The Woes of Facebook – Where Else to Follow Me

Facebook Woes on http://www.theculinarylife.com

Hello everyone! There’s been a lot of chatter lately about how Facebook has been severely limiting the content readers see on Facebook. The reality is that no matter what you do as a reader, or what we do as writers, very little is showing up on your news feed from the pages you follow. We food bloggers have been chatting behind the scenes, trying to figure out the best way to deal with this. For part two of this series, go here: Woes of Facebook Part 2.

Here’s how it’s playing out for my own Facebook readership.

I have 8,000 followers. Over the past few months my engagement has slowed to less than a trickle – a tiny fraction of what it was at the beginning of the year. Now, when I post to my Facebook page for The Culinary Life, only 100 people see those posts (on average). That is about .01% of my followers. Facebook then tries to charge me $20 so that you can see my content. Given that I don’t make any money from the stories and photos I post – please note there are not any ads on my site – paying hundreds of dollars a month to access you, the fans who willingly liked my page, is just not possible.

To make matter worse, Facebook has been charging page owners to run ads, which is in essence buying followers. That’s not a problem in and of itself, but when they charge to grow a page’s following and then remove access to those very same followers after they’ve accepted money for them, well, I find that incredibly unethical.

And so…

Given all of these sadnesses, I’m going to stop posting on Facebook so much since you are not seeing my posts anyways. If you’re really interested in the delicious things I want to share, I encourage you to please sign up to receive my new posts by email, or to join my monthly mailing list. You can also follow me over at Google+, where the foodie community is brimming with recipes, videos, and general excitement.

A new option is to subscribe to The Culinary Life broadcasts on App.net. It’s a great little tool that allows you to feed your favorite sites into one easy-to-follow stream. If you enjoy App.net, you can receive a real-time update every time I publish a new article or recipe. Highly recommended.

I’d love to keep sharing my culinary content with you, but unfortunately, Facebook is not a place I can do that anymore. And I’m not the only one that feels this way. In fact, Veritasium did a wonderful video on how Facebook may actually be committing fraud.

I’m very sad that Facebook has decided to exclude the blogging community from accessing our loyal friends and fans, you who we love so dearly and are the reason we put so much work into creating recipes, photographing dishes, and publishing post after post. Really, you are the reason we work so hard. It’s terrible that Facebook has decided to hide our work from your eyes after you’ve already expressed interest in seeing it. We are not large brands selling products; the vast majority of food bloggers are moms, dads, husbands, wives, hobbyists, students, writers — everyday folks who just want to invite you into our kitchens.

Until Facebook allows us access to the people who have chosen to make us a part of their lives, I’m afraid Facebook will continually become less of a platform where you will find your favorite foods and recipes. If you disagree with the way Facebook is culling content from readers, I encourage you to contact them and let them know.

For part two of this series, go here: Woes of Facebook Part 2.

 

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Comments

  1. nancy baggett says:

    An excellent post, Stephanie. You have expressed my feelings exactly. My posts and pics are a labor of love to an audience that I so enjoy connecting with. But I have no budget to pay to connect with my followers. Very sad, indeed.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Thanks so much, Nancy. Perhaps it makes sense to gouge large brands, but not smaller content folks. And even then, large brands have the right to be angry about Facebook changing the game after taking their money for building their page following.

  2. thank you so much. this was very well stated.

  3. Sally Hurst says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thank you for this concise summation of what’s going on with Facebook. I’ve been trying to build my following over the past couple of years and just when I thought I was getting somewhere, this important tool went out the window, I’ll check you out on google+ and plan to start up my own operation there too.
    Thanks again!

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Indeed, I think a lot of us feel that way. See you on Google+! When you hop on, please drop a link to your profile so I can add you to my circles.

  4. GrilledShane says:

    Great post! I have been noticing this lately and even posted about it on Facebook. Unfortunately, most of my interactions come from Facebook, so looks like I will need to rebuild my Twitter audience and look into Google+. Good luck to me. Haha.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Thanks, Shane! I need to do the same thing actually. Twitter never came naturally for me, so this should be interesting. Are you already on G+?

      Are you on the Food Blogger Friends list on Facebook? Groups are still a good source of information, and FBF is a good one, especially for details on growing your social media following elsewhere than Facebook.

      • GrilledShane says:

        Good luck with Twitter! it looks like you have a ton of followers, which is a great start. :) Most of the people I follow on Twitter have nothing to do with grilled cheese so that has kind of created a conundrum for me. Someone said to create two different usernames (one personal/one business) but I wasn’t sure about that.

        I just setup my G+ account ( ) but I don’t totally understand it just yet. And I am not sure who to follow. Here is to figuring it all out.

        I had not heard of the Food Blogger Friends list on Facebook but I just requested to join. It seems like it is right up my alley so thank you very much for suggesting it.

        Good luck with everything.

  5. I really enjoy getting the broadcasts you set up on App.net. It gives me push notifications for things that come from your RSS feed (a bunch of free stuff, btw)

    Maybe it is worth highlighting some of those other avenues as well, since there are people that use them and if you get more people using them then you can get past the whole chicken/egg thing and roast that chicken up!

  6. Nicely written. There are many things I love about FB, but I’ve become so frustrated with it lately, both as a user and as a Page Admin.
    With the decline of user engagement in all areas (FB, Twitter, even blog comments) I’m seriously considering just giving up all together. But then, I can’t. You know how it is. So I will keep going, with or without FB’s help.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      I totally know how it is. :/ You never know what will happen – they may turn it around, and there is at least *some* engagement still happening on Facebook.

  7. Arthur in the Garden! says:

    Yes, they are kinda evil!

  8. This tallies with my own experience: I have 7,866 followers and currently only 75 saw my most recent posts.

    (BTW isn’t 100 of 8000 just over 1% of your followers, not .01%?)

  9. The new algorithm makes it so only people engaged with your page see your posts, so if only 0.01% of people see your posts, problem is at your side.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      If the organic number of users seeing my posts has gone down by 85%, don’t you think that will hurt the chances of virality? It’s basic mathematics.

  10. I see the same with my own blogs as well. (i have two). Facebook and Twitter have been really disappointing but reddit has been the best for my traffic.

    I find the same results as yourself. We dont have as many Facebook followers but same ratio.

    What has engagment on G+ been like?

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      My engagement on G+ has been ok, though there aren’t a lot of clickthroughs to my site. Like Facebook, people want to see the whole thing in the G+ post, which is disappointing. I have nearly 70,000 followers on G+ but I don’t see a ton of traffic from it. I’m still trying to figure out the bet way to engage.

      How are you structuring your Reddit interactions to garner traffic? I never thought to use Reddit because I didn’t want to get banned for posting my own content. ;)

      • Is the engagement/clickthrough on G+ higher than Facebook though?

        With regard to reddit, it is all about picking the right subreddit and having a redditesque headline. I understand your fears about spam but most sub-reddits have a very mature audience.

        For what I can garner from studying the website, The trick is to get about 10 upvotes in the first few minutes/hour. The algorithim with a combnation of social proof brings in a load of traffic.

        For instance, one post of mine brought in 3500 uniques because it was posted to the relevent forum but I have had others that flopped. So it really is just trial and error.

        In short, if I was you I would look for relevent sub-reddits for your blog and get a feel for the community. Generally the reddit community is intelligent and some bloggers/authors benefit tremendously from Reddit. People like the Oatmeal, Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, for instance. Things like the Daily Mail or Fox News are less popular on Reddit.

        Hope that answers your question.

        • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

          Thanks for this. I’ve had some luck with Reddit for book events, which was awesome, but I’ll see what’s what for food blogs there.

          Clickthroughs from G+ aren’t very good at the moment, but I’m trying to figure out what appeals to that specific group of folks. It’s a whole new world I need to learn how to attract and navigate.

  11. Sean Meaney says:

    Pooy to Facebook. Time to start a new social media site called Cookbook.

  12. Sugar Daze/Cat says:

    Interesting commentary. Like you, I have seen a drastic decline in my reach/engagement on fb in recent months – I have just under 6000 followers. It’s frustrating! As a small business owner, I had invested a lot of time and energy in cultivating that fan following. I try to use my fb page to interact with clients and propose interesting offers — contests, promotions, pictures of our products, polls, etc. I find myself using the page less and less these days. Just curious — have you ever paid to boost a post? I have, on very limited occasions, and I have a theory that those of us who have paid in the past, get it the worst with the new algorithm. FB knows we will pay to have our reach increased! Good luck with your other platforms. I find that this has at least pushed me to get back into my blog a bit, google+, pinterest, etc. as a means of reaching those interested in interacting with my brand.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Absolutely! I’ve paid to boost the occasional post, then lo and behold, the next time it cost more to boost a similar post to as many readers. It’s just another area where I feel they’re not being totally upfront about their advertising charges and practices.

  13. I saw this coming a long time ago, and as a small business owner, I just simply decided not to spend any time building a fb presence. I also noticed early on that everyone who “liked” my page or requested to be friends never actually bought any of my products. That was a big red flag to me. I read this as if fb was serving a surrogate purpose for them that indicated they would likely never become a customer.

    I have a mailing list too. But get this, the number of people who bought my services/products who are on my mailing list? 28% of sales. That means 78% of my sales come from people who just come to my website and decide to buy. No other engagement or interaction needed on my part.

    The whole concept of building a loyal fanbase, tending to them like delicate flowers, and all the rest of it seems like nonsense according to my numbers. Each business is different of course.

    Good luck to you.

    • 72% of sales that is. Was having trouble with my maths there ;)

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Yes, that makes sense. Mailing list members are often more easy to convert than those on social media. I’m glad it’s working well for you!

      Question – what industry is your business in?

  14. Makes a lot of sense Stephanie. In business we want to control the message of the brand to our following. With twitter there is a feed, and anybody who wants to follow you gets every messaging you want to transmit. Why is FB curating feeds? Controlling the flow will parle to controlling the discourse if people allow it. Congrats on being one of the first to recognize this.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Exactly! The individual should be the one curating their feed, not the service provider. It makes no sense to hand that power over to the host, who will judge content on arbitrary factors that in no way relate to the preferences of the end user.

  15. Unfortunately we’ve seen the same thing happen on our sites, and given the amount of time we spent nurturing these accounts, it’s a little disheartening.

    I’ve stayed away from G+ thus far because honestly I just don’t “get it”, but I guess it’s time to give it another shot.

    Twitter is still a good source of traffic for us, but I felt like FB was a good source of viral traffic, especially after they introduced hashtags into the mix.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      G+ is fun because it’s still new, but I guess you never know what the end result might be. They could all go the way of Facebook, I suppose…

  16. Mark Mercer says:

    Totally agree, Stephanie. Facebook has been changing the rules and not being honest about what they’re doing. Nobody is saying that it isn’t necessary to pay for some marketing, though somebody on our FB Page’s commentary on your situation did try to play that strawman logic fallacy.

    As a newly-launched, really still-launching, social media marketing venture ourselves, working with authors and other small businesses, and with our own travel-related blogsite/social ventures – Facebook changing the rules of the game is simply cheating.

    You’re absolutely right to call them out on it and focus on other venues for your marketing. We’ll be looking at the same thing for ourselves and our clients.

    Meanwhile – Yummy recipes! I am very happy I found you from not-Facebook!

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      I totally agree – changing the rules in the middle of the game is obviously going to piss everyone off. I guess they believe they’re large enough to weather the fallout, but I think MySpace also felt that they were ensconced at the top of the food chain, which turned out to not be the case.

      And glad you like the recipes I’ve got here! :)

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      I totally agree – changing the rules in the middle of the game is obviously going to piss everyone off. I guess they believe they’re large enough to weather the fallout, but I think MySpace also felt that they were ensconced at the top of the food chain, which turned out to not be the case.

      And glad you like the recipes I’ve got here! :)

  17. Hi,

    Just wondering if you’ve ever actually viewed your own web page?

    This annoying hovering share/like/tweet thing on the right obscures the text of the heading, the post, etc.
    Even commenting is harder than it should be with this ridiculous thing in the way.

    Why do this?

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Question, Shaun – do you think I would intentionally do something to make it more difficult for readers to comment on my site? Of course not. So then this is probably something I am unaware of, instead of something I personally set into place just to make life more difficult.

      If you’re interested in helping me troubleshoot, a screenshot would be useful, as would the details on what sort of device you’re viewing the page on.

  18. (Came here via G+.) FB is extremely frustrating. My biz ended up getting a reach of 1% of our 10K fans. Just pathetic. Like you, we decided to stop posting there and move where we have more reach and where fans have more control over what they see.

  19. Both of them also let you specify the directory to store the screenshot in and
    Capture Screen also has the option to exit the application when the screenshot has been captured and saved.
    G cell mobile phones have been a work of art of progression and time.
    Simply log on to the internet, visit a good internet shopping portal and browse
    the latest mobiles on offer.

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