Is It Finally Time to Kill Your Facebook Page?

Facebook can be pretty frustrating. I make no excuses about that.

But when do you say enough is enough? Does there come a time when you do what all the trendy thinkpiece writers do and straight up quit?

Quit Facebook

Should you really delete your Facebook page?

Spoiler alert: Nah, probably not. So why am I asking, exactly?

Because one of the blogging world’s heaviest hitters recently did just that.

Earlier this month, Copyblogger blew minds all over the online marketing world by announcing that it was killing its Facebook page. Not a revamp, not a relaunch – they were going total scorched-earth on this thing.

In their announcement, they gave a few reasons as to why they were ditching their Facebook page, like fake profiles diluting their fanbase and frustratingly low engagement rates. Others have issued their strongly opinionated responses to Copyblogger’s decision, and those opinions are absolutely worth reading. This isn’t about MY opinion, though – this is about YOU.

Thinking Copyblogger may be onto something? Think you might give up on YOUR Facebook page, too? There are some things you should keep in mind before you pull the plug.

1. It’s easy to fear the worst.

Copyblogger explained that one of the reasons they struggled with their Facebook page was a deluge of fake fans – basically, fraudulent accounts that become fans of your page. (They’re not wrong about this being a problem – you can learn more about fake fans here.) They cited their number of fake fans as “overwhelming.”

Was it really? Wellllll, that’s up for debate. Jon Loomer – who you will see is very, VERY smart – crunched some numbers and thinks that “overwhelming” may have been an overstatement. (Full disclosure, he’s not being critical of Copyblogger – he’s just taking a closer look at the data.)

Regardless of who’s right here, you can see what happened: Copyblogger assumed the worst and tried very, very hard to protect themselves. So hard, in fact, that they hid their Facebook page from the entire country of India.

Think about that for a sec.

India

Sorry, guys.

It’s easy to assume the worst, and to get a little spooked. Heck, every time Facebook changes an algorithm or Google releases a new update, practically every web marketer in the industry feels their heart rate go up! And especially over the past year or so, with organic reach sinking like a stone, it’s easy to convince yourself that something is a lost cause, and just isn’t worth the effort anymore.

Don’t be quick to assume that something is a lost cause.

When you hear about something that could negatively affect your marketing – even if it’s a legit concern, like fake Facebook fans – you shouldn’t automatically assume that the wheels are falling off the bus. Yeah, that stuff is a pain to deal with, but is it worth killing your Facebook page over?

The answer to that question is actually in the second thing you need to remember…

2. Data is your friend!

Data can be boring. I mean, it’s numbers. WOO HOO, right?

Buuuut…data is also your friend. In fact, on social media, data can be your BEST friend. Like, your BFF.

That’s why so many of the big social networks give you free analytics. (Facebook does it. And Twitter. And LinkedIn!) They WANT you to know what’s working. They WANT to make your job easier!

If you don’t analyze your data, you’re driving blindfolded.

Who’s your audience? Where are they from? What types of posts do they like, or not like? When are they online?

You can get the answers to those questions! Your data tells you what to post and when – you just have to actually DO it.

Facebook data

Who are your fans? The answers are out there!

The other reason you need to look at your data? Some of the most important data isn’t out in the open.

Facebook likes, retweets, etc. – all that stuff is great for the ego, but it’s only half the story. How many people are your social accounts actually sending to YOUR WEBSITE?

Here’s what I’m talking about. See, the people at Copyblogger are smart. They’ve been at this a long time, and they’re a huge name in blogging for a reason. Buuuuut they may have overlooked some important information when it comes to analyzing their data.

They saw that their Facebook page wasn’t getting a lot of likes or shares, which seemed to indicate that it wasn’t performing well. But what Jon Loomer found shows a different side of the story: Facebook was Copyblogger’s second highest referrer for traffic. In fact, it may have been responsible for tens of thousands of pageviews every single month.

Copyblogger traffic

Copyblogger’s biggest traffic referrers, according to Alexa. Source.

Just because your Facebook page LOOKS like a ghost town doesn’t mean that it isn’t helping. Same goes for your other social networks, too. Remember, things aren’t always what they appear to be!

3. Killing your page hobbles your advertising.

Getting organic reach and traffic from Facebook is a challenge, I know – but forget about all that for just a second.

Because even if you find that the organic stuff isn’t worth the heartache, you can’t forget about the value of paid advertising on Facebook.

A site like Copyblogger doesn’t necessarily need to worry about paying for reach on Facebook, because it’s big and popular enough already. It’s basically a household name in its industry.

For a smaller business, though, having the option of paying for advertising on Facebook is a HUGE advantage, because while it isn’t free, it can be more than worth the investment – IF you have an active Facebook page.

For one thing, your page’s likes and Insights give you a GREAT jumping off point for honing in on your ideal audience. It’s just like that chart I posted a little bit up the page – you can see what age group your audience is in, whether they’re mostly men or women, where they live, and so on.

When you’re sinking money into Facebook ads, you want to be as specific as possible regarding who sees them – that’s how you weed out the low-value clicks and traffic that drive up your costs without actually helping your business. If you don’t know who to target, though, you have little choice but to either blindly guess or cast a net that’s waaaaaay too wide.

Not only that, but your Facebook page bolsters your ads with social proof. You probably see this happen every single day:

Facebook ad

When you maintain a Facebook page, your ads show relevant likes to the people who see them. In the image above, for example, I’m not just seeing an ad for Zipcar – I’m seeing an ad AND I’m seeing the names of two of my friends who LIKE Zipcar.

Social proof like that can make an enormous difference, and without a Facebook page for people to like, you’re missing out on it.

Even if your Facebook page isn’t as popular as you want, or growing as quickly as you wish, killing it significantly restricts the potential of any paid advertising you may want to do now OR in the future.

4. Progress takes time. (Sometimes, lots and lots of it.)

I have a ton of respect for Copyblogger. I know I keep saying it, but it’s true, and I don’t want to come off as super duper critical of a decision they probably put lots of serious thought into.

But there IS one thing that struck me as pretty odd in their original post.

They describe in the intro how they reached out for help with rejuvenating their page… three months ago.

Three months? Three months.

That’s not a very long time. Three months ago it was JULY.

You’ve gotta give yourself time to make progress.

It sucks, but you’ve gotta do it!

Copyblogger’s Facebook page had been around for a long time before all this, and maybe it wasn’t living up to expectations. (Again, Jon Loomer’s excellent breakdown gives some reasons why that may have been the case.) But giving yourself three months to make a change might not be entirely fair.

I’ve talked before about the importance of slow, consistent progress, and I stand by that. My Facebook page has more than 41k likes, but I’ve been building them on a slow and steady basis for YEARS – I didn’t wake up one day to find a 10k jump! While being patient is tough and frustrating and blaaaaahh, it’s also realistic – and that matters a LOT.

All this might sound like I disagree with Copyblogger’s decision to kill its Facebook page, but really, it’s a little more complicated than that…

Conclusion: You should do what Copyblogger did. (Sort of.)

Deleting their Facebook page won’t be the end of the world for Copyblogger. Like I said, it’s a huge site! It gets tons of well-deserved traffic, its content is amaaaaazing, and it has a huge community of fans on networks like Twitter.

But that doesn’t mean you should delete YOUR Facebook page – even if it’s frustrating you.

I’m always saying that you should do what works and ditch what doesn’t, and that’s the decision Copyblogger made – so more power to them! But Facebook is still the biggest game in town, and with the right plan and more than a little patience, a small business can use it to go REALLY far.

So yes, you absolutely should follow their example by doing what works and ditching what doesn’t. But unless you’re ALSO getting around 450k monthly visitors to your site already, like Copyblogger is, ditching Facebook miiiiight not be the place to start.

What do you think? Would you ever kill your Facebook page? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Need more actionable advice?
Get your FREE weekly marketing “to-do” list
straight to your inbox every Wednesday:
About Laura Roeder

Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who gives businesses of all sizes the tools they need to make their mark on the web. She is the creator of the social media scheduling software Edgar, as well as social media marketing web courses like Creating Fame and Social Brilliant.

Comments

  1. I definitely see their frustration with Facebook, but it wasn’t hurting their business. Instagram was where it was at for me, while Facebook was pretty dead, but my Facebook page ranked higher on Google when my shop was searched. So instead of killing Facebook entirely, if it’s not for you maybe just limit time spent on it.

    Sidenote: Blocking whole countries from seeing their Facebook page didn’t sit well with me. I’m sure there are people in Egypt and India who would legit love Copyblogger’s page. That was weird. Do you know if that’s a common practice?

    • Tom | Team LKR says:

      I can’t say how common it is, but that Jon Loomer post Laura linked to digs a little deeper into that decision. (The short version is that you’re right – it’s kind of a problematic response, especially because India has a large, fast-growing tech audience. Also, in this particular case, India seems to have represented a fairly significant portion of Copyblogger’s traffic.)

  2. It’s coincidental that you’ve posted this today, because I’ve been having this very discussion with my social media person! She’s doing everything right on Facebook, and yet the numbers just aren’t there. It IS frustrating, but I’m sticking with it exactly because of the paid ad opportunities you mentioned. It’s crazy that I’ve been on FB the longest of any of my social networks, and yet my Twitter & Google My Business are waaayyyy more popular/engaged with, etc. It’s a head-scratcher, but c’est la vie. Great job putting the brakes on a Facebook panic, Laura! :)

    • Tom | Team LKR says:

      It’s interesting how a social network’s popularity goes up and down, isn’t it? I think you and Laura are right — the way we use Facebook is different from what it was a few years ago, but it certainly hasn’t outlived its usefulness!

  3. Bravo Copyblogger! It’s inevitable that more companies will start ditching Facebook in the future. For example, when I first started seeing your business posts, it was on Facebook (prior to going public), now when I login your business posts are never shown. The only way I know you still exist is because of your personal brand on LinkedIn and twitter, which in my opinion holds more value than FB. Now there are exceptions to the rule – large corporations like Zipcar that are willing to pay for the “sponsored” ad, the post would not show up if Zipcar did not pay for the space which comes at a premium. From a small business (B2B) perspective there is no reason to compete with such larger corporations. Facebook is one step closer to becoming the next MySpace. The real change will come when individual users realize [Delete Account] that they want their anonymity back because the misuse of personal data.

    • Tom | Team LKR says:

      It’ll definitely be interesting to see what Facebook looks like in a few years — the past 12 months alone have seen a lot of changes!

  4. Tony Howell says:

    I work with personal brands on their online presence and always encourage them to replace fan pages with followers on their Facebook profile. Once we work past any privacy concerns, it’s an easy way to consolidate power/reach on Facebook. Here’s my thoughts on this topic from about this time last year: http://getcreativesocialmedia.com/blog/2013/11/14/harvesting-facebook-why-you-should-kill-your-fan-pag?rq=kill%20your%20fan

  5. I definitely won’t be ditching my facebook page any time soon. I do believe that it’s system that takes consistency and time. Also, I sometimes receive personal messages to my business facebook page from prospects who are interested in working with me so it does help with lead generation and web traffic. And I like Copyblogger’s site as well.

    • Tom | Team LKR says:

      You’re exactly right – the whole “do what works, ditch what doesn’t” approach means something different to everyone! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it (or ditch it)!

  6. Nicely presented Laura! I really liked Jon’s piece and always appreciate the fact that he’s willing to get his hands dirty and dig into the data for us.

    My issue with Copyblogger’s decision is the message it sends to us as readers/fans/customers. They looked a channel and because it wasn’t performing as well as they hoped, the deserted it! So basically, because Facebook users weren’t engaging as much as they wanted, it’s not worth their time? They’ve even stated on Twitter that Facebook continues to be, and always will be a significant driver of traffic. I’d say if a network is driving traffic, engaged users are there…

    It’s also interesting that they made the decisions such a spectacle (knowing it would bring in huge traffic). To date the article in question has gotten it’s highest amount of engagement FROM Facebook. This goes further with their decision to remove comments but I don’t want to rant. I love Copyblogger’s content and respect the hell out of their team, I just wish they would handle these decisions differently.

    • Tom | Team LKR says:

      Funny that you mention their decision to remove commenting from their blog, considering how strangely ahead-of-the-curve that decision turned out to be (given how Facebook is putting more value on the comments posted to shared links). I’ll be curious to see what this decision looks like a few months from now!

  7. I don’t like Facebook. It takes more effort to grow your audience there than in other places, and once you’ve got an audience, they can’t hear you. It’s like building a movie theater that people are willing to go to and then having to pay people to watch your show once the room is filling up.

    That being said, I don’t think it’s ever worth killing your Facebook page. I sometimes compare Facebook to the kitchen at parties: you didn’t plan to have the party there, but it’s where the best conversations happen and everyone hangs out eventually.

    You give four excellent reasons to keep your Facebook page alive, and I think you need a Facebook page. That being said, maybe you don’t need to invest as much in it as you’d think. More than with other platforms, Facebook asks for a very close look at ROI. Once you know what you’re getting, you know how much to invest. Copyblogger perhaps should’ve just decided to treat their Facebook page like the family dog: it’s coming along, but in a cage on top of the car.

    • Tom | Team LKR says:

      You’re absolutely right about watching Facebook closely and measuring ROI. Using it effectively is a much more data-driven effort than it used to be, but once you have a handle on that data and know what to do with it, it can make things a lot simpler!