Tracy Petrucci: November 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Facebook's Organic Reach Is Going Down...Again

The latest news is Facebook will yet again lower the amount of people who organically see the page's posts, starting mid January 2015. What do I think about this?


That's how I feel. I am so over caring about Facebook. Honestly all of those times Facebook goes down, I am secretly hoping it never comes back up. I stopped following all of my friends and family on Facebook over a year ago. I'm still connected to them...should I have a hankering to see what someone is up to in some magical moment of spare time, I can easily still navigate to their page and see what's new in their life. But I am 100% completely and utterly OVER Facebook.

Now that being said, I have a business to run, and I will absolutely keep using Facebook for business for myself and my clients as long as it keeps working as well as it does. This doesn't mean I care about it the way I used to. I hardly care about the changes they make that are now inevitably going to sideswipe us all of the time. Every single time I log on to Facebook something is new, some wording is different, some setting is missing, something else has a glitch. One page works one way and another works a different way. I really don't even know if it will still be around as a top marketing tool as long as my career and I are around. But Facebook is still so deeply integrated in most people's activity (and yes, contrary to a few studies that show teens have drifted off, they are still very much on there) if it fades out I see it taking a long time... But you can't really ever get too attached to anything in social media as a business in my opinion. You can't really overly rely on something you don't own.

Here are some thoughts regarding the article which was brought to my attention tonight. I will start off by saying that most popular social media sites did not start with the intention of hosting a profitable place for businesses to make 80% of their income (ie the jewelry maker in mentioned article) just to be nice. If I really have to explain why and how Facebook started...well needless to say it had NOTHING to do with trying to help businesses be profitable.

That is the evolution it took, as business owners started making profiles on MySpace and soon followed to Facebook to try and "entertain" relationships with their networks by posting work related stuff to their audience. This was, totally, smart. It also started to feel a bit like exploitation.

So then came along Facebook pages, to help put a protective barrier up against spam and said exploitation, and for a while there, everything was good. Then the rest of civilization followed suit, and users had a ridiculous amount of crap to sift through on the "news" feed and an algorithm was originally put in place to keep you from tuning out and going crazy at all of the stuff being thrown at you from the friends and pages you follow. Then Facebook realized they were sitting on a gold mine, and now we have to pay to promote posts and people complain that they are used to making all their money from Facebook and can no longer depend on it.

I guess my thoughts on that are, so what? And remember, this is coming from someone who really does NOT like Facebook. Don't forget that. I almost hate Facebook. I mean I really kind of do hate Facebook. But the truth is, Facebook doesn't owe you or your business anything. Can you think of any other website with the intricacies and complexities a Facebook page has, that was created with the intention of bringing you TONS and tons of sales at no cost?

Why shouldn't Facebook change its ways and get a piece of the pie? It built a totally successful platform for people to connect with a perfectly targeted audience. Due to the reasons mentioned above however, it's all just TOO much to see everything from everyone. You have to admit it's true. You'd go nuts if you saw every single post from every page you like (and don't really care about) and every friend and old high school acquaintance and distant cousin.

Yes I'm annoyed they feel they need to drop the organic reach even more now because now it's all about the money. No doubt in my mind it's no longer about filtering out junky posts. But because I checked out a long time ago on really caring about Facebook, it just doesn't get to me that much.

[Sidebar... watch the documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply. It is a good reminder that free services are never what they seem, and you are always giving up something when you partake in the free services of companies like Facebook and Google for example]

Here are some reasons I still like Facebook for my clients:

1. Creates a successful and cost effective place to advertise. Please read my whole post on why Facebook ads are actually REALLY amazing for most businesses here. If you have already read it just read it as a refresher if you're still upset about poor organic reach.

2. Posting helps your SEO organically, even if you aren't advertising your posts. It helps you rank higher in search engines.

3. It's an easy and free place to create community and brand messaging, because people will find it or look for you there and see what your business is all about, perhaps beyond what a website can do.

4. It's a nice place to do good ol' fashioned marketing as opposed to direct sales. In the article mentioned above, the guy from Superfly Kids says people aren't searching for superhero capes on Facebook, so they use more money on Google adwords. But what about the idea that sometimes you have to plant the seed or the idea in someone's mind that they even NEED that superhero cape to begin with. Maybe they didn't even think about that before they saw it on Facebook, for example. Nobody is going to search on Google for something they didn't know existed yet, or for an idea they don't yet have. That's what marketing needs to be about for many small business owners.

At the end of the day, you just can't put all your eggs in one social media basket. If everyone and every business started butting in on Instagram, the same thing would happen. People will leave. Pinterest is good today, but might not be good next year. Maybe people read your newsletter now, but some huge shift in activity may leave email obsolete within a decade.

Regular people (aka consumers) usually start using a tool, then slowly businesses catch on, then it gets saturated, then they move on. And the cycle repeats all over again. In the classes I teach around the county I always start off by saying social media is generally not the end all solution for any business. And shoot, this is what I do for a living. But I'm not afraid to say it.

I do have a few clients who have never needed anything but a Facebook page and a Twitter account to double their business year over year. But I will never stay too comfortable in that zone even with them, it's all too new and it's too unpredictable and we don't own any of these platforms and their decisions.

What has worked traditionally for your industry? Trade shows? Networking? Farmers Markets? In my opinion we got kind of spoiled with Facebook pages and I don't blame them for getting hip to it. There's a lot of talk about Facebook already being antiquated and some people are saying it's already old news and to move on. I don't agree. If you look at the numbers it's as popular as EVER and my clients have the sales to prove it. So I will ABSOLUTELY keep using it. But what I have done instead is remove my attachment, my dependency, and as I said above, my overall care for it as a whole. And boy is it liberating!

If Facebook works for your business, keep using it! If it doesn't, get the heck out of dodge and never look back! There is so much heat on the topic, believe me it feels damn good to say, "Eh, it's just Facebook..."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Business Spotlight: Ian Statzer of ICON Surfboards

ICON Surfboards
Oceanside, California

With modern expression of individuality reaching new heights, it's no wonder surfers all over the county are gravitating towards these iconic boards. Ian Statzer - local artist turned shaper - builds his individual flare straight into his work, and designs surfboards for the creative souls in and out of the water. Keep your eyes peeled along the coast and you're sure to see his ICON logo poking out of the waves at each turn.
With a humble spirit, and a modest business approach, Ian is the perfect example of an organically grown small business. While still working as a shaper for other big-name local brands, Ian sets time aside to meet with interested buyers individually, and creates specific boards custom to each surfer, a craft that has long been dismissed or that comes with a hefty fare these days.

There is such a humbling satisfaction in buying something when it makes a difference to the seller. There's a sense of camaraderie in supporting a company when you know the story behind their business, and that your contribution, no matter how small, impacted their success. Remember a few years ago when people began to turn away from mass-produced products, such as beer, for the locally-produced, hand-crafted alternative? There is nothing different in the surf community. Big brands have dominated the scene for the last few years, making it difficult for young bucks to entertain the idea of investing in a small-name start-up. However, recent merchandisers such as Captain Fin Co. and Brixton have brought modern day surf culture back the roots, and provided a platform for successful local business.

Interviewing Ian was the same sort of feeling.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Introducing...Small Business Spotlight!

Research on small businesses indicates that 145,000 new businesses start up each year in America. However, 80% of these fail within the first year. What?! Let's combat this dreadful statistic with a shining spotlight for some of our most beloved small businesses around San Diego county in the newest segment of this blog... Small Business Spotlight!

Independent writer and photographer Leesa King will be zipping around our big, bustling county (and beyond, wherever she wanders) interviewing and snapping pics of some of the best underground hot spots, up-and-coming professionals, and creative craftspeople you can't possibly wait to meet! Stay up to beat by checking in frequently to see who is next on our list of San Diego's most interesting small businesses and show your support by buying local.

Attend one of the many weekly farmer's markets [Little Italy every Saturday morning is a personal favorite], or by doing some holiday gift shopping at a local craft fair - starting with the Village Artisian Faire this Saturday in Fallbrook.

Introducing our newest blogger! Please submit business feature ideas to:

Leesa King
San Diego, CA