Facebook’s made news recently for yet more messing with its news feed. The social media giant’s been testing in several countries separating non-promoted page posts to a secondary tab, separate from posts by family, friends, and promoted posts. Of course, the non-promoted pages’ organic reach dropped even lower than it already is for most such pages. While Facebook says it’s just testing this for now, I wouldn’t doubt if this or something similar is the future.
In Facebook’s defense, separating pages from family and friends’ posts might be useful from a user perspective. However, Facebook continues to only display friends’ posts out-of-order, if at all.
As it stands, organic reach for Facebook pages is already pretty low; it’s impossible to have one’s posts seen by everyone (or even the majority) subscribing to a page. Even paying to “boost” a Facebook page post only allows it to reach a percentage of a page’s followers, not all of them. And, of course, charging to boost a post only favors wealthier page owners, such as conglomerates. Good luck for non-profits or smaller site owners/bloggers. The Oatmeal had a recent strip about this.
While Facebook is important (if only out of its sheer size and user base), smaller site owners and bloggers should strongly consider not making it their main or only social media/promotional option. Fortunately, there’s other promotional means available. Below are some other options.
Email notifications/mailing lists
If possible, I’d recommend site/blog owners run a mailing list. (If not, at least offer email notifications of new blog posts.) Among the benefits of a mailing list:
- You get to keep full control over how you reach your site’s users.
- There’s no sudden odd changes or limitations on how your subscribers are reached.
- Customization options that social networks wouldn’t allow for (email newsletter templates, etc.).
- Subscribers are guaranteed to receive every email (barring some spam filter).
- It’s inexpensive (but see below).
Ultimately, mailing lists (and email notifications) offer a range of benefits, without some algorithm getting in the way.
I note email notifications separately from mailing lists. While the former doesn’t allow for the range of customizing or direct targeting newsletters do, notifications don’t require a physical street address to be included (newsletters do, per anti-spam laws). While some might list their home address, that seems like a bad idea for privacy reasons. The cost of renting a post office box to use as a mailing address, however, might be prohibitive just to run a blog newsletter.
Twitter offers some advantages over Facebook, most prominently a chronological feed (for the most part). Hashtags also are a way to promote a blog or site. Promoted tweets are also an option available for those that do want to pay for such promotion.
On top of that, Twitter also has a broad user base.
Pinterest might be of interest for photo- or image-heavy blogs/sites. While Pinterest is often associated with arts and crafts, it’s got a dedicated user base. I’ve used Pinterest to search for infographics.
LinkedIn can be useful for sites/blogs with a professional bent or focus. The social network’s made some improvements to its features since being bought by Microsoft.
Most sites or blogs based on WordPress, Blogspot, etc. will offer an RSS feed built-in. There’s plenty who still use RSS readers, and they’ll want to subscribe to a site’s feed.
While you’ll want to keep your Facebook page (for now), I suggest using Twitter, email newsletters/notifications, and RSS. Users will be notified of new posts, there’ll be fewer odd changes not in you or your readers’ interests out of your control, and direct user targeting/contact is possible.
How do you promote your site?