Is Facebook Still Worth It?

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The first thing most people think of when they hear “social media marketing” is Facebook. This platform is the work horse that dominates social media today. And yet, so many marketers complain about their Facebook reach and marketing. Is it possible that maybe it’s time to take your efforts elsewhere? Careful… Don’t be too quick to react!

There has been an article going around the blogosphere lately that gives the impression that Facebook marketing may not be all it claims. And, while the article brings up some very valid points, most of which I agree with, I’m not about to dump my Facebook page.

Yes, Facebook seems to be screwing marketers. You work your butt off to gain new fans (you may even pay to target them initially). Then, Facebook wants you to pay more money in order to actually have these same fans see your posts. As many of us know, this really can be a tiring game of cat and mouse. And, for some, it can get expensive.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of other platforms out there willing to promote your posts to all of your fans at no charge. Seems like a no-brainer, right?

Well, not so fast.

The reality is that Facebook is where everyone is. Like it or not, Facebook is still the giant in the world of social media. And if you don’t have a presence on there, well, you could actually hurt your business.

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23 thoughts on “Is Facebook Still Worth It?

  1. So let me get this straight about FB promotions and post. You are saying that once you gain followers by liking your page and then you go to post they will not always see your post?

    • Hi Gina. Yes, unfortunately, on average, only 16% of your fans will see your page posts. This is due to the Facebook algorithm called Edgerank which determines importance and exposure of a post to your fans. This has caused a lot of frustration for marketers and has been speculated that this was Facebook’s way of forcing us to buy ads to up the reach of our posts. Fortunately, however, a new ranking system was revealed recently that will operate on a different algorithm and will hopefully allow brand posts (and personal posts) to get more exposure. It should be clear, however, that each fan will never see all of your posts unless they are visiting your page directly. And statistics indicated that only about 4% of fans will return to your page after initially liking it.
      While these can be dismal stats, the reality is that Facebook pages work and are a necessity in today’s society.

      • Yes but, increase engagement with that 16% and you increase the reach of your content which ultimately improves your EdgeRank and drives even better results with regard to how many see your posts. It’s a viscous circle no doubt, but so necessary in the marketing of a company! It’s today’s “world of mouth” advertising!

  2. I find the advertising rates for business pages exorbitant. Our business will be exchanging valuable dollars for what? Likes!!!!!

    It appears that the shareholders are scrambling to recover their losses when they purchased vastly overpriced stock – the value did not match the hype – not even close!

    Our ROI will be better converted through our website – laid out exactly like we want. The Business Page, while very eye-catching, informative and in a nice little package, still puts our business into the most un-unique category of social media marketing. If I am any good at identifying trends, I’d say that FB is only keeping it’s head above water BECAUSE OF Twitter, Instagram, etc., and needs to modify the accessibility and searchability if we are going to invest any more time to it. – 0 Likes – zero Cares.

    • Hi Gord. I can understand your frustration. And, yes, your customers are likely better served on your website. However, they can be additionally served through social media.
      Certain industries have a hard time connecting with “customers” on Facebook because of the nature of their business. Your business does fall into one of these categories. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful.
      That also doesn’t mean you need to be throwing money at Facebook to get likes. You can build your fan base organically without ads. And, you’re not just collecting “likes”, you are connecting with customers, potential customers, employees, and others. You are extending your brand culture and personality beyond the professional limits of your website.
      If you would like assistance with your Facebook page and gaining new fans, I would be happy to provide you with a complimentary analysis. I have looked at your page and your website and have some thoughts for you. If you are interested, please send me an email at

  3. WOW! Great question Jenn! I find the same “deer-caught-in-the-headlights” look too when I discuss with someone what content management is all about. When I tell a Client that only about 16% of your page Fans will see the posting that we put out there, they freak! When I tell them that they have to take a active part in promoting the page, they freak! That’s my job right? I agree, Facebook still has the eyes upon it and it doesn’t seem to be changing significantly any time soon. But, one has to be prepared to use whatever social media platform works for the Client’s benefit. However, understanding that being relatively good on one platform, obviously the largest and most popular, should come before we venture off into another dimension, I think, is important. And so I work hard to be relevant in Facebook (linked to Twitter) before moving to far into the rest of the social media world. I have been looking more, though, at Pinterest and Instagram as another venue for some (not all) of my Clients. Thanks for the opportunity to add my insights!

    • Thanks Michael. I’m glad I touched on a topic that is important to you too. And I thank you for adding your comments and thoughts.
      It is hard to convey to customers what to really expect out of Facebook (or other platforms) and while it is our (or their) jobs to gain visibility, we also need to be realistic in our goals.
      I’m happy to see you are looking more at Instagram though! 🙂

  4. Keep in mind due to the new Google Penguin 2.0 update social media sites like Facebook, Google+ and others now play and increased role in your SEO ranking. Websites with strong social media presences are being rewarded big time as of late in search engine results. As someone who works full time in web development and internet marketing I’ve seen a lot of examples of this first hand. Facebook has increasing restrictions and hurdles for sure but it still has a lot of power. People who jumped off the Facebook bandwagon in last year or so are getting right back on there again. You for sure want to be pushing your Facebook page in 2013…

  5. Jenn, great post! I agree with most everything you say.

    I’m a professor, and my target audiences are students and accounting professionals in the world at large. Many students have moved off Facebook. Actually, so did I nine months ago. So, for contacting with my students and sending them info, Facebook is no longer important. I am influential in the accounting industry and I blog quite a bit and engage in industry discussion groups. I make greatest use of my blog, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If I add more platforms, they will be Pinterest and Google+, not Facebook. Fortunately for me, I don’t need FB, so don’t have to deal with the hassles.

    • Thanks David! I’m happy to hear that you have found a way to succeed with social media, and without the need for Facebook. If your audience isn’t there, then there’s no need for you to be there either!

  6. Jenn, although there are definitely some downsides to Facebook, we still see a great deal of upside. Our monthly traffic from Facebook has risen significantly in recent months, and that has played a big role in lowering our bounce rate. If you have a few dollars to promote a post now and then, I definitely recommend it. I think Facebook is trying to shift to more of a paid advertising platform, which, if not changed, could be the downfall of the platform. All that said, don’t give up on the social media giant just yet!

    • Thanks Anthony! It’s great to hear that you guys are seeing an increase in traffic thanks to Facebook. Keep up the good work!
      And, yes, if people have the extra few dollars to promote, I have heard great success stories from using the ads. And, Facebook has to make money somewhere… I just wish they didn’t penalize us so much. Hopefully, the new ranking system will help with our reach though.

  7. Great article! Many times we want to start complaining about all of these tools, however even if you don’t take advantage of promoted posts or sponsored stories (we typically don’t), as long as you’re sharing content that your target market is interested in, you can see tremendous success.

    Also, we’ve noticed that with the recent EdgeRank update posts that are getting good engagement are getting even larger reach than before, increasing brand awareness and results from the network. It seems Facebook listened to the complaints and made some changes to help pages get in front of more of their audience.

    • Thanks Trevor! I’m happy to hear that you’re seeing those results already! That is really good news.
      And, yes, many businesses can see results from Facebook without having to buy ads. It’s all dependent on your strategies and your goals and how you go about implementing them.

  8. Pingback: Social Media 2 | Pearltrees

  9. Jenn, late to this party but hope its still ok to add a comment……

    16% of 100 is, well, 16 or have i really lost it after a lifetime in work ? So….we are Macmillan Cancer Support in Cheshire & Merseyside (please Like us…ah hem) with a tidy 1500+ Likes which research shows me isnt half bad for a small local area page like ours. Without paid Reach…. and just the nice friendly named “organic” Reach, we currently have 500-800 people per post, at least thats what Facebook says, so, my social media manager thought process is suggesting to me that this is reasonable given that 16% rule ? But im confused…..not a difficult thing for me…..we seem to be reaching good numbers compared to the dire 16% expectation which would see us hitting 250 or so each post. Question : when Facebook tells me as admin that “800 saw this post” does it mean 800 could see it in their timelines or……16% of 800 ?

    Jenn the debate about advertising on Facebook will run and run and the new edge rank malarkey only muddies the waters further as frankly it seems like it should be better for pages like ours but truth is i dont really understand why ? !!!

    However, if your reading this and thinking “this boys a real dork” id forgive you that insight but in my defence would add that i recently got a stunning ROI on a £68 Facebook ad and whilst only 4% of new Likes are said to ever return to a page we have had just two unlikes from 800 new gains and have some evidence to suggest that we are reaching a lot more people. So, its starting to work for us this Facebook thing……now…..should i be looking at Google+ and Pinterest ? !! cheers, Mark

    • Hi Mark! Of course, you are welcome to comment. There is no such thing as being late to the party on this blog!
      First of all, it sounds like you are doing really well with your page reach! Congrats on having over 1500 fans and keeping your content in front of them so well. If FB is saying that you are reaching 500-800 people per post, then, yes, that’s what you’re reaching. A reach of 800 means that 800 people saw your post in their timelines or by visiting your page.
      And that puts you in the 30-50% range which is very good! The 16% reach average is based on all FB pages. It’s important to remember that this is just an “average”. That means that there are a lot of pages doing well (like you) and a lot pages getting a lot less than that.
      I say congrats and keep up the good work!
      And, yes, as you said, the advertising debate will continue. If you are using advertising to reach new audiences and get more engagement, and you’re seeing results, then, by all means, keep it up. However, if you are also seeing valuable engagement on your page and happy with the progress your page is making organically, then don’t put any money into advertising. The goal and the outcome is dependent on you and your business. But it sounds like you got some good return on a recent ad and that’s great news.
      I’m so happy to hear that Facebook is working for you and that you are seeing results! This is why I do believe that Facebook is still worth it (for now at least!). And now that you are getting traction on Facebook, I would definitely recommend adding another platform to your social media strategy. It looks like you’re already on Twitter, which is great. I would look at Google+ – it is great for community interaction and the groups (called communities) might be a good place for you to get some more traction.
      Best of luck as you continue to grow!

      • Wow Jenn you made my day !! Means I need to take a very careful look at the handful of posts we had that got 85% Reach as clearly there’s something going on there……Edgeranking aside, do you subscribe to the view that regardless of the page content if you post between 1900 and 2200 you will more than triple your chances of getting your post seen ? I’ve heard it argued that, for instance, charities on Facebook do better posting at 1100 and 1500 because large numbers of their fans are female and those with non school age kids are more likely to see your post at these Ives ? I keep looking for somewhere to find a discussion on “timings” but haven’t come across anywhere, what’s your view ?
        Cheers, Mark

      • I’m so glad I made someone’s day today, Mark! 😉
        Yes, you definitely need to find out what is working and what types of posts are generating that kind of reach and engagement. Just be wary though, of not overusing this type of post. I warn about this frequently. Just because one type of post works well, doesn’t people want to see the same thing over and over again. But it does allow you to get strategic with it. Finding what works well allows you to take advantage of catering those types of posts to really convey the information that will serve both you and your audience well.
        As for times of the day, I can’t give you a good answer. There are a lot of posts, people, and information out there that will tell you when to post. Don’t believe any of it. They aren’t in your feed and they don’t know your audience so how can they tell you when to be there? For me personally, I get the most reach and engagement typically between 0700 and 0900 PDT (my local) time. Yes, I get plenty of reach at other times as well, but that’s where I have to get smart with my posting schedules to target the right people in the right time frames.
        The best thing you can do is go into your Facebook insights. The new insights are amazing! From your admin panel, go to “See All” in the insights box. Click on the “Posts” tab and this will show you the reach and engagement you have received on all of your posts. You can also then click on the “when your fans are online” tab from this page and see a graph of the best times of the day (and even break down by individual day of the week) that your specific fans are engaging on Facebook. Be aware though that this graph and information will vary weekly. I recommend checking these stats every week for at least 4-6 consecutive weeks to get a really good understanding of what days/times work best for you.
        I hope this helps!

  10. In my humble opinion, the fact that all I hear involving FB these days is how everyone can use it for marketing purposes is why it is failing and why many people are leaving it. Teens is particular are fed up of feeling they are constantly targeted with marketing ploys that (even after submitting all that data) never reflect their interests anyway.

    Yes – funds have to be made to keep such a network going, I get that. Yes, it is a free service and those that sign up for it are agreeing to take place in marketing as pseudo-payment. Nevertheless it still calls itself a “social network” which makes me chuckle as nobody seems to use it for social purposes anymore.

    That’s just my take on it and hey, I could be wrong. That’s just how I feel as a potential consumer rather than a promoter.

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