Why We Haven’t Dropped Facebook…Yet

April 2018

Image: iStock

When the #deletefacebook movement erupted, my business partner Maureen joked, “Perhaps we’ll soon follow up our ‘Why We Dumped Twitter’ post with one about why we dropped Facebook.” But we haven’t dropped Facebook, at least not yet.

Yes, our engagement stats recently dropped significantly, even before the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which highlighted just how loose Facebook’s privacy policies have been and how invasive its business model really is. Some of the drop-off is basic attribution; people moved on. Some is our own fault: Because our company page isn’t linked to a personal account, we are ourselves limited in engagement.

But that limitation is also one reason we’re not ready to abandon the site or the company to which Sheryl Sandberg appears reluctant to follow her own, well-publicized advice. It doesn’t take much effort to post to or monitor our Facebook page. And, as a small business, we don’t have a lot of other options at the moment.

Sure, there’s LinkedIn, which both of us are active on. But with some 700 contacts, my feed often overwhelms me. As a very small company, we have trouble making our LinkedIn company page grow. Even when we offer instructive posts for those who create content and content marketing, page stats are anemic.

This is, of course, an issue for all small companies trying to gain exposure in an increasingly overexposed online world. So, when is it time to break up for good with Facebook (and others like it)? Here are three hints.

The numbers just aren’t there

Plenty of research shows the high we get when people engage with us on social media. Whether it’s liking an Instagram photo or commenting on a LinkedIn post, we like being liked. It also takes time for your profile – and social engagement – to grow. But if the stats never materialize as envisioned, or they evaporate for an extended period of time, it may be time to try another tactic or just walk away.

Time isn’t what it used to be

Most people, including those who handle social media as a job function, begin blogging or posting updates with plenty of inspiration, words and imagery. They stick to an impressive editorial schedule and readership grows, especially on days when something fresh goes up. But after awhile, that drive wanes and people post less frequently. Things change – new jobs, new loves, new responsibilities – that can rob the most dedicated of time previously devoted to online relationships.

It’s time to switch channels

The great thing about online communities is they evolve. Some change in order to survive; others merge to remain viable. Still others give up the ghost and just go away. Before deciding to dump one platform, find out where you’d next like to go. It may not be the most popular … now. Then put in an honest effort to build a following on that network and redirect people to join you from other sites. It starts by following others, engaging with them and learning from them.

Not every platform is business friendly. I recall when Facebook made it difficult for organizations to “join,” forcing brands to setting up profiles as people. Then came fan pages and company pages and a Google-like advertising scheme that proved quite profitable —for Facebook and Google.

For now and for us, we’re going to keep our Facebook page and celebrate each new like or follower as we have, rather than fixate on the drop in likes and comments. That is, until it’s time to move on.

Anne Saita