Has Facebook Jumped the Shark?

Facebook success?

Whew…he made it.

Facebook has made a number of changes in recent months making it harder and harder to break into a user’s stream. Continuing changes to Facebook’s Edegrank algorithm have left many wondering if Facebook marketing is still possible without incorporating a heavy reliance on promoted posts.

Rand Wilson, owner of Grownupgeek.com, doesn’t think so.

Wilson announced this week that he will no longer be interacting with his nearly 15,000 followers on Facebook. In a “resignation letter” to his Facebook followers (which can be seen on his blog Learn Success the Easy Way), Wilson explained the decision stating that of the 4,588 fans of one of his Facebook pages, only 1-15 percent will actually see his posts.

From the resignation letter that only 45-688 of his Facebook followers may see (unless like me you saw it on the “failed social media network” Google+):

The primary reason for leaving is that with all of the of the fancy improvements that Facebook has made in the last year, now only 1%-15% of you will ever see anything we share. That is, unless we pay Facebook. And in our opinion, having to pay Facebook so that you, the fans that have already indicated that you want to see what we share by “liking” our page, is not something we are going to do. We respect Facebook’s right and need to monetize their service, and we are exercising our right to take our business elsewhere.

From a marketing perspective Wilson’s decision raises a number of issues. Up until recently the cry has always been “You have to be on Facebook.” Too often, businesses would dive head first into Facebook with no other objective than that everyone else is doing it, we better also.

I shudder when I think of the clients who’ve asked why they should invest in a website when they could build a Facebook page for “free.”

The recent changes to Facebook emphasize the fact that dropping a blog in favor of Facebook is a dangerous decision. Unlike Facebook or any other social media network (even Blogger or WordPress.com) you own the blog on your website. As such, changes to the network don’t have near the impact that a change on Facebook might have for the Facebook marketer.

Does this mean you should also abandon Facebook?
Definitely not. It means that you need to look at your specific situation and do what works best to meet your objectives. Do you have an active fan base that interacts with your Facebook page? Are you getting the reach you need on Facebook and does your activity on Facebook result in the desired conversion? Is there a social media network that might be better suited for your target audience? Do you have the resources to properly manage a number of social media networks?

The key is to know why you are using Facebook or any other social media platform and have clear, measurable objectives that can be used to determine success. Without them you are just throwing your efforts off the edgerank. (I know, weak attempt.)

What do you think? Has Faceboook “jumped the shark?” Have the changes to Facebook made it too difficult for marketers to reach their audience. How about for those just getting started with Facebook? Is it too late? Please share you thoughts in the comments below.

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