Facebook Business Pages, WordPress Widgets #FridayFinds

by Sherryl Perry on January 3, 2014

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Have Facebook’s algorithm changes affected how many of your followers actually see your posts on your FB business page? If you’re not willing to pay Facebook to promote your posts, what’s your alternative strategy? (I’m spending more time on Google+.) In this week’s #FridayFinds, I share links to two articles that should get you thinking about Facebook business pages. As a bonus, I’ve also found a great article on how to insert widgets into your WordPress posts and pages to incorporate dynamic content (such as your Flickr and Instagram images).

Time to Tweak Your Strategy for Facebook Business Pages

You’ve probably noticed that unless you’re willing to pay to have your posts on your Facebook business page promoted, you’re not getting the amount of views that you once were. It’s getting so bad that many small businesses and solopreneurs are beginning to question whether maintaining a Facebook page is worth the time and energy. Recently, I received Kim Castleberry’s (@AskKim) newsletter in which she explained why she’s going to start splitting her time between Facebook and Google+. To quote Kim:

 With Facebook making multiple critical mistakes its simply no longer the gem it was in the past… and it’s now hiding 90% of my content from you (sometimes including security updates and malware warnings and important stuff!!)

To take a closer look at what’s being said, let’s take a look at two posts that I found particularly compelling. The first post is This Irate Cookbook Author Represents A Swelling Threat To Facebook’s $6 Billion Ad Business by Nicholas Carlson on BusinessInsider.com (@SAI). The irate cookbook author who is featured is Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti) a well-known author who has an impressive following of over 8,000 Facebook followers on her page The Culinary Life. The reason that she’s irate is that of those 8,000 fans, only about 1% see her status updates, recipes, and photos. Stephanie is not alone. Nicholas goes on to say that:

Spokespeople for several companies told us that the “reach” of their Facebook posts declined by as much 80% after the changes.

The second post that I believe is worthy of reading is Should you Dump your Facebook Page in 2014? by Genevieve Lachance (@VASimpleService) on VASimpleServices.com. One of the things that I appreciated the most in Genevieve’s article is the excellent Slide Share presentation that she created:

Genevieve also includes a quick synopsis of other social media networks that may be worthy of investing your time.

Adding Dynamic Widgets to a WordPress Post or Page

Widgets are great but while some WordPress themes have the option of displaying widgets in the footer (and possibly other locations), most themes only let you display widgets in a sidebar. If you’d like to embed a widget into a post or page (using a WordPress plugin), check out Joe Fylan’s (@JoeCanWrite) guest post How To: Easily Make Your Posts Dynamic by Inserting Widgets on WPKube.com. If you really want to get creative and insert multiple sidebars and widgets, Joe also has suggestions for a couple of plugins that will help you accomplish that too.

Joe’s suggestions for reasons why you would want to embed a widget in post or page include inserting dynamic content such as:

  • Your latest tweets
  • Photos from your Flickr or Instagram accounts
  • A list of your recent posts

Over to You:

What are your thoughts? How have the recent Facebook algorithm changes affected your Facebook business page? Have you noticed a significant decrease in views? Have you tried investing in Facebook ads to promote your posts? Have you ever inserted a WordPress widget into a blog post or page? (If so, please share your experience with us.) Do you think you’ll try this in the future?

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Brent Jones
Twitter:
December 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I don’t think it’s a lost cause just yet. It’s just a different sort of beast. Requires a lot more time, attention and strategy than it once did.
Brent Jones recently posted..The 7 Deadly Sins of BloggingMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry December 4, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Hi Brent,

Some people are still doing well on Facebook but I honestly don’t spend much time on my business page. FB is a beast and I’ve never tamed it. :)

What I do is concentrate on my personal profile and use lists. Although, I admit that most of the time when I do share business related content, I share it to all my friends. When I first started doing that, I was surprised to find that many of my close friends found a lot of it helpful. Turns out that lots of them are trying to promote something online or know someone who does. I mix in a few fun shares to keep it personal and then call it a day.

All in all, I don’t spend much time on Facebook. Do you? I checked out your page and followed you but I’ll probably see your tweets more often than your FB shares.

Thanks for the comment! It’s nice to meet you. :)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Self-Serve: How the Mobile Age is Impacting Customer ServiceMy Profile

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Brent Jones
Twitter:
December 5, 2014 at 9:12 am

Glad we’re connected. :-)

I actually do spend quite a bit of time on Facebook, both for myself and for my clients. But I do tend to like Twitter better.
Brent Jones recently posted..Invite All Your Friends to Like Your Facebook PageMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry December 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Hi Brent,

I wouldn’t be afraid of trying to engage people more on my Facebook page. So, I’ll keep an eye out on what you’re doing. One reason that I really like Twitter is that the 140 character limit is my friend. It saves me time by not letting me talk too much. :)

Have a nice weekend!

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Cole Wiebe
Twitter:
January 8, 2014 at 1:07 am

Hi Sherryl.

I have also been spending more time on Google+. I’m finding the return on my time investment to be greater there than on Facebook or Twitter. I get more visitors to my blog and those that do are more likely to engage and convert.

Wishing you a very prosperous and memorable 2014,

Cole
Cole Wiebe recently posted..The Real Reason Most Blogging and Social Media Missed the Mark in 2013My Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 8, 2014 at 9:51 am

Thanks for sharing your strategy with us Cole. I’ll make sure that I have you in my Google+ circles.

I wish you a prosperous and memorable 2014 tool

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silviu
Twitter:
January 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Hi Sherryl,

A Happy New Year for you and your loved ones.

I don’t think we should dump our FB page. Not yet. Nothing in this world lasts forever and the “change” rule applies to FB, too. I will keep the page and wait to see what happens this year. Stability is more important than change (horrible concept isn’t it?).

Multiple sidebars? This is interesting. Maybe a new trend in the design of our blogs.

However, why should I have more than three sidebars on my blog and where to put the fourth? I must read the post to see what is all about.

Multiple widgets? Double edge sword as the widgets may slow down your site. I also don’t see the reason why to place your tweets on a widget on your blog.

What is really important is to place any type of content we want on any part of the blog we want. This means to have total control of the display of the content on the blog.

On the other hand we must have a clean and easy to navigate blog and this raises the question: what are the most important things that we must put on our blog?

In my opinion, apart from the actual posts, there are only two vital elements you should place on your blog: an opt in form and a section where you will display your best and most popular content. The rest is just fancy experiments and play with the blog.

I still have to study the opt in form part. However, I have already experimented with the list of your most popular blog posts. I used nRelate Most Popular plugin. I am not totally satisfied but .. it is the first try.

As for pictures from Flickr or Instagram … . I have a few Flickr pictures on some of my pages and now I am thinking to get rid of them. Efficiency is more important. Also I don’t want to be dependent on too many external sources. I am already upset that one of my Flickr pictures is no longer available and must be taken down from one of my pages.

Have a wonderful day
silviu recently posted..How to Display Your Most Popular Content From Your BlogMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 7, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Hi Silviu,

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones too!

I agree with you about not dumping our FB pages. It’s true that you never know what may happen. That’s one of the reasons that I try to secure my user ID and profile on as many social media sites that I can. You never know when one will really catch on. Some of these fledgling sites may become premium in the future and often if you’ve joined in beta, you can possibly lock into a low price or be grandfathered in.

When I read the article about creating multiple sidebars, I envisioned creating new sidebars that only show on specific pages (using the short code that Joe incuded). I’m thinking sort of like using the Widget Logic plugin (one of my favorites). The beauty of this is that your pages would be customized. Although I haven’t used Widget Logic on my site, I used it on a client site that was targeting two different customers (end users and people who wanted to sell to the end users). It worked really well.

I don’t post to Flickr or Instagram but I was thinking that being able to insert a widget into a post would be cool for someone who uploaded a lot of images. If it was dynamically pulling from your account that should solve the issue of your having to manually delete references to images that no longer exist.

I’m glad to see that my post got you thinking and (as always) thanks for making me think to reply! :)

You have a wonderful day too.

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Genevieve Lachance
Twitter:
January 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Thank you so much Sherryl for sharing my SlideShare presentation. Facebook Business Pages have been a great source of frustration for many lately. I would like to remind your readers that Facebook Personal Profiles also have the Edgerank factor which means that Facebook limits who can see your posts (although it doesn’t seem as bad as Pages). It’s really difficult to know who you’re reaching since you don’t have stats on profiles. I would suggest perhaps using services like Bit.ly when posting links to your website from your profile to keep track of the clicks and traffic.

The best thing to do on Facebook is to keep publishing engaging content. The more people interact with your content, the more people will see it. I’m not ready to give up on Facebook but my efforts will probably be better spent on different social networks in 2014.

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Sherryl Perry January 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

You’re welcome Genevieve. We’ve been following each other on Twitter for a while now. So, when I came across your slideshow (while doing a little research for this post), I knew I had to share it.

It is so difficult to know who you’re reaching on Facebook. I agree with you that the Edgerank factor does not seem to have the same negative affect on our personal page. I also agree that engaging with people helps get your content seen. I’m not abandoning FB either but I’m concentrating on my personal page and I’m letting my FB page pretty much sit there. I’ll continue to have dlvr.it automatically post my articles there but today, I removed the “Find Us on Facebook” widget from my sidebar. It was negatively impacting my page load time and it wasn’t increasing the number of followers that I have.

Thanks for dropping by and adding to the conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do-Follow Social Media Sites and a Filter for Facebook #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Jeevan Jacob John
Twitter:
January 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Hey Sherryl,

I have decided to deactivate my page (already deleted it…I have about 12 days before it is deleted permanently).

I decided to go with this option mainly because this was a brand new page (Haven’t invested much into it. So, it’s not much of less).

Like you, I have decided to use my FB time for Google Plus :D (I have already put lot of effort into it, plus I was going to put more time into the site, so this is a win-win situation for me).

Anyways, thank you for sharing these, Sherryl :) Hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Jeevan Jacob John recently posted..Welcome To Daring Blogger!My Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 7, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Hi Jeevan,
Sorry it took so long to reply to you. Your comment (and two others) went into my spam folder. (Weird!)

If I were you, I would undelete your page. It’s not hurting you to have it and you never know what will happen in the future.

Thanks for dropping by and joining the conversation.

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Jeevan Jacob John
Twitter:
January 9, 2014 at 11:11 pm

No problem, Sherryl :D

It’s not much anyways (I only have 5 fans..and 3 of them are from my college). So, yeah, not much of a loss. I might start a new one, depends upon FB policy makers.

No mention, and sorry for the late reply!

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Heru Prasetyono
Twitter:
January 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Hi Sherryl,
Facebook is such a great social media we can make use of it to develop our businesses. I beleive this. Unfortunately I have not invested in Facebook business page yet. I started my blog just in a few weeks and I have not thought to make use of it optimally. I use both facebook and google plus to share my posts in usual way like common people do. By the way this is a great idea.
Thank you for sharing a useful posting.

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Sherryl Perry January 6, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Hi Heru,
Thanks for dropping by and for letting me know about the commenting issue on my site. I had installed a new plugin that was preventing some visitors from leaving comments. You were the first person to tell me about it and I really appreciate it.

Thanks for letting me know that you found my article helpful. While I still believe everyone should have both a personal and business Facebook page, I’m glad that people are recognizing that Facebook is serious now about making money from advertising. Unless we’re prepared to have our posts “promoted” we have to expect that most of our followers will never see them.

I’ll check out your blog soon. I just followed you on Twitter and I’ll look forward to connecting with you on Google+ too.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Facebook Business Pages, WordPress Widgets #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Susan Cooper
Twitter:
January 5, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Happy New Year my friend.

Facebook has never been a great place for me to share my stuff other then personal notes and pictures. Partly because I haven’t invest the time. The other part is it wasn’t worth the time when I did. This only makes me want to put my energies into something else.

I have added widget in different places but I hadn’t thought about Instagram. That is a great suggestion and I am on it.
Susan Cooper recently posted..Bogle Petite Sirah: WineMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Happy New Year to you too Susan!

Thanks for letting me know that you found Joe’s tip about inserting a widget into your posts helpful. Your illustrations are amazing. So, inserting your Instagram images good definitely work for you. Good luck with it!

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Catarina
Twitter:
January 5, 2014 at 11:54 am

Sherryl, I have to say I’m glad more people are discontent with Facebook. Am trying to spend more time on Google Plus but have to admit it doesn’t really excite me that much:-)
Catarina recently posted..Can Mary Barra lead General Motors?My Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Catarina,
I’m still not using Google+ as much as I should. For me, I just need to get into the habit of visiting it more often.

I’m also tweaking my strategy for my personal FB page and interacting more. Even though my posts aren’t being seen often on FB, I’m still driving traffic from it and I believe it’s from the personal connections that I make there.

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A.K.Andrew
Twitter:
January 4, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Great post Sherryl,and I , like Doreen thought it was just my FB page. So really good to know that it’s widespread. You reminded me that I must go back to G+ having taken a break from all SM for a while. I liked your suggestion Re: plugins for widgets inside the post. I’m a visual person so it appeals to me. will def. check out ways to insert as suggested. good to see you again:-)
A.K.Andrew recently posted..Is the Beginning of a Novel more important than the Ending?My Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 5, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed my post A.K. Yes, Facebook is definitely limiting the number of views of our posts unless we’re willing to pay to promote them. Do you use Bing Webmaster Tools at all? I haven’t gone back to see if my SM traffic is increasing but I did connect my social media pages to my Bing account after they announced it.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Connect Your Social Media Sites to your Website Using Bing Webmaster ToolsMy Profile

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Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
January 4, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Hi Sherryl: I have indeed noticed a decline in the number of people who have read the posts on my author’s page on FB. I didn’t realize this was a widespread phenomenon. I paid for one FB ad, but didn’t notice any results. It just all takes so much time and effort, I admit to feeling dumbfounded about it all. Thanks goodness there are folks like you and others who are willing to share your expertise on how we can stay ahead of the game.
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..one major goal for 2014My Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Thanks for the kind words Doreen. A lot of bloggers are questioning the value of paying FB to promote their posts. I thought of you (and a few other authors who I know) when I shared that article! I thought it would be someone who you could relate to.

I hope you’re staying warm and having a great weekend!

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Heather
Twitter:
January 4, 2014 at 1:36 am

Both posts on Facebook bring up some good points. In early 2013 I spent about $200 promoting my two Facebook fan pages. I got a lot of new “likes” but it’s really meaningless now as so few people see my posts. Facebook fan pages are a waste of time now. I’m currently just auto-posting to them. I’m not sure what can really replace them as twitter is totally different, linkedin is full of people looking for work, and google plus is still link-dump territory (At least in my field) everyone is on Facebook, but I don’t have the budget to reach them.

I have started posting directly to my regular Facebook profile page. It doesn’t have the potential reach, but at least I know someone is seeing my posts!
Heather recently posted..Barbie Illustrations by Robert Best – A Wall Calendar for 2014My Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 4, 2014 at 10:31 am

Heather,
You’re doing exactly what I’m doing as far as auto-posting to both my fan and personal pages. I believe that the traffic that I’m getting now from FB (not much but my 3rd referral source) all comes from my personal page. So, the fan page is not worth my time.

You’re active on Pinterest too aren’t you?
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Ways of Protecting Your ID on Social MediaMy Profile

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Heather Fonseca
Twitter:
January 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I am active on Pinterest and it’s also my top social media referrer. I get far more people coming to my blog from Pinterest than Google plus, Facebook and twitter combined. But it’s not at all like Facebook. I can share images, but not thoughts, updates or anything else. I really liked how a Facebook fan page could add a bit more to the discussion that was happening on my blog, but it seems that’s all over with now, at least for the little bloggers like me.
Heather Fonseca recently posted..New Years Resolutions 2014 – beyond the basicsMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Heather,
I wouldn’t give up on FB completely. The key is engagement. Do you post the same pictures that you post on Pinterest on your personal Facebook page. When I post the same article to my personal page that I do to my FB business page, more people see it there. Then, if you can get a conversation going around that post, there’s an even greater chance that more people will see it.

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Leora Wenger
Twitter:
January 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Yes, I’ve certainly see that it is harder for small businesses to do a lot with Facebook pages (fewer posts show up in the stream). On the other hand, some local businesses already have a good rhythm, and people really like their goods, so FB continues to be a winner for them. Example is our local sushi restaurant. One of my clients pays every now and then to promote a post – she says it really gets people’s attention, and for them it works. I just post to my FB business page for my blog every now and then – I pay less attention to it than I used to.

No one said the road to success would be easy.
Leora Wenger recently posted..Post Highlights of 2013My Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Leora,
Thanks for reminding everyone of the value of promoting your posts on FB for local businesses. I think restaurants are an excellent example of this as are local B&Bs and other businesses.

I have Dlvr.it set up to automatically share my new posts to my personal and business FB pages but I don’t spend much time on my business page at all. Having said that, I just checked my Google Analytics and I’m surprised to see that FB is my 3rd source of referral traffic and my 7th source of overall traffic. At a glance, I couldn’t tell if that’s coming from my FB personal page or my business page but I believe it’s from my personal FB page and that comes down to building brand awareness and relationships.

Thanks for dropping by and I agree with you about the road to success. :)

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Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
January 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Sherryl — Social Media Examiner had a post this week that predicts we’ll see the major social media networks charging more for what used to be free. To be expected — they’re businesses. I wrote about my experiment in boosting one of my posts on Facebook a few weeks ago http://bit.ly/1izNOAL. Unless you’re willing to spend a substantial sum of money Facebook posts are a waste of time and money. All the more reason to have a blog and to make your own website your home base for your marketing efforts. If you’re a local business, don’t forget advertising in local media, which could be cheaper and more effective. Social media is just one of many channels to reach your customers. Thanks for the great information and sources, as usual.
Jeannette Paladino recently posted..How to Monitor What Others Are Saying About Your BrandMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Jeannette,
I just read your article about your Facebook experiment. Thanks for sharing that with us! I’m glad to hear that you tried it. It brought back memories of a few years back when my husband and I were running a photography business. We did not have a blog back then but we did invest in FB advertising. The result was that we drove quite a bit of traffic to our site with them. Bottom line, the ROI was zero. The traffic did not convert. Of course, there were other contributing factors but the lesson learned was the value of tracking all of our marketing efforts.

Local media can be an excellent investment as can be PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. Thanks so much for mentioning those.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Facebook Business Pages, WordPress Widgets #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Chris
Twitter:
January 3, 2014 at 5:49 am

It is true for small businesses that creating Facebook business page is no longer as enticing as it ways years ago. Still, aside from buying Facebook ads, there are a lot of ways that you could do to get people to like your page. Some examples are holding giveaways on your FB page, including your FB page URL on your offline marketing materials (business cards, brochures, etc.) and others.

At the start, it’s fun to play around with widgets to make your site more beautiful. However, it reaches to a point that having lots of plugins bog down your site speed. In short, the need to boost your site with plugins would subside once bloggers realize that it’s all about the quality of content featured in their blog that matters.

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Sherryl Perry January 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Chris,
Those are great suggestions for driving traffic to your Facebook business page. Thanks for sharing them. It’s more important now than ever to encourage people to visit our pages and not depend upon them seeing our posts and clicking on them to take them there.

FB contests can definitely be an incentive to someone to like your page. I know I’ve liked pages before simply to participate in a contest.

I’m with you on the plugins but I can see the potential value of being able to insert your latest photos directly into your posts and pages and have them updated dynamically. One of the plugins that Joe suggested would be helpful for inserting tables. I know enough HTML to not need a plugin for that function but it could definitely fill a need.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Use Facebook Fan Gate to Get New LikesMy Profile

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Diana
Twitter:
January 3, 2014 at 5:40 am

Hey, Sherryl! Nice post to open the year with :-)

Yes, i have noticed decrease in the organic reach of the business pages i have access tio and/or manage. But only on those which don’t promote. The pages which pay for FB ads – no difference whatsoever. FB is getting less business friendly… but hey, as every business, FB needs to make money so what a better way to make businesses pay more money ;-)

I liked the slideshare presentation, too! Heading over to read the posts now as well. But wanted to say that while the cited statistics may be true “in general”, every business should very carefully think specifically about their FB page. For instance, a financial institution or business will have better leads and conversion from LI but a travel agency would definitely do better on FB than on LI. Besides, social media (especially FB) is not necessarily for lead generation…

Have a great day, weekend and… of course, year! :D
Diana recently posted..Building a Following on Twitter the Right WayMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry January 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Hi Diana,
Thanks for letting me know that you liked my post. I think I may be finding my “groove” with my #FridayFinds after taking a break from them for all while.

I agree with you that there are some businesses that lend themselves well to Facebook business pages. We all need to be where our customers/clients are. There’s no doubt in my mind that some businesses will benefit from the lack of competition for views. Then again, it depends on whether the views are converting and if the ROI of the ads is paying off. I think it would be a stretch for many of us to find value in promoting our posts but I could be wrong and I’d welcome hearing from anyone who’s successufl with them.

As always, thanks for dropping by (and starting the conversation going). You have a nice weekend too!

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