The Algorithm Is Not Your Enemy | Angela J Herrington


You know I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Facebook is my favorite platform where I get to connect with the most people in the most countries, and I enjoy that real time interaction with people all over the world who are in our ministry. I’m also in a lot of groups where we talk about the nuts and bolts, what are other people seeing. It’s extremely valuable, because sometimes I see trends there that I don’t want to teach you about till I’m sure it’s really going on. So a lot of times I connect with others in social media groups and ask, “Hey, what are you seeing this week?”

What I notice is that about once a week, there’s a ripple that goes through. Someone will complain about Facebook and complain that they used to have this great organic reach and now they don’t anymore, and it’s really sad because it turns into Facebook bashing. I’ll notice people talking about the algorithm like the algorithm is somehow the anti-Christ that’s going to destroy us all. They’ll talk about how money-hungry Facebook is and how unfair it is to have to pay to play.

I sat down to write this post because I want you to avoid that. Getting into that mindset is like getting down in a tar pit. We find fossils all the time that were once live animals trapped in tar pits—once they got in, they couldn’t get out. It takes an enormous amount of energy just to keep your head above water and to be able to survive in an online marketplace. If you wade into a tar pit, you’re sunk. You’re dead.

Avoid the Tar Pit

Facebook is not the anti-Christ. The algorithm is not your enemy. Everything that the Facebook team is doing is designed to keep the platform viable–to make sure that people want to show up on Facebook. If every single post that you created were shown to every single person who liked your page, it would be like Twitter. There would be millions of things flying through your newsfeed every day and people wouldn’t be able to see all your posts. There’s a reason that Facebook is the number one platform right now, and it’s because they’re always making changes to create the best user experience. It’s a successful business model, so don’t hold a grudge against that.

There is a cost to everything worth doing. There are places you can market yourself without any money. That doesn’t mean it’s free marketing. Sometimes I’ll go to trade shows or I’ll go to conferences by invitation and speak. It might be a free event with cost for me to speak or be at the event, but there is actually a cost if you think about it. There’s the time it takes for me to get there, the time it takes for me to be there, there’s the cost of gas to drive there, there’s the cost of my personally expended energy. When I get up in the morning, I only have a certain number of hours each day and a certain amount of energy available for each day, and if I direct some of that to these free events, that is a cost. It may be worthwhile, but it’s not free.

Social media platforms may be different than what they were ten years ago, but that doesn’t mean they’re not better than before. Don’t be afraid to use tools to advertise. I hear people sweating a $10 per month email server. Do you know how much time Aweber will save you if your stuff is automated? What do you need to make? How much time do you need to save for it to be worth $10 or even $20 or more? When you go to conferences and meet people and add them on Facebook or they join your email lists, how much does that cost you? Think about how many leads you bring in during a six hour event—that’s the cost. Facebook ads can cost you about fifteen cents per lead depending on your marketing skills and niche and all that—it’s really inexpensive. Think about what it costs to rent a billboard. They’re just there. Everyone sees them or they don’t depending on what road they’re on—there is no targeting.

Nix the Noise

The last thing I want you to remember is that not everyone who says they’re a Facebook expert is. Some people will put up a Facebook page and they’ll have maybe a little bit of success. They’ll have 200 people on their pages and all of a sudden they’re teaching Facebook advertising classes. They’ve never run ads or they’ve run one or two. Or they’ll teach how to build a group and if you go look, the group has twenty people in it. Those are red flags. It doesn’t mean the person is immoral or trying to trick you. It just means maybe the people are newer in the market and don’t have the experience you need to tap into. You can’t tap into something if it’s really thin and it’s not very deep. So if you’re looking at someone’s advice and it’s new or it’s contrary to what you’re doing, check out the proof. Look for the social proof. If someone’s selling you a class on how to create engagement and you go to their page and there are only 1000 people on their page, that could be okay. Smaller pages still could have good engagement. Go into your Facebook Insights panel, add them as a page to watch at the very bottom. If their engagement is 50 people out of 1000, that percentage is pretty low. If their engagement is 500 people out of 1000, that’s pretty rockstar—go ahead and take their class and see what it is they’re doing. But don’t get caught up in trying to implement everything that everyone is doing. Look for the proof and trust yourself, and know that you may have new ideas and that you may need to change things on the fly, because this market is a living, breathing market.

I hope you’ll see Facebook is not the anti-Christ, the algorithm is not your enemy. Those are simply distractions or scapegoats that are going to give you an excuse to feel negative and yucky. If you go into a group and find that leadership is always bad speaking about Facebook and they’re always complaining, talking about how it’s an awful platform, I would leave the group. There are several I have left because that’s just not the energy I want to bring into my walk. If I pay someone for a course, I want them to be giving it to me straight, not blaming an organization that is building a successful platform. I think it’s a negative rut to get stuck in.

If you want to be in a healthy environment surrounded by people who are really trying to figure it out, join the BOLD Christian Women In Business and Ministry group.