Over the last few years, many companies have been challenged to optimize their brand’s presence in Facebook’s newsfeed which, to date, had only been showing their business page’s updates organically to about 16% of their Facebook fans. That number can be pretty insignificant if you don’t have a lot of ‘likes’ to begin with. If few people are seeing your content on Facebook now, getting that number to grow is about to become a bit more expensive.
Over the course of the coming months, Facebook’s throttling their algorithm to show business page updates to a mere to 1-2% TOTAL of your Facebook fans. The “why?” is easy to answer: because they have stockholders to answer to. Because it means there’s a direct way to make money from businesses who, until now, had been getting a free ride to promote their businesses to customers.
At first, you may be thinking one of two things:
- See ya, Facebook.
- Crap, this is not something I budgeted for. How much is this gonna cost me?
But the truth is, this is a good thing. A lot of businesses have been phoning it in on Facebook, posting only content and things that matter to their business and don’t necessarily bring value to their customers. They’ve been focusing only on how many likes their page has because they think that’s the true measure of success for a company on Facebook. (It’s not.)
Why should you feel pleased about this change? It’ll take some work, but your company has everything to gain.
Reason #1: You’ll think about how to get others to share your content.
If you hadn’t already been concerned with this, Facebook slashing your page’s organic reach should have you thinking, “hmm, then how can I get my customers and other people to share my stuff on their own feeds?” There’s the simple answer that the marketing industry loves to defer to: “create really good content!” and then the complex (but more accurate) answer that we provide: Create really interesting, engaging, hilarious, memorable, educational, helpful content that serves as a utility for customers, and then get that content in the hands of people who will do business with you.
“Create really good content!” is fluffy and sounds easy, but it takes a lot of work. That second part – get your content in the hands of people who need it – is where the magic happens. What good is creating good content if nobody’s there to read it and take action on it?
Also, make it stupidly easy to share your content. Put share buttons throughout your site, maybe even give your audience incentives to tell their friends (coupons, discounts, entries into a giveaway perhaps), and make your content worth sharing! If you have to pull teeth to get people to take action, something’s not clicking.
Oh – and it’s worth mentioning – the content and “good stuff” you’re creating? It should be housed on your website. A website you own and control and can track. If all the stuff you’re putting out there is solely on Facebook, you’re back to square one and will be forced to pay to have people see it in the first place.
Reason #2: You’ll be smarter about your Facebook ad spend.
This is a two-part benefit:
- You may consider moving some other non-performing marketing budget to a high-return medium like Facebook advertising. There is no doubt that the targeting available through Facebook is light years ahead of some other paid media offerings. To be able to target based on age, location, gender, interests & likes, employer, device, purchasing habits, likeness to your current customers (via lookalike audiences), their status in your CRM database (via custom audiences), and other highly efficient targeting options puts so much power in your hands. You can deliver extremely relevant and profitable communications to exactly the type of person you want. How in control do you feel running banner ads based on traffic numbers and a general audience profile? Our guess is not very.
- You’ll stop buying Facebook likes. (Please tell me you’ll stop buying Facebook likes.) Hopefully this throttle that Facebook’s doing will break people of the belief that they need to have a lot of ‘likes’ on Facebook to show they’re being successful. Instead, you should pay for exposure in other ways that actually have a direct impact on your business. Pay to expose your awesome content (see Reason #1) to the kind of people that will directly benefit from it. Pay to acquire new leads and customers and send them directly into your funnel (or directly to a product purchase page). Pay for installations of your app. Pay to drive eyeballs and participants to an important cause or event. Use your spend wisely to reach the numbers and metrics you need in order to move your business forward. Since only 1-2% of your Facebook fans will organically see your content moving forward, paying for likes still leaves you to pay for promoted posts in order to activate those new eyeballs you just acquired.
Reason #3: You’re forced to think holistically about your social media efforts.
If you’ve put all your eggs in the Facebook basket, it’s time to diversify. You don’t want Facebook to have control over your entire social media strategy (because, if that’s been the case so far, your strategy has now become pay-to-play). There are so many other ways to connect with your customers. Don’t know which channels to participate in? Survey your customers, find out where they spend time. Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, niche forums and message boards, YouTube? Lots of opportunity there. Using these channels will expose you to new audiences and will force you to be a bit more creative and transparent in your communications, two things that your customers will appreciate.
Repeat after us: Everything will be okay. There are many ways to play nicely with this move from Facebook, and your business will be better for it.
What were your initial reactions when you heard of Facebook’s plan to charge pages? Are you changing your strategy, and plan to spend some money to get visibility, or will you look to other channels to get your message out to customers?