The writing has been on the wall for years now, but this most recent change to Facebook’s algorithms might have just been the final nail in the coffin for creators on the platform. Reach is a pale shadow of what it used to be. Within the cosplay community, cosplayers both large and small are regularly reporting a sharp decline in how many people see their posts. Cosplayers with a few thousand followers find their posts reach less than a hundred of them. And Jessica Nigri, one of the largest creators (and certainly the largest cosplayer) at 4.7 MILLION followers on Facebook is reporting her reach has been “decimated” by recent changes. Even multiple big businesses are starting to report that Facebook is no longer where the majority of their website hits are coming from. (Source)
I personally follow Jessica Nigri. I have her set as one of my 30 “See First” on Facebook, a setting that is supposed to alert Facebook to always show you their newest content as soon as it is available. And yet, I haven’t seen one of Jessica Nigri’s posts in two months. I’ve tried all last year to have my Facebook feed flooded with cosplay content from people I love to follow. I’ve liked their posts, I’ve commented on them… a year later and nothing. But Facebook sure does love to show me all those political posts from that one friend I never talk to!
Jessica Nigri is reporting her reach has been “decimated” by recent changes.
Now, not everyone is struggling, this is true. There are always exceptions and success stories in the midst of even the most depressing downward trends. But the growing sentiment I keep hearing, and not just from fellow cosplayers, but from creators of all types, is that they are fed up with Facebook. But where else can they go? What else can they use to attract new fans to their work?
There’s Youtube, but it’s suffering from its own problems, what with the Adpocalypse they went through last year. It’s harder than ever to not only make money producing videos, but just getting those videos noticed. And Instagram used to be great for visual creators… but it belongs to Facebook and has been undergoing all the same kind of crippling changes Facebook has. So what’s left? What’s a cosplayer (or other creator) supposed to do?
Get Your Eggs Into Different Baskets
Step one is to make sure that your strategy for reaching people is no longer solely tied to a platform you have no control over. You need to diversify the ways and places people can find and follow you. Think about it this way. “If Facebook were to shut down today, how screwed would I be?” If the answer is “very screwed” then you need to branch out more.
Maintain a Website
If you don’t have one of these, start here. There are plenty of places where you can get a website for free, or even cheap. (I pay about $15 USD a month for mine) Even if you don’t know the first thing about building a website, it’s not much harder than building a Facebook page these days. WordPress is a great option for something that is easy to use, but also customizable.
You also need to fill that website with good content. Start with a portfolio of your work. Add in a few useful blog posts. And then keep adding to it any time you have a good idea. If you’re looking for ideas on what you can do with a website, just have a peek around mine and see what you like about it!
Build a Mailing List
Once you have a website, the next step is to build a mailing list. Think about it – before Facebook existed, how did companies reach the people who were fans of their brand? Through email! And it’s still one of the best ways to do it. This way you’re no longer at the whim of some algorithm made by someone who thinks he knows what people want to see. The people who subscribe will get your notification every time.
By about this point in reading, you should have received a popup from me asking you to sign up to mine! That’s one good way to encourage everyone to join the fun. You can also shamelessly plug your newsletters, like I’m gonna do by asking you to click here!
Add Your Content to More Permanent Places
One of the biggest downsides to Facebook is just how… temporary the content is there. If the content isn’t being shared around, it eventually vanishes into the archives of your page, only ever seen by the 3 people left on the internet who scroll back through 5 years of posts. It can’t be searched up by Google or other search engines.
This is where you need to utilize services that play well with Google. Not only should this be your personal website, but also a number of other places. If your work is visual, use DeviantArt, Flickr, and Pinterest. All of these score high on Google, allowing your work to be more easily found by people searching specifically for your style of creation. You can also share your content with a number of blog sites that accept user submissions. The more popular the site, the better. And make sure it always links back to your original website, to direct people on where to find you.
Try Out Other New, Smaller Platforms
The more creators fall out of love with Facebook / Instagram, the more eager newer social media sites become. They are looking for big name creators to help them promote, waiting for their chance to go viral and become the next big company in all of our lives. Don’t hesitate to try some of them out. Being an early adopter of a new social media platform can be the thing that boosts your career into the light, especially if that platform starts to take off.
Don’t Give Up on Facebook Just Yet
While I highly recommend taking any step you can to make your brand less reliant on Facebook, I wouldn’t cut it out of your strategy just yet, either. Particularly if you already have a following there, continue to use it and engage with that following. But take steps to direct that following to your other places. Get them to follow you on deviantArt, or become a subscriber to your mailing list. Get them used to going to your website to find the photos or videos you’re sharing. Give them incentives to follow you elsewhere (i.e. “I post better stuff over here” or “I’m running a contest on ____ follow me over there to enter”)
At the end of the day, we’re all stuck with Facebook for the moment. It’s the necessary evil we just can’t get away from. But the day is coming when a new platform will rise up that understands what value creators bring to the table. And we’ll all jump ship, and let Facebook die a sad, slow death as everyone’s feeds are devoid of fun and stuffed to the gills with ads from soulless corporations.
Oh, and if you have any tips of your own, or have a cool social media platforms you wanna give a shoutout to (or even a shamelessly self plug!) please let me know in the comments!
And don’t forget to sign up for my Newsletter if you’d like more cosplay related spam — I mean… uh… content! ❤️️