Are You Relying Too Much on Facebook
I know you've all noticed it; the decline in visibility of your posts on your Facebook page. Facebook was an amazing, fun way to get your news and cake photos out there and build a following for free. I've seen some high profile cake artists rely quite heavily on it and feel their 500k+ fans have helped them become famous. It's time to face the reality of 2015; any website that lures you in with free visibility/traffic is doing so with the intentions of eventually charging you for it. For over a year now, my gut feeling was that Facebook would become the next Google Adwords (pay per click advertising platform).
A little over six years ago, when I launched CakesWeBake.com, it was a perfect fit for the cake people who enjoyed participating on Facebook. Yes, guilty, we had numerous people pages and fan pages pulling in tremendous quantities of traffic to the site. In fact, Facebook was Cakes We Bake's largest source of referral traffic, quickly building the site's traffic to over 200k visitors/month. At that time, everyone was seeing everything we posted. We shared cake photos and cake photos brought in the clicks.
Over time, the percentage of fans seeing our content dropped dramatically. I'm sure you've noticed how few people see your posts now. Is there really any meaning to having 10,000 fans if 64 see your post? Not really. The reality is that we all huff and puff about the unfairness, but in truth, all of our images, posts, messages, etc. consume a tremendous amount of server space. If someone kept piling things into our garages and we had no room for our own stuff, it would certainly become a burden to deal with, either by not allowing it any more or by charging for it. The internet is no different and in order to survive in its ever-changing environment, you have to accept that what's the hot way to get free traffic now will be the next hot thing everyone pays for. Yes, Pinterest will still send you gobs of free traffic, but they are offering ads now and it's a pretty safe assumption that visibility on that platform will become more competitive and eventually diminish and/or become quite expensive.
So, what should you conclude from all of this? It's my job to watch the numbers, uncover what's working and what's not and to identify the best ways to be seen for the least amount of money. Working in the world of digital marketing is being in an environment that is constantly changing, an environment that is worlds apart from my print and direct mail marketing past. In order to survive the changes, you have to accept them and get the most out of the various platforms while you can, but don't put so much effort into them that when they dissipate your business does, too.
The only way to hold on to your audience is to own the platform where they find you. All those social networks should be driving people to your website where they can take some type of action to continue receiving news/updates from you by subscribing to your email list. Provide incentives for your audience to sign up by email and keep your emails interesting. Emails are actually seeing greater visibility now that people access them through their mobile phones. While this may sound dull, laborious or frustrating because you may not have a website, the alternative is paying quite a bit of money to be seen on Facebook. For amusement's sake, just click the button to promote a post and see how much it would cost to show it to your entire audience. Ask yourself how many times you are willing to pay that when you can email people for free if they subscribe to your newsletter.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about Facebook and the experiences you've had promoting your business.