Fans who follow Big Truck Tacos on Facebook who have not seen postings in months were almost guaranteed to have seen a message on Saturday — one that the restaurant owners paid $300 to ensure it was read by all 32,000 people.
For that $300, owner Chris Lower told the restaurant fans that they might be better off following Big Truck via Facebook’s rival social media site Twitter.
“Facebook continues to throttle our posts to reach only a small number of people,” Lower wrote. “Most of our posts show up in about 5 percent of our followers’ timelines. That means you are missing out on a lot of good information and fun stuff. We suggest that you follow us on Twitter also, if you want to see everything that we are putting out to our fans.”
By Monday morning, Big Truck’s Twitter following grew by 200 people, though at a total of 14,600, it is still just half the following of the restaurant’s 32,246 Facebook fans. The response has Lower unsure about his next move with social media.
“About 60,000 people saw the post, which is interesting because we have 32,000 fans,” Lower said. “Our typical posts the past few months are seen by between a range for 500 and 1,000 among our 32,000 fans.”
Big Truck Tacos is generally recognized as one of the first local restaurants to successfully use social media when the restaurant opened at 530 NW 23 in 2009. Lower admits the success was accidental, a result of Lower and business partners Kathryn Mathis and Cally Johnson using Facebook to post photos and updates of their renovation and preparations to open the restaurant.
Within a couple of weeks, Mathis said, the page’s followers hit 500. The restaurant at the time was still months away from opening.
In those early years on Facebook, the restaurant used its page to promote specials, show off photos of the restaurant operators’ travels and their food, and to track the ongoing revival of NW 23 Street.
Those posts, however, were getting seen by fewer and fewer of the Big Truck Taco fans as Facebook repeatedly changed the rules for its users.
“It’s pretty apparent how the spigot has been turned off by Facebook,” Lower said. “After going public, they had to figure out how to monetize their user base. And this is how they’re doing it — by tapping the businesses that have fans and want their fans to see their stuff. From a business point, I guess it makes sense — they’re not a charity. But it’s not what the fans signed up for, nor are they getting what they signed up for.”