Social media plays an important role in the marketing of small businesses – especially small businesses. The sites allow owners of small or independent businesses the ability to connect with customers before they walk into the store or after they make a purchase.
It helps when customers have questions or problems and provides transparency and authenticity to a business. On the consumer side, social media makes shopping interactive for customers.
It also makes it easier for customers to share content, photos of unique finds in the store, check in and more, which can bring in new customers.
However, when Michael Liss, owner of Black Mountain, NC-based Common Housefly, noticed that Facebook interaction on his page was down, he set out to figure out why the once important marketing tool has become a point of frustration.
“Facebook suppresses distribution of my posts unless I ‘boost’ them,” he explained. “I don’t have a large following – less than 1,000. But when I post anything that Facebook thinks is selling, they show to only 10 or 20 of my followers and suggest that I boost the post.”
Liss explained that this has been a hindrance to social media market efforts. While other sites, he said, do not block reach, they doesn’t always have the largest following and is holding him back from reaching his maximum audience.
“Twitter does not work that way, nor does Tumblr. Everything you post gets shown to everyone who follows you. They may not pay attention, but that is a different problem. At least the Twitter network delivers everything I post to everyone that says they were interested in hearing from me,” he said.
However, Liss is not alone. According to Social Media Today, organic reach has been an issue for businesses, so much so that the website predicts that Facebook will address why Pages reach has been dwindling and what they plan to do about it going forward. While some social media experts point to keywords that may lead Facebook to believe people are selling something and making a profit, others point to the increased use of artificial intelligence and how it affects the social media site’s algorithms.
“Facebook has convinced the retail world that they need to be on Facebook, but I don’t see the benefit. I have much more leverage and brand equity in my website and my mailing list than my Facebook page,” Liss added.
Some ways to better reach your audience on Facebook without having to boost posts are to use hashtags, post only the content types that get the most response (for example, videos or photos only versus status updates or text-heavy posts); and to have a little fun with posts, including memes, gifs or funny photos that will speak to your audience.