WindingRoad_CoverA few weeks ago, Copyblogger, one of the leaders in the content marketing industry made a startling announcement. After much consideration, they were going to shut down their Facebook page. For a content marketing firm, with more than 38,000 fans this was not a decision they jumped to quickly.

I have always admired their direct, businesslike approach to marketing and this most recent decision was certainly consistent with their approach to marketing. They did their homework. They reviewed their fans, studied their interaction and realized they could have much more impact focusing their attention on other platforms. You can read their analysis here. 

While most small businesses will never have 38,000 fans there are still lots of good lessons for all of us.

  1. Focus on quality, not quantity – Don’t worry about how many fans you have, but how many fans actually interact with the brand. As Copyblogger really looked at their fans they realized many of them were actually spam accounts who followed the site in the hopes of being followed back. ( You see this same occurrence in Twitter). If you see lots of these types of accounts following or becoming fans, feel free to block them and focus on the real people who are interested in your brand.
  2. Figure out where you belong – A few years ago we were telling all of our clients they needed to be everywhere, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin and on and on, and on. In the last few years, we have shifted our advice, suggesting clients pick one or two platforms where they feel comfortable to focus their attention and resources on being really good on that community.
  3. People will follow you when and from where they want to – Stop trying to cross promote between platforms. Don’t send links to your twitter fans to follow you on Facebook or check out your Linkedin profile. They follow you on Twitter, talk to them there. If you are going to send your fans anywhere, send them to your website.

One last note. If you are going to stay on Facebook, you are going to have to work harder than ever to make your content visible. If this is where your community is, then it is worth the effort. One social media strategy which will help are Forced shares. The changes in the Facebook algorithm reduce the visibility of your posts if you choose not to advertise. That means your team members need to be sharing (not just liking) content from your company page. You may want to also reach out to a few friends of the company and request they share your content occasionally. Don’t abuse the request. Save it for something you really want people to see. Is this gaming the system a little ? Yes it is. But without concerted effort to get visibility for your posts, no one will see them and you might as well shut down your page the way Copyblogger did.

Did Copyblogger make the right choice? For their brand, I think they did. Is it right for you? Maybe not. But now is a good time to step back, look at all the places you are spending time on line. Cut back to a few great platforms and give yourself permission to back away from others.

To learn more about how other small business owners are spending time on line, check out the results of our 2014 Small Business Social Media Survey. 

Jarred and I also talked about this decision on a recent episode of More than a Few Words. You can listen to it now.