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Did You Know Facebook Is Hiding Your Posts? Important – What You Need To Know About Promoted Posts

by Helen Aldous

Facebook has become an important part of social media promotion for artists over the past few years. Many artists have come to rely on Facebook for the majority of their promotion, using it as their main web presence. However, big changes at Facebook recently will impact on the usefulness of Facebook for your art business now and into the future.

The worrying thing is that these changes have been introduced “under the radar” and so many artists will not be aware that anything is amiss. This is a quick overview post to explain what is going on and to offer some suggestions.

What is happening?

Over the past few months, the amount of people a Facebook post will reach has been being “turned down”. Messages are now seen by a smaller proportion of your Facebook page fans. According to various sources, messages now only reach around 15-20% of people who signed up to your Facebook page. But coincidentally, Facebook have a solution to help you reach those fans…

Head of advertising at Facebook, Gokul Rajaram, explains:

“Organically, you get anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent of your fans, that you reach organically. In order to reach the remaining 80 to 85 percent, sponsoring posts is important.” 

So, if you want to reach all the people who signed up to your page, as you did previously, you now need to pay Facebook to promote the post or the large majority of your fans will never see it.

Or as Richard Metzger writing on the Dangerous Minds blog puts it…

“In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working.”

What are Sponsored Stories?

If you run a Facebook page you may have started to notice a little drop down “promote” menu appearing under some stories you post. Basically if you want to promote the post to be seen by everyone you are charged a fee depending on how many fans you have. This can vary between around $7 to $200 for a large fan base. This is PER POST so if you post a few times a day it will soon add up.

Why are Facebook doing this?

Facebook have hit hard times recently. After their much trumpeted launch on the stock market, shares plummeted in value as people began to realise that Facebook, for all it’s billions of users is hard to monetize. It’s advertising platform doesn’t work as well as Google ads because people primarily aren’t on Facebook to search for things to buy. Therefore Facebook now has to come up with a new way to make money and this is made all the more urgent by the fact that it now has a panicky set of shareholders at it’s back demanding it make them some money and fast! It has to work out new ways to make that money and it’s biggest commodity is YOU…

What does this mean for me and the future?

I think that the fact that Facebook has now changed it’s direction away from an advertising based monetizing model and turned its focus on ways to get money from it’s users is a significant development and sea change. We have all come to rely on Facebook as a FREE platform but it probably isn’t going to stay that way, at least for business users.  There may be other ways that Facebook will be able to charge for full access in the future. Its fair enough that Facebook should want to charge for their services but as artists we often dont have the money to pay what they demand.

What should I do?

I think this is a definite warning sign to reduce your dependency on Facebook.

If you read these posts below you will know that I advocate having your own website.

10 Crucial Reasons why every artist needs their own hub website

The Best Website to Sell Art Online – The Truth

That way YOU are in control and no one can suddenly start to charge you for reaching the fans you spent your own time collecting. If you own your own domain name and website you are in control.

The steps you need to take in the future

We all love using Facebook for keeping up with our friends and you can still use it but it pays to have a plan B “just in case” for your art business. I think that Facebook’s recent changes mean that it is time to ensure that you are not left being solely reliant on Facebook for promoting your work. That way you are not left in a situation where you are forced to pay and have more control over how you interact with the people who like your art.

These steps will help you regain some control.

Step 1

{nb – this workaround may not be the best solution – see comments below. If anyone knows of a good way around this please add to comments – thanks}

Alert your fans to the issue and help them to see more of your posts. Ask them to do the following.

  • Go to your page.
  • Hover your mouse over where it says “LIKED” and click on “ADD TO INTERESTS LISTS”
  • This will help your fans to be alerted to more of your posts without you having to pay to promote them.

 Step 2

Move away from Facebook as your main promotional platform. Still use it but just don’t be solely reliant on it.

Have you paid Facebook to promote your work via a sponsored post? Would you do so? What do you think of these changes? Share with us in the comments.

 

External sources

Facebook – I want my friends back - Dangerous Minds

Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right - New York Observer

Facebook: Pay to promote your posts for garage sales, parties – CNET

 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim Niles February 16, 2013 at 7:53 pm

A better option than the “add to interest lists”, is to instruct your fans to “add to notifications”…. This way, it won’t matter how many pages/groups they see in their timeline, your post WILL show up in their notifications… At least until FB removes that option.
http://facebook.com/KiniArtStudios

Reply

Helen Aldous February 17, 2013 at 7:13 am

Thanks Kim. That is the problem. When you find a work around Facebook changes it. Sigh ;-)

Reply

Marie Kazalia November 13, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I had an experience a couple days ago trying to post to my own Facebook page when I was asked to pay a fee to promote my post. I deleted that post, but due to a Facebook glitch that one post appeared more than ten times after I left my page. I did not know until the next day when I received a Facebook invoice! I deleted all those multiple posts yesterday and today there are more! I deleted those too. It is Obvious that Facebook has changed the design for users so that they can make more money. Those promoted posts were up several hours and did get a lot of Likes, (no sales of my art) yet the fee seemed rather high–about $50. If I intentionally ran a campaign and had to pay hundreds just to get likes and no sales, it just is not worth it.
I guess billions are not enough for Zuckerberg– perhaps he wants trillions! But I am tired of the changes made to Facebook that do not benefit me the user. Sometimes I feel caught in a maze of tricks and traps when I am on Facebook. Hope it doesn’t get worse. There are good things about Facebook, so I am hoping that it doesn’t get ruined in the future.
Marie Kazalia recently posted..4 More

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Helen Aldous November 15, 2012 at 7:12 am

WoW Maria. That’s scary getting invoiced for multiple unintentional posts. It does feel like a maze of traps as you say and it changes all the time like shifting sand. There are a great many good things about Facebook but some changes don’t feel good, especially for business.

BTW – this lady, Mari Smith has lots of extremely useful info about Facebook on here site. She is where I always go to try and unravel what is going on with Facebook http://www.marismith.com/mari-smith-blog/

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Karen G November 11, 2012 at 12:01 am

I think I ended up with an interesting solution, at least for me. I make cards as a hobby and post them on FB so that locals who want to order from me, can do so. Today, FB suggested that instead of a “local business” (which is what I had decided on using for a page), I should use “community page”.. I opted to go with that, and locals can still see my work, and, as far as I can tell, I won’t be forced to pay anything.
Karen G recently posted..Deasy Digi Freebie

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C Kaufman November 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Is “ADD TO INTERESTS LISTS” really a good idea?
It takes all your posts off the person’s timeline and then hides them away in the Interest section in the left hand column of Facebook.
Who remembers to look there?

Interest lists on FB started last March and was set up as way to reorganize the timeline and reduce the clutter. And it does….it reduces it so much that after a while one does not even remember the posts in the interest folders. :-)

Reply

Helen Aldous November 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm

LOL. Good point C Kaufman ;-) Ive been looking around to try and figure a way around but there doesn’t seem to be a good one really ;-( I think this is the way Facebook is heading unfortunately. Apparently I just heard today that there is talk of a pay monthly {50$ or so} business service on the horizon – maybe as an add on at first but worrying if any now free services will be included. Thanks for your comments.

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