Now that Facebook has finally confirmed what everyone’s long suspected—that they’re throttling posts from business pages—I’ve decided to suspend my business page. Here’s why.
What Is Throttling?
First, if you hadn’t heard, throttling means that posts from business pages are getting through to fewer and fewer people’s walls.
My own statistics have dropped dramatically. While I used to count on posts being seen by a third or more followers, lately it’s down to single digits, so it’s just not worth putting any more energy into it.
It’s Not All Facebook’s Fault
There’s probably more I could do to grow the page, though I tried much of the advice that’s been given. I experimented with posting frequency and I tried to post a variety of things, like blog posts, links to other people’s work, photos, videos, quotes, etc.
But that’s mostly water under the bridge, because the key is, engagement drives engagement. The more people comment on, like, and share your posts, the more likely you’ll show up in their feed.
So it’s a vicious cycle. Low engagement begets even lower engagement. I’ve seen plenty of business pages do very well, but mine’s just not one of them.
The Debate Over Throttling
A lot of people are up in arms over this. They view it as a not-so-subtle attempt by Facebook to get businesses to pay to boost their posts. And, in fact, every time you post something on your business page Facebook reminds you of how much more reach you’ll get if you throw some money their way.
On the other hand, some say that what Facebook is doing is no different than what happens every day on Google: the cream rises to the top. Not everybody makes the first page of Google’s search results—only those pages that are deemed most relevant or useful by Google’s algorithms.
Either way, the bottom line is the same: so-called digital sharecropping, where you’re building your online platform on someone else’s property, is a bad business model, because you’ll always be subject to the changing whims of your master.
My First (And Last) Facebook Ad
When I announced that I was suspending my Facebook page I was in a bit of pickle. If no one sees the post, what’s the point?
So I did something crazy. Facebook is always encouraging me to pay money to boost my post, so I did. I laid down $20 for an ad telling my page’s followers (and others) that I was shutting down the page:
And in the ad I encouraged them to follow me to my mailing list.
Facebook says that over three days, 4,312 people saw the post. Some of those people ended up subscribing to my list, though a few didn’t quite get the point: they gave the Act Like You Mean Business page a couple of more likes!
I Heart My Mailing List
For years I read the advice that the #1 most important online marketing tactic is to build your own email list. I put off doing it, but when I finally made the plunge I gathered more “fans” in four months than I did in more than two years on Facebook.
The list continues to grow (all organically, by the way—I didn’t “opt-in” anyone without their specific request). The percentage of people who open my email is more than three times the industry average, and the percentage who click the links inside are six times the average.
More importantly, though, I’m getting some real quality engagement. People are writing back telling me how helpful the tips are and they’re sharing the message with others.
As I use the list in the next month for more direct “selling” of my new book, we’ll see if all that engagement leads to actual sales. But even if it doesn’t right away, I’m building an important long-term platform.
Plus I really enjoy the medium. Every month I take time to write out a thoughtful message giving advice on an important communication topic. I also include photos and video, a quote of the month and, importantly (because it’s not all about me), links to other people’s work.
It’s more about helping than promoting, and it feels like marketing should feel—like a good conversation. If you want to join that conversation, you can sign up here.
Goodbye Facebook, It’s Been Nice
Now I won’t be quitting Facebook entirely. I love my personal page and get a lot out of it, even professionally. I’ve actually gotten a number of speaking jobs, big book sales and other opportunities as a result of stuff I’ve posted on my wall.
But as for the business page, I won’t miss it.
And with that, I am out for the year. I’ll be working behind the scenes here and there putting the final touches on the book, but other than that I am really, really looking forward to relaxing. (After Friday, at least.)
A happy, joyous holiday to all! See you in the New Year.