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It’s no surprise that a lot of small business owners are frustrated with Facebook.

Basically, the big complaint is Facebook doesn’t show their business posts to people who like their page. I understand the frustration (it happens to me too), but I also know there’s not much we can do about it, because if you really think about it from a marketing and business perspective, it’s quite logical (and even necessary) on their end.

So first let’s go over WHY this happens, and then what you can do about it:

 

Here’s Why Facebook Isn’t Showing Your Business Posts:  

Please do not get insulted by this, but the biggest reason Facebook isn’t showing your business posts is because people don’t really want to see them.

I know what you’re thinking: “Wait… of course they want to see my posts Dan – they liked the page after all – a bunch of them even told Facebook to show it first”.

No. They don’t really want to see your posts. Here in 2021, “Liking” your page carries as much weight as the “we have to get together” that’s uttered when you bump into an old acquaintance you haven’t seen in ten years. You both know you aren’t really getting together*. And that’s ok.

*That’s the hope, at least!

Facebook has one goal: to make money. And to make money, they need people to be on Facebook as much as possible. To keep their users interested, their incredibly complex algorithm shows users content it knows they want to see. And it compiles this information using reams of data – first and foremost being what users actually engage with, day after day, week after week, month after month.

Let’s be honest here – most people probably liked/followed your business page because they like you and want to throw you a like (maybe you even asked them to). But unless you are constantly posting interesting and useful stuff they are engaging with daily, your chances of making their feed diminish by the hour. 

This goes for Facebook engagement, and other places on the web as well. So if people aren’t actively engaging with <whatever your business/industry is> OFF Facebook, well, Facebook knows this. It’s why in my feed, I see stereo equipment, the Yankees and Jets, and horror movie stuff WAY more than I do my friend’s contracting service. Because I engage with that other stuff both on and off Facebook.

This means your every other day “we have this in stock” or your “see this product, it helps with xyz” that gets three likes and one comment out of  3000 followers… well, Facebook knows nobody is really interested. You don’t stand a chance against politics, cat memes, and the other content your followers generally engage with all the time.

Even if you tell people to “follow / see first”, Facebook will eventually ignore that command if their daily actions do not jive with that. Facebook knows what people really want to see based on what they do daily, and not a one-time click or follow or occasional like.

Again, no insult intended to your content or your business. My own Facebook business page has crickets. Nobody really gives a @#%$. I’m ok with that.

Part of the disconnect is we’ve come to feel Facebook is ours. It’s not – it’s theirs. Again, think about this logically – what if I told Facebook to “follow/show first” 100 different businesses – it would have to choose which are really most important to me. And it would do this based on my daily activities over time. That’s how Facebook works. And if you really think about it objectively, it’s basically the only way it can work. 

 

Make sense? Cool, let’s move on to what you can do about it:

Bottom line: You must create and maintain constant engagement, way beyond a few token likes and comments. There is no other way.

Sadly, for a lot of us (again, me included), that means there’s not a lot we can do. Because creating constant engagement is hard. Telling people what you have in stock or why this product is good or whatnot… that’s not really useful or terribly unique. Not in the long run.

I do know a few businesses that succeed on Facebook. They all have two things in common: They have a ton of followers, and they post useful content ALL THE TIME.

For example, a popular restaurant who posts their specials twice daily. They have built up more than 5k followers, and a daily menu is seen as useful. Even if they don’t get a ton of likes, everyone “knows” to check their FB page to see the specials. That’s good engagement.

We have a local weather service that gives incredibly detailed and fun forecasts. They have 100k followers now, and often get hundreds of likes/comments on their forecasts – clearly, people really want to see their content every day.

I know a local record store that has a few thousand followers. Every Monday night, they post a fun hour-long video going over the used records that are going out the next day (“used tues for yous”). Every Friday is a new release video. These are fun live videos that people tune in for. In between the video postings are fun, goofy posts that people like.

Are you sensing the theme here? You need to go waaaay beyond “here’s what’s in stock” or similar every few days. Can you do that? Day after day, week after week, month after month? I’m a writer/marketer, and a pretty creative one at that, and MY answer there is “nah”. There are only so many creative words a day in me, and I generally save them for my clients.

Also, two of the three businesses I mention also have the advantage of a built-in “consistent engagement” business model. The restaurant posts lunch and dinner menus every single day; and people want to know the weather. Only the record store needs to think out of the box and “create” the engagement need, and they do that by having great live videos. You need to not only create that, but keep it up (and believe me, that’s the hard part.)

 

Like Michael Corleone said: It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.

When Facebook first became big a lot of small businesses saw it as a Godsend – basically free advertising for anyone. And for a short time, it was. But the business end of Facebook caught up – they only want to show people content they truly want to see, and their daily engagements trump whatever pages they “liked” or even “followed” at any given point.  

Trust me on this – I’ve been making a living online for close to 20 years now. I know it can be done, but like I mentioned in another post, there is no free web traffic. It’s either going to cost time or money.

I spend a few hundred a month on online advertising, and many of my clients spend a few thousand. Facebook offers an incredibly robust and targeted ad program, as do LinkedIn and Google.

For most of us, that’s the way to go. Because that’s business. 

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