Is Facebook Trying To Kill Your Business?

Coconut face

This post is going to be short and sweet.

If you are among the people who are writing posts that make the spurious claim that Facebook is trying to kill your business you might need to be hit in the face with a cocoanut.

I am going to avoid embarrassing some people by linking to these posts because there is nothing to be gained by shining a light on them here.

Why Are They Making These Claims?

A short while ago Facebook changed the algorithm they use for determining what is shown in your news feed. Some people believe they are intentionally throttling the posts to force businesses to purchase advertising.

I don’t care if this is true or not and neither should you because:

  1. Facebook is a business and they are allowed to change the terms of their service.
  2. You should never place all of your marketing eggs in one basket.

This is not the first time I wrote about this. Remember Facebook Doesn’t Owe You Anything covered the very same topic.

But since the topic seems to be creeping back up I figured it wouldn’t hurt to revisit it.

A Dynamic Environment

Part of the fun of the online world is that it is a face moving dynamic environment. If you want to be successful you need to be agile, adaptable and willing to shift gears quickly.

Sometimes that can make life a bit more challenging but it also helps prevent stagnation and there is much to be said for that. Think for a moment about the benefits of working in a place where you can threaten to hit someone in the head with a cocoanut.

The benefits and advantages that come with that are immeasurable. Of course if you live in cleveland or Detroit a good clomp to the side of your head might be less painful than looking out your window.

I kid, I kid.

Really.

I don’t advocate hitting people in the face with a cocoanut but if I did I would claim that Dale Carnegie wrote about it in his book on how to win friends and influence people.

What Is Your Back Up Plan?

Do you have a back up plan for your marketing efforts? What happens if your marketing efforts fail? It doesn’t have to be because of Facebook or any particular platform.

It is more of a general question of, what happens if you what you are doing doesn’t work? How will you handle that?

Would love to hear what you have to say in the comments. Inquiring minds want to know.

photo by: tree-species
8 comments
jacob varghese
jacob varghese

Businesses die when they get complacent. This is true if you are over dependent on a platform as it is true if you're marketing strategy is stuck in rehashing formulaic tactics.

Agility and adaptability are as important to marketing as ever.

I've dialed down FB efforts but it still is an important part of my content distribution network. I see my sponsored posts bringing me highly targeted traffic. Of course I make sure that only the content (created by us) with highest affinity for my brand and potential customers are sponsored.

Rob Biesenbach
Rob Biesenbach

I did write a post recently about why I was shutting down my Facebook business page, but I thought it was reasonably balanced. I don't know if Facebook is throttling specifically to get brands to spend money on ads, but it's clear it's happening, whatever the reason. And I even linked to a source that said, basically, "So what? This is what Google search does—the cream rises to the top."

And I was clear about the fact that there were probably things I could have done to make the page more "successfully" -- varying my posts, experimenting with frequency, optimizing visuals, etc, etc. I also said I've seen many very successful Facebook pages, and I salute them. But the bottom line for me was, the horse was out of the barn, and turning the page around at this point was more effort than I felt it's worth.

What I'm getting around to was this: that post struck a chord with a ton of people. So many small business owners and brands are muddling along with low-engagement Facebook pages, not getting the results they want, but sticking with it because they're told they have to be on Facebook. People are looking for "permission" to quit. And I think that's great—hopefully it will free people up to focus on the channels that do work for them. For me, that's my mailing list, where I'm getting engagement many multiple times the average, and exponentially higher than via Facebook.

(The business page, at least—I love my personal page and that's actually led to more business/sales/etc. than the business page ever did.)

Joe Cardillo
Joe Cardillo

I haven't seen the "FB is trying to kill my business" posts but I have heard about how they're forcing businesses to use promoted posts/advertising. I wonder if we'll see more focus on owned media (blog, company website, niche idea / problem / data site, etc...). Seems like if I'm a brand big or small, it might make sense to harness social channels to drive traffic to my actual site, assuming I have the temerity to put interesting content there and try to have a conversation.

Frank Strong
Frank Strong

Well then hit me in the Facebook with a Coconut, Josh. But if there's a business it is killing, it is their own.

Joshua
Joshua

Hi Jacob,

Nice to meet you. Complacency is a huge issue and something I have seen happen to many businesses. Things get rolling and people stop looking ahead and act as if nothing could ever change.

While I am sure in some cases that might be true it is a dangerous way of handling things.

I have heard mixed results regarding the success of sponsored posts on Facebook.. Sounds like it is still working for you.

Joshua
Joshua

Hi Rob,

I think you touched upon something important, permission to quit. My guess is there are quite a few businesses out there who really don't understand social media but have built a bunch of cyber outposts because they think they should be there.

And I would guess that if someone were willing to do some leg work they could find/build a lot of business by reaching out to those people who need help with their social media.

And I also expect that there are lots of people who understand how to use social media who are/were in the same position you described with their Facebook pages.

Joshua
Joshua

Hi Joe,

I would think if you are a brand with any sort of decent budget and manpower you need to take a hard look at Facebook to see what sort of opportunity can be developed with them.

I am not a huge fan of FB and I haven't been impressed by the analytics but it is too big for me to completely ignore it so...

Joshua
Joshua

Hi Frank,

You know my MOS is Muckwraker, also known as a wannabe E-8.

I am curious to see how they proceed because I think they have lost some of their mojo. It feels like they have lost sight of shore and I wouldn't be surprised to see them take a significant hit.

But I am still on the fence about some of this because until I see where they take this I can't say that I am certain that their actions will hurt them in the long run.

Short term it feels like they aren't being as friendly towards the small business as they could be, but we'll see.