Frustration, Facebook and the Light at the End of the Tunnel

If you follow us on Facebook, you know I’ve been complaining a lot recently about Facebook’s changes to its EdgeRank algorithm. Any Facebook Administrators out their who have worked diligently on growing their page’s following and keeping engagement high understand the frustration.

Overnight, our posts were intentionally kept from a large number of those who chose to follow us and want to see our updates. While we could argue the logic and reasons for the changes that range from pleasing Facebook’s stock investors to greed to Facebook raising the bar and causing us to dig deeper and find a sweeter engagement spot, the reality is, bands and those in the music biz are met with new challenges. We can sink or swim. Swimming is smarter.

Most page administrators who have measured their page effectiveness before and after the EdgeRank change report more than a 40% drop in interaction with page followers. New Driven experienced this as well. In fact, for about a week, I lived in fear that I had become the most unpopular person on the planet and I couldn’t figure out why! Once I learned of the Facebook changes, I was mad and felt like I was being blackmailed to pay for sponsored ads in order to get back what, (I perceived), had been snatched from me. But then reality and higher wisdom clicked in. You can’t fight this, so you have to find out how to take the city from within.

I did a little experimenting this weekend and thought it might benefit others to share what I learned.

I have no proof of this, but feel I’m correct in saying that prior to Facebook changing the algorithm, they actually fiddled with the way our ‘reach’ was measured. For a few months New Driven experienced a drastic increase in reach. Yes, I’m constantly working on the page and on engagement but the jump was drastic and impressive and DRUG-LIKE.  I was hooked even more – and those who know me best, know I check and monitor social media stat’s hourly…so we’re talking heavy drug use here.

Suddenly the algorithm changed and BOOM the numbers flat-lined. Facebook managers began screaming. LOUDLY. Panic set in. The numbers appeared even more drastic because we’d gotten used to being very impressed with ourselves.

I knew instinctively someone with a Ph.D in psychological marketing had been screwing with my mind and my Facebook page and I didn’t like it.

So where are we now? Everyone is still screaming. Facebook is not going to listen and frustration runs high.

On November 3 I can across a cool poster someone in England, (I think), had created expressing the frustration felt by independent and local bands over the Facebook changes.  I thought it expressed the sentiments of many band page administrators so I posted it on the New Driven page. Within 30 minutes it had something like 20 LIKES and quite a few SHAREs so I got an idea – what would happen if I promote this? I have a hard time turning hard-earned money over to Facebook so I chose to promote for $10.00.

The post went viral but that had less to do with forking ten bucks over to Facebook as it did because the material was of value to page followers. And because it had value and people were Liking and Sharing it, Facebook allowed it to show up on many, many pages.

Here is the screen shot as of this writing, at 8pm on Wednesday 7 November:

facebook edgerank algorithm change effects independent bands negatively

But here are the stats for the $10.00 campaign:

The New Driven page benefited by the campaign in that 94 new people LIKED us and we got a total of 26 SHAREs on the post but we received 344 SHARES without the help of Facebook – just because our fans are killer and they care about independent bands and musicians. We found their “sweet spot”.

Facebook shows that 6,000 people saw the post, which serves as a big ole billboard for your page or work even if there is no conversion so, that’s a good thing.

My take-away’s are as follow:

  • Accept that the new reality on Facebook is they want us to really step up our marketing with creative, edgy and engaging content that catches the interest of fans.
  • Become diligent curators of excellent and engaging content
  • More important, CREATE excellent and engaging content – yes, this is WORK
  • Give up the “everything is all about us” mentality that the vast majority of bands have and actually ENGAGE with your audience. Facebook will reward you by allowing more folks to see your posts and your fans will love you because you will offer something of value to them. They will feel that you care about them and that builds love and dedication.
  • Set a monthly budget, plan out your most important posts and choose which to promote.

As I found with my campaign, a very small sum of money will get you some decent visibility so this not need break the band’s bank. Have each band member throw  $5 or $10 a month into the Facebook marketing pot and use it wisely.

Much as I hate being blackmailed, (especially after Zuckerberg promised Facebook would always be FREE), and much as I look forward to the day when the next new thing leaves Facebook in the dust because of this betrayal…. you’ll get more mileage from spending $20-$50 per month on Facebook marketing than you will from a tank of gas.

This graph shows the jump in engagement on 4 November, one day into the campaign:

How are you going to be unique? What will set you apart from the crowd and make your engagement OUTSTANDING?

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