Before going on to discuss this topic it will help readers to understand what a Facebook Page is:
Anyone who has interacted in any manner with Facebook will have encountered Facebook Profiles, which are the ‘personal’ pages for individuals. These are commonly, simply referred to as a ‘Facebook Profile’ and may be set to be private; public; or limited, authorised, access.
Facebook Pages on the other hand are designed for use by businesses, brands, public figures, other public organisations (charities included), etc. These pages are always public. The intention is for them to be used to connect with customers, clients, fans and the such.
Every one, no matter who or what they are, or their intention, has to signup for a profile before they may use any other Facebook feature. Subsequently they may establish any number of pages or, it they wish and it suits their purpose, convert their profile into a page.
Initially pages proved ‘their weight in gold’ for businesses etc. because, just like profiles, they provided organic reach to those who liked or followed the page. However, there have been many changes since, partially or perhaps principally, motivated by the company going public with shareholders who, naturally, wish to see a return on their investment.
Some of these changes have been previously highlighted in this website:
2017 – Facebook Engagement Algorithm – Changes
2018 – Facebook News Feed Changes
It is in fact hard to keep up with all the changes Facebook now frequently introduces. It is not as if it is limited to one a year.
Impact of Algorithm Changes
Increasingly Facebook appears to be focusing on income. Naturally, many do not like this and may even object to it (apparently a substantial number have deleted their Facebook accounts and apps) however, it is only fair to acknowledge they have now become a business and therefore need to see some sort of profitably. Users should be grateful, despite the change in status, Facebook still provides free access and remain, despite the decreased user base, the largest social media network worldwide.
Facebook keeps their algorithms (these determine who will see new posts) under constant review. The changes mentioned above combined with more recent alterations have had the following impact.
Posts by businesses, brands, publishers, etc. have been effectively downgraded while those created by individual users are given greater priority. Subsequently businesses reported a substantial decline in engagement. Now, instead of page posts being organically added to user’s newsfeeds, followers of the page have to go directly to the business’s, brand’s, organisation’s, author’s page to view posts. Clearly, unless a follower is really keen, they are unlikely to do this on a regular basis or in fact, at all.
In the early days, when Facebook made no distinction between individuals, businesses, brands, organisations, public figures, etc. these appreciated the benefit as for them it effectively meant free advertising. Once the change of status came into effect it did not take long for the management to realise there was a lot of money to be made. The algorithm changes fed into this.
Without the investment of considerable time and effort, those pages not employing paid adversing soon became forlorn no matter the quality and content of posts. The cost of constant paid advertising is beyond the reach of many, especially the individual entrepreneur, author or small business holder. Just promoting one post currently (July 2019) costs $15 per time. Does not seem too excessive at first but when multiplied by daily/weekly posting quickly mounts up. Of course, the more major advertising packages attract a greater investment.
It should be noted, for anyone who has the means, those who do advertise on Facebook tend to experience good results. This is primarily due to the fact more and more people now shop online. Nevertheless, the cost still exists and needs to be recoverable from generated income.
As always with this website, how matters and issues impact on authors are a primary concern. A few authors were asked to share their current experience with Facebook Pages. The following is a resume:
Note: These are NOT quotes. They are simply a roundup of several authors responses.
Proved critical to success but required considerable time investment.
Most book sales resulted from Facebook engagement but do fall into a niche market. Consequently, a member of all related Facebook groups and constantly offers help and advice relative to the niche. Does take time and have to constantly check and respond to comments etc.
Find it difficult to find time for, and to navigate, all the pages. Prefer to chat with people in groups and find more success through profile than by means of product pages.
The changes to Facebook’s algorithms and emphasis on advertising income now make Facebook Pages unattractive and ineffective for most individual business owners, entrepreneurs and independent authors (who, whether they acknowledge it or not, do run a small business).
Unless a reasonable income is guaranteed from sales, royalties, etc. from which the costs of advertising may be deducted, Facebook Pages are no longer considered viable for the individual unless they really have a keen, dedicated, customer, fan, or reader base. There is also the issue of time to keep page(s) and profile viable as indicated by the authors questioned.
One minor advantage to having a page, which has not been mentioned up to now, is the ability for blog posts to be automatically posted to a Facebook Page. This used to be possible for profiles but the system now prohibits third-party access to profiles. In view of the other points discussed above users may consider this is not really an advantage because, if the page is to prove an effective resource, they will still have to monitor and engage with it on a regular basis.
Overall, the conclusions reached here accord with those inferred in the previous article Facebook – Profile or Page? within which the drawbacks and benefits of profiles and pages were discussed.