Facebook Business Pages Are Dead

So I'm just going to come right out of the gates swinging and put it out there; dedicated Facebook business pages are not relevant anymore. The year is 2017 and Facebook has evolved into one of the most efficient advertising machines out there, giving users the opportunity to spend money at every glance. In doing so, it has become the same old commercial that everyone hates and has destroyed the need for a Facebook business page at all. 

Let me be clear, I still have and maintain a Facebook page dedicated to my photography work. I routinely upload new content, engage with my audience, respond to messages, post the occasional travel notice or promotion, and share new work with groups. Basically, everything that you're supposed to be doing on an active page. This doesn't change how I feel about Facebook one bit; I firmly believe that business pages are not worth the time they require to manage and update. At this point, specifically regarding my business page, I am just going through the motions.

Everyone seems to hate the current Facebook experience. We log in and get blasted with notifications about more ways to spend money on advertising. Boost this, boost that, click here to buy more reach. Plus the in-feed advertising has gotten out of control. Every single time Facebook comes up in casual conversation, it's always clouded with negative connotations about click bait style sponsored posts, fake news articles, and the most recent item we just looked at on Amazon. It is the television commercial that literally never ends, the show we were watching never comes back on.

I don't care what a certain celebrity looks like now, I don't want to see fifteen scary facts about the ocean, I don't want to buy Lightroom presets, and I certainly don't care whether I will or won't believe what one of the Kardashians is doing next. As the Facebook experience becomes increasingly volatile and every inch of our screen filled with sponsored posts, with business pages being nothing more than a reminder about ways to spend money, where are we supposed to turn?

Some of my favorite platforms include Instagram (the irony of course is that IG is owned by Facebook), 500px, Youpic, Gurushots, and Tumblr to name a few. They feel like creative spaces where people can share and connect with other artists. Find inspiration, clients, and market your skill set all without the volatility and ad spam found on Facebook. Are they perfect? No, of course not. Facebook is such an engine at this point that when it comes to marketing, it's near impossible for other platforms to compete. However, there is a pleasurable peace in not being bombarded with notifications about boosting posts and buying reach. 

Let me know how you feel about the state of the Facebook experience in 2017. Do you feel as negative towards the platform as I do? Maybe you view it as a perfectly tuned advertising tool that works wonders for your business, using boosts and sponsored ads to market in ways like never before. What about your clients? How do they feel about Facebook? Are they sick of the commercials too? Food for thought, let's about it. 

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92 Comments

Bill Larkin's picture

I agree. I've been saying this myself.

Evan Kane's picture

It's weird, everyone (many people) seem to share the same sentiment and have a strong dislike for FB but just keep logging in. Do you figure that FB toxicity will eventually be the social media giant's downfall?

Chris Kujawa's picture

Evan, funny you mention that. While there is still *some* positive to FB, I view it like a really bad car accident...the kind that you pass on the highway and no matter how much you tell yourself "I'm not looking" you just can't help steal a glance or two. Eventually, I do think you're right...the toxicity will be it's undoing just like the smut and cheese seemed to be the undoing of mySpace.

amanda daniels's picture

I agree. I do have a FB business page but I don't like it nor is FB my go to. I much prefer IG.

Evan Kane's picture

It's so odd that, despite also having a lot of frustrating flaws, Instagram (owned by FB) is so much more preferable than FB! Why do you think that is?

Kris Derentz's picture

Becuase they haven't fully monotonize it yet. They are currently working on this with the first step removing the chronological order of posts and now have Business Accounts. 2-3 years from now the experience will match that of FB.

Evan Kane's picture

Unfortunately I think you're right, Instagram has been and continues to be in the process of fully streamlining their monetization.

Jason Lorette's picture

The Facebook curse will eventually ruin Instagram too, we've already seen it to some degree, (stupid algorythms).

Chris Pugh's picture

I shut down my Facebook page about six months ago and wished I would have done it sooner.

Evan Kane's picture

I've read a couple blogs recently about people who closed the Facebook business pages and felt an immediate relief haha!

Ivan Hudacek's picture

You have right, it's useless.

Evan Kane's picture

Useless might be too strong a word, but I would positively say that with each passing day FB manages to be increasingly frustrating. Any thoughts on why it is more apparent these days than years previous?

Jason Lorette's picture

I agree, I wouldn't call it useless, but less useful in it's orginally intended sense. I use FB more for 'referral' and 'communication' now than traditional advertising.

borisschipper's picture

Agree

Ryan Brenizer's picture

"No one comes here anymore; it's too crowded." -- Yogi Berra

Evan Kane's picture

Haha!

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

I've abandoned mine long time ago. After paying a 4 figure price in ads to get fans, a year or two later FB asking me to pay extra to reach them with my postings. Doesn't make any sense.

Evan Kane's picture

Thanks for the comment Tihomir, I know that the whole "paying to reach people who already follow you" is a really common and touchy subject matter for everyone operating a business on FB. It's a pretty complicated issue that really boils down to users only being able to be shown a certain amount of content at a time, while the raw amount of available content is vastly greater than what they can be shown.

The right answer probably has to involve paid advertising for users at some level, the question is how can FB offer paid advertising without completely destroying any and all organic components of operating a page. I definitely don't have the right answer, but I know that where they are at now has, from what I've seen and heard, had a pretty negative effect on the general experience.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

They are just greedy and trying to apply censorship. The organic components of a page are already destroyed, in my opinion. Whether you post or not frequently, there's no formula that guarantees a good reach. FB have cut their own branch.

I also don't get clients from FB and I couldn't care less about my FB page.

David Justice's picture

Facebook put it's money in Video and constant posts. They care more about blogs like Buzzfeed and Complex where they can put the captioned videos up multiple times a day that can be easily shared. Those keep people on Facebook more. Instagram will go a similar way, I promise you. Too much money involved not to slow down people who don't pay or post 5x a day.

Evan Kane's picture

Thanks for your comment David. Personally, I don't think that increased posting frequency, on either Facebook or Instagram is actually beneficial anymore. Because the platforms both now use fairly complicated algorithms to determine who sees what, additional posting does not mean that you will be more likely to be seen.

If your post is ranked low in the news feed by these algorithms, there is no reason to think that additional postings per day with rank differently and trigger a higher placement in the news feed.

Kris Derentz's picture

The problem with FB pages is they are useless. FB makes it so none of your posts show up to your followers unless you boost them and pay. You spend all this time and effort only to have to pay more money to get them in front of your audience. They are now doing this with IG. It's the reason they got rid of the chronological feed and went to the algorithmic feed. Mark my words 2-3 years from now IG business account will be suffering as well.

On top of them screwing business pages, the whole experience is terrible. It's an ass load of ads mixed in with political rants from friends from HS, photos of peoples kids, or people bragging about some new item they got / trip they are going on. I refuse to use it except for some good FB Group pages for local meets and managing my business page.

In all honestly, I wish it would go the way of MySpace so it's one less thing to maintain.

Evan Kane's picture

You make some points that we hear all too often these days about FB usage Kris. I don't think that it's entirely fair to assume that the experience (specifically as a business page operator) should be a free one, or that we are entitled to access 100% engagement with our followers. That seems a bit unrealistic, especially considering that FB is in the business of making money so we must assume that many policies are designed to generate ad revenue for them, which I think is completely fair for them to do as a business.

However, the question is, have they gone too far? Have they in pursuit of ad revenue, created a all too negative space for the user. This is the circumstance that long term, I believe leads to the undoing of a social media platform like Facebook. When the user experience, both the everyday user and the business user, have such a completely toxic experience, eventually a point is reached where people en mass cease to use it at all.

Jeena Paradies's picture

I don't agree, I have an Ad-blocker.

Evan Kane's picture

Haha, I definitely agree with the use of an ad blocker in all honesty. Though that may mean that you see fewer ads, it doesn't mean that your experience, specifically as a business page enjoys any additional benefit.

Marc DeGeorge's picture

I think it depends on what you are trying to accomplish on FB. This holds true for any media (social, traditional, etc.) that you are using to promote your business. FB is still the best bang for the buck when it comes to impressions, and certainly has one of the best tools for targeting the correct audience. Most of my potential clients are on FB, compared to Instagram, for instance. So I will continue to use it as a marketing tool.

I don't really like the fact I have to pay to reach all of my followers at once, but that's why I get them to come to my website, where I can get them to give me an email address and then I can market directly to them. I don't really care about being creative on FB, as I'm only looking for results from my marketing/adverts. I also understand what those results should be as well.

From a personal user experience, I don't like all the ads and click bait. If I was only trying to reach other photographers/artists, then I might decide that FB is not for me. I have a 500px account, too, though I have my pros and cons about that site, too.

Evan Kane's picture

Hi Marc, thanks for your comment and you raise some great points. It is absolutely true that most people have potential clients in abundance who are active FB users, so from that perspective I completely agree with you that the platform gives us the most access to potential clients compared with other options.

As far as impressions and general reach, these are all basically static numbers that don't have a lot of meaning unless some percent of them is being converted into actual business, which is where I think a lot of people really draw issue. If a person is paying for likes or reach or impressions, but not converting any of them into dollars, then it would be a stretch to call them a business at all. A page with one million likes is the same as a page with 85 likes if neither page is able to generate clients and business for the operator.

Also, you're spot on with sites like 500px, etc being platforms for primarily other photographers, and users tend to benefit for if their intention is to reach other creatives.

Marc DeGeorge's picture

Hi Evan. Yes you are absolutely right. Impressions or likes by itself is not a very helpful thing to measure if that's all you are doing. Conversions are the most important to a companies bottom line, but while conversions can happen on FB, they typically do not because a first point of contact with a potential client is rarely where a conversion happens. There is no magical formula, and a conversion these days takes a lot more work via social media.

Dan Lubbers's picture

They haven't been relevant for many years since FB started their new algorithms with "pay to promote" pages.

Evan Kane's picture

The environment of FB has definitely changed, so I agree with you there. Though I think it's quite a stretch to say that they aren't relevant anymore as they command basically more eyes and views than any other comparable platform!

Tjeerd Doosje's picture

As a starting photographer, beside a full-time job as a teacher, I'm trying to start up my own studio, I've made a facebookpage two years ago and I have just near to 100 followers. I've noticed that, when I post one article (that is a link to my website) on facebook a day, the number of people who are shown this article drops significantly to about 4% or 5%, due to the algorithm used. I also get messages from facebook to promote certain posts, because the algorithm showed it to more people. When I don't respond to this, the next posts are dramatically low in showing to followers.
The algorithm seems to be: the more frequent you post, the less people will see your post. I've tried this out for not posting a month. Then I posted an article and the post was significantly shown to more of my followers which resulted in much more interaction, also from non followers.

In analogy to advertising the old fashioned way in a paper newspaper I see it this way. When you placed an ad in a newspaper with a circulation of say 10,000, all of the subscribers of the newspaper would have the opportunity to see the ad. Maybe a handful of them would see and read them consciously. The strategy of facebook in comparison to the old newspaper seems to cut out the ad randomly, that is that only a percentage of the newspaper contains your ad, so from the possible 10,000 subscribers only a certain percentage will see the ad and from that percentage there's only a few who will read them consciously.

As far as I know, there is no guarantee from facebook that paying money for an ad will increase showing your post significantly more to your followers. Beside that, it feels in my opinion like a sort of blackmail: if you don't pay for an ad, we will not show your post to a lot of people. If you do pay for an ad, what will come up next? If you accede to the first paying ad and the second, I feel there will be a point that paying a certain amount for an ad will have less effect for showing up in someones timeline than the first time you paid. Hence: you've to pay more for an ad to reach the same amount of people. But maybe I'm wrong: who can prove the contrary of this?

In fact it's the reason why I wouldn't pay a dime for this kind of advertising and I'm also considering quitting my facebook page: I got more response and followers when I posted my messages as a standard person than as a business.

Evan Kane's picture

Thanks for the comments Tjeerd, you make some good points, especially for someone starting out. I think that there are both fair and unfair aspects about Facebook's current advertising methods, some more beneficial than others.

The algorithms are most certainly something that complicate the platform as we're always trying to hedge the system in our favor, to get the most reach and exposure for our content. Unfortunately, we're all kind of at the mercy of FB when it comes to that subject, they can make subtle and drastic algorithm changes at will and choose whether or not to tell us about said changes.

When it comes to starting out and all the different social media platforms out there, if I were to give my honest opinion, I would not recommend someone put much effort into developing a FB page (just a personal opinion). The work to reward ratio, even with an advertising budget generally seems to be unfavorable when compared with something like Instagram.

Tjeerd Doosje's picture

Thanks for your extensive reply, Evan. You're right we all kind of at the mercy of fb, but I'd like to know what I'm dealing with so I can anticipate on it. I have a very loyal follower who almost interacted with every post I made, until last month. None of the posts she liked or commented anymore. I spoke to her in person and she said that she didn't see my posts in her feed anymore. To me this is not fair business, hand down to the quirck of an arbitrary algorithm.

I also started my IG-account last month and within a month I got more unknown followers and interaction than in the last year on FB, so I guess you're right about your honest opinion not to put much effort in developing a FB page.

Again, thanks for your reply: much appreciated!

Scott S's picture

Interesting. The page I manage (non photo related) has generated millions of impressions and tens of thousands of visitors in a few months. Instead of useless, maybe we should say the current mix of photographers aren't utilizing it in the right way or that other platforms might work better for photographers seeking certain clients? Or, pages without advertising or clear strategy are useless.

Facebook is amazing if you have clear KPIs, and understanding of relationship marketing, and are willing to invest In targeted ads. While I agree it's not everything, it's a disservice to digital marketing to say it's useless . After all, I saw this post on a Facebook, clicked on it, and read your article :)

Evan Kane's picture

Hi Scott, I definitely agree with you about there being a correct and incorrect way to go about FB pages. I am in complete agreement with you that a page without a clear strategy, regardless of budget or plans to advertise or not, is useless. Having a defined marketing strategy is vital to your success regardless of which social platform you're on.

I definitely spent a few minutes wondering about this article being shared on Facebook haha, no question there is a bit of irony there!

Scott S's picture

I hear ya. I think most people get hung up viewing Facebook as a social media. In reality, it needs to be treated like a relationship building media empire that can get some messages out in some circumstances . But, as you know, it's foolish to just spend all your time on just one thing. You're one algorithm change away from irrelevancy . Build great work, have a plan, and get it in front of people who will make a decision to hire you. :) but, Facebook TV / "Watch" looks like awesome potential

Evan Kane's picture

That's a great way to put it, people viewing FB as a social media. When in reality, over the last few years, it has very clearly become a business.

Everything of course requires context, some people may have great success via FB while others may just feel left out in the dust. I love what you said about building great work, I agree wholeheartedly.

Personally, I feel that great work, combined with a plan have a better chance to succeed on the other available platforms.

Scott S's picture

Very true. 1) provide value 2; develop relationships off perceived value 3; capitalize on relationships to generate ROI .

Thanks for the conversation.

davidlovephotog's picture

I get why you say all this being that it's your day job but saying a social site is awesome as long as you pay non stop doesn't work. I could pay for billboards and Superbowl ads if I had the money and wanted to pay. It's not just photographers that have had their followers held hostage on there. I know models that went from 5k likes a post to 300 just because FB hit a switch. When a beautiful woman can't get attention, you know something is a sham.

And your Facebook page has 1,860 likes. So where is the success story there? My page had awesome reach at that level, now that I'm at 31k (without paying a dime) my reach like everyone else is toast.

Evan Kane's picture

One thing to be cautious of is assuming that a page's number of likes has anything to do with the success of the business that the page represents.

In a time where both likes and engagement can be purchased at will, it is no longer indicative of success.

Scott S's picture

Hey David,
Thanks for checking out my hobby page. I work in communications for another company, and before that lead a research team at a University presenting research at international marketing conferences, but appreciate you spending the time to check out my hobby page.

Keep in mind for your own page that reach and true ROI is different. Reach is a vanity metric . Looking at conversions as tied to Google Analgtics and understanding your KPIs is another thing.

Instead of looking at followers , I recommend evaluating growth over time. A page with 1,000 followers that has grown 300 percent in one quarter is much healthier than 50,000 that is stagnant.

I'm sorry it costs you money now to advertise. If you'd ever like some guidance in how to engage your followers and try to develop an online, integrated marketing plan, I'd be happy to help.

Stefan Radtke's picture

It probably works for some photographers, but the clients I am working with aren't on FB. It's a time suck for me.

Evan Kane's picture

There is no question that the current pay to play model is definitely working for some people, I suppose it's all a matter of personal preference combined with budget. If it wasn't generating ad revenue for FB, I can only image that we would see a new system implemented over night.

Mark James's picture

I blocked so many ads, and tagged them as spam that FB contacted me to find out why. I told them that any unrequested attempt to sell me stuff is spam whether they think so or not. While it has cut back a lot on the bombardment, it is still there. I then went to amazon and looked at lingerie for a bit just to add some spice to the constant ads. You look at one thing for a friend and that is all you see for days. I'd rather pay a monthly fee than deal with it, but... ...Sadly it is where most people find me, so I'm stuck using it.

davidlovephotog's picture

I agree with the monthly pay. I would rather everyone with a business page pay $10 a month and have their reach left the hell alone. Right now only around 1k of 31k are even shown my post.

Scott S's picture

How are you using insights to gauge consumer interest and adjust your content marketing plan? Are you providing value to your followers? What's our plan on capturing leads and converting them?

I know it's super frustrating, but man, it can be super affordable to advertise. Check out Social Media Examiner for some tips if you wish to continue pursuing digital ads.

Mayur Bajaj's picture

And there was a time when Mark Zuckerberg said that he won't be promoting or advertising for any brand or company just for money. Seems like he is just doing the opposite and that too without satisfying the users. Has it ever occured to somebody that there might be a reason why there are lesser number of likes on a page's post as compared to the number of likes on the same post when posted from peraonal profile? I feel that it is a somewhat a strategy of facebook to not let the post reach to all the followers of the page. Instead, it wants the owber of the page to pay for it to get the maximum reach.

Evan Kane's picture

There is no question that it's true, the FB model is setup to reward users (advertisers) through paid content. They are even fairly upfront about it, so I think it is a tad unfair to throw Zuckerberg under the bus. At this point, FB is 100% a business and run accordingly, while we may be disappointed with the manner in which they go about it, we can't just point the finger the business itself.

I think that the only real answer is for each person to decide for themselves if the time and potential dollar investment is worth it for them. If you're running ads that successfully convert views into business then you'll have a very different viewpoint. Though if you're just buying likes on a page to have a big number, what is the point?

Harnav Bir Singh's picture

As Social Media is becoming, and to a large extent has become, a mighty alternative to Television, it has come down to the same bull*****. Same bombardment of adverts, same political and religious scare mongering and pointing fingers, same 'money can buy you fame' game... Differences are diminishing. I personally don't feel like logging into facebook now. Let alone using it for business and stuff.

Tom Marvel's picture

The irony of course is: I read this article because it appeared in my Facebook feed & I clicked through

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