This past week two articles came out http://marketingland.com/facebook-concedes-that-organic-page-reach-is-dwindling-ads-are-best-way-to-been-seen-67302 and http://adage.com/article/digital/facebook-admits-organic-reach-brand-posts-dipping/245530/ Pretty much validation from word on high that Facebook is indeed shriveling and dying, especially for small business use.
I’ve noticed on my own pages and the pages I admin that there has been a huge decline in reach over the past year. This past weekend after the two articles came out I went and downloaded the insights from the over 60+ Facebook pages (73 if you want to nitpick) that I am an admin of.
Collated, sorted and reviewed, it shows a steady decline in page engagement and post likes. Page likes seem to be unaffected interestingly enough. Of those pages, all except one are small businesses, 1/3 of them have over 1000 likes. Feedback from the many B&Bs I talk to on a regular basis all say as well that Facebook is in decline for them.
All of the pages, except for https://www.facebook.com/moosemanphotos (sorry shameless plug for a good friend but ironically the only example) seem to be effected. The one thing I can conclude from this (one example) is that pretty much every single post contains a photo. Read into that what you will, and for an average small business and B&B it’s going to take a lot of work to just do photo posts.
While photos are what sell, and are encouraged on every network, I find it hard to believe that this reason alone is the sole answer as many of the other pages are doing extensive image and photo posting as well. I think it just boils down to is that Facebook wants you to pay to play.
I’ve also run a test for the past 3 months on my own timeline, do pages and friends I like and comment on posts on more, show up more often in my timeline? Yes absolutely!
Is it worth trying to game this system? Dubious, because they keep changing the rules, what worked last month apparently doesn’t work anymore.
Am I sick of Facebook playing games with businesses? Yup!
In any case, for Bed and Breakfasts, in what direction should one go?
I think A. every B&B needs to have a blog. 2 reasons:
#1 It’s fantabulistic for search engine optimization
#2 Content can be shared on Twitter, on Google+ business and personal pages, on Linkedin business and personal pages, on Pinterest (if you have photos in the post: highly encouraged), on bookmarking sites, and yes on Facebook.
I think the second would be Pinterest.
Last year, Pinterest was gaining ground for B&Bs in terms of traffic, this year, it’s becoming an even higher source of traffic for those using it and it’s still gaining ground. Pinterest is also gaining ground in organic search results, going from page 3 to page 1 in Google and Bing searches. So add search engine optimization reasons to the list.
Third would be Google+ neck in neck with Youtube
Google+ for search engine optimization reasons if nothing else, as well as being able to respond to reviews if people post them. Youtube: for search engine optimization and similar to blogs, you then have content to share across all other social networks. The new addition of being able to make videos with stills and music is a welcome (and free) addition to the marketing mix.
Fourth and last I would say twitter.
Twitter I would say is probably the hardest to learn but also one you can potentially get the most out of. Good for search engine optimization, guest sourcing, vendor sourcing and to kibitz with other B&Bs around the world.
Linkedin business pages are also worth exploring, if only for the search engine optimization value, plus updates (similar to Facebook and Google+) can be posted there.
I am not saying give up on Facebook totally and immediately, but I would recommend exploring and getting on other avenues ASAP because you shouldn’t have all your social media eggs in one basket anyway.