Facebook groups: how you are getting screwed and what to do about it

Howdy, friends. Are you an author or creator that uses Facebook groups (a.k.a., “fan pages”) to reach your peeps? We do, and for a long time it’s been a great way to get our stories, pictures, podcasts and general goofiness directly to those that want to consume what we make.

In the past few months, however, we’ve noticed that our numbers are dropping. Plummeting might be a better word for it. I don’t mean our group numbers, because we have more followers than ever before (21,137 and counting at the time of this post). What I mean is the number of people who are seeing each item we put up. Why aren’t people seeing things like they used to?


Because Facebook wants you to pay to reach your fans — the very fans who clicked “Like” on your page, so they could use Facebook to follow what you do. I’m not talking about advertising to strangers. For that, sure, Facebook should charge, because they (claim to) have amazing demographic info that will let you reach a very specific set of people with a very particular set of interests. You wrote a fantasy book that’s a lot like Joe Abercrombie’s work, and you want to advertise your book to people who are interested in Joe Abercrombie? Great, Facebook has you covered.

Facebook has every right to charge for wherever they want. They are the Number One social media site in the world with 1.4 billion members (Chinese site QQ is second, with 800 million members, FYI). That being said, many creators can’t afford to be shelling out bucks to reach people who have already opted-in to see the information they place on Facebook. Again, not advertising to strangers, we’re talking about the handshake agreement of “I love what you do, so please show me what you do … oh, wait, Facebook wants you to to pay before you can show me.”


Facebook is the top of the heap, my peeps.

We’re not the first people to notice this change, not at all. It’s been going on for years. It didn’t affect us pretty much until this year. Maybe because of our small size in relation to the big brands or people with Facebook Page followings of 100,000+, or something like that. But if it is affecting us now, perhaps it is finally affecting you as well.

Is this going to go away, so things return to the way it was, in the Long Ago Time? Nope. Facebook is making $12 billion (yes, with a “B“) in revenue per year. Like any big company, they’re going to squeeze you for all you’re worth. This up-level of profitability (a.k.a. “greed”) is going to chase some creator-marketers to other venues, like Instagram, Snapchat and more, but Facebook is probably still where most of your fans are, and because of that, you got to be there.

Our Steps to Fix Facebook engagement, sponsored by our 99designs page at http://scottsigler.com/99designsSo, what can you do to mitigate this digital disaster? For now, you need to communicate to your Facebook fans the simple two-step process at right.

If you want to use this graphic and post it on your Facebook page, that’s cool with us (that’s what we did, here). You gots our permissions and what-not.

Getting this info out on your Facebook page or newsletter is great. However, the very reason you need to post this graphic will stop 90% of your Facebook audience from seeing it in the first place! That means you need to plug the message on a regular basis. The best place we’ve seen for this so far is in the comments of your own post. For that, use text to explain the same two steps, but re-write it a little different each time. Here’s one example.

Did you know that Facebook is hiding posts from you even thought you followed this page so you could see my stuff? They want us to pay for the right to give you the content you asked for. RISE UP! Step one: mouse-over the blue thumb / “liked” button at the top of the page until a menu comes up. Step two: choose “all on” from that menu. Then you’ll see the things you opted to see in the first place. RISE, I TELL YOU!!

As more creators (and brands) catch on to this technique and start to communicate it to their audiences, you can bet Facebook will quietly remove this option at sometime in the future (they want you and your money to soon be parted, fool).

Only a portion of your fans are going to see your posts about this, and only a portion of those will change their settings. So, you’re going to need to make this message regular part of your communication if you want to keep using Facebook to reach your fans. It’s a great platform and we rely heavily on it, so — for now, at least — this is all we can do to try and get info to the people who are asking for it.

Unless we want to spend $50 to $100 to let our fans know about the free stuff we post? Hmmmm. We’ll stick with this plan for now.

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