Business Update #4

I hate facebook. I mean, that’s no big news to anyone who knows me, but now I have an official reason for that… Let me explain.

As you know, What’s up in Kyoto has a facebook page. Not that I’m happy about spending all that time and effort there, but as the owner of a company that essentially deals in online services, you need social media presence these days, and facebook (unfortunately) is (still) the number one in that respect. It is a modern version of the village pump, and word of mouth can go quite far there, if you hit the right people – even without advertising.

And it did go very well indeed: it took me several months, but from one week to the next my posts had a reach (i.e., the number of people seeing them) of some 600 people each day. That made me very happy, and I could see the click-throughs to the main page increase, even though by far not all of these people would look beyond facebook. This state lasted maybe a month or so, and now, equally inexplicably, my reach dropped to about 20 people each day – that is back to the reach I had when I started out on facebook, which is really bad for more than 6 months of effort, and many more followers than I started out with.

courtesy of gadgethacks.com

image courtesy of gadgethacks.com

I had no idea what happened, until I found an article somewhere: facebook changed something in their internal workings. To put it simply (or at least, as I understood it): Whenever a user logged on to facebook, they got a “news feed” on their facebook page, which included any updates their friends had posted, and any new posts on pages they had liked. But now, facebook has changed this, the “news feed” only contains posts from friends. There is now a new “explore feed” where facebook suggests pages that are similar to what people have liked before. But not necessarily the pages people already did like! If you want your (business) page to show up in the news feed of people who liked the page already (!) you’ll have to pay for it.

As an analog example, just imagine that all of a sudden you have two mail boxes, one for letters and postcards of people you know (which is probably mostly empty) and another one for stuff the mailman thinks might be interesting to you, depending of the mail he has delivered before. However, for the newspapers you have already subscribed to, you have to out and get them yourself at the newsagent’s…

I’m not sure how to feel about this to be honest. Half of me is furious because the whole thing is simply yet another way of making more money for facebook. And there’s now a lot of people I can’t reach anymore – including ones that already liked whatsupinkyoto. If you did – I’m afraid you’ll have to manually visit the page each day, nothing I can do about that. The other half of me is happy that facebook was always just an add-on to the main page, so if things go well there it’s good, if things don’t, there’s not much lost. Especially since I never paid a single yen to them. At least that is not going to change. Ever.

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