We’re predicting a few break ups between Facebook and Page administrators in the near future, with many up in arms over the declining organic reach of the fan base they’ve worked so hard to build (or buy) and engage with, and now unable to reach in its entirety with each (unpaid) post.
WHY THE CHANGE?
Since 2007, Facebook’s Pages have provided businesses with a free online platform where they can connect with customers by publishing updates and promotional content directly into their News Feed. This obviously created an oversupply of content, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive as administrators posted several times a day to increase the chances of been seen. When Research from Social@Ogilvy reported that in 2012 Facebook restricted the reach of content to just 16% of Page fans, and has since continued to drop it to as little as only 2% for Pages with over 500,000 fans, oh the uproar. Not surprisingly though, Page administrators with a little more strategy and not afraid of using Facebook as a paid advertising platform, continued to forge ahead undeterred.
Whilst acknowledging the trend and unofficially advising users to expect organic reach to approach zero in the foreseeable future, Facebook were quick to shut down talks of it being part of a bigger initiative to drive paid ad sales. Instead, their official response is that it aims to
“Improve overall user experience by only showing the most relevant content.”
Which makes sense given over 40 million Facebook Pages exist, and an average of 1,500 posts compete for attention in a user’s feed at any given time.
So what does this mean for businesses using the platform as part of their overall marketing strategy, or for the majority of it for that matter? Obviously the fewer people seeing your posts means fewer clicks, comments and shares and ultimately fewer conversions, leads and customers – so is Facebook still worth it?
In short – yes.
HOW TO USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
For businesses not currently using Facebook to its full potential in targeting audiences, or relying on it heavily for connecting with customers, it’s time to up the ante. Ultimately Facebook’s end goal is to have its algorithm match News Feed content to the individual needs and interests of each and every user – so why not use this to your advantage. If it’s not Facebook making the switch, it’s only a matter of time before your fans start tapping out if they’re not liking what they read.
Brian Bolan (Facebook’s VP Advertising Technology) suggests:
“Publish great content – content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think or, in some other way, adds value to their lives.”
We’ve always known content is king, but with an ever-changing landscape it’s now more important than ever to stay relevant to be seen. How your fans interact and engage with your content becomes a knock on effect for how Facebook’s algorithm judges your Page as relevant to a fans interest, therefore increasing your organic reach and success of future posts.
Simply by researching your audience, knowing what it is they want to see in their feed, how and when they interact with these posts and those of your competitors, you’ll gain valuable insights into the role Facebook can play in your overall marketing strategy.
To help you use it to its full potential, here are a few tips for taking the focus off organic reach and instead focusing on targeted audiences:
- Choose content that resonates with your audience
Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives rather than posting numerous times a day in hope someone will see it and engage with it. Remember this is still a social platform, so change your goals accordingly.
- Use organic post targeting
Posts don’t need to be sponsored to be targeted to a specific and relevant audience. With a little bit of research, you can hone in on your target audience with each and every post for increased organic reach and higher engagement.
- Start using Facebook as a paid advertising platform
Embrace paid advertising on Facebook. It’s relatively cheap in comparison to other mediums, highly targeted and the analytics can provide fantastic insights into your audience for future campaigns and setting of goals.
- Educate your fans on how to see more from you
Encourage fans to do something with your post by asking them to interact and engage with your posts which will help them see more from you, and educate them to turn on notifications so they don’t miss anything.
- Start a group
If you have the time and it’s the right fit, Facebook Groups provide a more personal environment to engage with your fans and have them involved with your brand. Notifications ensure posts within the group are seen by all members.
Change is inevitable in today’s digital landscape, and a good digital strategy should be constantly evolving to ensure it has little or no effect on your activity. Stay relevant and targeted and your relationship with Facebook will be just fine.
Need help with your digital strategy? A digital audit is a great place to start – contact us for more information.