Small businesses say Facebook changes cut customer page views

Many small businesses are irritated with Facebook. Facebook has changed how it determines which posts viewers see.  Some businesses that use Facebook say it's hurting their ability to connect with the fans they worked to recruit.

Just two years ago, the New York Times featured Tutu Cute, a children's clothing and accessories company, as a successful Facebook-based business. Now owner Deann Kump feels Facebook pulled the rug out from under her.

"I have almost 8000 people on my page," said Kump. "If I post something, say I post, 'look at this super cute outfit that came in today,' maybe 10 people out of 8000 see it."

25 million businesses have Facebook pages to communicate with customers. Over the last year, Facebook has gradually changed the way it determines which page posts fans see, saying it's to show viewers the posts they're most interested in. But some businesses say it's just to get them to pay for ads. Kump says she paid to boost some posts ... until she got the bill.

"From 100 to 250 people, you pay $15 a day. A day, not for just the post for a couple months, it's a day. We're talking a lot of money," said Kump.

Gandzee, another local children's clothing company, noticed the change, too.

Said owner Jen Nomberg, "You may not get seen so we had to make a decision. Do we want to pay for our posts or get creative?"

Nomberg discovered certain types of posts reached more viewers because they shared them or commented on them.

"Styling tips, anything that reaches out to busy families to help them save time," said Nomberg as she showed us posts that reached more of her customers.

She pointed out that colorful photos of the clothes, demonstrations, and videos about how her clothes coordinate with each other received the most fan interaction on her page.

She played us a video where she's demonstrating the coordinating pieces of outfits, "The accessory for the older girls is this necklace. For two year olds we do this crown."

Both Gandzee and Tutu Cute say they focus on reaching customers outside of Facebook. Tutu Cute opened a store in Colonial Heights and Kump says she advertises in local periodicals. Gandzee had a pop-up store in Short Pump Town Center and is holding trunk shows for customers.

Facebook did not respond to our request for an interview, but has offered businesses information and workshops to help them market through the site.

If you are a Facebook user and you've noticed you're seeing fewer posts from pages you've "liked," you'll need to click on those pages, share posts, or comment, to keep them higher in your news feed.