Facebook ads aren’t cheap, and serious marketers who want to invest in their company long-term will spend the money on them.

Expert #2 – “Images Are the Marketing Currency of Facebook” — Matt Ackerson, Founder of AutoGrow

I’m Matt Ackerson the founder of AutoGrow.co, which creates content focused on how to create and grow your online sales funnel. I’m graduate of Cornell University, serial digital entrepreneur of 10 years (AutoGrow is my second business).

Here at AutoGrow I produce a weekly video series called Matt Hacks. In these videos, I teach others how to create a  sale funnel that sells your products or services online without needing to rely on expensive ads.

His Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “Facebook’s whole agenda is keeping people on Facebook for as long as possible. Posts with links actually get a lot less reach and a lot less exposure. Further, as a past case study with Lawrence Watkins proves, images are the marketing currency on Facebook. That’s a big part of how he was able to build up 100,000 likes.”

How I’m Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “I’m very skeptical of how sustainable Facebook could be for us. If we can grow likes organically by using the image-posting method and by posting regularly in general, even if we don’t get that many clicks, it’s still good exposure. The AutoGrow logo is in the corner of these images, after all.

Facebook, in my opinion, should increasingly be thought of as a pay-for-play sort of advertising platform. That means the time of the “free lunch” (traffic) is coming to an end. The organic reach is only going to continue to drop, but for the time being, we’re going to give it a shot and continue to see if we can grow our audience and our traffic from it. We’re also using Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube to grow our social media reach.”

The Bottom Line: Posting regularly is still a strategy in today’s changing Facebook landscape. Also, posting images with company logos is good exposure.

Expert #3 – “Engagement Levels Are Still Pretty Good” on Instagram — Priya Florence Shah, CEO of Blog Brandz

Priya Florence Shah is an entrepreneur who has been in the content marketing industry for several decades. In addition to writing books and a travel blog, she’s also the CEO of Blog Brandz, which boosts visibility through inbound and content marketing.

Her Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “Yes, it is worrisome that total time on Facebook has dropped. It’s especially bad for publishers who depend on organic Facebook traffic to their websites.”

How She’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “My way of dealing with this is to rely more on paid boosts to important posts on our pages. Promoted posts will still work as long as your content is engaging and enticing enough for people to click on it. I am also spending more time on networks like Instagram, where building a niche audience works well and engagement levels are still pretty good.”

The Bottom Line: Paid boosts are still a reliable means of getting eyes on your content.

Expert #4 – Going “Old School” Is Doing Well — Amanda Webb, CEO of Spiderworking.com

Amanda Webb is an Ireland-based digital consultant. She helps small businesses meet their content and digital marketing goals. Her other services include online training courses, Facebook ad management, and consulting.

Her Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “I think we’re going to continue to see a decline in Facebook use. The bubble was bound to burst sometime. But I don’t think it’s going away; many users will stay there as it’s become an indispensable place to connect with friends around the world. Groups, in particular, have kept me engaged with the channel.

Facebook has been smart to develop their investments in Instagram and WhatsApp. Today, as I write this, the Cambridge Analytica scandal is being reported widely in the media. Although people are deleting their Facebook accounts, none seem to be following that with deleting Instagram or WhatsApp.”

How She’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “I haven’t seen a decline in Facebook reach on my business page and many of my clients are also experiencing an increase in reach and engagement. I’ve gotten old school on my page, researching and asking people to contribute to discussions related to their businesses and challenges. I’ve found plain old text updates are doing well. I’ve balanced this with sales and blog content and am getting the results I want.”

The Bottom Line: Sometimes going old-school with tactics like text updates and inviting discussion from users can work.

Expert #5 – Prioritizing “the Importance of ‘Owned Media’ and Content Marketing” Robert Rose, Founder and Chief Troublemaker at The Content Advisory 

Robert Rose created The Content Advisory as a means for marketers to strengthen their personal brands. He and his team offer such services as consulting, content marketing research, and training. Some of his team’s research is available to read for free on The Content Advisory website.

His Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “It does not worry me at all. This train has been coming for a long time. Facebook has saturated the U.S. market, and for the last few years has depended on international growth to drive its DAU (daily average use). We saw the same thing happen with cable television in the 90s and 2000s (obviously taking much longer than Facebook did).

So now maybe Facebook has saturated. Let’s not forget that it’s down from 185 million DAU to 184 million DAU…that’s a sum total just over half a percent. So, while an interesting data point to investors and media-watchers, let’s not forget that Facebook is still way out ahead of every other platform on the planet in terms of reach. It’s got a long, long runway.”

How He’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “In response to dropping page reach, we’re not doing anything dramatic. For most of my clients, we’ve simply continued to review the performance of Facebook against the other media we’re utilizing. The biggest thing we’re doing is, once again, emphasizing the importance of ‘owned media,’ content marketing, and making use of trusted third-party data. Depending on Facebook as a means of developing better relationships with customers has proven to be fraught with risk.”

The Bottom Line: Content marketing will still generate attention on Facebook, as will other forms of owned media.

Expert #6 – “Investing More of Our Energy” Into Other Social Platforms — Richard Brooks, President of Flyte New Media

Richard Brooks is a Maine-based communications expert. He’s the President of Flyte New Media, an SEO, social media, and web design firm. Through the Flyte School, Richard and his team offer live speaking training and more.

His Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “I’m not too worried by the drop because I had long since stopped relying on organic Facebook posts to drive traffic to our website or our clients’ sites. I don’t feel the reduced time on Facebook will have an immediate impact on how well our Facebook ads will work, which is where I feel most small businesses should be investing their limited resources these days.”

How He’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: We’re taking a closer look at Pinterest, which is less a social platform and more a ‘search and discovery’ platform. We’re also investing more of our energy into LinkedIn, which obviously isn’t a play that will work for every business. Finally, we’re continuing to put our focus on search engine optimization, which has always been a bigger driver of new, qualified traffic for most small businesses.”

The Bottom Line: Search engine optimization or SEO should not be forgotten while everyone’s attention is on changing Facebook algorithms.

Expert #7 – Using “Highly-Targeted Facebook Advertising” — Kristina Centnere, CEO of Social Cow

Kristina Centnere is the CEO of Social Cow, a branch of design firm eKAT Development. She once worked with Total Wellness Connect as the company’s advertising and social media manager. Kristina shared her professional and personal achievements in an autobiography published in 2016 called Confessions of a Young Entrepreneur.

Her Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg had foretold the decrease of the time spent on the platform as the changes were being implemented. From the get-go, our company was excited about the change because it would make the time spent on Facebook more valuable for the user.

Whenever a platform makes changes to improve user experience, there is an expected ‘clean-up’ period. However, it is always for the better of the community and therefore, the longevity of the platform. Furthermore, that specific algorithm change did not affect the ads.”

How She’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “We implement highly-targeted Facebook advertising with all our clients as it is an effective and cost-efficient way of getting in front of their ideal customers. For marketers who have been doing content generation and Facebook ads the right way—no shortcuts—Facebook’s change in content algorithm is welcomed news.”

The Bottom Line: Targeted advertising that resonates with audience segments is still a useful strategy.

Expert #8 – “Continuing to Post, Engage, Share, and Build Relationships” — Ted Rubin, Keynote Speaker and Founder of Ted Rubin Straight Talk

Ted Rubin of Ted Rubin Straight Talk is a well-known keynote speaker. He’s also the Prevailing Path cofounder, Brand Innovators CMO, and a social media strategist. He’s worked for companies like OpenSky and e.l.f. Cosmetics, inventing his “Return on Relationship” strategy along the way.

His Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “Well boo-hoo. No, it does not worry me at all. Methods and platforms evolve, simply evolve with it.”

How He’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “Nothing different. Continuing to post, engage, share, build relationships, and accomplish my goals. Understand that when everything you posted hits the newsfeed of friends and followers, most of it was ignored just like ads anyway. For the most part, you got a host of worthless impressions and not real viewing. Now if someone sees your posts, there’s a reason, and the results will benefit you accordingly.

So stop complaining and use the medium the way it was intended—to build relationships! There’s just no substitute for doing the work of personal interaction. #NoLetUp!”

The Bottom Line: Sometimes impressions don’t mean as much as they seem. The changing Facebook algorithm means any attention on your page is more legit.

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Expert #9 – Diversifying to Other Marketing Channels and Still Using Facebook — Chirag Kulkarni, CMO of Medly Pharmacy

Chirag Kulkarni is the CMO of Medly Pharmacy, a New York-based same-day delivery service for prescription medications. Before joining Medly, Chirag helped companies like Expedia with marketing.

His Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “The majority of ‘commonplace’ marketing channels are getting increasingly more complex and challenging (it’s harder to get rankings on Google, static Facebook images are less effective than video, etc.). The news about users spending less time on Facebook just means marketers need to reallocate their budgets and time spent on other channels to diversify their risk. For many businesses that just rely on Facebook, this news is concerning, but serves as an opportunity to just make the business more defensible.”

How He’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “Diversification of marketing channels.”

The Bottom Line: Sometimes diversifying to other channels in addition to using Facebook is a smart strategy.

Expert #10 – “Getting Followers to Interact with More Content” and Contests — James Norquay, Consulting Director at Prosperity Media

James Norquay works as the consulting director for Sydney, Australia-based Prosperity Media. The SEO agency has worked with other big Australian brands, including OpenAgent.co.au, Spacer, and Open Colleges.

His Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “The thing with Facebook is it’s more pay-to-play now compared to years gone by where you could target organized growth at a higher rate. I think the main thing you need to think about in regard to growing your Facebook page is that you need followers to interact with content more than they need to be commenting and sharing the content. It’s not going to get any easier.”

How He’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “We are getting followers to interact more with content, we are running competitions to drive interaction, and we are sharing content that gets interaction. You just need more quality content.”

The Bottom Line: Competitions and contests will invite user participation, driving more traffic to your Facebook page.

Expert #11 – “Providing Our Audiences with the Best Content and Information” — Zack Johnson, President/CEO at MoneyReign

Zack Johnson created MoneyReign–which tracks celebrity net worth–back in 2000. At the time, Zack was still in high school, but he’s still involved with the company nearly 20 years later.

His Response to Facebook Reach Dropping: “This is all part of the adaptation game. I’ve been in the industry now for over 20 years and there have been plenty of changes and movements along the way. An audience will tell you where they want to be and how they want to consume content. While there might be a lot of interest in Facebook privacy and usage right now, I’m sure they will figure it all out.

At the same time, Instagram is owned by Facebook, and they also have an amazing platform for reaching audiences on both platforms. Keep an eye on your audience and users and they will tell you how to adapt your business.”

How He’s Overcoming/Dealing with Decreasing Facebook Page Reach: “For the most part, we are still focusing on what has always worked best—which is providing our audiences with the best content and information possible. At the same time, we aren’t letting social networks determine who and how we can reach them. By continually growing our own mailing lists and site properties, we are in direct contact with our audience at all times. However, we will still take advantage of major social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.”

The Bottom Line: Using email lists in addition to Facebook and other social media provides more ways to communicate with your audience.

Conclusion

For more tips on growing traffic at the top of your online sales funnel, subscribe to AutoGrow’s newsletter here.

So there you have it. These marketers all generally had an optimistic, forward-facing attitude about the new Facebook algorithm changes. Here are some actionable tips to take:

  • Facebook isn’t necessarily a sinking ship, but you should still diversify. If you aren’t already, focus on other channels like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram to drive more engagement.
  • Content is still king. By producing high-quality, relevant content to your audience segments, you will capture their attention.
  • Paid boosts and Facebook Ads are still a viable way of floating your content to the top of a user’s newsfeed. Of course, these aren’t free.
  • Posts with images may stop a user from mindlessly scrolling and get them to pay attention.

How do you feel about the decreasing Facebook page reach news?

Were you prepared for it, or did it catch you by surprise?

Which of these tactics do you think you might use for your own company?

Let me know in the comments.

Keep Hustlin’, Stay Focused,

—Matt

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