But one small business owner says the people in those industries have only themselves to blame.
In early December, Facebook changed the way it decides which stories its users see in the News Feed.
Facebook said it changed the feed so that more "high quality" news stories would show up.
But lots of people who manage Facebook pages for brands and online stores said Facebook's change actually did something else.
They said the change is forcing them to buy more Facebook ads.
Specifically, these Facebook page managers say the change drastically reduced the number of people who see their posts — even though their pages still have the same number of "fans."
Several of these page managers told us their "reach" has declined by more than 80% since Facebook's change.
Hearing from these folks, we wrote these stories …
- This Irate Cookbook Author Represents A Swelling Threat To Facebook's $6 Billion Ad Business
- Facebook Screwed Lots Of Online Retailers Just In Time For The Holidays
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Then we got an email last night from a guy name Koby Conrad who runs an online store called Hippies Hope Shop. He says traffic from Facebook generates most of his sales. He says, " I completely make my living from Facebook."
Conrad says that all the people whining about Facebook killing their brand pages are just managing them in the wrong ways. Conrad said traffic to his Facebook page actually spiked over the holiday season, and that it wasn't because he bought ads promoting his posts (though he does buy "likes," he said.)
He showed us this chart of traffic to the page he runs, The Hippie Bloggers, as proof.
Note the spike in December:
So, what's Koby doing right?
We asked him for advice he would share with other page managers, and here is what he sent us:
People talk about themselves too much. Facebook isn't supposed to be a 24/7 infomercial. The whole point is to have a conversation with people, not to talk about yourself, it's never good to be "that guy". I only post about myself 1/10 times.
Use admin tags. This means to sign off as your page. This is a great way to increase how viral you are because it increase the amount of places people have to click on your post. This will mean your post gets more clicks/interactions overall and you get ranked higher on Facebook's formula. The picture below shows an example of an admin tag.
Ask questions. Create posts that are designed for involvement — and by this I don't mean "share if you agree!" Ask actual questions, and give replies to people's responses.
Network. The most basic thing you can do to increase your organic reach is to network with other pages that are in the same niche. You say "I'll share your page if you share mine", this is the best way to create free organic growth.
Post more often, but don't spam! Most business pages hardly post 1 thing a day, and then if they do that, it's usually about themselves. You want to post content every 3 hours, 24/7. Make sure this content isn't about yourself either.
Conrad concludes: "It's not too much of a surprise that when Facebook changes their formula that a lot of people are getting upset."
"But can you blame Facebook?"
"A lot of people have been posting sub-par content for a long time."
"Going forwards into 2014, I think social media is going to see a very strong push for better content. It will no longer be just the 'share if you hate cancer' posts or the pages that are 24/7 infomercials, we will be able to start to see more real, relevant content in our news feeds. "
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