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Is Facebook Killing Organic Communications?
Anyone who knows me knows I have ambivalent feelings about Facebook. If you are unfamiliar with my views see the novel here (click here) or search my blog. Recently, several author friends have taken to Facebook to complain about Facebook’s changes in its newsfeed. The allegations ran from being blocked from over fifty percent of their fan base, to having friends’ posts delayed or never delivered at all. How much of this was legitimate and how much of this was hyperbole I had no idea. Facebook has been a platform for widespread misinformation on so many topics – from dead Seinfeld actors to finding missing flight MH370 passengers alive – that I decided to look into for myself.
First I looked in the marketing community and found reports from brand managers reporting that the organic reach of their social media marketing had dropped by seventy-five percent after Facebook changed its algorithms. Confirming that trend were reports by not-for-profits who are reporting a corresponding decline in the reach of their messages, posts and communications with their established friends/fans. Then I ran across a news item today in which the CEO of Priceline.com blasts Facebook and Twitter as useless for marketing. This is not a small thing to have a company that spends 1.8 Billion dollars a year in online marketing to say about the two largest social media platforms. If you go to the article it will show the names of some other big players who have come to the same conclusion.
Ignoring the big companies for a moment, I decided to go to all of my “likes” and “follows” to see how my newsfeed has been altered. Aside from the “Trending” – which I ignore – I found that pages that I had liked and groups that I liked had posted anywhere from 10 to 20 posts that I never saw. These included shared images, articles and memes. Of the public personalities that I’ve “followed,” Stephen King and James Patterson had made regular posts over a period of two weeks, of which I received none.
So the complaints of authors and others who have successfully marketed using Facebook prior to the changes do appear to be correct. Your organic reach has been cut. Your ability to reach a broader audience through followers has changed and you will be expected to pay if you wish to have a more significant impact in marketing.
Whether this change occurred to optimize the users experience or increase revenues I could not find out. But Facebook’s justifications for the changes aren’t really that relevant. Change is the only constant on the internet and by internet standards, Facebook is an ancient and remarkably stable social media platform. You can be certain that within a short period of time one of the wunderkinds out there will figure out the algorithm and provide a guide on how to optimize your social media to improve your organic (free) reach.
If you are an author who has been adversely impacted by the changes in Facebook’s newsfeed please, send me a comment, and share this with others who have been impacted. I’m working with all interested parties on developing other solutions and promotional platforms for independent and self-published authors.
Text Copyright 2014 Cusper Lynn
Text Copyright 2014Hellbent Press
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