I almost found myself starting this article with the phrase, “Poor Facebook.” I quickly realized that those two words should never be used in conjunction with one another, considering its $160-plus billion capitalization value and Mark Zuckerberg’s $19 billion net worth.
However, the social media behemoth has hit some bumps along the digital superhighway lately in the form of a bonehead “study” that caused some bad press and perhaps an even worse business decision. It’s the business decision we need to discuss here, but I have to at least mention the controversial study.
Rigging Facebook News Feeds
You probably read that Facebook was manipulating news feeds to see how positive and negative posts would affect viewers’ attitudes. The study was conducted without any approval from those subjected to the tainted feeds. The troubling aspect of this is that it’s only one step away from using posts to control people’s thoughts and emotions.
Of course, that would never happen, right?
As bad as this is, a more immediate problem is how Facebook is dramatically reducing the organic reach of business posts. This has been something of an evolution, but things are getting desperate for businesses, especially if Facebook has been in the “free” column of your advertising budget spreadsheet.
The 3 Percent Solution
If you have a significant number of Facebook fans, it looks like you can only expect about three percent of them to get your posts. Managers of commercially oriented Facebook pages have certainly noticed that scarcely four minutes go by while they’re on the site before they get a message telling then about a certain post and how it would be great to “boost” it.
Facebook rationalizes the move by saying that it will improve the quality of the experience for members, and there is certainly some truth in this; Facebook has done much to improve and expand over the years. However, the biggest reason is to prod businesses into buying more ads.