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Do you really know how Facebook works?

I personally have very mixed feeling about Facebook. I love that it helps me connect and share with people online, but I hate that it has caused many people to use it as a way to stay in touch as opposed to more personal means (visiting, calling and even texting thanks to the new messenger app).

From a professional standpoint, it's great for connecting in a new arena with my members and potential new members, sponsor and supporters but it also has caused internet users to get even lazier. Now people don't go to sites in lieu of going to a Facebook page. This site, in particular, has doubled its activity thanks to Facebook, but the convenience of posting on Facebook is too enticing to turn down and many of our forum posts get more comments on Facebook than they do here.

I don't mind really. We are reaching more moms than ever and it's benefited us both here on the forum and with our social network presence. But we often get members messaging us about not seeing posts or not getting things from Facebook in their feed. This made me realize that many people don't really understand how Facebook works.

They get the general idea. It’s a social network. You can share and keep in touch with people, places and things you care about. You can vent, share photos, connect. All things we strive for here on TBMG. But at it’s core Facebook is a Marketing Dynamo. But with so many people online, the average facebook user having 300+ friends you just can't get every single post from every friend and page you like. So Facebook makes those business pages that want to reach you work for it (and when possible pay for it).

Think of it this way. Facebook is a night club. They let the ladies in for free but then they charge the men to admission. In this scenario every private Facebook user is a lady (sorry guys) and every company that uses Facebook is a man. Club Facebook knows that if they get enough ladies in the building, drinking, having fun that the guys will pay to have access to them. The biggest difference though is at Club Facebook some men may get in for free but they don’t get the ladies they want. The men who pay (and pay more) have access to more women, to hotter women, to woman who generally like men who are like them. That’s why Facebook wants you to “Like” things. So they can pick out your type and put them right on your feed.

And that is why you may not be seeing Tampa Bay Moms Group’s posts or posts from other business pages that you care about. After Facebook changed the way we reach we only appear in the feeds of a small fraction of those “like” our page. That small fraction of feeds we appear in is called our Organic Reach. Its the people we reach without shares and interactions.

It’s up to you to create the feed you want. That’s why if you want to see our posts you should Like them or Comment! The more you like and comment the more people who will see our feed, the more we will see you like certain content and can better create posts for you but most importantly the more you will see us!

Sure, it’s frustrating but Facebook isn’t a charity. They are a business and they are here to make money. They will let us “boost” our posts in exchange for money. And for many businesses that’s a great and effective way to reach more people. But when you are a small owned and operated business (or in our case one that doesn’t have a marketing budget and the staff is comprised of volunteers) it’s not a cost effective way of connecting.

So just how important is Liking, Commenting, and Sharing? Well…

Here we shared a story we loved off of Buzzfeed. We simply shared a story. Not original content, just a cute baby pooing on his dad. Over 30 people liked this post, 2 people commented and 14 people shared. Because of that interaction we reached 3,080! Not bad for us just sharing something huh? And we helped Buzzfeed too!

In this post you can see we just asked a question. But even with 14 comments and a handful of likes we only reached 782 people.

And here is a quick recall notice we shared that didn't get any interaction at all. It only reached 382!

You can see more examples of this on our Facebook page.

But like the drug dealer that offers the first taste for free… Facebook can help you get more… for a price.

See that pretty blue button there? The one that says “Boost Post”? It sits there so smug, taunting you, teasing you, promising you more if you just click it! And when you do you see all the fun ways you can pay to reach more people.

But with members Liking, Commenting and Sharing we can keep reaching you and other people who have shown to facebook through their own interactions on the site that they have similar interests.

This is true for any business page. Your local non profit, a blog you follow, a business you frequent.

So yes, in the broad sense, Facebook if free. Free to you the user and in general free to businesses who are able to rely on their followers and fans to help them connect (at least it’s free for now).

So help TBMG, and small businesses and Like them. Like their posts, comment and share their stories. It will help us reach you! It will help us find out what matters to you so we can bring you more of it.

Ultimately my feelings about Facebook remain mixed. As with anything there are pros and cons. Oddly my cons have nothing to do with Facebook wanting to make money off of me and holding many of my members ability to see my posts for ransom. They are so effective in what they do, so methodical in their methods and a giant in the world of online marketing. I respect that. I admire that. But for small businesses, charities and websites that can’t compete in that world we need those who support us to help us because these are generally the pages that are here for you.

Sometimes it wigs me out when I pop on Facebook and see some of this targeted marketing that appears on my feed just after I went to their website outside of Facebook. No, it’s no coincidence I googled and visited a crafting store and suddenly that stores ads appear on my Facebook feed. It’s not a coincidence but it is a bit creepy. I get the Rockwell song “Somebody’s watching me” playing in my head. And though I do know that to remain free Facebook has to play the part of Big Brother and keep an eye on all of us it does border on an invasion of privacy. But having your online privacy invaded is the price you pay to not pay a price to use the social networking site.

If you liked this post, found it helpful, interesting or entertaining in any way, please leave a comment here (and on facebook since now we know that doing that helps others see these posts!). If you like it then next week I'll post about improving your organic reach with some great tips for Facebook business users.

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