Are Facebook Pages Obsolete?

Feb 19, 2016

You may not have noticed it yet but Facebook business pages are becoming increasingly obsolete. Organic reach on most pages is down drastically. A few outliers still get great engagement but the large majority aren’t anymore. Facebook has made changes to improve user experience and the best way to do that is to show less page posts.

Many cynically assume its just to force business owners to spend money on ads. It’s not a cynical Facebook plot. Facebook knows that if people log on and only see page posts and not posts from their friends they’ll stop logging in as much. If they stop logging in then Facebook loses their entire value. They need to show less Facebook pages so that users still like the platform. So it does ultimately force you to buy ads to get visibility but thats a by-product of trying to make the user experience better.

Now that Facebook has made these changes it has led to a lot of posting becoming very one sided. You post a lot and get very little engagement. Facebook pages are almost starting to seem like Twitter. A lot of posts but not much happening. The top 1% continue to see great engagement but otherwise its pretty quiet out there. All the engagement is on posts you make as well, when your fans create their own post almost no one will see it.

This has led to an immense rise in the popularity of Facebook groups. People are joining them and being active at a large rate. Its allowed everyone to join groups with likeminded people to work with. From professional to personal, theres a group for almost any interest. When I log into Facebook, most of my favourite interactions come from different groups. From learning more about the industry, technology, entrepreneurship, sports, or being a geek, theres groups that I check and interact with daily.

If you want to create a ton of engagement then start a group. Groups could be used to successfully build a community. Keep them closed so that people can search them and find but you ultimately have control on who comes and goes. Do it for the neighbourhood you farm or niche you work. You’ll most likely have to create most of the content early on. It will take work but you’ll more effectively be able to build a community than just a Facebook page could.

So does this make Facebook pages obsolete? Not at all. Facebook pages still have immense value but not in the same way. Organic posting is not nearly as valuable as it used to be. Now Facebook  Business Pages have two main value propositions. The first is branding, unlike a Facebook group you have way more control over the branding and messages that go out. So you can use it to build your brand more.

The most valuable part of a Facebook page now is that it gives you the ability to do Newsfeed and Instagram ads. Which are often the highest performing ads. Without that you’re mostly relegated to right side column ads which aren’t nearly as effective. Although thats most of the time. Interestingly I have one current ad set running for a client where the most effective part is actually coming from the right side column. That ad seems to be the exception to the rule though!

Facebook pages are not obsolete but their role has changed. They are no longer the best way to build a community of followers. That role now is most effectively done by a well managed group.