Facebook’s Pay-to-Play Philosophy

thumb tapping the end of the L on the Facebook LIKE wordFor the past couple of years, I have received quite a few questions from small business owners asking “if I have a Facebook page, do I really need a website”.  I have always advised that a website is necessary because it is owned by the business owner, whereas Facebook is owned by Facebook. Therefore they have all the control over a business’ Facebook page. Recent events prove that to be true.

Last month Facebook changed it’s algorithm yet again in order to ensure that its users receive content in their streams from those with whom they engage the most which in general would NOT be brands and companies.  This means that content on Facebook pages has very little chance of being seen even by those who have liked their pages unless they have engaged with them frequently in the recent past.

Per Mari Smith, Facebooks states: “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”  Ugh.

Facebook’s stance on Facebook business pages  seems to be that the main reason for acquiring fans isn’t just to build a free channel for content distribution; it’s to ensure that your Facebook ads will work better.

This will probably make a lot of Facebook users happy but it does nothing for small business owners and non-profits who count on being able to engage with their audiences. 

I don’t know about you but my “seen by” rate (or organic reach) has dropped dramatically in the past couple of weeks. 

So what can we do about it.  I would normally advise posting great content and being sure to engage with your fans but is fairly obvious.  The trick is to get that content in front of your fans.

Here are a couple of recommendations to help increase your organic reach gleaned for some reputable sources.

The first is from Dooley Noted who suggests that posting images in groups of 3 rather than just one at time brings a much larger engagement rate.  So, for instance, I placed the following on my own Facebook page:

3 images in a row posted on Facebook

One of Dooley Noted’s examples showed that when they posted one image, it was seen by 1,372 but when they posted the 3 images at one time, they were seen by 17,088, a HUGE difference.   It worked quite well for me (17 times more people saw the above post as compared to a one-image post I published within the same hour) so, it may be worth trying for yourself.

Jon Loomer suggests that knowing when your fans are online and posting more frequently (up to 10 times per day) will be of benefit.  Reposting good evergreen content is fine here as there still may be many people who have not seen it.

If you have a business page whose content is appropriate to your Facebook friends, go ahead and share it, but not too frequently or your personal Facebook page may be in danger.

And as always, make sure that your Facebook page content is relevant and of good quality, that you determine the best times of the day to post and that you are responsive to any and all comments that are made on your page.

I won’t ask how you feel about these changes but I will ask this:  Will you put more effort into quality Facebook advertising or will your efforts be focused outside of Facebook? 

Image credit: Depositphotos sdmania

You’re most welcome to use this article on your website, blog or in your e-zine if you include this entire blurb, without modification: If you liked this article by Shelley Webb, you’ll want to hop on over to www.OnTheWebbSocialMedia.com where you can find more articles, resources and social media strategies.  Shelley teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to bring their business into the on-line conversation.



  1. Great post Shelley! Personally,
    I’ll be putting more effort into Linked In. That’s where most of my community hangs out.


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