As another cat video is served to me in my Reels on Facebook, I am beginning to wonder if this platform can still serve to attract clients to my coaching business. And as the wondering turns into worrying, I feel a pressing need to make some vital changes to what worked for my solopreneur business for half a decade.
In this article, I invite you to join me as I share my personal insights and contemplate possible adjustments and embrace change – especially if you have been relying on organic marketing and your personal brand to find clients on Facebook.
In 2017 I started using my Facebook profile very actively, raising awareness around my new business direction as a coach and trainer for online visibility. I’d gathered an extensive experience over the years helping small businesses, solopreneurs, and various projects. Using social media marketing and networking, I helped them build the visibility they required to boost their businesses or achieve other goals (like winning a public vote contest for a national award.) I was ready to “take over the world” and was looking for a platform where I could get the most visibility to reach more people in my audience.
And although I was not the “first to the party,” I was still enjoying the benefits of surfing the wave of a Facebook algorithm for extended reach. Over the next couple of years, I became an expert on Facebook profile marketing (using a personal profile for social networking and social selling rather than a business page). As Facebook was running out of advertising space to sell, pages’ organic reach suffered tremendously, and I found using a personal profile in a very authentic way and without bending any policies and terms and conditions actually worked perfectly, specifically for coaches, experts, and trainers.
In 2018 Facebook announced that they were focusing even more on building personal connections and private communities.
However, in recent months, things have been changing dramatically. With the rise of TikTok and an entirely different approach to content consumption, Facebook’s (currently Meta’s) focus has shifted completely from facilitating personal connections (the original reason for creating the platform) to copying TikTok’s approach – and becoming more of a content discovery platform.
My initial reaction to this shift was quite dramatic. I felt that I had just wasted years of my life and career mastering a strategy that seemed no longer effective. Instead of helping me build relationships with other Facebook users to whom I am connected on my profile, I now see more and more random people and pages in my Newsfeed.
What the new direction means for solopreneurs
With the latest announcement about the introduction and moving personal interests and connections’ content to the secondary Newsfeed, the hope of being visible to strategic connections I have been building is becoming nonexistent.
Something needs to change in how I approach profile marketing, and it needs to be done in a way that boosts my visibility and client attraction, not adding to the struggle of running a business. This is the big question for anyone who has been using their profile (or their page) to attract clients on Facebook.
But let us pause for a moment and look at the good stuff these new changes are bringing. To start with, there will be more exposure for content creators to complete strangers -a cold audience.
I am hoping that there is still some sort of relevancy element in the way the algorithm operates in order to serve us brand new content. If that continues to be the case, and my content is relevant to what my ideal clients are seeking, the more new people whose interests match that topic I am likely to be exposed to. And that is great news!
The challenge here is to create the type of content that stands way above the rest, and that can be a problem. More and more of the videos I am served in the reels are of a very low value, although maybe highly entertaining (thus taking up my time and energy without any business-related benefit for the creator) – like puppy videos or pranks. But if you are a business owner and you want to address some pain points that you help remove or just generally offer slightly more “serious” content – it just gets scrolled by. I admit I have been skipping any of the “expert videos” in my reels lately.
We suddenly complete with cat videos even more. (Have you stayed watching through the credits of Matrix 4 to get to the after-scene? It really nailed it for me. It explained why the movie simply couldn’t be equivalent to the one made in 1999, and it added more depth to the message, which I believe most people who watched this brilliant ending to the story are missing. The world has changed.)
I think that Facebook’s shift is reflecting that change. We are becoming less about deeper connections and more about numbing our minds and emotional pains. Getting “digitally distracted.” Personally, as someone advocating for Facebook as a great social networking platform for years, I feel deeply disappointed.
At the same time, I am one of those people who take the U-turn when required without dwelling too long about getting to the dead end. And this will not be the first time everything needs to shift and pivot in order to find the life of flexibility and freedom that I set out to have when I embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship in the first place.
Should we just move to LinkedIn?
My plan to manage this change does not include “leaving Facebook to move to LinkedIn” – a statement I am hearing more often these days. This is not a smart move in the first place, as these are not interchangeable platforms. They are very different in terms of the demographics that they target and the certain unspoken rules of what content works best.
I do not feel that LinkedIn is a great platform for targeting non-professionals or solopreneurs. They might have an account on LinkedIn, but in my experience, they are rarely active there at all. As a marketer, I understand that the key to choosing the platform to put your efforts into is always determined by “where your ideal clients hang out” – not necessarily what platform is more convenient or familiar for you personally to use or where you assume a good place could be.
Time is a precious commodity these days, and we should put our creative juices into areas that actually have the potential to bring some ROI, both financially and energetically.
The next step
And for any coach or an expert, I suggest focusing more on the opportunities that the new direction offers versus getting too bogged down about the need to change. The success (and the money) is in embracing flexibility, not resisting it.
My prediction and my focus will include much more discoverability with value-based content that may no longer find as much visibility if I keep it all on Facebook exclusively. I used to write a lot of long-form insights and contemplations, helping my audience with some mindset and practical advice inside the platform. It used to be the center stage where I drove all my traffic to.
From now on, my focus is shifting to delivering this in-depth content by email to my list with a link to my blog – if the word count is slightly too long for an email – or directly into my podcast or YouTube channel for audio/visual experience.
I will focus on creating the most interesting but short-form video content for my Facebook profile (probably using Reels and Stories even more) with a view to attracting complete strangers with a highly optimized title, caption, and relevant topics. These short videos can then link to a longer form piece of content to allow the initial excitement of delivery to trigger the desire to binge on more value pieces I have already created.
Content optimization for search engines, headlines, and titles will now become the KEY to grabbing the attention and stopping the scroll. And no, we do not have to dance around pointing at stuff or mime to external audio tracks to create entertaining content. But in order to stop the scroll, it has to speak directly to what your ideal client is going through (good or bad, desires and pain points).
This means nailing your messaging and really mastering it is becoming even more important, as the doors are slamming shut on mediocre “expert” content. Does it feel like pressure? YES! But it is healthy for us to employ our creativity and self-expression. It is good for us to feel pressure to find our own authentic and MAGNETIC voices. To stand out for all the RIGHT REASONS.
Facebook is changing, and it is a change coaches, experts, and trainers need to really prioritize showing up and standing out. And changing is never easy. But where there is a will, there is always a way to find something perhaps even better. We can draw motivation from this increased demand for producing much higher quality content, as well as exploring a more holistic way of attracting clients and becoming more discoverable beyond the walls of one platform.
I, for once, see the opportunity to reduce the “busyness” that being visible required by Facebook profile marketing – the constant posting and creating discussions. (Hustling like that is not always natural, and this is why I love Human Design – my go-to tool for aligning the marketing strategies with our personal energetics.)
Perhaps the new direction will help us let go of things that no longer serve us and embrace a new, more enjoyable, and empowering way to attract clients online! At the end of the day, our businesses are here to bring more flexibility and freedom to our lives – so why not focus on creating that flexibility in our marketing now and turn what may feel like a disaster into an opportunity.