Why and how I’m changing my Facebook strategy

March 26, 2014

If you are a small business owner you probably have a Facebook page for your business. I have one for both of my businesses (you can see them here and here) and I can’t imagine where my business would be without Facebook! Over the last few years I’ve been excited to see that the number of clients and Facebook users who have been following my business page has increased to over 7,000!

However, while my LIKES have increased, the number of people who actually see and interact with my posts has actually decreased. The screenshot below shows my Facebook page’s reach in January 2014 and March 2014. Do you see the big drop in the number of people who see my posts (that’s what Facebook calls Reach)? You’ll see that from January to March 2014, my page’s Facebook reach has dropped dramatically.

Facebook Reach

In January, an average of 11-22% of people who liked my Facebook page saw my posts. In March, that average dropped to 1.1%-7.8%.

You probably have noticed the same thing with your own Facebook business page as well. That’s because Facebook has made a lot of changes to their algorithm – and they’re not shy about why they’re doing it. They’re making it very clear that if you want your fans to see your posts, you’re going to have to pay for it!

But what does that mean for you? It means that the “free ride” on Facebook is coming to an end. And it also means that it’s time to change how you use Facebook for your business.

How I used to use Facebook for my business – until now…

Back when I launched my business in 2011, Facebook was a great place for me to share recent blog posts, to ask my readers (that’s YOU) questions, to get to know you better and to answer any business-related questions. In other words, Facebook was a great way for me to connect with you and to build my community. It was a place where I can also share a bit of personal info and show you who I was outside of my business.

It was also a great way for others to discover this blog, but my main purpose for using Facebook was to nurture my already existing audience.  I loved the two-way conversations, the instant feedback and the quick connections.

At first, I put a lot more effort into growing my Facebook Likes than I did into growing my own list. I even had a Facebook Likes pop-up on the home page of my website AND a Facebook Likes box in the sidebar of every page of my site. That helped to grow my reach to over 7,000 Likes without spending much and it was great! Facebook was the third top referred to my website (after Google & Pinterest) and it definitely helped me to build the Launch Grow Joy community, especially since so many of you also requested me as a “friend.”

But over the last few months, I’ve been noticing less and less “reach,” even though I’m spending a lot more time on Facebook. And it’s turning out that my ROI on Facebook isn’t what it used to be, so I’m switching gears a bit and won’t be spending as much time there as I used to.

How I’ll use Facebook for my business – going forward…

That’s not to say that I won’t be using Facebook going forward! I’ll still be using it for my business, but I’m going to focus on it more as a way to get new readers and fans (through paid advertising) rather than as a way to nurture and get to know my already existing community, since so many of you will never see my posts anyway unless I pay to boost my posts.

connectongoogle+That means that I’m going to set aside a small budget for Facebook ads and I’ll be experimenting with other social media platforms like Google+. (Will you take a second to follow LaunchGrowJoy on Google+ so we can start connecting there going forward)? It also means that I’m going to be growing my already existing relationships through my weekly newsletter, so if you aren’t already subscribed, make sure to do so by entering your name and email address below this post. And I’ve also replaced the Facebook Like box on the sidebar of this site with the Google+ badge (to get your own badge for your site, click here).

I’m curious to see where this new strategy will take me, but I love to experiment and try new things in my business. Has your Facebook strategy changed at all? If so, leave a comment below and let me know. And if you have a Google+ page, leave a link below and I’ll start following you!

74 Comments. Leave new

Funny, I have been thinking about the exact same thing this week. My Facebook page is virtually dead even though I have over 10,000 fans. When I post something it’s like I’m talking to myself. It’s just not worth my time, my energy and especially my money anymore.

Although I will continue to post something on my page on most days, I’m going to start putting more of an effort into Pinterest.

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Tali, I agree – I think Pinterest will be a great one for you!

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I’ve got to start watching all of your Pinterest videos to get up to speed.:)

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Tali, jessica I can not wait to check out your Pinterest board and videos. I’m just getting into Pinterest and I love it. Thank you!!! Great post and great comments! So insightful, helpful and inspiring ;)

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I’ve also noticed that interactions from fans are no longer boosting the organic reach… I think I noticed this over the last week or two. Previously, if people like or commented, it would reach more people, but it seems they have changed that as well. For the past two months, I’ve been working on building on Instagram and I’m going to attempt Pinterest.

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I have seen that as well, Jessica!!! I think many entrepreneurs with products, like most of the readers here, will benefit from both Pinterest and Instagram!

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Same challenges here. Facebook seems to be really alienating their small business pages. It’s sad, but I think we will all be heading in your direction soon Jessica!

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Hi Andreea, I’ve been having the same issues with Facebook but for months now. I didn’t know anything about Google+ til just now, so It’s definitely something I will use going forward. Thank You soo much for the Instagram webinar, I am using it now and love it, It’s not only fun but will help my business grow. I am @lilykatdesigns on Instagram and +lilykatdesigns on Google+. Thank you for all the tips.
Victoria Penta

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Andrea, is there a link to get on that Instagram webinar you mentioned? I’m really looking forward to it. Thank you!!!

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I noticed the same thing a few weeks ago. Therefore, I’ve been focusing on platforms like Pinterest, We Heart it, Where to get and yesterday I started using Instagram.

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I have been wondering the exact same thing. I couldn’t figure out why I have thousands of fans and so few seeing my posts. Thank you! This article nailed it for me! I’m curious, how effective are you finding boosting posts or are you just doing pure ads?

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I have tried the Boost Post where I spent $2 per day to boost my latest posts and it actually worked pretty well – about 90% of the people who saw the post were from the paid boost. And I would say on average about 25% of my fans would see boosted posts.

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I’ve noticed this too and have been spending less time on Facebook as a result. My google page is plus.google.com/+Astridanaturals I’m still not 100% clear on how to use this platform to drive engagement either, but we’ll see as it grows!

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Maia, I am actually going to interview Yifat Cohen who is an expert at using Google+ and she’ll be sharing lots of great tips on how to use the platform… Stay tuned. The interview is today, but I’ll be posting it in a few weeks, so if you have any questions you want me to ask her, let me know and I’ll ask!

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Oh great, Andreea! Can you ask about communities? Is it a good idea to start one and share content that way or should you focus on your own page and sharing content there if you’re building a brand around physical products? Thanks!

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Thanks so much for sharing, Yallure! I was not familiar with Where To Get – interesting…

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Thanks Andreea, great article…I have been seeing the same trend and for my recent summit I have been promoting and boosting posts. I have been in full experiment mode so I will stay tuned for your findings and if I have an Eureka moment, I’ll post it!

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Thanks and keep us posted!

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Also wanted to say, for anyone who would like their picture to appear next to your comments, if you go to http://en.gravatar.com/ and create an account, it will display your photo anytime you comment on ANY blog using the email address you used to sign up for Gravatar.

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I am still slowly growing my Facebook page list and noticed the the reading rate is fairly low. I think it may be somehow caused by FB’s new ad system. FB feeds more ad or suggestd ad to the walls and it makes it overwhelming when I am going over my personnel FB wall. That could possibly reduce the chance people click on a page that they follow.

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Yin, that’s exactly right! They are now mostly showing “sponsored posts.”

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Thanks for writing this! I respect the work you put out on your site and blog and I’ve also noticed that I don’t see it as often on Facebook anymore.

For my job I manage an initiative where we try to find new physicians who might want to practice anywhere in our region so Facebook had been a valuable tool at some point. Now, it seems the more “engaging” our posts – the less Facebook shows them. Although sometimes they give us a “people would love this post – you should promote it” line which is even more irritating. For both that initiative & other pages I manage, I thought about cutting back & focusing on some other avenues and reading your assessment makes me feel like I’m on the right track. Many of us have felt like we HAVE TO use Facebook all the time when the reality is, it’s not useful. Especially when their promoted posts barely show a 5% bump in traffic. I have heard that ads are shown more but for a non-profit in healthcare with a niche market, there’s no possibility of that for me. I’m appreciative that FB exists and that if people go to our page, they can find certain information – but there’s really no point in looking for page or comment “likes” anymore. There are other avenues out there (like G+) and I look forward to exploring more of them instead of banging my head against the “wall” over this.

And I look forward to your recommendations and insight as well – glad I found you when I did!

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Heleena, thanks for sharing! It has definitely been frustrating for all of us… Keep me posted on how Google+ works for you, or if there’s another social media network that might work better. My belief is that you should be focusing your efforts on the network that YOUR CLIENTS/CUSTOMERS are most likely to use. For some of us it’s Pinterest, for others it’s Google+, for others Instagram or YouTube and so on…

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Thank you for posting this Andreea! I’ve noticed this occurring over the past couple months and have wondered what I was missing; Facebook getting greedy(er)!! I never really though to implement Instagram until the webinar a few days ago! And my Google+ was always something that was just “there”. I’m looking forward to hearing more about how to get my G+ profile back on track and using it right and finally adding Instagram :-)

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I’ll definitely share some Google+ info soon. Just finished the interview with Yifat Cohen about Google+ and wow, it was eye opening! Can’t wait to share it with you all!

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Thanks for your honesty Andreea! I created a Google+ account as well (currently in there as Jen Zeman) but haven’t spent any time in there yet. I like your new strategy and it makes perfect sense, I refuse to give in to FB’s demands of paying them to reach my fans. That’s a bully tactic in my view and won’t stand for it.

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Totally agree with you, Jen!

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Awesome post, thanks for sharing!
I will also work more on my e-mail list, because facebook is way too time consuming for the results it brings. Also instagram and google +, which I hear is very good for SEO.
I added you on google +. Here’s mine https://plus.google.com/+AnitaPuksic/posts

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Growing your list is definitely the way to go!

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Thanks for sharing all this info, can hardly wait for your interview about Google+! I’ve been seeing FB in the rear view mirror for a while. Hello Google+, Instagram and Pinterest! Off to set up Google+ and Instagram.

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Will share the interview soon!

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I ditched Facebook a few months ago because of the same reasons, my posts weren’t being seen. I still have a presence but don’t post nearly as often as I used to. Instead I invested that time in Google+ and have seen a tremendous increase in traffic. Google+ is my number 2 traffic provider (after Google). It’s been great!
https://www.google.com/+RawfoodlifestyleOrg

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That’s so great to hear, Mindi!!!!

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Thank you, Andrea. I noticed the same thing. My numbers are small to begin with, so I thought I wasn’t doing enough; which didn’t make sense because I’ve been doing more.

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I’ve been finding the same thing to be true and had heard about facebook’s changes on this. I understand companies needing to make money, but I dislike the bait and switch tactics so many use. I refuse to support it and am moving away from using facebook. I’ve already removed my like box and links from my website, as getting more fans doesn’t really matter anymore. I’ve also found all of the sponsored posts in my feed (replacing the posts from pages I’ve liked) to be quite annoying. I rarely even log into facebook lately, as it seems there isn’t much point to do so anymore.

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I was really pleased to read this Andreea. I have long felt like facebook is a place where my voice just echos back to me – I seem to get nothing back – but until now all I’ve read says that facebook is the place to be. Thanks for having the confidence to adopt a new strategy and to share it with us.

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I was so excited to see this post, thank you! We just rebranded our name, selling the same product, and Facebook won’t let us change the name. I don’t want to start a new page because we are launching a Kickstarter at the end of April and I don’t want to lose all the valuable interaction and look plain on the new page. Therefore I think I am going to shut it down completely. I don’t want to deal with them anymore as they seem to be getting very, very greedy. Do you think not having a Facebook presence is an issue for a brand?

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Almost a year ago, I noticed that although I had close to 4000 likes on my Facebook page, very few sales and views in my Etsy shop – http://www.KnittingGuru.etsycom – were coming from there. In the last few months, it really hasn’t been worth my time to even post there.

On the other hand, my Pinterest following, now over 7000 keeps growing every day. My views and sales at Etsy and my other shops on Craftsy, Artfire and Ravelry are overwhelmingly coming from Pinterest. The choice is clear. A few enjoyable minutes a day on Pinterest yield big results.

I’m really not sure what to do with my Google+ account and will be interested to hear your approach to that Andreea.

Thanks for the information you’re sharing here!

Veena

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My Etsy shop is http://www.KnittingGuru.etsy.com Sorry I left the (.) out of that last link!

Veena

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Yes, I’ve noticed this as well, and you first brought it to my attention with one of your posts last month. I’m spending more time on Instagram and although I’ve been neglecting my Pinterest acct., I’ll begin nurturing that too. With only about 225 Facebook fans on my biz page, not much that I post there gets seen now. It’s kind of frustrating, but the only constant anywhere is change! Thank you for keeping us all informed! Maybe I’ll get more Google+ savvy too.

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I’ve also been thinking the same thing, the lack of views is really crazy and at first I thought I was doing something wrong until I did more research. I think that sounds like a great plan to try, I haven’t quite figured out exactly how to use it to my benefit but will continue using it as I know I have a handful of people who do check it on a regular basis. I’m interested to see how your experiment works out!

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You may want to watch this video. I’ve paid for advertising, my likes went up by a whopping TWO…… So buyer beware!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVfHeWTKjag

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Interesting, Barbe! I’ve seen that video before. I did a huge FB ad campaign back in January and got over 500 likes in just a few days!

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I agree with your Barbe, I did an ad a few weeks back and gained 5 new likes! whoop whoop lol

Even that seems to be slowing down :(

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A few years ago I met a social media Guru who told me to start using Google+ so I have focused more on that than Facebook. There have been many benefits using Google+ such as having more of my posts ranking. Let’s face it Google+ is Google and the more you use it the more Google loves you. I’ve also blogged may times about people having comments to their blog posts go directly on Facebook and not their own site. You own your own site and the comments that are there. If Facebook were to take your page down for whatever reason those great comments would be lost forever. I do have a Facebook presence but that’s not where I devote a lot of my time. I want people engaging with me on my website and then sharing my content on Google +, Twitter, and Linkedin. That being said I will probably start doing some ads to promote my online learning site on Facebook since many people have had success with them.

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Hi Toni, this is exactly what my husband told me. Is there a great course for Google+? Is Google+ similar to Facebook? I am so new to all these social media things. I am busy catching up with things.

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Yes, there’s a great course that I recommend http://www.gplusgotogal.com/pages/shop/google-101/

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Muchos gracias Andreea :)

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Absolutely! You are spot on girl. I have been personally noticing this for months. I will very likely go with google+. But, it would be GREAT to have a side-by-side comparison of all the social media options. Often there are so many little things that just don’t register at first. Thank you Andreea… for being a great leader and support.

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I have noticed it also, I have been doing what people at Post Planner suggest (post suggestion wise) but I am only hitting about 43 out of 2500 + and getting no interaction.

My organic reach isn’t even growing and I am doing lots of different content, so it’s not all about my product.

Today I actually got a little interaction and it was about tea..not my jewellery!

I also agree with Barbe, I paid for advertising too a few weeks back and my likes only went up by about 5.

I have had successful ads before but this month one was rubbish :(

Think I will focus more on Google + and Pinterest

If Facebook were to introduce a monthly membership scheme for businesses that would guarantee all your likes saw your posts then I would take them up on it…obviously depending on cost, the ads are not even the same anymore.

Great read Andrea and glad to know we are not alone

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That’s a great idea about the monthly membership, Clare!

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I hadn’t had the reach I’d hoped for anyway, but this post just helped me refocus my energy and strategy for Facebook. Great info thanks!

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Thanks for reading, Nicole!

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yep! I know the feeling! fb helped me build my business very fast…in the beginning…. but those days are long gone. I decided to put a minimum effort into it because I dont get the sales out of it anymore because my posts don’t get to my fans anymore.

This is my strategy:

I choose 1 ‘topic’ or ‘message’ that I want to tell my fans about the next week.
Then I create visuals and quotes around that 1 topic for the rest of the week (1-3 posts a day).
Then I schedule all the posts for the next week.

During the week when they are automatically published I make sure I do short follow-ups on the comments and shares.

And that is it.

I have now more time to build my list ;)

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That sounds like a great plan, Justine!

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Thanks for this. I have noticed the same thing. Are or do you have lessons on how to use Pinterest to grow your business?

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Jennifer, yes, I am a huge fan of Pinterest! You can check out my course at http://www.launchgrowjoy.com/shop I plan on doing a webinar about it in the next few weeks as well!

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Hi Andrea, Thank you for writing about this because now I realize I am not alone. I am beginning to feel the time I spend on FB is wasted and I need to let go a little. I am interested how your new approach will work because I have seen videos about the paid ads and FB not being very honest on their end. I wonder if it is time to start our own business to business networking site. Like a gigantic networking meeting on-line. :)

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I like your idea, Barbara!

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Andreea, I have a b2b business. I didn’t spend much time on social media. I don’t even use FB for the personal purpose. Now, I’m about to launch my new e-commerce business this summer. I started using FB in early Feb. applying what I’ve learned from courses and have built strong fan base via paid ads. I only have over 800 fans as of today, but due to the ability of precise targeting, my page seems to attract many interested customers.

I’m new to all these social media things. Every day, I get overwhelmed with bombarded social media needs, updates and engagements. I’m not a FB expert but this is what I’m familiar with the most. Besides FB, I have to now focus on Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Twitter and YouTube… Anything else out there? So many things to learn and do. I respect all the entrepreneurs who do handle these things every day.

One thing that keeps me going is my “true” passion on my soon to be launching business.

Thank you for all your works :D

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Hanna, my recommendation is to focus on one or two social media networks where your audience is most likely to spend their time

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That makes sense. Thanks Andreea =)

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Hanna, I’m a b2c, but I’ve observed that the best place for a b2b is Linedin. You can target market really well there. I’m glad for this topic. I totally thought my FB posts just weren’t good enough. I’ve had googleplus on the back burner for too long. Looking forward to Andrea’s next session on it.

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I’ve been dabbling in paying for FB ads and one thing I’ve noticed time & time again, is more people are clicking on my ads on Thursdays & Fridays!

I don’t have a huge budget, so I just run my ads from Wednesday night to Friday night, and it’s working!

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Interesting, Thanks so much for sharing!

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You are right Andrea. I have noticed the same too. Thanks for affirming it right here. I have already started using G+ and also trying to grow my website list all because of your informative posts. So glad I am part of the LGJ community. My G+ page is https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/109371623581018835738/+NaturalsistersCoZa/posts

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Boy I am glad I am not the only one noticing a huge drop in reaches! Thanks for reaffirming this. I had already decided to stop spending so much time on FB as it was taking too much time for the results you get. I will check out G+ for sure. :)

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Great article! That answers a lot of questions that have been popping into mind! I think I will focus more efforts on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/118278864555397302417/posts

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I too am becoming disillusioned with Facebook. My fans aren’t engaging. The money I have spent on advertising has brought people to Like my page who already Like hundreds of other pages. Exactly how useful is that? They pretty much drop off the first or second time they fail to engage with your post.

I think Facebook works best for those people who TEACH OTHERS how to use Facebook to promote their sites.

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Hello Andreea, just ‘found’ your website today and it’s just what I need! I started my Knit 1 Tea 1 business a few months ago and need to work on getting exposure and sales! I was wondering about a FB page but think I will work on G+ alongside Pinterest and look forward to your upcoming posts about it. Link for my G+ account is https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RebeccaWardKnit1Tea1/posts
Thanks, Rebecca :)

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So glad you found my site! Definitely experiment with Google+ and Pinterest and see where you get the most response from…

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[…] Why and How I’m Changing My Facebook Strategy […]

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Oh my…a friend has just shared this news with me today… http://www.businessinsider.com/google-changes-2014-4

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Hmmm, thanks so much for sharing this! Interesting…

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