For the second time this week I have seen a rather worrying post - people who used to be able to reach their customers struggling to do so. So what has happened and how does this effect you as an LBQ woman who uses Facebook?
Well in part Facebook wants you to pay to promote your page and your posts - but this isn't it all. I know shocking but it is a business that has hooked in a lot of people and as all big businesses do, now it wants a piece of you. LBQ event organisers often tell you of events via Facebook; thing is now quite often they're posting but you don't see them. Facebook is restricting how many posts about pages and events are showing on your timeline. It is thought that just 15% of fans (people who like pages) see posts so even if you like a page or event, you won't necessarily get the updates you would expect.
The second problem is the sheer size of Facebook now. There are only so many posts that can fit on your wall - how many pages do you follow? How many groups are you a member of? How many friends do you have? Promoted pages and posts go to your wall as a priority; but all other page posts go to the 'page feed wall' - did you even know you had that?? You are trying to get your message heard when there are literally thousands of others doing the same. Stand on the train platform when the fast train goes through the station and try to tell the person on the platform opposite about your event - effective? Not exactly.
I had a look at the Facebook help pages; people have been spending up to 500 USD (£300) on promoting a page or post. Now these are the small businesses who are bothered to comment here - big businesses won't. So if small businesses are spending £300 - imagine what the likes of Amazon and Love Theatre are spending. So if an LBQ event organiser or small business is not spending at least £300 they're just throwing money away with very little return. Even that isn't guaranteed - there are lots of complaints that recently a budget that used to reach tens of thousands is now barely touching a thousand - something which obviously isn't going down well.
With many of the LBQ women's events being purely on Facebook; this concerns us no end - but we're not surprised. This has been happening for about 2 years. The snowball has been rolling down the mountain gathering in size and speed - it is just now so big that people can see it coming. Unfortunately the LBQ community just doesn't have the resources to compete in this market.
What are the alternatives?
Twitter is very useful, and so far doesn't restrict your posts. You can pay to promote a post but there isn't really a need to. The downside from a promoter side is Twitter is more time intensive than Facebook - you need to post several times a day to reach a lot of people - and because you have 140 characters you need somewhere to point them to. From a user side looking for events; Twitter lists and hashtags actually mean it is far easier to find what you are looking for.
Google+ is gaining momentum every day that Facebook continues to be controlling. Easy to use and free. But newer than Facebook so you just never know so I still wouldn't rely solely on this.
The best alternative is to supplement your own resources with social media rather than to rely solely on it. Social media fads come and go; the companies running them get bigger and their expectations get out of control.
The best thing we as the LBQ community can do is to use multiple social media mediums and join mailing lists to ensure that we have access to and are able to support the LBQ community. By removing our absolute reliance on Facebook event organisers can find alternative ways to reach the community without breaking the bank. This is one of the main reasons we have created the My Pocket Planet app - it gives LBQ women direct access to dedicated information in their community and provides event organisers a link to their core market without the risk of bankruptcy!
Planet London offers a one page website for just £20 per year. It is work safe and allows for a dedicated space to send your customers to. For more information, contact us!